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Japanese Divas

Saturday, August 6, 2011
6:30 p.m. Equinox Flower
Yasujiro Ozu (Japan, 1958)

(Higanbana). Equinox Flower is about a successful businessman and his attempts to cope with a daughter (Kinuyo Tanaka) who defies an arranged marriage and runs off with a pianist. Ozu's sympathy is never with one character over another; therefore ours cannot be either. Perhaps this is what makes his films, for all their designed tranquility, wrenching. Russell Merritt writes, "Ozu was one of the great precisionists (and) the exactness of Equinox Flower (his first color film) is apparent everywhere. . . . His fastidiousness is not just an assertion about the resources of the movies. It is also an idea about life . . ." Nathaniel Dorsky notes, "Often the most intimate and poignant dialogue between two characters in an Ozu film is that between two women. In Equinox Flower, Ozu offers a progression of shots and cuts during a discussion between two women which dismantles time and space. There is no temporal reality; as a viewer you begin to float, you start to cry."

• Written by Kogo Noda, Ozu, based on a novel by Ton Satomi. Photographed by Yuharu Atsuta. With Shin Saburi, Kinuyo Tanaka, Ineko Arima, Miyuki Kuwano. (118 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Janus Films/Criterion Collection)