Late Spring ★★★★★

Late Spring belongs to that small category of films which are among the greatest movies ever made. All of Ozu's cinematic language comes together at last ... the bike ride on the beach, the train, the elision into ambiguity, the crowd of people funneling into a small space, empty mirrors, passageways, a woman with a wildly violent and eccentric smile saying the most brutal, incongruous things.

Chishu Ryu gives the greatest father speech of all-time near the end of this film, and Late Spring is Ozu's ultimate Father-Daughter movie after all. I've heard some reviewers claim his words are the meaning of Late Spring. "Be happy, be a good wife." That may be true. But I've also heard other reviewers claim that Noriko's hidden tears in the bridal chamber are the meaning behind Late Spring. To borrow a phrase from another Ozu film: "We continue living, but we are not happy."

And that's the beauty of Ozu and why he is the most Japanese of all. There's something so elusive about his very best films, despite their repetition and formal rigidity. Or maybe it's because of their repetition and formal rigidity. Maybe that makes their ambiguity stand out even more. The characters and the layout of the homes they live in are so very familiar, but yet they are so private, we can never really understand what they are feeling or thinking.

An absolute masterpiece to watch and life changing experience.

Transcendent filmmaking.

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