Late Autumn

"Very Good"

Late Autumn Review


Yasujiro Ozu has fun with a group of old friends who bumble through some ridiculous attempts at matchmaking in Late Autumn, a lighthearted yet poignant look at how people with the best intentions can sometimes make a mess of things on the way to a happy outcome. "Life by itself is surprisingly simple," says one character. If only that were true.

We begin at a temple ceremony marking the anniversary of the death of Mr. Miwa. His lovely widow Akiko (Setsuko Hara) is in attendance with her 24-year old daughter Ayako (Yôko Tsukasa). Miwa's old friends show up, and we soon learn that three of them were all once in love with Akiko, and they admire her to this day. Now that the time has come to find a good husband for Ayako, they plot among themselves to get this problem solved, with one of the men, Taguchi (Nobuo Nakamura), taking the lead.

When Taguchi's pick doesn't pan out, his buddy Mamiya (Shin Saburi) comes up with a young man named Goto (Keiji Sada), with whom he works. While Akiko seems grateful for their efforts, Ayako is having none of it. She makes it quite clear she has no intention of marrying anytime soon and is perfectly happy living with her mother. So that's the problem, the friends realize. Ayako won't abandon her lonely mother. The solution: Let's get Akiko married off too!

What follows is a round robin of crossed signals and confusion as the friends hint to Ayako that Akiko will remarry even before they suggest it to Akiko herself. Ayako is appalled that her mother would make such a choice and confronts her, but of course Akiko has no idea what her daughter is talking about. It's hard to predict whether Ayako will ever actually marry Goto and if she does whether Akiko will be able to adjust to a new life without her daughter. As is often the case in his later films, Ozu is obsessed with how traditions are fading away in post-war Japan, how families are pulling apart and reconfiguring, often at the expense of the older generation, which is losing its traditional family support systems. Pay attention to who does and doesn't wear a kimono, that ultimate symbol of Japanese tradition. It's one of Ozu's many secret codes.

And Ozu definitely has a great handle on his color palette in this, one of his first color films. Everything is color-coded to connote either optimism and youth or tradition and stagnation. Watch for brief explosions of turquoise, especially in the dress and hat of one of Akiko's friends. That's the Ozu magic: No matter how mundane his concerns, there's always so much to pay attention to. Life really isn't simple at all.

DVD Note: Late Autumn 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 Akibiyori.

This kimono chafes. I'd kill for a velour pantsuit.



Late Autumn

Facts and Figures

Run time: 128 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 1st November 1973

Box Office Worldwide: $4.8M

Budget: $6.2M

Distributed by: CJ Entertainment

Production compaines: Boram Entertainment Inc., Film Workshop, North by Northwest Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 15

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Shizuo Yamanouchi

Starring: 현빈 as Hoon, as Anna, JunSeong Kim as Wang Jing, John Wu as Anna's husband, Danni Lang as Jiang Huang, Katarina Choi as Isabel

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

Advertisement
The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite...

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.