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El sabor del sake (1962) HD online

El sabor del sake (1962) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Drama
Original Title: Sanma no aji
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Writers: Kôgo Noda,Yasujirô Ozu
Released: 1962
Duration: 1h 53min
Video type: Movie
In the early 60's in Tokyo, the widower Hirayama is a former captain from the Japanese navy that works as a manager of a factory and lives with his twenty-four year-old daughter Michiko and his son Kazuo in his house. His older son Koichi is married with Akiko that are compulsive consumers and Akiko financially controls their expenses. Hirayama frequently meets his old friends Kawai and Professor Horie, who is married with a younger wife, to drink in a bar. When their school teacher Sakuma comes to a reunion of Hirayama with old school mates, they learn that the old man lives with his daughter that stayed single to take care of him. Michiko lives a happy life with her father and her brother, but Hirayama feels that it is time to let her go and tries to arrange a marriage for her.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Chishû Ryû Chishû Ryû - Shuhei Hirayama
Shima Iwashita Shima Iwashita - Michiko Hirayama
Keiji Sada Keiji Sada - Koichi
Mariko Okada Mariko Okada - Akiko
Teruo Yoshida Teruo Yoshida - Yutaka Miura
Noriko Maki Noriko Maki - Fusako Taguchi
Shin'ichirô Mikami Shin'ichirô Mikami - Kazuo
Nobuo Nakamura Nobuo Nakamura - Shuzo Kawai
Eijirô Tôno Eijirô Tôno - Sakuma, The 'Gourd'
Kuniko Miyake Kuniko Miyake - Nobuko
Kyôko Kishida Kyôko Kishida - 'Kaoru' no Madame
Michiyo Tamaki Michiyo Tamaki - Tamako, gosai
Ryûji Kita Ryûji Kita - Shin Horie
Toyo Takahashi Toyo Takahashi - 'Wakamatsu' no Okami
Shinobu Asaji Shinobu Asaji - Youko Sasaki, hisho

The last film directed by Yasujirô Ozu.

In many ways, this is a remake of Yasujirô Ozu's Banshun (1949). In both films, the director's favorite actor, Chishû Ryû, plays a widower trying to persuade his adult daughter to get married.

The original title ("The Taste of Mackerel Pike") refers to a fish that is widely eaten in Japan, especially in autumn when it is abundant. Its taste is bitter (if eaten whole as Japanese frequently do for this species), and autumn evokes a world that is changing.

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.

The placement of the alcoholic drinks may be taken as an early example of product placement. Every bottle has at least half of its label facing the camera, making it possible recognise the brands e.g the star on the beer bottle labels, the Johnny Walker bottle, the bottles on the shelves in the bar. There are also two large Suntory signs on the bar wall. The name of the bar - Tory's Bar - could be a reference to "Tory's Whisky", released after the Second World War. However, the different drinks are made/ imported by two rival companies - Suntory (e.g. whisky) and Sapporo (e.g. the beer). The placement is unlikely to be due to any commercial sponsorship and is more likely to be an indication of Ozu's vision of the characters and their drinking habits.

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.

MacGregor's is an American company, making golf clubs and accessories since 1897.

Yasujirô Ozu: [Static Camera] There is not a single camera movement in the entire film, as in many of Ozu's films.



Reviews: [25]

  • avatar

    Mr Freeman

    This is Ozu's last film, and it is wonderful. At first, I wondered if it could be even good. It has similar themes of other, amazing films like "Late Spring" and "Early Summer", both of which had the truly amazing actress Setsuko Hara, who is not in this film. However, this film is just about as great as them, since it has one of the best acting performances of terrific Ozu regular Chishu Ryu. He plays the father, a widower with three children, two sons and a daughter. It is no surprise to me that the daughter Michiko, played by Shima Iwashita and Akiko the daughter in law, played by Mariko Okada, have had such long, varied careers in cinema. They are great in their roles. There is a certain sass to both of them which really comes across in their characters. They are also both beautiful. The story also has a great sideline, in which Mr. Ryu's old friends help out an teacher, nicknamed "The Gourd". From there, you meet the teacher's daughter Tanako, a familiar face to all Ozu fans. I was deeply affected by Tomako, even though her role is small. I feel her sadness and loneliness. Another great scene is when the father meets up with an old armed services buddy and they go to a local bar and play a war march. They are a bit drunk, and they salute. Playing the barmaid is the great actress Kyoko Kishida, star of the great "Manji" and "Woman In The Dunes". I was deeply interested in the lives of these people, and find the film to be just wonderful, displaying the emotions that a great Ozu film possesses. This film is profoundly moving. I would not start with this film as an introduction to Ozu, only because "Tokyo Story", "Late Spring" and "I Was Born, But" are such masterpieces, but this ranks with them. A deeply profound, excellent epitaph from Yasojiro Ozu, one of the greatest directors ever, from anywhere at any time. See it, you will not be disappointed. Rest in peace, Yasojiro Ozu.
  • avatar

    Mall

    An Autumn Afternoon, the final film by the great Yasujiro Ozu, is a portrayal of family interaction and conflict that provides a moving summation of a career that produced 53 films in 60 years. Similar in theme to his 1949 film Late Spring, a widowed father, Shuhei Hirayama, portrayed by the wonderful Chishu Ryu, wants his 24-year old daughter, Michiko, (Shima Iwashima) to marry but fears loneliness. After the death of her mother, as is traditional in Japanese families, Michiko has assumed her role, taking care of household chores and making sure that her father's needs are met. She feels no urge to marry and prefers to remain at home.

