Medium wide shot, down a short hallway, of two women in the kitchen, one cutting a cake  and smilingalr

Early Summer
(Bakushu)

New 35mm print!
Screening on Film
Directed by Ozu Yasujiro.
With Hara Setsuko, Sugai Ichiro, Higashiyama Chieko.
Japan, 1951, 35mm, black & white, 125 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.
Print source: HFA

The multi-layered background of Ozu’s second tale of Hara Setsuko’s Noriko is the entropic dissolution of her extended family. She resists the inexorable tide of change by refusing the pressure of her stern older brother (played, unexpectedly, by Ryu Chishu) towards a marriage offer she is reluctant to accept. Early Summer offers a keen and often critical exploration of the Japanese postwar family that sees the different generations choosing their individual needs over the larger group in a series of miscommunications and cross-purposes that are at turns comic and cutting. Yet through the figure of Hara’s Noriko, Ozu also suggests an alternative to the malcontent status quo, embodied in a sacrifice whose full meaning only gradually unfolds. – HG

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