Late Spring (1949)

In the course of clearing out my DVD backlog, I amusingly wound up with an interesting double bill of Japanese classics. Amusing, because beyond the fact that both films were made in Japan in 1949 (neither would be seen in the West for many years after that) and that, oddly, both of them feature a baseball game, they couldn’t be more dissimilar. We start with Yasujiro Ozu’s Late Spring, which comes at the beginning of his final period. It’s a typically small story of post-war generational change and family life, with Ozu’s much-vaunted minimalist style in full evidence. I liked it a lot, although it’s not a film you’d turn to for easy cheap thrills (but then only a complete buffoon would expect that from any Ozu film, of course); you do kind of need to make a deliberate decision to sit down with it rather than just casually take it down from the shelf. Still, another hit for Ozu and me.

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