    Much of An Autumn Afternoon consists of small vignettes of family life. One of these involves Hirayama's son Koichi (Keiji Sada) and his wife Akiko (Mariko Okada. Both seem to mirror the encroaching consumer values of the new Tokyo lit up with neon lights, Coca-Cola signs, and rooftop golf. They bicker about finances, borrow money from their parents, and talk about buying expensive golf clubs and leather handbags on installment. The film has moments of delightful humor. Hirayama spends a great amount of time at a bar run by a woman who looks like his former wife, reminiscing about the good old days and listening to a military march from World War II. In one of the funniest scenes, he talks to a former shipmate who tells him that if Japan had won the war, American women would be playing Japanese musical instruments and wearing geisha style wigs and they both agree that it was better that Japan lost.

    When one of Hirayama's employees tells him she is leaving to get married, he begins to wonder whether or not it is also the time for Michiko. When Hirayama's friend Kawai (Nobuo Nakamura) proposes a match for Michiko, however, he does not tell his daughter about it, thinking there is plenty of time. The situation is crystallized when he has a reunion with an old school teacher Sakuma, (Eijiro Tono) known as "The Gourd" and notices how guilty his friend feels for not insisting that his daughter Tomoko marry when she had the opportunity. The result is an acceptance of the inevitable and the sadness that goes along with it. As An Autumn Afternoon ends, the camera pans around an empty room. We see an old man sitting on a chair, his head in his hands, weeping quietly. In his final moment of grace, Ozu has given us another experience that will last a lifetime.
  • avatar

    Oparae

    When I first saw this film it struck me as being a very unusual and odd little movie. The camera work was direct and straightforward, as if the director were composing a still life painting. With the passage of time I remembered this film not as a whole but as a series of vignettes, the sailor marching in the bar, the unrequited lovers waiting for a train on the platform, the father staring into his daughter's empty room. I have recently seen An Autumn Afternoon again, and was not disappointed. Each scene has an almost indescribable longing, an ephemeral quality that speaks to the beauty and sadness of everyday life. I love this film, it is a true work of art.
  • avatar

    Gavikelv

    Ozu's final film is his most visually beautiful, and among his most somber. Aside from "Tokyo Story," "Late Spring" and "A Story of Floating Weeds," this is my favorite Ozu film. There are several stories at work in this movie, but the primary involves a middle-aged father whose adult daughter is reluctant to marry. Long detached from her, the father realizes, only too late, that with her departure, goes the happiest chapter of his life. Ozu's style is extremely refined at this point, and "An Autumn Afternoon" shows the director at the height of his artistic prowess. As such, this movie is a terrific introduction to Ozu, and it is a rewarding farewell for fans. Visually speaking, this one is a stunner, and every frame of the movie is a stand-alone composition. Many of the Ozu stock company make appearances, including Chishu Ryu and Keiji Sada, as well as some new faces, such as Kyoko Kishida from "Woman in the Dunes." The story is a classic Ozu meditation on family, marriage, and nostalgia, and the ending is among his most remorseful. If you appreciate Ozu or are just curious about this quiet master, "An Autumn Afternoon" is a great choice. This film is a serene, graceful masterpiece.
  • avatar

    Stick

    I can whole-heartedly relate to previous reviewers' sentiments about this movie. From my own perspective it is also an awesome celebration of beauty. The theme is the same Ozu's favorite—separation of father and his grown-up daughter-- however it is presented in a different, less nerve-wrecking and more humorous way (as compared to Late Spring), but most of all -- within the colorful kaleidoscope of everyday things looking as works of art in themselves. Ozu rejoices in showing the beauty of such mundane objects as mugs, bowls, kimonos, tables, lamp shades, houses, fences, even industrial chimneys and such. Colors and shapes are arranged into perfect compositions and sometimes it seems that still objects actually govern the mood and the flow of people around them. The parallel with Tarkovskij's movies, like Solaris and Stalker, where the harmony of individual objects creates its own layer of movie symbolism, seems natural, only Russian movies were shot more than a decade later. I watched An Autumn Afternoon several times with the same joyful interest and gratitude for the gift of showing us the beauty of everyday life.
  • avatar

    Dawncrusher

    This was one of the first Ozu films I saw, and is one of my favorites. Ozu's themes - a family adjusts uneasily to the rapidly shifting traditions of life in middle-class, postwar Japan - are handled with great subtlety, and many dark ironies are to be found beneath the fragile quietude at this film's surface. This isn't just applicable to Japan, and this realization gives this film a sad sting that stuck with me long after the movie was over. Ozu's famous 'look' - no closeups, no crane shots, a still camera fixed at 3 1/2 feet off the floor or ground also gives this film an unforgettable grace and beauty. DVD please???
  • avatar

    Samutilar

    A sensitive film which observes a widower and his family as they navigate through their days and nights in post-WWII Japan, a place where etiquette and custom are still important and individuality counts for less than it does in the U.S.A. We witness a world where unmarried women are expected to take care of their partner-less fathers and brothers.

    This film features excellent use of color, especially the placement of yellows and reds.

    "An Autumn Afternoon" grows on you as you slowly, steadily work your way into the lives of Mr. Hirayama and his family; it's as if the camera were a guest gaining the acceptance of the major characters.

