In the early 60's in Tokyo, the widower Hirayama is a former captain from the Japanese navy that works as a manager of a factory and lives with his twenty-four year-old daughter Michiko and his son Kazuo in his house. His older son Koichi is married with Akiko that are compulsive consumers and Akiko financially controls their expenses. Hirayama frequently meets his old friends Kawai and Professor Horie, who is married with a younger wife, to drink in a bar. When their school teacher Sakuma comes to a reunion of Hirayama with old school mates, they learn that the old man lives with his daughter that stayed single to take care of him. Michiko lives a happy life with her father and her brother, but Hirayama feels that it is time to let her go and tries to arrange a marriage for her.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In many ways, this is a remake of Yasujirô Ozu's Late Spring (1949). In both films, the director's favorite actor, Chishû Ryû, plays a widower trying to persuade his adult daughter to get married. See more »
My favorite Yasujiro Ozu film is BANSHUN. And so, as I sat watching SANMA NO AJI, I quickly realized that this film is essentially a retooling of BANSHUN. Both films are about a devoted daughter living quite happily with her widower father. The father, however, realizes that the daughter is giving up a lot, so it's his goal to get her out and married for her own good. There are some differences, though, in the films. In SANMA NO AJI, it's not just the father but also the young lady's employer who sees a need for her to marry. In addition to taking care of her father, there also is a younger brother in the home. Still, it is essentially the same story with a few twists--and in color.
It's also highly reminiscent of many of the mid to late Ozu films in a variety of ways. Like his usual style, the camera is stationary and often is at floor level--with cuts instead of closeups. You may not notice this at first, but it's clearly the director's trademark. In addition, the film has the typical slow and gentle pace and is about the conflicts between modern Japanese life and tradition. In this sense, there's not a lot that's too new about the film other than a light and modern (for 1962) soundtrack--very bouncy yet gentle.
As for the film, the father (Shuhei) has a pretty nice life. He has a nice job, often goes out with friends to drink and Michiko (the daughter) takes care of his needs at home. However, as the film progresses he notices in other people's relationships that something is missing. In particular, meeting with an old school teacher from 40 years ago is a wake-up, as this old man also lives with his unmarried daughter--and his life is a bit pathetic. Shuhei is afraid that in later years, his and his daughter will have a similar relationship. So, he and his married son go about trying to arrange a marriage for Michiko--who does want to marry, though judging by her outward appearance and insistence that she wants to stay home and take care of her father, you's never know it.
Overall, it's an incredibly slow but satisfying film and a nice end to Ozu's career, as it is his last film. Well worth seeing and full of lovely and realistic vignettes. For those who are looking for action and excitement, you may not like this film. For those who can appreciate a slower and more deliberately paced film, this is hard to beat. A lovely portrait of life in Japan circa 1962.
By the way, is it me or did those people in the film really drink a lot?! Wow!
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