The End of Summer (Kohayagawa-ke no aki)[Region 2, English Subtitles]
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'The End of Summer', the penultimate film by Yasujiro Ozu, examines the difficulties faced by the Kohayagawa family as they struggle to adapt their traditional values to a rapidly changing post-war Japan. As the family's generations-old sake making business begins to fail in the face of increasingly fierce competition, Manbei, the incorrigible elderly patriarch, rekindles an affair with an old flame, much to the disapproval of his daughter Fumiko. He is further distracted by his attempts to marry off his two other daughters: Akiko, the eldest and a widow with a small son, and Noriko, the youngest who is still single. A sublime, bittersweet elegy for a vanishing world, 'The End of Summer' is beautifully shot in muted colour, elegantly acted and masterfully directed by one of the twentieth century's greatest filmmakers.
Top customer reviews
It stars Setsuko Hara who is one of his favorite actresses. She is in her familiar role of a young widow. But she must be approaching 40 and this may be what Ozu means by End of Summer.
The film starts off in typical Ozu style with everyday mundane scenes of Japanese life. At first the film seems to be going nowhere, just like Tokyo Story. But there is an emotional undertow which keeps building throughout the movie. It reaches the same pathos as Tokyo Story but goes one step further at the end. This is definitely an Ozu film worth watching even though it is not as famous as some of his others.
Ozu with his films "Equinox Flower", "Late Spring", "Tokyo Twilight", "Early Spring" , "The End of Summer" and "Late Autumn" has created a Cinematographic Haiku, a poetry of images, events and concepts.
To understand Ozu in his very best, one must see his entire work and understand the issues which were dominant in the post war Japan.
Such new concepts challenged the old way of thinking and set the premises for the today Japanese society.
Concepts such as "Salary Man", "Office lady", wearing western cloths and the economic challenges in a global environment, created a new generation ready to put the war behind them and move forward to modernization while at the same time wanted to maintain links with tradition.
The previous generation was puzzled and confronted and yet unable to come to terms with this new world.
In the struggle of the previous generation to come to terms with the new order, parents were sadden by what they could see as a double defeat, that of the war and that of the social order and yet somber and reserved in their behavior and reasoning.
The End Of Summer, is one of the finest examples of Ozu's work.
Photography and colours using simple backgrounds and scenery is one yet verification of Ozu's Haiku approach.
The story is a reverse case from his other films where the widow elderly father is rediscovering his younger times companion to the amazement of his children.
It s now the children who are struggling to come to terms with their father's behavior rather than parents to deal with their rebellious children.
Simple and beautiful this film contains sorrow and laughter, happiness and challenges as it develops until the very end.
But watching this film alone will be meaningless in understanding the fine art of Ozu unless you see the entire collection of his work.