    Will Mr. Hirayama come upon his own personal autumn afternoon - a state of philosophical clarity where he can discern things soberly and make a wise and compassionate decision?

    A must-see for devotees of Japanese cinema, director Ozu, and those who love quiet, gentle films.
  • avatar

    Mbon

    I have seen many visually beautiful and emotionally moving films, but not as many recently. An Autumn Afternoon is one of those primary examples. Meditative in its pacing it is, but it is never dull. How everything is made and written really makes an interesting and very rewarding experience indeed. It is incredibly well made to start off with, the camera is kept at low angles and is still, but for me this allowed me to explore and really admire the scenery and the framing which are very elegantly done. Kojan Siato's score is one of those soothing and unobtrusive scores that helps the audience to connect with An Autumn Afternoon's gentle mood. How An Autum Afternoon is written is also exceptional, as well as the gentle tone, the story has this great warmth, wisdom and humanity. As well as Ozu's meticulous as ever direction what is also great about An Autumn Afternoon is the lead performance, Chishu Ryu's performance is dignified and altogether very touching. In conclusion, not just one of the cinema's greatest swan-song but a masterpiece of a film also. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • avatar

    Runeshaper

    In the early 60's in Tokyo, the widower Hirayama (Chishû Ryû) is a former captain from the Japanese navy that works as a manager of a factory and lives with his twenty-four year-old daughter Michiko (Shima Iwashita) and his son Kazuo (Shin'ichirô Mikami) in his house. His older son Koichi (Keiji Sada) is married with Akiko (Mariko Okada) that are compulsive consumers and Akiko financially controls their expenses.

    Hirayama frequently meets his old friends Kawai (Nobuo Nakamura) and Professor Horie (Ryûji Kita), who is married with a younger wife, to drink in a bar. When their school teacher Sakuma (Eijiro Tono) comes to a reunion of Hirayama with old school mates, they learn that the old man lives with his daughter that stayed single to take care of him. Michiko lives a happy life with her father and her brother, but Hirayama feels that it is time to let her go and tries to arrange a marriage for her.

    "Sanma no aji" is the last movie of the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu about his favorite theme: family and human relationship. Actually he revisits in color thirteen years later, the theme of the wonderful "Banshun". Both story lines are about an old father that realizes that he can not hold his daughter with him anymore and she needs to get married with an arranged marriage as a natural order of life in the traditional Japan. The beautiful and touching story shows also the contrast between the traditional and the newer generation formed by consumers and is supported by awesome performances and the use of magnificent camera work, with symmetrically framed images. Last but not the least, it is impressive how the characters drink in this movie. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil):"A Rotina Tem Seu Encanto" ("The Routine Has its Charm")
  • avatar

    Aiata

    My favorite Yasujiro Ozu film is BANSHUN. And so, as I sat watching SANMA NO AJI, I quickly realized that this film is essentially a retooling of BANSHUN. Both films are about a devoted daughter living quite happily with her widower father. The father, however, realizes that the daughter is giving up a lot, so it's his goal to get her out and married for her own good. There are some differences, though, in the films. In SANMA NO AJI, it's not just the father but also the young lady's employer who sees a need for her to marry. In addition to taking care of her father, there also is a younger brother in the home. Still, it is essentially the same story with a few twists--and in color.

    It's also highly reminiscent of many of the mid to late Ozu films in a variety of ways. Like his usual style, the camera is stationary and often is at floor level--with cuts instead of closeups. You may not notice this at first, but it's clearly the director's trademark. In addition, the film has the typical slow and gentle pace and is about the conflicts between modern Japanese life and tradition. In this sense, there's not a lot that's too new about the film other than a light and modern (for 1962) soundtrack--very bouncy yet gentle.

    As for the film, the father (Shuhei) has a pretty nice life. He has a nice job, often goes out with friends to drink and Michiko (the daughter) takes care of his needs at home. However, as the film progresses he notices in other people's relationships that something is missing. In particular, meeting with an old school teacher from 40 years ago is a wake-up, as this old man also lives with his unmarried daughter--and his life is a bit pathetic. Shuhei is afraid that in later years, his and his daughter will have a similar relationship. So, he and his married son go about trying to arrange a marriage for Michiko--who does want to marry, though judging by her outward appearance and insistence that she wants to stay home and take care of her father, you's never know it.

    Overall, it's an incredibly slow but satisfying film and a nice end to Ozu's career, as it is his last film. Well worth seeing and full of lovely and realistic vignettes. For those who are looking for action and excitement, you may not like this film. For those who can appreciate a slower and more deliberately paced film, this is hard to beat. A lovely portrait of life in Japan circa 1962.

    By the way, is it me or did those people in the film really drink a lot?! Wow!
  • avatar

    Ndlaitha

    The last work from revered filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu is a surprising delight, at once a summation of the family dramas that dominated his postwar career and a celebration of his quiet artistry. It's a movie that doesn't call attention to itself and even goes as far as lifting entire sequences from his previous films. At the same time, this 1962 drama is not so much a re-telling of the same stories (co-written with longtime collaborator Kôgo Noda) as it is a re-evaluation of the same dramatic themes that inform the director's work since "Late Spring", his 1949 classic to which this film bears the strongest resemblance. Ozu aficionados will find all his familiar, idiosyncratic touches here - the elliptical narrative, the observational view of the characters from the outside, the thoughtfully composed shots, and the stationary, slightly above-ground camera angles to replicate the perspective of someone sitting on a tatami mat. Moreover, Ozu liked using the same actors over and over again, so it comes a no surprise that frequent Ozu actor Chishu Ryu stars in the director's valedictory film.

