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Customer Review

72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved loved loved this movie!, May 2, 2004
This review is from: Stories of Floating Weeds (A Story of Floating Weeds / Floating Weeds) (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
If you only buy one Japanese film to add to your DVD collection, let it be an Ozu film and "Floating Weeds" is a wonderful place to start. There's really nothing I can say that isn't absolutely praiseworthy about Ozu and this film. It truly is a masterpiece in every sense of the word.
The Criterion Collection DVD is also a masterpiece, giving us both the original silent "Story of Floating Weeds" and the 1959 remake "Floating Weeds", (both directed by Ozu). The mastering is done well, the sound is great, and the voice-over commentary by famed Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times is a delightful surprise. Ebert humbly acknowledges that there are better Japanese film & culture experts out there, but "does his best" to give a very thorough description of Ozu's very unique style. Needless to say, it's one of the better and more informative commentaries I've heard and Mister Ebert is modest.
The story is genuine, sweet, simple, and believable. The characters are solid and have great depth. Ozu keeps the action and emotions to a realistic level without resorting to over-acting in any of his films. They almost don't feel like films in this way, but feel like intrusions into other peoples lives, but politely so.
Many people have speculated as to Ozu's curious method of placing his camera just below the eye-level of his actors onscreen, and I have my own theory. Perhaps Mr Ozu also has the innocence of children in mind, and is trying to see the world unbiasedly and naively like a child might - from the aproximate eye-level of a child viewing the events happening in the same room as he or she? It's an idea anyway. Perhaps also Ozu wants the camera to look up to his characters as if it is respectfully just below them submissively, as if it is bowing to them all in respect? It's difficult to say for certain, but the look is unique in all of film and once it hooks you, you're hooked for life! You have been warned.
After this wonderful classic, I recommend Ozu's "Tokyo Story" from 1953 (also recently released by the Criterion Collection). Ozu is a great film master and no one could compose a shot like he in all film history. If you haven't, you must see an Ozu film at least once in your lifetime!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 14, 2007 10:12:48 PM PST
Steven says:
In the last two years I have watched many Japanese films. I've greatly enjoyed the work of Mizogouchi, Kurosawa, Ichikawa, and others. Tonight, however, I watched "Floating Weeds" my first Ozu. I can't put into words how I feel about this film. I know nothing of Ozu's life but I can ascertain two things from this film. The first, that he understood art enough to know that films are not about stories. Second, that he had great literary knowledge because he understood the convergence of myth and reality. I'm a little blown away right now. . . so. . . that is all.
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