Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Kohayagawa-ke no Aki
Japan, 1961. Toho Company, Takarazaka Productions. Screenplay by Kogo Noda, Yasujiro Ozu. Cinematography by Asakazu Nakai. Produced by Sanezumi Fujimoto, Masakatsu Kaneko, Tadahiro Teramoto. Music by Toshiro Mayuzumi. Production Design by Tomo Shimogawara. Film Editing by Koichi Iwashita.
Yasujiro Ozu’s second-last film is a loving portrait of a complex family. Gently gliding through its characters’ lives, it tells of the head of a brewing company whose financial troubles are compounded by the constant worries he has over his three daughters. His eldest is a widow with a young son whom everyone feels should remarry, while his youngest is being prepared for an arranged marriage that is considered a good match. His second daughter, relaxing proof that Middle Child Syndrome is a universal phenomenon, is constantly on her father’s case about his having resurrected a long-dormant affair with a woman she doesn’t approve of. The family is left to work its own problems out, however, when the father takes seriously ill and is unable to take care of them all. The photography looks like a beautiful painting, and the characters are all familiar in a way that is comforting.