on 14 July 2007
LATE SPRING's story is like a wisp of a breeze. So subtle is it that it would be a shame to reveal too many details and possibly ruin your 'experience' of this. After some 20 minutes of glimpses into the comfortable everyday lives of a widower and his 27-year-old daughter living near Tokyo, we are given the first indication of the possible threat to that idyllic life. It grows gradually, until it becomes an aching poignancy that carries to the end of the film.
There's no real outburst of emotion. Only a couple almost understated moments of honest expression amid tons of near-ritualistic Japanese etiquette, often with the people wearing broad masking smiles. (I'm part Japanese and it's still pretty alien to me.)
This is all filmed in director Ozu's exquisite style, still potent despite being in black and white.
on 31 December 2010
Tokyo Story is definitely more complex because, simply, there are more characters to care about. Here it is only two really, so we can concentrate on Noriko and her dad. There is nothing wrong with this film. Everything is perfect. The cycle ride by the coast, the tinny, beautiful music, Noriko's last night with her dad, the Noh play which goes on and on, the light on the suburban road when they leave, the sense of the past, it's all just beautiful. It's the kind of thing you might like to see when you are on your last legs because it seems to put into images 'the way life is'.
The year is 1949, and Noriko and her father live a happy, quiet life in rural Japan where she attends tea ceremonies and he is a professor. Friends and relatives start pestering the 27-year old woman, asking when she will marry, but Noriko likes things just the way they are.
This wonderful movie, called a "masterpiece" by many critics, is a quiet, subtle, and gentle look at the loving relationship between a father and daughter. It also captures forever post-war Japan when traditional manners and customs were practiced, kimonos were a common sight, and there were no tourists to be seen. The movie takes its time exploring Noriko's world and her reasons for not marrying; the final scenes are quite touching and universal-appealing. Recommended especially for fans of Japanese films, but this is a story that everyone can relate to. In Japanese with subtitles.