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An Autumn Afternoon (The Criterion Collection) (1962)

Shima Iwashita , Daisuke Kato , Yasujiro Ozu  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Shima Iwashita, Daisuke Kato, Kyoko Kishida, Shin-Ichiro Mikami, Kuniko Miyake
  • Directors: Yasujiro Ozu
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BEK8CE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,412 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "An Autumn Afternoon (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio commmentary featuring film scholar David Bordwell, author of Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema
  • Excerpts from "Yasujiro Ozu and The Taste of Sake" a 1978 French television program looking back on Ozu's career, featuring critics Michel Ciment and Georges Perec
  • Booklet featuring new essays by film critic Geoff Andrew and film scholar Donald Richie

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Yasujiro Ozu's final film is also his final masterpiece, the gently heartbreaking story of a man's dignified resignation to both life s ever-shifting currents and society's gradual modernization. Though widower Shuhei Hirayama (Ozu's frequent leading man Chishu Ryu) has been living comfortably for years with his grown daughter, a series of events leads him to accept and encourage her marriage and departure. As elegantly composed and achingly tender as any of the Japanese master's films, An Autumn Afternoon (Sanna no aji) is one of cinema s fondest farewells. SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES: New, restored high-definition digital transfer, New audio commentary featuring David Bordwell, author of Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema, Excerpts from Yasujiro Ozu and the Taste of Sake, a 1978 French television program looking back on Ozu's career, featuring film critic Michel Ciment, Theatrical trailer, New and improved English subtitle translation, PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by film scholars Geoff Andrew and Donald Richie

Deceptively breezy, Yasujiro Ozu's final film, made in 1962, is the lovely culmination of the mysterious writer-director's fascination with family, and the social mechanisms by which different generations fulfill obligations to one another and to themselves. The central character, Shuhei Hirayama (Chishu Ryu, Ozu's longtime collaborator), is a 60-ish executive and widower who slowly grows concerned that his 24-year-old daughter, Michiko (Shima Iwashita), has not married because she feels responsible for taking care of him at home. Taciturn, low-key, but affable, Shuhei is a hard man to read. But through his friendships, habits, daily reminders of his past and fear that he might rob his daughter of her youth, Shuhei gradually comes to terms with his responsibility to see Michiko fulfilled and happy. There is also more to it than that: An Autumn Afternoon is also about Shuhei turning a page in his small part in history, the closing chapters of a life that involved military service during World War II and settling into post-war, largely Westernized Japan. These things are all understated, but Ozu gives every character a shape, a recognition that one must play the cards one is dealt without self-deception. With that comes a certain Zen serenity, humor and perhaps melancholy, but in An Autumn Afternoon's spirit of acceptance, a bittersweet life is a good life. Special features on this Criterion release include trailers and excerpts from a French television special about Ozu. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime Swan Song December 15, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Ozu's final masterpiece is a such a wonderful way to end one of the most distinguished careers in filmmaking. Chisu Ryu is once again superb as a lonely widower trying to grapple with giving away his only daughter in marriage. Although the film runs the gamut of familiar Ozu themes, you never ever tire of the Ozu trick of a "good two hours spent with your neighbors". His beauty of filmmaking, which is drenched in simple joys of everyday living makes him one of the greatest humanists of world cinema, along with Ray and Renoir. Put simply, this film is "stunning visual poetry". This is an absolute "must have" for all you Ozu fans out there, and recommended for all lovers of world cinema.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ordinary people, extraordinary film-making June 29, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Some have called director Yasujiro Ozu the poet of the everyday. Most of his films deal with ordinary people leading ordinary lives. But what is not so ordinary is Ozu's ability to capture the essence of human relations. His characters seem so real to us, because they are reflections of ourselves and the people we know. In Ozu's final film, Samma No Aji (which literally means "the taste of mackerel"), a widower knows his only daughter must eventually leave home and marry. We watch, as he tries to deal with his growing sense of isolation and loneliness. He becomes nostalgic for the good ol' days. He hangs out at a bar run by a woman who reminds him of his late wife. A popular World War Two song, Gunkan Machi (Warship March) pervades the film. In contrast to this, his married son and daughter-in-law represent the new Japan. They are more concerned about material things like golf clubs and new appliances. There are sad moments in this film, but funny ones as well. One of my favorite scenes takes place in the bar. The widower, who was a naval officer during the war, and a former shipmate are talking. The shipmate says if Japan had won the war, American women would now be wearing geisha-like wigs and chewing gum while playing the shamisen (a Japanese musical instrument). There is no melodrama in this movie, just an honest portrayal of family life and human relations. And it's that honesty that makes watching an Ozu film such a memorable experience.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ozu's Final Masterpiece October 5, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I love Ozu's films. He seems to be one of the few directors to create a style that his and his alone. He seemed to be having a good time with this one - developing humor between many of his characters - the businessman and the old war veteran at the bar. His characteristic still life images are wonderful as well, even plying an occasional trick on the viewer. I love this film - and I hop you get a chance to see it
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Taste of an Autumn Mackerel........ July 3, 2008
This was Yasujiro Ozu's final film. Is it phenomenally different than other Ozu works? Is it a film that takes Ozu in a radically different direction? No. It's just the final chapter in one of the most unique filmographies in cinema history. It's like all his other films, in that it's contemplative, beautiful, moving, serene, and simple, yet, it feels new and unique. Ozu's films, if taken all together, are like a long novel, all leading up to this one, which ended up being the final chapter (even though Ozu did not intend it to be that way). Many say that a filmmaker just keeps remaking the same film all his/her life, and with Ozu that may be true. A friend of mine criticised his aesthetic because of this, but whenever I watch a film of his, I feel so alive and peaceful. Ozu's plots are often the same with minor variations, yet, I am watching a great artist paint another portrait in film, and I don't feel that Ozu is repeating himself at all. Despite the differences between the films, the films all feel unique and gentle. They are filled with a deep humanism, and they are all knowing and filled with that eternal longing.

