Directed by Yasujiro Ozu and released in its home country of Japan in 1949.
After having delved way too deep into Japan’s pink cinema, it is an absolute delight to now be able to go back even further to the immediate post-war period and to see Japan at it’s most natural and effervescent. This is my first feature film from Yasujiro Ozu – and it is long overdue at that.
The performances are all splendid – Setsuko Hara’s overly exaggerated smile during the first hour or so really irritated me but by the time the film reaches its final third we see that smile fade and we understand the reason behind the smile. You really feel for Noriko as her widowed father stands idly by when her aunt arranges a marriage for her – but the feelings for her transform into those for the father as she goes off happily to live her new life leaving her father behind. The beauty of the relationship between the two, at least for me, is that the audience is made aware of the inner feelings of both Noriko and her father but they do not dare truly express them to each other, something which only feeds into their eventual departure… but it sure does make for absolutely beautiful viewing.