After well over a year we are finally finishing Yasujiro Ozu’s Noriko Trilogy with the first in the series, Late Spring. While Early Summer remains our favorite of the bunch, Late Spring serves as a more overt reckoning with Ozu’s view of post-war Japanese society. It is rather different than, say, Suzuki’s. As such we have a talk about false nostalgia, and how occupation is bad, but that doesn’t mean that life before the occupation was good.
Yasujiro Ozu is brilliant.
We've already seen the final chapter of his Noriko Trilogy -- three films about family that each star Setsuko Hara as a 28 year-old woman named Noriko and are otherwise unrelated -- and now take a step back to the second, 1951's Early Summer. In about two years we'll finish off the sequence with the first film, Late Spring, but until then we can bask in the perfection that is Early Summer.
Yasujiro Ozu's 1953 drama Tokyo Story is principally about the slow march toward the future. Things change, and the sooner you accept that, the better. That's not to say that Ozu doesn't think one should hold on to the past, but just don't be controlled by it.
But theme is only the half of it with this incredibly realistic portrait of a multi-generational family. Well, at least more realistic feeling than that last portrait of a Japanese family we watched.