This film has a deeper sadness that Ozu's other work. It also has some very funny comedy, and may I say, even a bit dark for an Ozu film. There is also some bitterness to the characters, a little more tart than other Ozu films, but also that deep humanism as well. There are some really moving scenes here, especially when we see the daughter in her wedding gown, and the final shot of the film (and the final shot of Ozu's career) where Chishu Ryu sits down in a darkened kitchen, alone.

The transfer of the film is a little grainy at times (probably due to the source material), but the film is still very watchable.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The last work from revered filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu is a surprising delight, at once a summation of the family dramas that dominated his postwar career and a celebration of his quiet artistry. It's a movie that doesn't call attention to itself and even goes as far as lifting entire sequences from his previous films. At the same time, this 1962 drama is not so much a re-telling of the same stories (co-written with longtime collaborator Kôgo Noda) as it is a re-evaluation of the same dramatic themes that inform the director's work since Late Spring, his 1949 classic to which this film bears the strongest resemblance. Ozu aficionados will find all his familiar, idiosyncratic touches here - the elliptical narrative, the observational view of the characters from the outside, the thoughtfully composed shots, and the stationary, slightly above-ground camera angles to replicate the perspective of someone sitting on a tatami mat. Moreover, Ozu liked using the same actors over and over again, so it comes a no surprise that frequent Ozu actor Chishu Ryu stars in the director's valedictory film.

The character-rich plot centers on middle-aged businessman Shuhei Hirayama who lives with his 24-year-old daughter Michiko and younger son Kazuo. In the absence of a mother, Michiko takes care of the wifely responsibilities for her father and brother and hasn't considered marriage in the near term even though Japanese tradition would label her an old maid soon enough. Hirayama's old friend Kawai has an eligible bachelor in mind to connect with Michiko, but her heart belongs to someone else who is unaware of her interest.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An Often Told Tale; But Best Of The Bunch
Film = three stars plus; restoration = five stars. The story line (yet again) deals with the conflicts arising from twenty-something, unmarried (and attractive) daughters living... Read more
Published 3 months ago by William F. Flanigan Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Ozu
There are three or four Ozu films that everyone should see, and there are ten others you ought to see. This is in the first category. Get it, find it, buy it, borrow it, see it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by mauvaisgenie
4.0 out of 5 stars First film of this director that I have watched.
Had this recommended by a critic who had written about this film being shown at the closing ceremony of this year's Canne's Film Festival, so I ordered a copy. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Wendy Preston
4.0 out of 5 stars a taste of mackeral
though director ozu was not aware of the fact that this would be his last film, 'autumn' seems, on the surface, the same subject, same characters and same circumstances as his... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Anthony Sol
3.0 out of 5 stars mild
Ozu's "An Autumn Afternoon" seems to repeat the story line of his film "Late Spring", as if there is nothing of more interest to tell than bourgeois widowers with daughters... Read more
Published 23 months ago by gw
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinematic perfection
Ozu is, in my opinion, Japan's greatest filmmaker, despite the fruitful fame of Kurosawa. And one is hard pressed to name his second best film, after the masterpiece "Tokyo... Read more
Published 24 months ago by John S. Hilliard
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
The success of this blend of the high and the low owes almost all to the marvelous screenplays Ozu scripted with his co-writer, Kogo Noda. Read more
Published on June 7, 2012 by Cosmoetica
5.0 out of 5 stars My #1 Ozu Film!!!
Ozu is one of the greatest and most stubborn directors in my opinion (and in most film critics' opinions). This is one of my favorite films of his. Read more
Published on December 15, 2010 by Christopher Barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars Ozu's Finest Hour?
I love almost all of Yasujiro Ozu's films -- but I love his work best when it's sly and witty, and avoids obvious moralizing. Read more
Published on September 20, 2010 by Little Roy Blue
5.0 out of 5 stars Autum Afternoon
Recently made available on DVD. Yasujiro Ozu's final masterpiece. A true classic
film. Ozu is known for his 50mm lens used on all his movies, shot at low angle, and... Read more
Published on August 4, 2009 by Timothy J. Lewis
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