Ichiro Sagai

Ichiro Sagai

Ichiro Sagai Quick Links

Film RSS

Early Summer Review


Essential
Yasujiro Ozu was still largely unknown to Western audiences when his delicate family drama Early Summer was released in 1951. Since that time, new prints of the film have no doubt been made; still, I imagine that most Americans will never have seen an Early Summer in any format as radiant as the new Criterion DVD release of the film. It matters; Ozu's studied composition and luminous black-and-white cinematography invite adjectives such as "luscious," even as his content refutes the extravagance and sensuality of the term. Criterion's Early Summer is a marvel of contrast, restoring to the screen a full palette of blacks, whites, and grays; a scene such as that near the end in which two women walk the dunes by the sea reveals a visual artist working at the peak of his form. You could lose yourself in such images indefinitely, even if the proceedings offered nothing to hold your mind.

But they do. Early Summer, like many of Ozu's "home dramas," is the story of a family - three generations of it - that struggles to find serenity within the cycle of life that the state of being human embodies. (Ozu's titles often find a metaphorical connection in the cycle of the seasons: Late Spring, Early Autumn, Late Autumn.) The central figure is 28-year-old Noriko, an attractive young single woman who lives with her brother Koichi, his wife Fumiko, their two young boys, and her elderly parents. We also meet her neighbors (a widower her age and his mother), her three girlfriends, a great-uncle who comes for a visit, her employer, and her brother's co-worker. Present in the thoughts of the family, though never pictured, is Noriko's brother Shoji, a soldier who remains unaccounted for from the war.

Continue reading: Early Summer Review

Early Summer Review


Essential
Yasujiro Ozu was still largely unknown to Western audiences when his delicate family drama Early Summer was released in 1951. Since that time, new prints of the film have no doubt been made; still, I imagine that most Americans will never have seen an Early Summer in any format as radiant as the new Criterion DVD release of the film. It matters; Ozu's studied composition and luminous black-and-white cinematography invite adjectives such as "luscious," even as his content refutes the extravagance and sensuality of the term. Criterion's Early Summer is a marvel of contrast, restoring to the screen a full palette of blacks, whites, and grays; a scene such as that near the end in which two women walk the dunes by the sea reveals a visual artist working at the peak of his form. You could lose yourself in such images indefinitely, even if the proceedings offered nothing to hold your mind.

But they do. Early Summer, like many of Ozu's "home dramas," is the story of a family - three generations of it - that struggles to find serenity within the cycle of life that the state of being human embodies. (Ozu's titles often find a metaphorical connection in the cycle of the seasons: Late Spring, Early Autumn, Late Autumn.) The central figure is 28-year-old Noriko, an attractive young single woman who lives with her brother Koichi, his wife Fumiko, their two young boys, and her elderly parents. We also meet her neighbors (a widower her age and his mother), her three girlfriends, a great-uncle who comes for a visit, her employer, and her brother's co-worker. Present in the thoughts of the family, though never pictured, is Noriko's brother Shoji, a soldier who remains unaccounted for from the war.

Continue reading: Early Summer Review

Ichiro Sagai

Ichiro Sagai Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Suggested

Spotlight - Trailer

Spotlight - Trailer

'Spotlight' is based on the 2002 findings of the Boston Globe team, whose detective work won them the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

'Sherlock' Will Be More 'Polished' In Victorian Era, Says Steven Moffat

'Sherlock' Will Be More 'Polished' In Victorian Era, Says Steven Moffat

The showrunner gave little away about the upcoming special episode during the TCA press tour.

Emma Watson Named As Vogue's 'The Voice Of A Generation'

Emma Watson Named As Vogue's 'The Voice Of A Generation'

Emma Watson Says She Sometimes Feels Like An 'Imposter'.

Advertisement
Rapper Travis Scott Arrested After Encouraging Lollapalooza Stage Invasion

Rapper Travis Scott Arrested After Encouraging Lollapalooza Stage Invasion

Travis Scott’s Lollapalooza set lasted all of five minutes on Saturday after it was...

Cilla Black Dies Aged 72: A Look Back At The Career Of A British Showbiz Icon

Cilla Black Dies Aged 72: A Look Back At The Career Of A British Showbiz Icon

Tributes are pouring in for British TV star and singer Cilla Black who has died...

First 'Zoolander 2' Trailer Leaks Online And Shows Us inside Derek's Brain

First 'Zoolander 2' Trailer Leaks Online And Shows Us inside Derek's Brain

The first teaser trailer for Zoolander 2 has leaked online and let’s just say it’s really, really...

Cast Of 'Ghostbusters' Remake Delight Patients At Boston Hospital By Visiting In Full Costume

Cast Of 'Ghostbusters' Remake Delight Patients At Boston Hospital By Visiting In Full Costume

The cast of the upcoming Ghostbusters remake delighted the patients at a Boston hospital...

Advertisement