Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
Original title: Ukikusa Monogatari
Japan, 1934. Shochiku Company. Story by Yasujiro Ozu, Screenplay by Tadao Ikeda. Cinematography by Hideo Shigehara. Music by Donald Sosin. Production Design by Tatsuo Hamada. Costume Design by Taizo Saito. Film Editing by Hideo Shigehara.
This gorgeously shot silent film by Yasujiro Ozu was later remade by the director in 1959 as the masterpiece Floating Weeds. Fans of the later version should definitely see the original, a sensitive, touching story that also displays the deep maturity that this great artist experienced in the years between the two productions. A travelling group of players stop at a town where their leader Kihachi has a family secret: the woman he loved long ago has been raising their son without the boy knowing that his father is a poor, moderately successful actor. Kihachi’s current leading lady and mistress becomes jealous when she founds out that he has been frequenting another woman’s house, and her need to discover the nature of his betrayal leads to heartbreak for all. Ozu’s brilliance is already apparent here, but the remake featured more depth of character, thanks to also having synchronized sound and colourful photography, that makes the experience even more rewarding.
The Criterion Collection: #232