2019 Film Reviews – 42: Late Spring [dir. Yasujirô Ozu; 1949]

You watch a film like Late Spring – Ozu’s characteristically quiet, unforced account of the pressure placed on a young woman to get married and leave her stable existence with her father – and you’re struck by how distant the world it portrays appears to be. And then you realise that 1949 was seventy years ago! Plenty of time for social mores and attitudes to go through a complete transformation. Sacrifice, duty and selflessness often seem like dated concepts now – in an environment which places so much value on the ‘rights’ of the individual – which is why their presence as the driving forces of Late Spring make seeing the movie a particularly fascinating experience. It may not be as affecting as the director’s better known Tokyo Story, but in its own unassuming way, it hits home with wise observations, difficult truths and unsentimental poignancy.

Dariush

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