    The character-rich plot centers on middle-aged businessman Shuhei Hirayama who lives with his 24-year-old daughter Michiko and younger son Kazuo. In the absence of a mother, Michiko takes care of the wifely responsibilities for her father and brother and hasn't considered marriage in the near term even though Japanese tradition would label her an old maid soon enough. Hirayama's old friend Kawai has an eligible bachelor in mind to connect with Michiko, but her heart belongs to someone else who is unaware of her interest. Hirayama thinks there is no hurry to marry his daughter off until he sees his old middle schoolteacher comically nicknamed "The Gourd" by his old classmates. Hirayama and Kawai take the wizened man home in a drunken state after a night of sake and beer. They see that he now owns a run-down noodle shop and lives with his daughter, an aging spinster who reveals hints of her sad fate. As Hirayama forges ahead with his daughter's prospect, his older son Koichi struggles to live within his modest means with a wife who nags him about his spendthrift ways. He needs to borrow money from his father to buy a new refrigerator but wants to buy a set of used MacGregor golf clubs against his wife's objections. The plot threads eventually come together when Michiko does marry leaving Hirayama to share household responsibilities with Kazuo.

    What first catches your eye is Ozu's vivid use of color, especially a bold use of red in both defining and transitional shots. The other aspect is tonal as the director has moved from the barely concealed emotionalism of his early works to a certain ruefulness in his last film. The last few minutes cover the exact same dramatic finale of "Late Spring", but this time, it doesn't seem nearly as tragic, evoking a slightly melancholic resignation. The stoic Ryu plays the role of the widowed father in both films, this time given an intriguing backstory as an officer in the Imperial Navy during World War II. This leads to my favorite scene at a bar where Hirayama runs into a former sailor under his command (played with boisterous relish by Kurosawa favorite Daisuke Kato) and speculate what Japan would be like had they won the war. Played by Kyôko Kishida, the bar hostess will be familiar to art-house connoisseurs for the title role in Hiroshi Teshigahara's classic "Woman in the Dunes". Another familiar face is Haruko Sugimura (the selfish older daughter in "Tokyo Story") whose cameo as the schoolteacher's spinster daughter is heartbreaking. Eijiro Tonô (Tora! Tora! Tora!") cuts an effectively pitiable figure as her father.

    Shima Iwashita plays Michiko with snippy plaintiveness, effective enough but a far cry from the luminous Setsuko Hara in the earlier film (her reassuring presence is missed here). Keiji Sada (who sadly died in a car crash soon after this film was made) and Mariko Okada etch a revealing postwar portrait of a young Japanese couple struggling to make ends meet in their small apartment. Compared to previous Ozu classics released by the Criterion Collection, the extras on this 2008 release are sparse and limited to one disc. First, there is a highly informative commentary track by author David Bordwell ("Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema"). The second is a fifteen-minute excerpt from a 1978 French TV special, "Yasujiro Ozu and The Taste of Saki" just as France was discovering his work. Critics Michel Ciment and Georges Perec lend their rather pretentious perspectives. Two theatrical trailers round out the disc extras. There is also a 28-page booklet about the film's production included in the slipcase.
  • avatar

    Manris

    Yasuhiro Ozu brilliant film career ended with this elegiac look at a man, Shuhei Hirayama, who has seen his life pass him by without ever doing much about it. We meet the man, whose somewhat pleasant routine consists in preparing to go to a job that has given him a comfortable existence. At home, Hirayama is living with his unmarried daughter, Michiko, whose single status weighs heavily on him, after all, he is definitely grown old. Michiko's happiness is looked upon with his father's eyes, but at the same time, he will soon be by himself in an empty house with little, or no prospect for much. He realizes he cannot retain his daughter to keep the house forever.

    Among his friends, there is one dear old man, his old teacher, now reduced to working in his own noodle shop. When Hirayama and his friends meet for regular dinners they have a great time, as it is the custom of Japanese men to meet alone for entertaining. The old teacher is feted, but the man cannot hold his liquor. Hirayama takes the man home. There, he witnesses the old man's spinster daughter trying to cope with her father. It is at this point that Hirayama looks into the future and decides he must find a good prospect for Michiko.

    Ozu's themes of old versus new is at the center of the story. As the film begins we watch blue and red smoke stacks against blue skies, something that reminds us of modern paintings. Ozu's themes always revolved about family, tradition and the changing times, as in this film, his swansong to the cinema. The master evidently enjoyed working with Chichu Ryu, the lead actor in some of his best movies. Here, Mr. Ryu shows why the director liked him so much. The actor does a wonderful job as the man facing an uncertain future, but conscious enough of the happiness of the rest of his family.
  • avatar

