Late Spring

Banshun

dir. Yasujiro Ozu

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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An aging father (Chishu Ryu) tries to compel his devoted daughter (Setsuko Hara) to marry in Yasujiro Ozu's heartbreaking masterpiece.
Ozu specialist Roger Greenspun called Late Spring "the most beautiful Ozu movie I know," and Ozuphile Wim Wenders singled it out as his favourite Japanese film of all time. A young woman (Setsuko Hara) who lives with her widowed father (Chishu Ryu) refuses several marriage offers so that she can keep him company. Determined that she will wed, he lets her think that he plans to remarry. The final sequences deliver a series of delicately calibrated blows to the heart. Hara made her debut for Ozu in Late Spring, initiating one of the cinema's greatest creative partnerships — one that would last until Ozu's death in 1963, following which Hara retired from films altogether. "Ozu's films might well have been somewhat different without [Hara]. He himself said that he could no more write a script without knowing who was going to play a part than an artist could paint a picture without knowing what color to use. The subtle shades and radiant hues of Setsuko Hara not only fit but in a way contrived the characters that Ozu created" (Donald Richie).