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Floating Weeds
(Ukigusa)

Screening on Film
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu.
With Ganjiro Nakamura, Machiko Kyo, Ayako Wakao.
Japan, 1959, 35mm, color, 119 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

Shot by Japan's greatest cinematographer, Kazuo Miyagawa (Ugetsu, Rashomon, Enjo) and starring an extraordinary ensemble, the rarely seen Floating Weeds is suffused with the nostalgia and bittersweetness of the late Ozu. A remake of his silent A Story of Floating Weeds, the film focuses on an itinerant acting troupe, "weeds" who "float" through the countryside. When they arrive in a remote fishing village after a long absence, the head of the troupe is confronted with a dilemma of paternity. He must either reveal himself to be the father of one of the locals, a strapping young postman who believes him to be only his uncle, or watch as the villager is enticed into an affair with a young actress. The complications are ruefully funny, but as always with Ozu, shade into melancholic resignation.

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