The Mamiya family is seeking a husband for their daughter, Noriko, but she has ideas of her own. Played by the extraordinary Setsuko Hara, Noriko impulsively chooses her childhood friend, at once fulfilling her family’s desires while tearing them apart. A seemingly simple story, Early Summer is one of Yasujiro Ozu’s most complex works—a nuanced examination of life’s changes across three generations. The Criterion Collection is proud to present one of the director’s most enduring classics. —The Criterion Collection
Yasujiro Ozu was born in the old Fukagawa district of Tokyo, to a fertilizer merchant, in 1903. In 1923, after a couple of years as an assistant teacher in rural Japan, Ozu was hired as assistant cameraman at the Shochiku Motion Picture Company. Early in his career, Ozu began to experiment with an idiosyncratic film style that ran contrary to the conventions of Japanese or Hollywood cinema of the day. He strove to reduce and simplify his film style; he cast such mainstays as the fade, the dissolve, and the pan from his cinematic palette. He shot solely from a low camera angle, using a 50mm lens, and he subordinated spatial continuity to visual aesthetics. Ozu directed his first film in 1927,The Sword of Penitence. In 1932, he began to hit his creative stride with the touching comedy I Was Born, But…, which was his first commercial success. During World War II, he made few films such as There Was a Father.
After the war, Ozu reached his creative peak and made some of his finest… read more
Even among so many masterpieces by Ozu, if there is any film by Ozu which fits into the "lost paradise of cinema" (Wim Wenders on Ozu) than this film, his film.Even though a film on ordinary people and on every day life, it is well a film which makes me feel the rotation of the earth.
It's like something that I've never experienced before. The climax seems to happen 40 minutes before the movie ends, when Noriko accepts she wants to marry. A sentimental feeling is present and sustained for the following forty minutes until everyone gets to express how they feel. Then, it just ends, without actually resolving any issues, but leaving us with the lingering feeling that everything will be fine.
The centerpiece of Ozu's Noriko Trilogy is a deceptively simple masterpiece in which we, the audience, have the pleasure of spending two hours in the company of the Mamiya family. We enjoy seeing them go about their everyday lives and then as the film nears its completion we feel we know these characters intimately and are saddened to see the family broken apart by Noriko's decision to marry. A quite beautiful film..
Best known in the West for her work with Ozu, Awashima performed well into her 80s.
“Touched by a masterpiece, a person begins to hear in himself that same call of truth which prompted the artist to his creative act. When a link is established between the work and its beholder, the… read review
I am glad to have spent my Sunday morning on this classic by Ozu. I was trying to think of something as delectable as this movie and could find nothing in comparison. This is probably because not only… read review
This is an excellent film and I enjoyed it, but for some reason it didn’t register as much as the other Ozu film I’ve seen, ‘Late Spring.’ Noriko, the two small boys (especially the youngest) and… read review