A troupe of actors comes to town, short on funds and bedeviled by bad weather, so they can't put on shows. Kihachi is the troupe's leader. He steals off every day to visit Otsune (an ex-lover) and their son, Shinkichi, who believes his father is a long-dead civil servant. Kihachi has been paying Shinkichi's tuition, and he's now at university. Kihachi's lover, Otaka, the troupe's lead actress, learns Kihachi's secret and plots to ruin Shinkichi and humiliate Kihachi: she offers money to Otoki, the troupe's ingénue, to seduce Shinkichi. Soon the boy is head over heels, and Otoki finds herself with feelings for him. Can this end well or is tragedy at hand?Written by
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #232. See more »
Where have you been? Why act like nothing's happened?
[Kihachi hits Otoki repeatedly]
Forgive me, Master.
She apologized. Why hit her?
[Father hits son]
You're to blame too. Don't you know your mother worries about you?
[the men fight. Kihachi falls down]
What are you doing? Who do you think he is? The man you hit just now is your father.
[Kihachi scratches his back]
I have no father like him. My father was a civil servant. He's dead. If my father were alive, he'd never have abandoned us for 20 years. ...
[...] See more »
The film title and credits are placed before a backdrop of plain sackcloth. This would become a trademark of Yasujirô Ozu films. See more »
Poignant tale of family, love and social mobility in pre-WW2 Japan
Early silent film from acclaimed Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, "A Story of Floating Weeds" is an ostensibly simple tale of the head of an itinerant troupe of Kabuki players reconnecting with his teenage son Shinkichi (Koji Mitsui). The boy, who had been told that his father was a civil servant who had died, is a student 'with prospects' and the father does not want him to know of his humble origins. As he says to one of the female players in his troupe "My son belongs to a better world than yours", which of course, is the same world as his. Although the focus of the story is on the 'master' and his secret family, there are a number of entertaining scenes featuring the troupe as they are stuck in the town with their performances rained out, broke and bored, which much of the gentle humour coming at the expense of Tomi-boh (Tomio Aoki), the little boy with the errant bladder who plays a dog in the troupe's show. I watched an English-subtitled Criterion Edition on TCM and my only criticism is that the piano score seemed (IMO) too 'Western' for the setting (but I have no idea what the original music was like). The film is a slow-moving but poignant and beautifully filmed taste of pre-WW2 Japanese life. Later audiences would have found Shinkichi's mother's statement that he'll soon be old enough for the draft much more foreboding than Ozu could have intended. Remade by the same director as "Floating Weeds" in 1959.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this