Kawase's lovely, oft-lugubrious first feature announced the arrival of a major new talent working in an early-Hou (and to a somewhat lesser extent, late-Ozu) mode focused on painstakingly lyrical, leisurely paced family dramas. Kawase's engrossing minimalism is hampered, however, by a creeping preciosity that renders grief and loneliness with a slightly sickening sweetness.
Suzaku features splendorous human action and calm, sincere camerawork. It is devoid of gimmick, and unpretentious. One can still see, though, Kawase's principles to be developed in latter works, where action and camera are swallowed up by nature, and where the subjects and the viewer become little else than wanderers in her films' worlds.