Equinox Flower

"Terrible"

Equinox Flower Review


Equinox Flower is notable for being the first of Yasujiro Ozu's films to be shot in color, quite a departure for this master of black and white imagery. His reds are gorgeous, but sadly, that's pretty much the most notable aspect of this otherwise minor work in Ozu's catalog. A rather unaffecting look at generational clashes and hypocrisy among the upper middle classes, it tells truths but lacks the typical Ozu impact.

We first meet businessman Hirayama (Shin Saburi) at a big wedding for the daughter of one of his friends. Pretty much everyone in his social circle has a handful of daughters who need marrying off, and he himself has two. The older one, Setsuko (Ineko Arima), is prime marriage material.

Hirayama is a wise sage, always happy to offer advice to friends and acquaintances on life's big issues. For a gray-haired salaryman he's surprisingly liberal and forward-thinking in his positions on marriage. His post-war belief is that young people should marry who they love, not who their parents pick for them. In fact, he even gives a short speech at the wedding acknowledging that he didn't marry for love -- although it turned out OK -- and he's jealous of kids today who can pick who they want to marry.

But when Hirayama finds out that Setsuko has chosen her own man to marry, ignoring all of his attempts to set her up with someone from a "good family," his hypocrisy comes to the fore. How dare she defy him? Tangiguchi (Keiji Sada), the groom to be, even comes to Hirayama's office to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage. Hirayama couldn't be any chillier to him. Later on, he threatens to boycott the wedding, although deep down you know he'll get it together in time to do the right thing.

Throughout the film, many of Ozu's set pieces are in place. There are family gatherings, train trips, scenes of street life, and most notably a reunion of Hirayama's war buddies where an interlude of group singing (very typical in an Ozu film) is followed by reflection about the vagaries of life. "But ever with us are the dreams of our youth," goes one verse of the song. Sigh.

Equinox Flower has its moments, but if you only have time for a few Ozu films, move this one down the list and look for his more powerful efforts. Start with Tokyo Story and go from there.

DVD Note: Equinox Flower is one of five films included in Late Ozu, a Criterion Collection box set of Ozu's best final films that's worth seeking out.

Aka Higanbana.

No roses for this Flower.



Equinox Flower

Facts and Figures

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 1st June 1977

Distributed by: Criterion Collection

Production compaines: Shôchiku Eiga

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: Shin Saburi as Wataru Hirayama, as Kiyoko Hirayama, Ineko Arima as Setsuko Hirayama, as Fumiko Mikami, Keiji Sada as Masahiko Taniguchi, Teiji Takahashi as Shotaru Kondo, Miyuki Kuwano as Hisako Hirayama, as Shukichi Mikami, Chieko Naniwa as Hatsu Sasaki

Also starring: ,

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