Late Autumn


Image for Late Autumn

Dir. Yasujiro Ozu

Japan 1960 | Colour | 129 mins | Cert PG | Drama

Cast: Yoko Tsukasa, Setsuko Hara, Mariko Okada, Shin Saburi, Chishu Ryu

Made near the end of his life, Late Autumn is one of Ozu’s most bittersweet movies, a half-comic drama about parenthood, ‘difficult’ children and marriage prospects. The radiant Setsuko Hara, her sensuality coming into play only in the closing scenes, plays Tokyo widow Akiko, whose grown-up daughter Ayako seems determined to stay single. The film’s plots, full of Ozu’s characteristic echoes and symmetries, turn on the efforts of various well-meaning friends of the family to get both women married. Three male friends (two businessmen and an academic) first target Ayako and then her mother; a woman friend of Ayako’s initially disapproves of their meddling but later agrees to help them. Ayako gets the wrong idea that her mother plans to remarry, and mother and daughter quarrel. There are further droll misunderstandings, most of them caused by the child-like adult men, who have ‘problem’ children of their own. Ozu’s visual style and patterning was never more playful.– Tony Rayns

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