Stories of Floating Weeds (A Story of Floating Weeds / Floating Weeds) (The Criterion Collection)
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Ozu was justifiably proud of this meticulous character study, in which his celebrated low-angle style began to assert itself. A quarter-century later, he remade the film as Floating Weeds, retaining the same story and characters, switching the setting to a seaside town, and demonstrating a more casual acceptance of human foibles that makes the 1959 version (Ozu's first film in color) relatively calm and compassionate when contrasted with the more turbulent tone of the '34 silent. Having grown as an artist, Ozu was at his stylistic peak here, having refined his style to the point where all camera movement had given way to flawless refinement of static compositions. These and other comparisons abound in the study of original and remake; to that end, commentaries by preeminent Japanese film expert and dialogue translator Donald Richie (on the '34 film) and film critic Roger Ebert (on Floating Weeds) provide astutely thorough appreciations of the parallel structures, stylistic evolution, and cultural specifics of films that, until the early 1970's, were considered "too Japanese" for an international audience. Never dry or pretentious, their scholarly analyses lend solid, sensitive context to the enjoyment of two of Ozu's most critically and commercially successful films. --Jeff Shannon
- Disc One: A Story of Floating Weeds (1934)
- New high-definition transfer with restored image
- Audio commentary by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie
- New and improved English subtitle translation by Donald Richie
- Disc Two: Floating Weeds (1959)
- New high-definition transfer with restored image & sound
- Audio commentary by film critic Roger Ebert
- Stories of Floating Weeds, an essay by Donald Richie
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
The older film, 1934's silent masterpiece "A Story of Floating Weeds" ("Ukigusa monogatari") was made by a younger man with a younger man's passion and righteousness, and the more modern update, 1959's "Floating Weeds" ("Ukigusa,") longer and in color, shows the mellowing that comes with age, the greater desire to forgive, as we see the same story unfold in the hands of an older version of the same man.
Like the river weed from which the films take their names, the Kabuki actors in both versions float from town to town, going where the course takes them and leaving behind nothing permanent. Long ago, however, one piece of ukigusa, the troupe leader Kihachi, betrayed his nature and left behind something of himself, a son. Now, the course of the river brings Kihachi back to his house of old memories. He is excited, pleased with his son, and briefly considers abandoning his drifting ways to become a true and settled tree. But Kihachi does not float alone, and his leaves and roots are entangled with his Kabuki troupe, including his lover who is determined to keep him drifting.
Like all of Ozu's films, the role of the family is the forefront of "A Story of Floating Weeds/Floating Weeds." In these films, the idea of family is hard to define.Read more ›
innocent and guileless in ourselves. Something always,already seeing and awake. The more I watch Ozu the more I see this and nowhere more than in this film. I kept chuckling at little, scene after little scene. Tiny little nuanced moments I kept rewinding to see if I'd really seen . Anyone who hasn't seen this film: Don't just watch it once.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An amazing looking film. I bought it just for the Roger Ebert commentary track which is outstanding. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Five Ways Paddington
One of my favorite Ozu films. These have subtitles and to me all Ozu films are a treat and relaxing to watch. I watched the original Floating Weeds four times so far. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Bikeman
Another Ozu masterpiece revealing the characters in small details.Published 12 months ago by Richard
You only have an opportunity to view this movie for the first time . . . once.
My suggestion is that you watch it in B&W (by setting color on your TV/monitor to... Read more
UKIGUSA MONOGATARI (A STORY OF FLOATING WEEDS). Silent But Golden!
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Rating = ****
Film = four (4) stars; intertitles... Read more
Watching the Roger Ebert commentary and watching the film at the same time: Very involving.
I miss Ebert's dulcet voice (tho' I liked Siskel more) and this 2003... Read more
A great program: the original silent movie and its remake done some 25 years later
Fascinating to see a film director's OWN VISION of a simple but profound HUMAN story.
The double feature (both versions, silent and color) were on last night on TCM. I saw part of the silent film one and was distracted. But I was totally enthralled by the color one. Read morePublished on January 16, 2012 by Mir
Spoiler alert: this review reveals elements of the story.
Ukigusa (floating weeds) is a beautiful and moving film, one of only four that Ozu made in color. Read more