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Early Summer (The Criterion Collection)
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
- New digital transfer with restored image and sound plus new subtitle translation
- Audio commentary by Japanese-film expert Donald Richie
- Ozu's Films from Behind-the-Scenes
- New essay by film scholar David Bordwell
Top Customer Reviews
The tone of the film, like the weather in the title, is light and happy like a soft gentle early summer breeze. Whimsical and joyful, even while dealing with a potentially heavy subject.
Arranged marriages (O-Miyai) are still practiced in Japan today and were much more common when "Early Summer" was made in 1951. In the cases of women like Noriko (Setsuko Hara), who at 28 would be considered almost an old maid, if she hasn't found a love-match by now, it is best to arrange a marriage before she becomes too old for anyone to take her. However, Noriko is a modern woman, with ideas for her own happiness as her family will soon find out.
Ozu's simplicity is never boring, and Setsuko Hara is so completely charming that her smile can carry any story. "Early Summer" utilizes many of Ozu's principle actors, and Chishu Ryu is on hand as Noriko's older brother Koichi, although he would play her father two years later in "Tokyo Story."
Criterion's presentation of "Early Summer" is every bit the jewel you would expect it to be, with Ozu-expert Donald Richie supplying the commentary track, and a documentary called "Ozu Films from Behind-the-Scenes" detailing his working methods and camera techniques.
What I enjoy most about watching this and other Ozu films is the focus on character rather than plot. We really get to know the people in this movie, as if they were members of our own family. Setsuko Hara gives an outstanding performance as the sweet but rebellious Noriko. This film is a good introduction to Ozu for people who've never seen any of his movies.
UPDATE: People who may have been hesitant to purchase this movie because it's only on VHS will be pleased to know that Criterion has acquired the rights to several Ozu classics, including Early Summer, Tokyo Story and Floating Weeds. According to a recent Criterion press release, the first DVD release of these titles is scheduled for the fall of 2003.
The musical chairs continue with Chishu Ryu playing his real age as Noriko's strong-willed brother Koichi (rather than the resigned grandfather) and Haruko Sugimura playing older as neighbor Tomi, the mother of Noriko's prospective fiancee (versus the conniving daughter Shige). Chieko Higashiyama still plays the grandmother, but her name is not Tomi but Shige, and her husband Shukishi is portrayed by Ichiro Sugai. It's only confusing if you are looking for some kind of plot continuity between the films, but Ozu is primarily interested in reinforcing similar themes of the evolving family unit in post-WWII Japan. This time, he does it in a more comic, sometimes even ribald fashion, and while it doesn't resonate quite as deeply as "Tokyo Story", "Early Summer" is full of Ozu's shrewd observations and insights that make it emotionally affecting, especially as the story takes a surprise turn toward the end.
The story here centers on the Mamiya family, who are trying to find a suitable husband for 28-year old single daughter Noriko.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This film features the greatest movie director and the greatest movie actress of all time in one of their greatest productions. It is both philosophical and poignant.Published 5 months ago by Robert S. Mortenson, Jr.
BAKUSU (EARLY SUMMER).
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Rating = ***
Film = barely three (3) stars; subtitles = two (2) stars; restoration =... Read more
I saw this movie as part of an international film series at one of our local community colleges. The movie is interesting in that it gives insights into a perhaps typical middle... Read morePublished on March 22, 2014 by D. Fleming
Yasujiro Ozu is considered second only to Kurosawa in the hierarchy of Japanese cinema (by Westerners, anyhow), so it has always shocked me how unavailable his films are. Read morePublished on December 23, 2013 by Bartok Kinski
Ozu Yasujiro should be listed among the top 5 filmakers of the 20th century.
I am aware that Ozu's "Tokyo Story" is rated among the 10 greatest films by a London-based group... Read more
Ozu never married and spent his last years living with his aged mother and drank many an evening away often ending up in a stupor, yet he had the audacity to think he understood... Read morePublished on December 5, 2009 by Richard
Yasujiro Ozu is considered second only to Kurosawa in the hierarchy of Japanese cinema (by Westerners, anyhow), so it has always shocked me how unavailable his films are. Read morePublished on January 28, 2009 by Bartok Kinski
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