    Realistic

    Not that I've seen too many Ozu films. This is only my third, after Bakushu and Tokyo Story. Both of those I found dull, even Tokyo Story, which is often considered one of the best films ever made. I don't know the critical reputation of Autumn Afternoon, but I liked it a lot. In fact, it continues with Ozus favorite themes (which I do sincerely hope aren't the same in all his films, and that I've just accidentally picked similar ones): aging, marriage, and Westernization. Autumn Afternoon is less pushy than those other two films. I thought that Ozu was making a lot of judgements in those films (although others have said that Ozu less judgemental than any other auteur; I don't believe it). In Autumn Afternoon, everything is observed without judgement. It's about life, it's about Japanese culture, and it's about human beings. I won't go into a deep examination of the film. I'd like to praise the musical score specifically, which is very charming and beautiful. Other than that, I'd just like to say that Autumn Afternoon is a delightful and touching film. See it if you're an Ozu fan, see it if you are not one. 9/10.
  • avatar

    Garr

    "An Autumn Afternoon" is Ozu's last picture and probably his most bitter. In his other movies, sorrow was generally compensated by some caring characters or an affectionate relationship. Here, nothing really positive emerges. The plot is similar to the one of "Late Spring" (1949), where the same actor also played a widower persuading his daughter to marry; however, "An Autumn Afternoon" is darker, with more social insight.

    The original title ("The Taste of Mackerel Pike") is low-key, mysterious and meaningful, somewhat like Ozu's films. It refers to a fish that is widely eaten in Japan, especially in autumn when it is abundant: its taste is bitter (if eaten whole as Japanese frequently do for this species); and autumn evokes a world that is changing, possibly decaying.

    It is a post-war movie, even though it was shot 17 years after WWII, in the sense that an emerging society tries to find its path within a modern world. There are many references to the war: Hirayama went to the Naval Academy; Hirayama and Sakamoto were on a warship; they discuss about war, as well as other customers later on; a jukebox plays a patriotic song twice (the Navy Hymn) and Hirayama sings it at the very end; Hirayama, Sakamoto and the waitress imitate the military salute; we understand Hirayama's wife died during WWII. The country faces mourning, humiliation of defeat, development challenges. Yet the society that emerges is void: it displays solitude, acrimony and materialism.

    Solitude is a dominant feature. Characters talk about professors and spouses who disappeared. Hirayama and Sakuma are widowers; a barmaid reminds Hirayama of his late wife. Hirayama, Kawai and Horie make jokes about death and refusal (see below). Hirayama is left alone at the end, drunk and depressed; his last words ending the movie are: "Lonely in life". Michiko is turned down by the man she loves. The plot then tends towards her marriage with another man, which should be good news; however we never see the ceremony and not even the bridegroom at any point: we just see Michiko in her wedding dress, silent and sad. Symbolically, she is still alone. After he comes back from the wedding, the barmaid asks Hirayama, "Were you at a funeral?" to which he tragically answers: "Sort of". It could be his own funeral since he is now lonely, or his daughter's, buried in a marriage that could turn out as the other couple's (see below).

    Even when characters are not alone, relationships are cruel. Koichi and his wife Akiko always argue; there is not one single sweet moment between them, despite the fact it is the only couple we see (Horie's wife only appears briefly). Hirayama is frequently scolded by his children, even though he is a decent man. Koichi lies to him about the money he needs to buy a fridge. Tomoko despises her father Sakuma. Sakamoto says about Sakuma's noodle bar, right in front of him: "It's ugly here, let's go elsewhere." People frequently leave gatherings earlier than expected, spoiling the atmosphere; notably, Horie unexpectedly leaves the dinner with Hirayama and Kawai, despite the fact Kawai cancelled a baseball game to attend. These so-called friends play nasty jokes to each other: Hirayama and Kawai make the waitress believe Horie is dead, while he is only late; afterwards, Kawai and Horie make Hirayama believe his daughter will not be able to marry the man they recommended, which saddens Hirayama, but it is a lie.

    And when relationships are not tense, they are shallow: conversations are mostly pointless; people drink a lot when they are together. Worse: left to their own fates, individuals have nothing valuable to hang on to. Knowledge is not praised any more: the former respected professor Sakuma is now obliged to run a cheap noodle restaurant to make a living. Lifestyle is disrupted; many activities relate to Western culture, not Japanese: Sakamoto complains American culture has invaded Japan… while drinking a whisky in a bar with a Western name! Characters also watch baseball or play golf with American branded clubs. The main exception is the aforementioned patriotic song, but that scene is highly ironic since Japan lost the war.

    The only tangible element that dominates is materialism. Koichi and Akiko mostly think about buying a fridge, golf clubs, a handbag… Akiko covets a vacuum cleaner at a friend's home. Notice how overall the movie is smooth: there are no loud noises, nobody shouts, we barely hear the city despite the fact we are in the middle of Tokyo. Precisely, the only exceptions are loud noises coming from material elements symbolising consumption: golf balls against the practice metal net, a jukebox, a syrupy off-screen music ironically playing when people go out to drink. Likewise, the most striking images are void of persons: the movie opens with shots on a huge factory with fuming chimneys; throughout the movie there are repeated "empty" shots, notably of bright neon signs outside the bars; we do not only hear the golf balls striking the metal net, we see them distinctly; the movie ends on other "empty" shots.

    As a result of all above, persons are frequently sad: Hirayama, Michiko, Sakuma, Tomoko. The only relief is getting drunk. Amid this vacuity, only does the main character Hirayama understand his country has taken a wrong path. In a stunning remark that must have thoroughly shocked Japanese 1960s audiences, he admits to Sakamoto: "It is maybe better we lost the war" (instead of invading the USA with their culture if Japan had won instead). Nobody else seems to mind. For instance two customers in the bar shockingly laugh when they mention Japan was defeated: who cares as long as we can drink, they seem to think.

