Equinox Flower (Higanbana)
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu
Written by Yasujiro Ozu and Kogo Noda from an original story by Ton Satomi
Here is an Ozu film in which the father does not want his daughter to marry – at least not the man she has chosen. It goes without saying that it is a slow burn that moved me to tears but I laughed more than usual as well.
Mr. Hirayama is a successful business man who likes to give relationship advice. He had a traditional arranged marriage to a traditional and subservient wife (Kinuyo Tanaka). He proclaims that he envies modern love matches. But when his daughter’s boyfriend shows up and asks to marry her, he is adamantly opposed.
Hirayama is so upset that he orders his wife to lock up his daughter. This works about as well as might be expected.
My husband and I watched this together and our verdict was “almost great”. Its only fault might be the slow pace but that just gives one the time to appreciate the composition and Ozu’s palette in his first color film. It’s fun spotting the pop of red in almost every frame.
This film is full of gentle humor. The part where Hirayama’s subordinate tries to keep his boss from finding out he is a regular at a bar the two stop at made me laugh out loud. The story builds to Ozu’s usual moving and satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended.
Clip (click the cc icon if you don’t see the subtitles)