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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sanma No Aji (aka An Autumn Afternoon) (1962)

An aging widower (Chishu Ryu) lives with his 24 year old daughter (Shima Iwashita) who takes care of him. When a friend (Nobu Nakamura) suggests that it's time for his daughter to get married, the father protests that she's not ready but perhaps it's his loneliness that doesn't want to let her go. When he sees the unhappy relationship between a former teacher (Ejiro Tono) and his bitter daughter (the wonderful Haruko Sugimura) who's given up several chances to  marry in order to take care of her old father, he begins to reassess his position. The final film of the great Yasujiro Ozu is, fittingly, a rumination on family, aging and loneliness. As with most of Ozu's films, the narrative is deceptively simple, little moments that when accumulated provide a sum of poignant and perceptive observations. Ryu was a frequent leading player in Ozu's films and he's an actor of great subtlety, his moments of stillness saying so much more than all the histrionics of lesser actors. A penetrating experience. The excellent cast includes Ryuji Kita, Mariko Okada and Shinichiro Mikami. 

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