This remake of Story of Floating Weeds, a movie Ozu made in the '30s, is unusual for being one of the Master's few films in colour, and in having a relatively dramatic plot that even allows for suspense, violence and mild sexual activity. A kabuki troupe visits a small coastal town; poor audiences only add to the trouble caused when ageing actor-manager Komajuro (Nakamura) arouses the suspicions of Sumiko (Kyo), his leading lady and mistress, by repeatedly disappearing to spend time with an old flame and Kiyoshi, a son of marriageable age who's always thought of Komajuro as his uncle. Forget the clumsy subtitles - the sheer beauty of Ozu's exquisite (and typically eccentric) compositions and the expressive use of sound tell all you need know about the characters, their emotions and relationships. Right from the opening montage of lighthouse shots, the director mixes formal playfulness - resulting in many lovely subtle visual gags (why do those paper petals keep drifting down at inopportune moments?) - with near abstract painterly elegance, doing justice to light-hearted and serious material alike. Hard, here, to stick with Paul Schrader's idea of Ozu as a primarily 'transcendental' artist. The three lecherous thesps, not to mention a wonderfully funny but touching reconciliation involving a cigarette, suggest a more versatile, even discreetly subversive talent. Come to think of it, that cigarette, and that lighthouse, in a movie about patriarchal authority...
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Kogo Noda, Yasujiro Ozu|