Floating Weeds (1959)

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Directed by Yasujiro Ozu
Written by Yasujiro Ozu and Kogo Noda
1959/Japan
Daiei Studios
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
#366 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

If a farmer fills his barn with grain, he gets mice. If he leaves it empty, he gets actors. Walter Scott

I could have picked 100 stills for my blog and I still would have images left to choose from.   I love Ozu and this film.

A cut-rate troupe of Kabuki actors arrive in a small Japanese town.  Komajuro, the manager and leading man, hopes the show will run for a year there.  His principal reason is to get reacquainted with the son, Kiyoshi, he left behind after an affair when he played there about 20 years before.  Kiyoshi knows Komajuro only as his uncle.  Things begin promisingly.

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Then Komajuro’s mistress and fellow actor Sumiko (Machiko Kyo) becomes suspicious of all the visits her man is making to his “patron”.  When she finds out the truth, she hatches a plot to disgrace the son in the eyes of his father.  Her idea is to send out a young actress to seduce Kiyoshi.  Between the failure of the plan and the failure of the show, relations are strained as the troupe leaves town.

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All of Ozu’s films center on the Japanese family and its dissolution.  In this case, we have two “families”, the father and son and the kabuki troupe.  The film is richly atmospheric, redolent of the seaside in summer and the smell of the greasepaint.  There is much humor and bigger emotions than in many of Ozu’s other films.  The use of color and composition is exquisite.  This is a remake of Ozu’s 1934 silent film A Story of Floating Weeds which is also well worth seeing.  Highly recommended.

Why I love Ozu and this movie in a nutshell – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Trailer

2 thoughts on “Floating Weeds (1959)

  1. Ozu is pretty awesome. I’ve never seen the later version, but I have seen the 1934 version. It’s great! TCM shows Ozu’s films every so often, so I’m sure I’ll get to this one eventually.

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