• Woman Unveiled

    Woman Unveiled

    It's always nice to see Setsuko Hara and Kyoko Kagawa, but I'll be honest, this was nauseating-- dialogue heavy with direction and editing not to my taste.

  • Early Spring

    Early Spring

    ★★★★★

    Early Spring is two films: one, it's a superb rumination on the disillusionment of corporate salaryman life; and two, it's Ozu's ultimate husband-wife marriage film. The main characters in this movie are tired people. They are tired because they have the same routine every day. They are tired because they are bored and overworked. They are tired because their only child died. This might be the most tired movie in the history of cinema, and that's why its length as…

  • Sudden Rain

    Sudden Rain

    Another bland and tepid Naruse film. :/

  • Sound of the Mountain

    Sound of the Mountain

    I have to admit I don't get most of Naruse's cinema. It seems like 50 different shades of indulgent soapbox for women to crawl in and commiserate about their unfair suffering. Repast was the one Setsuko Hara - Mikio Naruse collaboration I loved because the main character actually had some subversive spirit.

    Here in The Sound of the Mountain, Hara's character just suffers, and suffers, and then she suffers some more. There's seemingly no end to her suffering, because there's…

  • Tokyo Story

    Tokyo Story

    ★★★★★

    Kyoko Kagawa looking into the camera and saying "Isn't life disappointing?" while Setsuko Hara smiles bravely and replies "Yes, it is." ... might be one of the most poignant remarks in the history of cinema, but the profundity of that scene seems almost childish compared to the moments when Noriko bares the laments of her soul to her father-in-law in the following scene. Many westerners are tempted to view Noriko's words as false modesty, a well-meaning attempt to stay humble…

  • The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice

    The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice

    The titular final sequence is outstanding, of course, but Early Spring is Ozu's definitive marriage film, and as far as nieces going to visit Aunt and Uncle goes, I much prefer watching Michiko Kuwano boozing it up with geisha and falling in love with a bad math tutor in What Did The Lady Forget?

  • Tokyo Sweetheart

    Tokyo Sweetheart

    Just couldn't get into this one, but nice to know I've seen enough 1950s Japanese cinema to not be surprised when a film that otherwise isn't a musical ends with underwater singing and dancing at the bottom of Tokyo Bay.

  • Repast

    Repast

    ★★★★½

    Now this is the one Setsuko Hara - Mikio Naruse collaboration I really like. Setsuko's character Michiyo suffers and complains like all of Naruse's indulgent commiserations, but she actually has some fighting backbone and subversive spirit.

    One of Setsuko's finest performances.

  • Early Summer

    Early Summer

    ★★★★★

    Early Summer belongs to that very small group of films that are among the greatest movies ever made. Ozu finds so much comedy in the day-to-day lives of these ordinary people, and so much pathos in their temporal pain. While many reviewers want to compare Early Summer to Late Spring, either favorably or unfavorably, I think this is a completely different film thanks to the ensemble cast. Late Spring is an intimate Father-Daughter film that ends one way, but Early…

  • The Idiot

    The Idiot

    Setsuko Hara, Toshiro Mifune, Masayuki Mori, and Yoshiko Kuga surely must have been the greatest cast in Japanese history? And yet The Idiot is a melodramatic failure.

    Kurosawa filming ice skating with torches = great great great

    Kurosawa filming people talking in a room = bad bad bad

  • The Munekata Sisters

    The Munekata Sisters

    Pretty much said this with my first review, but The Munekata Sisters is style over substance. Good Ozu to have on in the background if you're half paying attention.

  • Late Spring

    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…