An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

An Autumn Afternoon
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu
Written by Kogo Noda and Yasujiro Ozu
1962/Japan
Shochiku Eiga
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Shuhei Hirayama: [to himself, last lines] Alone, eh?

Sensei, why did you have to leave us so soon?

Ozu again explores his classic reluctant bride plot.  Shuhei Hirayama (Chishu Ryu) is a widower with a 24-year-old daughter who keeps house for him and a somewhat younger son.  He is perfectly content with this arrangement but his friends think it is time for his daughter to marry.  One of them has a prospect for her.

Daughter Michiko believes her father cannot get along without her and dad thinks she may be right.  The example of his drunken former teacher and his long-suffering spinster daughter changes Shuhei’s mind.

This is often-cited as a remake of Late Spring but the tone is entirely different.  The main difference is in the amount of humor.  Shohei and his various cronies can be pretty hilarious.

As usual, the “plot” is not the thing with Ozu.  Among the themes explored are loss, loneliness, the inevitability of change, the generation gap and transition in post-War Japan. The color cinematography and composition is exquisite.  The film is a slow burn that left me in tears after all the chuckles.  Highly recommended.

This was Ozu’s final film.  He was only 60 when he died of a heart attack in 1963.  He left us with 55 films, most of them excellent and many of them masterpieces.  I will really miss my annual visit with the director as I continue my journey through the years.

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5 thoughts on “An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

    • I hope you will reach back and catch some of his other wonderful films. Along with Late Spring, I would recommend I Was Born But … (a silent) and Good Morning a kind of remake. But then you really can’t go wrong picking at random!

  1. I’m adding this here so as the fans of Japanese films on the blog may see it…..as it relates to a Japanese film though not the reviewed one, hope that’s OK Bea.

    Maybe this one is known, if so my apologies…just saw The Castle Of Sand 1974, thoroughly recommend this one to any who like a good pic – not just for Japanese film lovers by the way. Unusual combination of determined police work chasing a chain of vague clues from place to place in Japan combined with the story of a child’s very harsh upbringing (not a done as tearjerker but it is very effecting) on the road. Both storylines allow numerous outside shots and the cinematography is superb. The vintage of the film (and one of the storylines) allow shots of a prewestern Japan which is a bonus as well IMHO. Its only failing IMHO is the overconcentration, towards the end, on a musical subplot but the overall quality easily makes up for that.

    Turning to the reviewed film – “Sensei, why did you have to leave us so soon?” says it all. Another triumph for the master film maker.

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