Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Story of Floating Weeds

Yasujiro Ozu, 1934
Criterion DVD
September 29th

Score: 8

My first Ozu silent. Marvelous. A great story for Ozu; I can't wait to watch the 50's remake. The story contains a deviously subversive message about family; that it's created by vicious cruelty as well as love, which doesn't make it any less meaningful; perhaps even moreso. The leader of the travelling troupe of actors takes his troupe to a town where he has an old mistress and a teenage son. The son, who believes his father was a deceased civil servant, is a good student with a promising future. Both mother and father (who have a convivial platonic friendship, but no burning flames) agree that the truth of his father's identity should remain a secret. The problem begins when the current mistress of the father becomes jealous of the time he's spending with his former mistress and son. It's both a personal resentment and a class resentment; she doesn't like that he thinks his son should be something better than him (and, of course, her). Her vengeful scheme is the undoing of the troupe, but has other unintended consequences as well. The portrayal of the ex-mistress/mother is wonderful, and the interactions of the acting troupe (who form a surrogate family) is a marvel of very subtle comedy and cozy familial comfort. Of course, it all has to change, and as is his wont, Ozu doesn't attempt to draw conclusions about the change, but instead keenly observes what is lost and what is created. In conclusion, I love Ozu. The act of writing about his films makes me appreciate them more, and I'm seriously tempted to change that 8 to a 9.

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