Thursday, May 05, 2011

Kohayagawa-ke no aki / The End of Summer

Perhetarina / En familjehistoria / [The Autumn of the Kohayakawa Family]. JP 1961. PC: Toho. P: Sanezumi Fujimoto, Masakatsu Kaneko. D: Yasujiro Ozu. SC: Kogo Noda, Ozu. DP (Agfacolor): Asakazu Nakai. AD: Tomoo Shimogawara. M: Toshiro Mayuzumi. ED: Koichi Iwashita. Cast: Ganjiro Nakamura (Manbei Kohayagawa), Setsuko Hara (Akiko), Yoko Tsukasa (Noriko), Michiyo Aratama (Fumiko), Keiji Kobayashi (Hisao), Chieko Naniwa (Tsune Sasaki). 103 min. A 1981 Diana-Filmi release print with Finnish / Swedish subtitles. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (50 Years Ago), 5 May 2011

Revisited Ozu's penultimate film; the colour print is intact and looks ok. For Ozu, an unusually complex family story about a widowed man with four daughters, three with his legal wife and one with his mistress. The husband of the second daughter runs the family business, a sake plant, facing modernization and corporate competition. The old man gone, the family business will probably also close. But the family itself is no simple and straightforward thing. The old man prefers to stay with his ex-mistress. Setsuko Hara as the oldest daughter is again a woman postponing the advances of a suitor, but this time they are both widowed with children. The character named Noriko, the youngest of the legal daughters, is now played by Yoko Tsukasa, and she is free to follow her heart to her loved one at Sapporo. There is a different look and sound to the film due to the fact that Ozu, the Shochiku house director, this time directed at Toho. The modernity of Osaka is displayed via neon signs at night. The family business is in the countryside outside Kyoto (Osaka and Kyoto are neighbours). The mistress's inn where the old man dies is in the old, traditional Kyoto. The story is humoristic, but in the end the death of the pater familias is faced with gravity. His smoke rises to the sky from the chimney of the crematorium. "Only the crows remain" (Donald Richie).

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