A young boy follows Tashiro home to his tenement housing complex on the outskirts of Tokyo, the boy who was separated from his carpenter father somehow and somewhere in Kudan. All Tashiro ... See full summary »
When the patriarch of the Toda family suddenly dies, his widow discovers that he has left her with nothing but debt and married children who are unwilling to support her--except for her most thoughtful son, just returned from China.
Lacking The Director's Usual Quiet Magic, But Will Worthwhile
I consider Yasujiro Ozu one of the worlds most significant and distinctive directors, a man who eschews false dazzle in favor of examining the human condition, human relationships; most of his films are quietly incisive portraits of people coming to conclusions and making decisions which will permanently affect their lives. Ozu imparts subtlety to his characters, his sense of time and place are impeccable, and his respect for his characters unparalleled. All of that said, I think that Early Spring is one of his least effective--one easily sees the point he makes about corporate behavior and marital infidelity, but this one, rather than quietly contemplative, struck me as merely slow. The characters too often lack any redeeming qualities, and yet we are apparently supposed to care about them for more than two hours, difficult when there is so little to work with--Early Spring is certainly not a stinker, by any means, but for me, a lesser Ozu, and if you want to start with something more characteristic, begin with either version of Floating Weeds, or with his masterpiece, Tokyo Story.
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