Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Early Summer movie review


     


Early summer, the second installment in the Noriko Trilogy by Ozu Yasujiro is a film that simultaneously ventures into heartwarming and heartbreaking situations. Maybe that’s what makes a movie close to reality. Maybe that’s what makes up life.

Much like Late Spring (1949), it revolves around a family, a broader one this time, that is concerned with the marriage of Noriko (Setsuko Hara) who is nearing her thirties. “Some women don’t want to get married. You’re not one of them, are you?” –enquires an elderly uncle. We gauge the confusion of the family in post WWII Japan. Noriko’s sister-in-law is a mother to two and she looks only a couple of years elder to her. Her brother (Chishu Ryu) feels she just can’t get married. Noriko believes it’s because she doesn’t want to. And you just know that Noriko is right. She is graceful; she is elegant; You know that if you put her in a gown, she would look like royalty. And her mother knows it. “Every time I heard people compliment her, I wondered what kind of family she’d marry into”, she tells her daughter-in-law.

The family comes forward to a nice prospect, a golfer businessman who is a friend of Noriko’s boss. They are very much excited for the match to work but not Noriko. She has different aspirations in life, not other mind but different. The film is then about the choices she makes and how her family accommodates them into the mentality of a society that is progressing into an era of freedom and independence for the fairer sex.

The film will not give you any philosophical weltanschauung nor any deliberately intense sequences. It will show you something as simple as a gas balloon flying in air. It rises in the stillness of the camera. An old couple looks at it. We try to see if they try to find a connection with their lives and the balloon. Just when we are about to think of something logical, the husband says- “Some child somewhere must be crying” and we learn everything that we can from a film.

Ozu has yet again shot the movie with a static camera capturing sequences that are easy to comprehend and equally easy on the eye. What makes Late spring less great in stature than Late Spring or Tokyo Story is that it sometimes ventures into uncharacteristic scenes that do not really have much connection or meaning to the tone and comprehension of the storyline. Still, those few scenes have Setsuko Hara in them which means a cheerful smile from her at the end of each of them will make-up for their drag.


Early summer remains a story of a family for a family. Unlike Early Spring, there is no pretense in the characters here. They speak up their minds and they do so loudly. Noriko is a genuine single girl of Japan and represents an age in the lives of people that hooks and shooks between the two contrasts of life separated by marriage. How well does she fare in making the best out of it? Watch the film to find out.



Bandwidth verdict- Although it is a standalone film, it is advisable to watch the full Noriko Trilogy beginning from Late Spring to Tokyo Story.

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