119 minutes| Japan| 1959| Subtitled| Colour| 35mm

This film screened 16th January 2010.

Arguably the most pictorially beautiful of Ozu’s films, this hearty drama about a kabuki troupe on tour in a remote coastal province packs more melodramatic punch than the familiar restrained Ozu fare.
Ganjiro Nakamura offers his typically lecherous presence as the actor-manager who realises that his company’s glory days are behind them when visiting an old haunt where he once fathered a son. The mother (Haruko Sugimura, a treasure among Japanese character actresses) has long since become resigned to his absence, so her grown-up son takes Nakamura for his uncle. Meanwhile, the old boy’s current leading lady (Machiko Kyo) is jealously simmering away in a film which incorporates suspense, knockabout physicality, sober resignation and a touch of romance without so much as skipping a beat. It was also the only time Ozu worked with Akira Kurosawa’s ace cameraman Kazuo Miyagawa, so the colour imagery’s even more exquisite than usual. Wonderful. Stranger. Notes by Trevor Johnston

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