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Japanese Divas

Saturday, August 20, 2011
6:30 p.m. Late Autumn
Yasujiro Ozu (Japan, 1960)

(Akibiyori). In Late Spring, Setsuko Hara played a young woman whose protests—"I'm happy as I am"—went unheeded by a well-meaning widowed father who wanted to see her married. Late Autumn is a reworking of the earlier film with Hara playing a widowed mother allowing her young daughter to think it is in her mother's best interest that she marry. Donald Richie notes, "There is an elegiac sadness in Late Autumn and, perhaps in consequence, some relaxation of the extraordinary objectivity that so distinguishes Late Spring. Of this 1960 film Ozu has written: 'People sometimes complicate the simplest things. Life, which seems complex, suddenly reveals itself as very simple—and I wanted to show that in this film.'" Three years after Late Autumn (and the same year as Ozu’s death), Hara (“the Eternal Virgin”) suddenly quit acting, and has lived away from the public eye ever since.

• Written by Kogo Noda, Ozu, from a novel by Ton Satomi. Photographed by Yuharu Atsuta. With Setsuko Hara, Yoko Tsukasa, Chishu Ryu, Mariko Okada. (127 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Janus Films/Criterion Collection)