    With "An Autumn Afternoon", Ozu asks: where have we gone? We could have built a brand new society with values, solidarity, hope; yet exactly the opposite happened. A bitter testimony that could still be valid nowadays.
  • avatar

    Aradwyn

    Having only seen two other films from Yasujiro Ozu - Tokyo Story and Late Spring, both of which are thoroughly impressive - it's hard to shake that An Autumn Afternoon is praised solely for being his final film. I thought that premise was familiar - it's borrowed from Late Spring at the very least, and most likely from more of Ozu's films. However, it's difficult to feel that he's necessarily exploring it in a deeper more interesting way. It's a different angle, focusing on the father's perspective, but although I like the actors the plot felt so meandering that it didn't engage me, though nor did it bore me. It feels a little too derivative. Ostensibly Ozu's films suit a black and white environment as the colour pastilles don't have the same richness his traditional cinematography provides. However, if anything, by its end it captures a striking image of loneliness. It accentuates the irony of sending offspring to marry just to result in this, as though it's a cycle of life. Perhaps Ozu's own repetitiveness evokes that cycle even more, though it hardly resonates 50 years later in the West. Still, it's a solid film worth watching. I'll see what else Ozu has in store for me.

    7/10
  • avatar

    Zolorn

    A lovely Ozu movie on a very familiar topic for him - very similar theme (and many of the same actors) as in Late Spring and Late Autumn. In each movie the difference isn't in the plot, but in the tone. This was his last movie, and despite some very amusing scenes, it is touched with a deep sadness.

    The story is simple - a widower who lives with his younger son and daughter is persuaded by his friends that he is selfish to hold on to her, that he should arrange a marriage for her. Otherwise he will end up like the 'Guord', his old teacher, who lives in poverty with his embittered daughter After some mishaps he eventually does marry her off. And... well, thats it, but then, this is an Ozu movie, you don't expect a shoot out at the end of it! Its not in my opinion as great a movie as Late Spring, in some respects he seems to depend more in this movie on the charm of the actors to pull us into the story of a crucial few months in this families life. There is a constant background theme of the rapid changes in Japan, with the older son battling with his wife for control of the purse strings in the household - a battle he seems destined to lose. But it is a lovely and moving film, a good introduction for anyone to Ozu.
  • avatar

    Akir

    AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON is a drama which examines family relationships and life decisions in a warm way.

    The main protagonist is an ageing widower with a 32-year-old married son, and two unmarried children, 24-year-old daughter, and 21-year-old son. His wife has died just before the end of the war. His older son lives modestly with his wife in a small apartment. The widower and five of his classmates from middle-school hold regular reunions at a restaurant. They remember their old times and having fun with good food and drink. One of his friends has found a good opportunity for his daughter. She takes care of the housework, drunken father and younger brother. After a few events, the old man recognizes his own selfishness in keeping his daughter at home to look after him, and decides to arrange a marriage for her...

    Mr. Ozu has made another family drama that touches the soul. He examines topics related to a family, loneliness, alcoholism, marriage, through relationships between parents and children. His emotional space is narrowed to everyday life, in which a thin line separates the joy and the sorrow. He points to the transience of life through a family melodrama.

    The scenery is almost closed and spatially confined, that suggesting a monotonous daily routine. The characterization is excellent.

    Chishū Ryū as Shūhei Hirayama is a reserved and quiet old man who finds moments of his happiness in having fun, alcohol and beautiful owner of a bar. He skillfully hiding his inner emotion. He has tried to resist the transience of life, of course, to no avail. Shima Iwashita as Michiko Hirayama is his devoted daughter. She is aware of her situation, but unhappy at leaving his father and brother. Keiji Sada (Kōichi Hirayama) and Mariko Okada (Akiko Hirayama) are very entertaining as a quarrelsome couple, which is burdened with a material world.

    Anyway, life goes on.
  • avatar

    Andromathris

    Ozu made the same movie again and again, so it is perhaps no surprise that his final one is arguably the best of all. In "Sanma no Aji," Ozu balances all of the usual themes of his films—generation gaps, the different aspirations of men and women in Japanese society, changing attitudes toward consumerism, and the absent presence of the Pacific war in Japan's collective memory—with his exceptional finesse and customary sensitivity. In this outing the discussions of the war are more overt than usual, though they extend no further than the drunken reminiscences of old men in a restaurant. These few, understated scenes are crucial: the war was the great break after which virtually nothing in Japan would be the same, and the rift it creates between the collective memories of the young and the old is in many ways the proximate cause of the movie's more visible and contemporary rifts: the rifts of lifestyle in Japan's postwar economic environment. The film is best appreciated with some knowledge of its historical background, but casual fans of Japanese cinema should find much to enjoy as well. Daisuke Kato, recognizable from Kurosawa movies like "Seven Samurai," has a remarkable turn as Ryu's nostalgic drinking companion and former military subordinate.
  • avatar

