A Story of Floating Weeds (Ukikusa monogatari) Reviews
(1934) A Story Of Floating Weeds
Directed by Yasujirô Ozu centering on a small travelling theatre group going from village to village similar to what a circus does. The leader of this troupe is Kihachi(Takeshi Sakamoto) who happens to be stopping by at a village who once had an affair with an old flame who happens to also have a well groomed teenage son with goals to go to college and Kihachi who from the time he was young has always pose as his uncle and not as his biological dad since he travels alot and is always absent. While hanging around, and as a result of spending a great deal of time with him as opposed to spending time with his current mistress he's been travelling with, this mistress becomes jealous and tries to sabotage this relationship by asking one of the young teenage girls in the troupe to make a play for him.
It really takes about 45 minutes to get involved with the story since that is how long it takes for the viewers to fully understand it's characters and it's situations. Some of the more memorable moments are the little boy travelling with the theatre troupe who at times doesn't look like he was acting but was improvising which he's character was almost absent in the 1959 colored talking version!
3 out of 4
A traveling show arrives in a small town to deliver a performance. The lead actor meets a former lover in the town that has a young boy. He discovers the young boy is his son which stirs a string of emotions for the woman and boy that makes him question his direction in life. How can he go on living his life in a traveling show with his girlfriend?
"Let him go on thinking his father is dead."
"He wouldn't want a no good father like me."
Yasujiro Ozu, director of Tokyo Story, Tokyo Twilight, Floating Weeds, An Autumn Afternoon, Early Summer, and An Inn in Tokyo, delivers A Story of Floating Weeds. The storyline for this picture is mesmerizing and reminded me of Kurosawa's Ikiru. The main character, which is torn about his direction in life, was fascinating, well delivered and well portrayed. The acting was elegant and perfect for the content. The cast includes Takeshi Sakamoto, Choko Iida, Koji Mitsui, and Rieko Yaqumo.
"Another show is coming."
I actually saw these films out of order (Floating Weed and A Story of Floating Weeds). This silent picture did a great job of depicting the main character's conflict with himself and his outlook on life. I strongly recommend giving this picture a shot if you're a fan of character studies.
The movie follows a theatrical actor who returns with his troupe to his hometown and visits old acquaintances. One of the people he meets is an old girlfriend/mistress: she has been raising the son they had together by herself, but the son never knew who his father really was. The actor's current wife is less than happy about this situation, though, and causes some trouble.
I think this is the first silent Japanese movie I've seen. Although it is very old, its storytelling techniques feel modern - the shots tend to be rather short by 1930s standards, and even by today's standards the film is noticeably quick in its editing. The camera almost never moves - instead it's one shot after another after another, each with some particular function in the story. This isn't the most surprising technique, but it is definitely rather innovative for its time. The film's acting is generally pretty low-key and naturalistic, and each of the characters is given some memorable little quirk. It's a quiet, undemonstrative little movie, but Ozu apparently liked it enough to remake it in color and sound 25 years later - I'll have to watch that version at some point and see how they compare.
And.... unlike the remake, this one had me in tears towards the ending.
[font=Century Gothic][color=darkgreen]"A Story of Floating Weeds" is a silent movie from Japan directed by Yasujiro Ozu. It is a superb film that centers on a traveling theatrical troupe that returns to a small village after an absence of a few years. The lead actor has a secret from his fellow actors - he fathered a son some years before...what follows is a powerful, yet subtly emotional film about the paths we choose in life.[/color][/font]