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Early Summer
(Bakushu)

Screening on Film
Directed by Yasujiro Ozo.
With Setsuko Hara, Chishu Ryu, Chikage Awashima.
Japan, 1951, 35mm, black & white, 135 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

A family drama set in Kamakura, the leisurely, poignant Early Summer ends, as do so many Ozu films, in tears—theirs and ours. The Mamiya family takes up the challenge of finding a husband for Noriko (Setsuko Hara), a happily unmarried “working girl.” Her boss suggests a middle-aged businessman as a suitable prospect, but Noriko impulsively accepts another proposal and the family begins to disintegrate—ever so quietly —in the wake of her marriage. Consistently ranked with Late Spring and Tokyo Story as the best of Ozu’s postwar films, Early Summer is perhaps the most freely structured of his late work, with its elliptical narrative logic and constantly shifting rhythms.

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