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- Floating Weeds
- 119 min.
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In Floating Weeds, Yasujirō Ozu creates simple tableaux, as if painting in still life, and then populates those images with humanity. His choice of locations and characters seems perfect for the story he wants to tackle and there's a lot of delicious subtlety in his direction throughout - a feast for film critics. Set in a seaside town, a port where characters may arrive, depart, get delayed or stranded, the film tells the story of a traveling actor who visits his illegitimate son who thinks of him as an uncle. This sparks the jealousy of his mistress, who sics a young actress on the boy, but she doesn't need to act for long. Everyone's an actor in life as well as profession, and Ozu's posited everything as a kind of stage, empty spaces until his characters make their entrances. The old man is criticized for his old-fashioned acting, and in life, we'll see how his old-fashioned thinking - Japanese tradition - no longer applies to post-war Japan. It's full of small touches like that, in the script, the cinematography, and the staging, and lest I make it sound like a dry master class in film-making, let me also say that the slowly-unfolding drama comes to a poignant and touching end.
Like many of Ozu's films, it's a slow, beautifully filmed family drama. The use of color and the subtle visual metaphors make it a masterpiece of Japanese cinema; a truly great drama.
This was beautifully filmed. Fantastic use of colour with some really striking scenes, especially the argument in the rain. A very slow and restrained film, it requires a bit of patience to slog through, but it's worth watching.
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In 10 official lists
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This movie ranks #14 in Roger Ebert's Great Movies
This movie ranks #44 in Kinema Junpo's Top 200 Japanese Films
This movie ranks #66 in BIFF's Asian Cinema 100
This movie ranks #84 in Tom Vick's Asian Cinema: A Field Guide
This movie ranks #173 in Eureka!'s The Masters of Cinema Series
This movie ranks #258 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #346 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #567 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #760 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time
This movie ranks #967 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films