103 minutes| Japan| 1961| ?Subtitled| Colour| 35mm

This film screened 17th January 2010.

A direct translation of the Japanese title, The Autumn of the Kohayagawa Clan, helps give a fuller idea of the tone of Ozu’s penultimate film. There is a sense that winter’s in the air as Ganjiro Nakamura, ageing patriarch of a sake brewing family, takes up with an old mistress when he really should be looking to the business’ failing fortunes, or finding a husband for youngest daughter Yoko Tsukasa or her widowed elder sibling Setsuko Hara.

While Nakamura, a brilliant kabuki actor who was also a great favourite of director Kon Ichikawa, has such a mischievous gleam in his eye that he supplies a lot of humour to the proceedings, there’s also a potent elegiac cast to the story, which muses on changing values in post-war Japanese society and confronts head-on the challenge of perseverance in the face of mortality. It’s all done with impeccable wisdom and grace. Notes by Trevor Johnston.

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