Sight and Sound - 07/01/2011
"A rich social tapestry that also explores attitudes to family life and the lasting emotional impact left by a loved one's departure..."
In his final film Yasujiro Ozu returns to the story of a widowed father giving up his favorite daughter in marriage, only to be left alone. The setting is the industrialized Japan of the 1960s, with small but intense traces of traditional Japanese culture and morals present in each of the characters and their struggles. The melancholy of the widowed father as he drinks away his sorrows at a favorite bar is portrayed in a sweet and gentle treatment, and the aesthetic beauty of the film's heightened color and peaceful pacing make this one of Ozu's most beautiful and touching films.
Description by Image Entertainment:
Yasujiro Ozu's final film is also his final masterpiece, the gently heartbreaking story of a man's dignified resignation to both life's ever-shifting currents and society's gradual modernization. Though widower Shuhei Hirayama (Ozu's frequent leading man Chishu Ryu) has been living comfortably for years with his grown daughter, a series of events leads him to accept and encourage her marriage and departure. As elegantly composed and achingly tender as any of the Japanese master's films, An Autumn Afternoon (Sanma no aji ) is one of cinema's fondest farewells.
An aging widower makes arrangements to have his favorite daughter married and seeks comfort in sake and old friends. The setting of modern day industrial Japan, with its neon signs, factory chimneys and rooftop golf, is lushly filmed in breathtaking color as Yasujiro Ozu constructs his last tale of the final stages of a Japanese family. This gentle film follows the father as he hears of yet another of his friend's daughters being married and fears that his daughter will never leave his side and thus, never marry, echoing Ozu's earlier film, LATE SPRING. As the arrangements are made to set his daughter out on her own course, the father reflects on his own life and finds that he is fast arriving at its end, and that he is essentially alone. One of only a handful of color films made by Ozu, this, his final film, is seen as a distillation of the themes and narrative motifs explored in 53 films and 60 years of filmmaking.
Family Interaction |
Love Story |
AUTUMN AFTERNOON, a reworking of his own LATE SPRING, was Ozu's last film. His mother, whom he had lived with for his entire life, died during its making.