Late Spring | Chicago Reader

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Yasujiro Ozu's 1949 film inaugurated his majestic late period: it's here that he decisively renounces melodrama (and, indeed, most surface action of any kind) and lets his camera settle into the still, long-take contemplation of his gently drawn characters. Setsuko Hara, in the first of many performances for Ozu, plays a young woman who has renounced marriage to stay with her elderly father (Chishu Ryu). When the father belatedly realizes what she's done, he must encourage her to leave without wounding her feelings. The sense of loss and regret is beautifully balanced with the optimism of a new life beginning: for Ozu the family unit is not only a network of personal relationships but also the crisis point in the tragedy of time. In Japanese with subtitles. 108 min.

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