Watching a Yasujiro Ozu film is like going to Cheers. All the same characters are there, many times the same actors, and the story is always the same. Yet, it never gets boring. It gets more comforting each time you watch it. Like a warm blanket you can always wrap yourself in.
While some directors get worse with age, Yasujiro Ozu only got better. In the late 1940’s, 10-15 years into his career, he made Late Spring. From then on he could do no wrong. An Autumn Afternoon is no exception despite being his last film. The film is essentially Late Spring and half a dozen other Ozu films, there’s a family with a daughter who is of marrying age and the wheels are set in motion. Everything from then on moves towards it’s inevitable conclusion. You feel sad for the girl who is forced into marriage, but at the same time the film makes you understand that this isn’t about love, but rather a right of passage. The father doesn’t want to let her go, in fact he needs her to care for him, but he understands that he must let her go.
Mixed in with the main story are great conversations such as the conversation at a bar where two guys tentatively agree that it was better that American’s won the war because while they can put up with Japanese boys and girls shaking their butts to rock and roll, they just can’t picture American’s done up in the latest Japanese fashion.
I can’t do Ozu’s work justice by any sentence or paragraph. Nor have I even tried to cover all the magic that is Ozu such as his shot composition and editing. See this film, see any Ozu film, see all of Ozu’s films. You won’t be sorry.