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Wonderful in the distinctly Ozu way. But it in no way deserves the wild praise it has as ‘one of the greatest’. I admit, I am just not an Ozu person. I ‘get it’ and appreciate it, but wonderful compositions and simple human stories do necessarily make for an engaging experience. Watch it as it is important, beautiful and moving (for the patient). But you will race back to Kurosawa, or the Japanese New Wave, for a greater cinematic and effective experience.
A pared down story told with grace and beautiful cinematography.
Floating Weeds refers to the name of the itinerant acting troupes in Japan. The plot concerns such group arriving with a ship at the town in South Japan. The group leader and owner (Ganjiro Nakamura) uses this opportunity to see the mistress of his past who had brought up their son in this town. The rest of troupe is engaged in promoting their kabuki play. This is the second time Yasujiro Ozu works with the same story ï¿ 1/2" Floating Weeds is a remake of his own silent black-and-white film A Story of Floating Weeds (1934).
The film is one of 6 colour Ozuï¿ 1/2(TM)s features films. Like the other colour films, this feature comprises humour, drama and very serious motifs. The viewers get a glimpse into the life of acting troupes who are regarded with the reputation of vagabonds and social misfits chasing every skirt they come across. The group leader has always been afraid of telling his son who his real father was, introducing himself as his uncle. He wanted his son to live a better life than him or other actors, as their lifestyle might be glamorous, but it is self-destructive and unstable. The itinerant actors never stay at the same place, they involve themselves with many different partners in different cities and known for being messy and unreliable. It is implied, that actresses working in the troupe are treated as the street girls. The drama of Floating Weeds concerns the protagonists, his two mistresses, and son discovering his father and rejecting him after falling in love with an actress.
The important topic of Floating Weeds deals with is family bonds. We see the group owner has developed the appropriate paternal feelings to his son. Nevertheless, he has been hiding the truth from his son Kyoshi (played by Hiroshi Kawaguchi) for many years and he cannot become his father in no time. At some point, he wants to stay with his son and end with kabuki theater, but it is too late to amend. Kyoshi becomes a victim of the jealous game played by the other mistress of troupe leader Sumiko (Machiko Kyo) who makes him fall in love with the actress Kayo (Ayako Wakao). This love is very dangerous for the young guy as he is going to drop his plans enrolling to the college, but he chooses his new love over the real father. The troupe leader is left devastated with Sumiko as the troupe gets disband due to multiple failures of their kabuki plays. He has lost the hopes to develop decent father-son relations with Kyoshi and settle down. Sumiko is also the victim of her loverï¿ 1/2(TM)s lifestyle, heedless attitude and chick habit. Despite all that and her jealousy, she still loves him and remains the only one getting along with the troupe leader after all the things taking place in Floating Weeds. The two actors are meant to keep living this itinerant life further, and it is sad to see them in such desperate loneliness.
In Floating Weeds, Ozu shows us many situations of domestic jealousy and intrigues in a dynamic way, though initially, it has a very slow pace. The film never happens to be boring. Floating Weeds is a great family drama, just like the other films of Japanese cinema master. What is Ozu acclaimed for is depicting the drastic changes in Japanese customs and social conducts, and here we also see the outstanding behaviour of female protagonists Sumiko and Kayo. Ozu shows it in a very calm and appealing way, colouring it with symbolism and irony. The usage of calm traditional Japanese phone music is a spectacular additional feature to the plot The film is marked with great acting of Nakamura who was a kabuki actor himself. Machiko Kyo is also perfect, though it is hard to imagine anything matching her performance in iconic Kurosawaï¿ 1/2(TM)s Rashomon. Ayako Wakao famous for her memorable role in Street of Shame by Mizoguchi plays an ambiguous and touching heroine, and she is a real star of Floating Weeds. Even though Floating Weeds is not regarded as the greatest film of Ozu, this is another great addition to many of his family dramas.
Very pretty and calm visuals quickly turn into a conversation. I love the very lighthearted and casual feel of the interactions between people. I love the use of ugly and pretty people to show a contrast and make certain situations that much funnier. The kids are funny too. The director's use of framing with natural objects is interesting.
You feel like your really in this coastal town experiencing the happenings that are going on throughout the day. Love the soundtrack. Those vibraphones with that accordion/melodica is perfect.
Watching this movie, you can't but think of how similar it is to Amarcord in the fact that both directors are paying homage to the place that they were born, their hometown. The quality of this movie is very charming. I had forgotten why I love Japanese culture so much and then was quickly reminded once I saw this movie. So much respect is a part of there culture and also all the amazing anime lore that comes out of Japan.
Kind of unexpected how the story ended up turning out. Pretty sad ending but life can be unexpected like that. This movie is wonderful with it's plot and everything but I do have to say it's such a slow paced movie. Like if you tried to show this movie to today's generation, forget it. They'd lose interest in a matter of minutes. Great movie though! Shows how impactful family can be in anyone's life.
The opening shots of a small acting troupe and the soundtrack come in as a gentle breeze, and I have never been so moved by red flowers in the rain.
I think this is the best film of Ysujiro Ozu.
Ozu's simple camerawork and Kazuo Miyagawa(director of photography "Ugetsu" and "Rashomon")'s choosing color had been showed us beyond the movies.
Ozu is absolutely wonderful.
Ozu is like a gentle breeze or an unexpected hug; slight & emotional. He is the most zen of any filmmaker I know.
Bolstered by Ozu's visual sensibilities and a powerful final act.
Well this is my introduction to Ozu and it's a highly overrated one. I mean to long indulged film offered me nothing. One beautiful camera shot in the rain and all of a sudden this has some of the best cinematography ever. A predictable and overly laid out story. Awful, and I mean dreadful acting. I don't see anything classic about this. I will credit the color usage, but other than that this is really not special.