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Late Spring

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Gerlinde Goschi
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Topic Posts: 12
Late Spring

I picked the movie Late Spring, Banshun, by Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu (who was called one of cinema’s greatest directors) that came out in 1949.  I picked this movie for several reasons. First, Prof. Yasar of USC who translated it for the Criterion Channel, mentioned it in our course on 8/7/19 and showed us some parts.  My interest was definitely piqued by this. Second, I wrote a lesson plan incorporating the movie so I watched it to write this. Third, I thought it would challenge my middle school students in many ways they no longer are challenged in the 21st century (black and white movie, subtitles, very slow pace, and acting is weird - as mentioned by Prof. Yasar).  This movie is a classic in Japanese cinematography at first and then internationally. It is unique with its shots of empty spaces and long, slow scenes. The plot reminds me of Ban Zhao’s (one of the earliest, most prominent and influential Chinese women) writing about women’s roles and virtues. The plot centers around Noriko, a woman in her late twenties who lives with her father and takes care of the household.  Her aunt thinks she should get married and arranges a meeting between Noriko and a Tokyo University graduate who she thinks resembles Gary Cooper. When Noriko doesn’t want to leave her father as she is worried what will happen to him when she is not around to take care of him. The aunt comes up with a story that Noriko’s dad will have an arranged marriage to a woman. A conversation between Noriko and her dad convinces her to get married.  

This film was not released in the US until 1972. It was critiqued below in the New York Times on July 22. 1972 by Vincent Canby (source: )


“The difficulty with Ozu is not in appreciating his films, nor which are always beautifully lucid, nor even in attaching the right film to the right title, though it's somewhat confusing remembering whether "End of Summer" is actually "Early Autumn" or whether "Late Spring" is just another name for "Early Summer." The difficulty is in describing an Ozu work in a way that doesn't diminish it, that doesn't reduce it to an inventory of his austere techniques, and that accurately reflects the unsentimental humanism of his discipline.Perhaps the only proper Ozu review would be one from which all adverbs and adjectives had been excised—they being the prose equivalents to the kind of subjectivism that he so rigorously avoids in his films.”


A Tip: 

I watched on the Criterion Channel where I signed up for a 14 day free trial.  I recommend this channel as it has many international films, especially, many films from East Asia.