    Xwnaydan

    So many of Ozu's later films were variations on a theme - father and daughter and the threat of impending marriage - best epitomized by LATE SPRING

    unlike LATE SPRING - this one is in color - with slight changes in the detail - and in the family dynamic

    still - AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON was zen-like watchable - i watch Ozu to immerse myself in his slowly-unfolding formalized world - but this time - i didn't find the same level of enjoyment - there was no breath of freshness - no emotional surprise

    still - it helped a lot that there were some very pretty actresses - Iwashita Shima as the daughter - Okada Mariko as the daughter-in-law - and others

    the skinny grey-haired father with a chiseled face will be familiar from other Ozu films - Ryu Chizu - who appeared in all but 2 Ozu movies

    as for Ozu - it's amazing that this man who lived with his mother until her death (2 years before his own at aged 60) - and never married - nor had children - spent so much time writing and directing stories about marriage-bound daughters - as if he wanted to experience the bittersweet separation from his "daughter" over and over again
  • avatar

    Hilarious Kangaroo

    I am not a big fan of Yasujirou Ozu's works. His more famous works, Tokyo Story and Late Spring are both quite bland and didnt age well in my opinion. Ozu's story telling style which is rather simplistic and dipicts rather the avarage life of people than any kind of more important event is not bad per se, but when you combine it with very dull written characters the movie gets somewhat unwatchable, especially when the message (in the case of Tokyo Story) is also nothing really complex to wrap your head around. "An Autumn Afternoon" on the other hand shows that his simplistic story telling style with life lessions attached to it can be done in an entertaining and interesting way, when you add characters with actual personality. In this movie you have a number of those and a lot of character interactions that keep you interested throughout the film. This movie also deals with getting older and not letting go of your memories and the people close to you, not wanting to be alone and forgotten. I think this idea is implemented perfectly in this movie. Soundtrack and Cinematogrophy where also made in a rather simplistic way. The Cinematogrophy didnt always suffer because of it, sometimes there were some nice shots between characters but the soundtrack was rather boring and at the end of the movie I got pretty tired of the same old tune. But overall it was quite a nice watch, way more recommendable than his other works (besides maybe "Floating weeds" which was also an enjoyable watch)
  • avatar

    Saberdragon

    What make Ozu's final film a special thing to hold on to is that the expectations one has are part of what the director has in mind. He's at the point in his career, when he makes this film, that he's been around the block when it comes to stories of older men with daughters (or just family in general, but, specifically that dynamic like in Late Spring, probably his best film in my estimation), and that he knows the audience coming to this will have likely seen one of his movies and specifically one of these stories. I thought this was all the film would be, but it's much more than that. This is about the passage of time and cultural norms, and about how people deal with changes and societal expectations.

    Indeed while the central plot, of what delicate (not small) amount there is sees Ozu main-stay Chishû Ryû contemplating after much questioning and gentle-to-not-gentle prodding by his coworkers and friends that he should marry off her daughter and, naturally, he does, Ozu's concern as a filmmaker isn't just that. In other words, that's not precisely why he made the film, and the story of a father marrying off his daughter is more of a by-product of what, philosophically, he is after here. An Autumn Afternoon is really *about* those men in the room with "The Gourd", Sakuma (and damn is Eijirô Tôno a having fun and communicating a real sadness to this character). They've all had certain norms and ways of looking at the world - in one conversation just hearing how these older/middle-aged-to-senior-citizen ages men, talk about women and relationships and how stuck they are in that says it all - and this also extends to even world war two itself.

    I'm not sure how much I've seen Ozu reference the war in his other films, but in this it's certainly an element; when Shuhei is at the bar with the one gentleman who he didn't recognize from before as one of his former privates (he was a Captain), there's some reminiscing about the war and about the "what ifs" that could have been. For example, the fairly drunk ex private (there are a LOT of drunk men in this by the way, drinking for fun and to wash any pain anyway, which they may/may not have put on themselves) talks on how he wishes the Japanese had won - Shuhei politely disagrees, that it was "good" the Japanese lost, another interesting point I'm sure I could pick apart more - and how the Japanese are now reflecting American culture as opposed to the reverse would've happened if Japan had won. This is one of those moments that a filmmaker normally might not have in a film if they were solely concerned with plot or narrative, but Ozu wants to emphasize the weight of the emotional world of his characters by having these moments, that it's about the bigger picture both philosophically and internally.

    This is a masterful film because of how Ozu treats human beings and how he shows them sometimes subtly navigating having to come to blows with one another. Take the husband and wife where the former wants to buy some golf clubs (he uses the buying of a refrigerator as sort of a cover at first and it doesn't hold up); the wife objects in part because of the expense but also that she sometimes wants things too and he won't let her. This is about as heavy Ozu gets in a film like this to having a major dramatic blow-out, but the emotional undercurrent is still strong between these two, and eventually, somehow, some way, the woman actually does get her way - she wants a leather bag, though she responds to the husbands concerned look with "it's my money" - and in Ozu's own subtle way, there's a nice comment about the passage of time too. What happens when (gasp) women aren't completely subservient to their men and have their own, you know, agency and can do things for themselves - this is apart from the other question of being married or not or deciding who to marry or being married off.

