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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The taste of Sanma, 5 Jun 2011
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This review is from: An Autumn Afternoon / A Hen in the Wind (DVD + Blu-ray) [1962] (Blu-ray)
According to the (short but informative) booklet, the original title of this film means 'The taste of Sanma', where Sanma means mackerel pike. The film was made in 1962 and is Ozu's last. I think it may be my favourite. All the Ozu elements are there: the usual actors, the theme of marriage, the influence of Western culture, relations between generations in post-war Japan. Despite using the same actors (in different roles) and themes through the films, they never become tedious. In 'An Autumn Afternoon', a father (played by Chishu Ryu) living with his grown up (24 yrs old) daughter and younger son is gradually convinced by his friends that the daughter should marry. The daughter is not too interested, she wants to take care of dad, and the father is dependent on the daughter like a housewife. I don't know why this is my favourite Ozu, maybe because the elements are here blended in perfection, and the mix of comedy and sadness (marrying away the daughter is not an easy thing for Ryu). Here is also the bar scene where patriotic war music is played and made fun of, Japan having moved on from the rule of Hirohito and towards consumerism.
The world Ozu conjures from his usual actors, and also using the same studio props as in other movies: the office, the corridor, the home etc, is quickly drawing the wiever inside. I become involved in the social play, problems and relations and they make me forget that the same actors and setups are re-used. This world is also very patriarchal: the men have their (more or less important) jobs and they meet every night at bars for sake and whiskey, discussing how to manage their families. But at the same time, Ozu uses strong women who sometimes put fathers and brothers in their place and make fun of them. Anyway, the insights in a different culture is fascinating.
The picture of this Blu-Ray is amazing, of course it will never look like a new film with sharpness and so on. But it looks sharp enough and with nice film grain, and the subtle colors used in early colour films. If you have the slightest interest in Japanese film, or in Japan, or in cinema in general, you should watch this.
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