Monday, February 17, 2014

Good Morning, Late Spring

The plot of Late Spring (1949) reminds me a little of The Golden Bowl. A daughter who loves her widowed father so much that parting, in the form of marriage, is such sweet sorrow. Setsuko Hara plays Noriko Samiya with real inwardness. Having just recovered from an illness during the war, she is seen at the age of 28 to be ripe for marriage. Her father (Chishû Ryû), knowing her attachment to him, and concern for his old age, tricks her into leaving him by pretending to contemplate marriage with a widow. I was thrilled to see Ryōan-ji in the film. The visit to the famous dry garden in Kyoto is the last trip that father and daughter take together, before she leaves the home to be married.

Set in suburban Tokyo, Good Morning (1959) is a humorous satire of postwar consumerism and adult mannerisms. Two boys, brothers, take a vow of silence when their parents refuse to buy them a TV. Their silence comments nicely on the use of small talk as a social lubricant in the adult world. The boys can't understand why the adults talk so much. They give greetings, gossip, carry tales, and, in the case of two young people (Chishû Ryû and Yoshiko Kuga), exchange pleasantries about the weather, instead of expressing their feelings for each other. Yasujirô Ozu drew sterling comic performances from all the child actors.

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