128 minutes| Japan| 1960| Subtitled| Colour| Digital

This film screened 29th January 2010.

Made late in his career, this 1960 production shows Ozu’s sensibility at its most playful and yet somehow serious. Not untypically for the director, it turns around the question of marriage: Yoko Tsukasa is the daughter of widow Setsuko Hara and it’s time to get her paired off. Hence, three old male friends of her late father try to arrange things, only to complicate relations between mother and daughter, each of whom thinks the other’s trying to get rid of them. The older men are essentially children in their well-meaning bumbling, while the desires of the female characters don’t always comply with society’s expectations of them.

It all unfolds with refined deliberation and exquisite use of colour, blending wry smiles and bittersweet emotions. ‘Life, which seems complex,’ Ozu wrote of the film, ‘suddenly reveals itself as very simple – and I wanted to show that.’ Notes by Trevor Johnston

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