Hi there, guys and dolls! How’s everybody doing? Planning on nestling down in front of your TV this weekend? Well, I have some terrific Raves n Faves for you. Five of my favorite movies by Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu.
Now Ozu had an extensive film career dating from the 1920’s to ’60’s, and ranging from gangster/crime stories to family slices of life and heartfelt romance. Some funny, some sad, all of them lovingly poignant and practically perfect in their quiet ways. He had a talented ensemble cast and crew he enjoyed working with, which makes them even more delightful to watch in the varying roles. I’ve got a list of my five favorites, with links to watch on the Criterion Channel (which is such a gem), although I’m sure you can find them streaming through other options as well.
THE FLAVOR OF GREEN TEA OVER RICE (1952) – A woman’s dissatisfaction with her unrefined husband grows as his business trip to South America draws near. Such a fun chick flick!
TOKYO STORY (1953) – A profoundly stirring evocation of elemental humanity and universal heartbreak, TOKYO STORY is the crowning achievement of the unparalleled Yasujiro Ozu. The film, which follows an aging couple’s journey to visit their grown children in bustling postwar Tokyo, surveys the rich and complex world of family life with the director’s customary delicacy and incisive perspective on social mores. Featuring lovely performances from Ozu regulars Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara, TOKYO STORY plumbs and deepens the director’s recurring theme of generational conflict, creating what is without question one of cinema’s mightiest masterpieces.
EQUINOX FLOWER (1958) – Later in his career, Ozu started becoming increasingly sympathetic with the younger generation, a shift that was cemented in Equinox Flower, his gorgeously detailed first color film, about an old-fashioned father and his newfangled daughter.
GOOD MORNING (1958) -A lighthearted take on director Yasujiro Ozu’s perennial theme of the challenges of intergenerational relationships, GOOD MORNING tells the story of two young boys who stop speaking in protest after their parents refuse to buy a television set. Ozu weaves a wealth of subtle gags through a family portrait as rich as those of his dramatic films, mocking the foibles of the adult world through the eyes of his child protagonists. Shot in stunning Technicolor and set in a suburb of Tokyo where housewives gossip about the neighbors’ new washing machine and unemployed husbands look for work as door-to-door salesmen, this charming comedy refashions Ozu’s own silent classic I WAS BORN, BUT . . . to gently satirize consumerism in postwar Japan.
LATE AUTUMN (1960) – The great actress and Ozu regular Setsuko Hara plays a mother gently trying to persuade her daughter to marry in this glowing portrait of family love and conflict; a reworking of Ozu’s 1949 masterpiece Late Spring.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.
Toodles, Barbara Jean