Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Higanbana
Japan, 1958. Shôchiku Eiga. Screenplay by Kogo Noda, Yasujiro Ozu, based on the novel by Ton Santoni. Cinematography by Yuharu Atsuta. Produced by Shizuo Yamanouchi. Music by Takanobu Saito. Production Design by Tatsuo Hamada. Costume Design by Yuji Nagashima. Film Editing by Yoshiyasu Hamamura.
Yasujiro Ozu’s first colour film is a touching story that references many of his common themes, including family, marriage, and the conflict between generations. A stick-in-the-mud father wants to arrange a marriage for his daughter, ignoring the fact that she is quite a modern gal in late-50s Japan and has no need for such old-fashioned family manoeuvres. One day a young man comes to the father’s office and informs him that he is in love with his daughter and would like her father’s permission to marry her. This creates a great rift in the family as surrounding relatives and friends do their best to make sure that this genuinely loving match is pulled off one way or the other. Like many of Ozu’s films, this one works very subtly, taking you completely by surprise when its final third overwhelms you with tear-inducing sentiment.