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Tue
20
May
2014
 

Now digitally restored, Director Yasujiro Ozu's exquisite final film tells the story of an elderly widower and his daughter as they face the prospect of her marrying and moving out of the family home. Ozu captures beautifully their mixed emotions of joy and loss in this perfectly understated, playful and poignant domestic drama. The Director's characteristically subtle powers of observation, Yuharu Atsuta's ravishing camerawork and superb performances from Chishu Ryu and Shima Iwashita make this film a fitting conclusion to Ozu's 35 year career as a writer/ director. Dealing with the inevitable changes of life that affect us all, Ozu's vision remains as truthful, relevant and inspiring as ever.

While An Autumn Afternoon is in so many ways wholly typical of Ozu, it's also a very distinct variation, following beautifully from its predecessors. Ozu makes us feel deeply about his characters, but he does so by being honest rather than manipulating us. Hence his famous restraint: like the stories themselves, the performances avoid histrionics and melodrama. If we are enormously moved at the end of his films, it is not because anyone has pushed the right buttons but because we have seen something that strikes us as truthful.

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