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Late Autumn
(Akibiyori)

Screening on Film
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu.
With Setsuko Hara, Yoko Tsukasa, Chishu Ryu.
Japan, 1960, 35mm, color, 127 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

As the title suggests, Late Autumn is tinged with a sense of the inevitable end of things—especially happiness. In a variant of Ozu’s favorite theme, a widow (Setsuko Hara) lives quietly with her devoted daughter, who rebuffs any suggestion that she should be married. Three middle-aged businessmen, old friends of the family, try to act as matchmakers and decide that the widow must be married first, to “free” the daughter of her familial obligations. Ozu said of Late Autumn: “People sometimes complicate the simplest things. Life, which seems complex, suddenly reveals itself as very simple—and I wanted to show that in this film.” He makes of this situation both a comedy—as the well-intentioned schemes of the three businessmen go awry—and an elegy of transience.

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