Ozu’s final film, released less than a month before he died. Only my second, after Tokyo Story. Another film about family life, with emphasis on the play between generations in the same family and neighboring families. I know, that’s what they say all of his films are about.
It again stars Chishu Ryu (star of most late Ozu films, who lived through the 90’s and appeared in Kurowawa’s Ran) as a father (Hirayama). His wife died young, oldest son is married (and having money trouble), younger son lives at home, and daughter is marrying age but stays home to take care of her father and brother. Hirayama’s friends tell him that he should marry her off before she gets too old, and learn to take care of himself. He soon sees the wisdom in this, and tries first to pair her with a boy she has a crush on, the older brother’s friend. But when the boy turns out to be engaged already, the father goes to a guy his friend had in mind (who I don’t think we ever see).
Some post-war bits (we find out Hirayama was in the army when one of his former soldiers recognizes him in a bar). Oh, and he goes to the bar because the barmaid looks like his late wife when she was younger… would be a sorta sad scene, him drinking alone and gazing at this woman, if not for the soldier distractingly (comically) playing battle hymns and marching/saluting along.
Apparently this was the part of Ozu’s career when he had started to sympathize with younger generations, instead of showing them to be lazy and disrespectful (see: Tokyo Story). Didn’t sympathize TOO much though, as the oldest son is spoiled and irresponsible, taking money from his dad and blowing it on golf clubs. Even only having seen one of Ozu’s films before, I was startled when the movie began because it was in color… I think of him as a black-and-white filmmaker. So happy to see that Ozu is the Master everyone says he is, that his movies are so heartfelt and wonderful to watch. I get that Jean Renoir feeling of well-being afterwards, even though Tokyo Story (and The Lower Depths) was mostly depressing. Looking forward to his other 40+ features!