films seen
average score
Japan - 60 years old
R.I.P. (1903 - 1963)
more info


Good Morning

1959 / 94m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
Good Morning poster

Late Spring

1949 / 108m - Japan
Late Spring poster

One of the better Ozu films I've seen so far. I admit I'm not very far in the man's oeuvre yet, but his more famous films haven't been big hits with me so far. Late Spring gives me some hope for the rest of his work. It's not the ultimate classic I've been looking for, but at least I had a decent time with this one.

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The drama is a bit outdated though, the titular Late Spring referring to the looming expiration date of Noriko, a young girl who is in the prime of her life, but doesn't have any tangible marriage prospects just yet. In between the lines there are some nice reflections on marriage, family and the need to break out of comfort zones, so at least there were some relatable elements there.

Chishû Ryû's performance is strong, Setsuko Hara is charming but her facial expressions feel a little contorted, which makes for some awkward moments. Ozu's visual style is stark, precise and calming, the soundtrack on the other hand feels a little bland and random, with some rather poor choices early on. While slow and quite uneventful, it never felt like the film dragged or lost my interest. But it didn't feel all that relevant anymore either. Even so, a decent watch.

Early Summer

1951 / 125m - Japan
Drama, Romance
Early Summer poster

Early Summer is a pleasant Ozu. A gentle and slightly meandering film about a family living in the countryside, a fine setup for an enjoyable Japanese drama. The only thing that truly bothered me was the black-and-white cinematography, which completely crushes that Japanese summer mood.

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The film focuses on Noriko, and 28-year-old woman who still hasn't married yet. Her family is a little annoyed by the fact that she hasn't settled for a man yet, but Noriko isn't too pressed. In fact, she has other plans for her life. But then her boss finds her an ideal suitor, and her family will do everything in their power to convince her.

The performances are solid and understated, especially compared to other films of that time. The drama is relatively slow but subtle and light-hearted. The only thing missing is the bright, overwhelming greens of the Japanese countryside, which is now shown in a dulled grey. It doesn't really breathe summer, which is something you'd expect from a film with this title.

An Autumn Afternoon

Sanma no Aji
1962 / 113m - Japan
An Autumn Afternoon poster

Ozu's final film. It also feels like a film from a director who is nearing the end of his career, though Ozu died relatively young and his films were never the most dashing to begin with. Avid Ozu fans will surely find a lot to like here, the strong focus on aged characters and old-fashioned morality just wasn't really to my liking.

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Shuhei is a widower who lives together with his daughter. He fears that his daughter is sticking around to take care of him, and that by doing that she will be missing her window of opportunity to find a husband. So Shuhei takes it upon himself to find his daughter a suitable suitor.

The static cinematography and elderly cast work against the film. This kind of minimalism isn't easy to pull off, when it gets a bit too sentimental and rowdy the effect simply isn't there. There are some decent moments and the drama is proper enough, I just didn't care enough about the theme, nor the characters.

Floating Weeds

1959 / 119m - Japan
Floating Weeds poster

Asia loves a good theater troupe drama, so I'm not surprised to see Ozu also took a shot. Two shots in fact, as this is a remake of his own film. Though made 2 decades later, I can't say it's a noticeably better film, it's not really the type of film that could benefit greatly from a remake either.

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Arashi is the leader of a theater troupe. One day he takes his troupe to a small coastal town, where he goes to visit Kiyoshi. Kiyoshi believes Arashi is his uncle, but Arashi is in fact his father. When Arashi's mistress understands what's going on, she becomes jealous. If Arashi isn't careful, the future of his entire troupe might be at stake.

The characters aren't too interesting, the drama is also rather basic. Ozu's signature gentle approach to the drama is only semi-successful, but that's largely because I didn't really care too much about the proceedings. The cinematography and score aren't too notable either. Not a terrible film, just not something I cared for very much.

Tokyo Story

Tôkyô Monogatari
1953 / 136m - Japan
Tokyo Story poster

A Story of Floating Weeds

Ukikusa Monogatari
1934 / 86m - Japan
A Story of Floating Weeds poster

I Was Born, But...

Otona no Miru Ehon - Umarete wa Mita Keredo
1932 / 100m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
I Was Born, But... poster

I haven't seen too many Ozu films, certainly not his older/silent work, still this felt very much like a very typical Ozu production. The young protagonists, the focus on lighter slice of life segments and some smaller but poignant drama scenes seem to characterize his most famous work.

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The film follows two young brothers around. They do the stuff young kids do, including looking up to their father, who likes to boast about his position in society. Their dream in shattered when one day they follow their father to his work, discovering that he is regularly made a fool of by his boss.

The lightness and the charm of the main characters makes this a pretty easy watch, on the other hand I didn't find a lot to actually care about. Stylistically it's very functional, the soundtrack is quite boring, while the drama isn't very memorable. Fans of silent cinema will get more out of this one, I on the other hand am pretty sure I prefer Ozu's later work, even though it's certainly not the worst silent I've seen.