Directed by Yasujiro Ozu. Japan. 1959.
When Sumiko (Machiko Kyo), Komajuro's mistress and leading star, finds out about this relationship she goes into a jealous rage and hires a young actress, Kayo (Ayako Wakao) to seduce Kiyoshi in order to humiliate his father. Kiyoshi, however, falls in love with Kayo. Komajuro disapproves and shows his anger but cannot exert parental authority since he has not told his son the truth about his parentage. As the troupe continues to draw small crowds, Komajuro's inner pain becomes visible and he strikes out physically against Kayo, Sumiko, and Kiyoshi. It is only in the surprising conclusion that he seems to regain some sense of acceptance of his circumstances.
is a very intimate experience. The camera does not move but remains focused
on the characters as they engage in discussions about commonplace events.
As in Bresson, the actors show little emotion and speak in a monotone with
long silences between questions and answers. The overall effect, however,
is not banality but a sense of the natural rhythm of life. Ozu is a loving
observer of human nature not a moralist. There are no saints in this film
and each character is vulnerable and deeply human. Komajuro has been stripped
of his career, his relationship with his son, and his female companions
who still beg him for forgiveness. He is alone but he has retained his
humanity and we feel only compassion for him. The ending is, in the phrase
of Donald Richie, "a kind of resigned sadness, a calm and knowing serenity
which maintains despite the uncertainty of life and things of this world".
Floating Weeds is a masterful film from a director who truly respects
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