    So, in short, this film was a pleasant surprise as far as being deeper than I expected and has a particularly bittersweet ending that moved me. While I'm not sure I love it quite as much as Late Spring as it lacks that extra touch of Setsuko Hara - the daughter here, Iwashita, is fine but only that as an actress, I didn't feel as much depth from her as the other actresses - it's a great film and one that any director would be proud to go out on (though I'm sure Ozu didn't intend it that way, he died relatively young at 62).
  • avatar

    Madi

    At times I find Ozu's films a little stale. I liked the films I've seen yet (Late Spring, Tokyo Story and Floating Weeds) however I couldn't fall in love with any of them. This time around (in An Autumn Afternoon) I really loved the atmosphere - it's absorbing. Ozu frames the cityscapes in a completely unique and spellbinding way (really, wow). Even characters walking along a hallway gave me goosebumps. Maybe it's the most spot on movie about post-modernity. All scenes capture that feeling so brilliantly. All the small moments (the son playing golf, the daughter and her brothers friend waiting at the train station, the father and his friends talking together or even just the father and his children sitting in the house) add up to an incredible picture. Almost every shot is well framed that the composition always indicates some sort of distance. There's also that brilliant scene at the bar with the father and the guy who was part of the military as well. It's when you realize that the illusions broke but that there isn't much left now. There's that wishing you could return (what if Japan had won the war) but it's not possible. It's indicative for much of the film, the characters know what they want but it's incredibly hard to get. However the film yet has some happiness about it and Ozu's use of music is magnificent. It hums its way right into your heart.
  • avatar

    Dorintrius

    Viewed on DVD. Restoration = ten (10) stars. The story line (yet again) deals with the conflicts arising from twenty-something, unmarried (and attractive) daughters living with (and focused on caring for) aging widowed fathers (who need to get on with their lives). To say that Director Yasujiro Ozu was obsessed with variation on this theme would be a vast understatement. He kept making essentially the same film over and over (trying to get things right or just stuck in a non-creative funk?) with translated titles often including the name of a season. Sort of like a TV series with one episode per season (pun intended). But the version presented in this film is the best of the bunch. The same old story line is significantly punched up with a robust, imaginative script offering a wide variety of plot-related and tangential events (including the game of Go which is rarely--if ever--seen in the "classical" Japanese cinema), and often amusing scenes populated by engaging character actors in cameo appearances. And the pacing is "brisk," at least by this Director's standards. The film also reflects fascinating aspects of contemporary Japanese life and culture (circa early 1960's). Many of the same actors and actresses appear in this film as they have in others of the series, but mostly play different roles (as is usually the case). The male lead actor (Chishu Ryu) turns in another stunning performance. Same interiors, scenes and sequence of scenes, and even shots and sequence of shots as employed in prior films. Music is heard during most of the movie, and resembles film scores from the European cinema and, especially, the Italian cinema of the era. Kimonos look exquisite, even the "everyday" ones. Cinematography (color) and sound are fine. Visual effects are primitive. Subtitles are indispensable for helping with the Western dialect used throughout the film. A keeper. WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.
  • avatar

    Hystana

    An aging widower arranges a marriage for his only daughter.

    This was the final film of Ozu, who had been making great cinema for decades. His 1930s silent crime dramas are excellent, and everything after is worth a watch. For his final film, it gets a bit more modern. We have a young woman who really is not all that interested in getting married. How can it be that finding a suitable husband is not the first thing on hr mind? The framing and colors are excellent, and very much evoke the best of the 1960s. How Japan was different from other places at the time I do not know, but in some ways the worlds do not seem far apart. This could take place at an American office in the 50s or 60s. Well, without the bowing, anyway.
  • avatar

    Cenneel

    The success of this blend of the high and the low owes almost all to the marvelous screenplays Ozu scripted with his co-writer, Kogo Noda. The cinematography by Yuharu Atsuta is unobtrusive as ever, in the ozu style. And equally backgrounded are the musical interludes of Kojun Saito. The DVD is soon to be released by The Criterion Collection, and while it is comparatively light on extra features- vis-à-vis other Criterion releases, as well as others of Ozu by Criterion, there is a good deal of quality in the extras. There is the requisite theatrical trailer, and booklet essays by film critic Geoff Andrew and ubiquitous Japanese film scholar Donald Ritchie. I would have expected Ritchie to provide the audio film commentary track, but, instead, that task is assigned to another Japanese film scholar, David Bordwell. Bordwell has always been hit and miss as a film critic, and his few audio commentaries reflect that fact. But, this time he's pretty good, albeit not as natural as Ritchie- a veteran DVD commenter- is. Bordwell is solid, not too didactic, specific to scenes, but a little stiff. He never conveys that he's stuck to his script, but he never really loosens up and gives the percipient the sense that he really is into the total film experience, either. As stated, good, but not great. Perhaps the best point he makes- and it is one I echo, is that Ozu is not a director concerned with character motivations. He is, in essence, the Method Actor's nightmare. Instead, Ozu is a maven of Behaviorist Cinema. What his characters do is more important than what they think or voice. This is why we often get deliberate shots of his characters (In this and other films) from behind. Ozu wants the viewer to imagine what they are feeling, from the situation presented, not from how many tears they shed, nor how wide their smile. Finally, there are selections from Yasujiro Ozu And The Taste of Sake, a 1978 French television show looking examining Ozu's career, and featuring French film critics Michel Ciment and Georges Perec. On the negative side is the fact that Criterions bland, white subtitles are often lost on screen, in brighter scenes- a problem that is not as bad as in black and white films, but when will Criterion get a clue- colored subtitles, and ones with borders, are a must; especially sans an English language dubbed track. The film is shown in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

    An Autumn Afternoon is a great film, but it is not a great film that is garish in its depth and breadth. It does not tackle grand themes, nor does it blow the viewer away with magnificent vistas. Instead, it is a small, perfect gem of a film that distills the human essence into less than two hours of experience that moves one to laugh and inhale deeply. And if one does not think that such a feat as that is something, and something great, then one simply does not understand art.