Have been rather inactive these past few months. Hoping to be a bit more active in the upcoming months. Not to the extent I used to be (I hope), but certainly watching a film or two every month and posting my thoughts on them on criticker.
A couple dozen films comprise my really-want-to-watch-this-film list, but none more than this one, Early Summer, topped it. And right I was in putting it there. Together with Late Spring and Tokyo Story, also Ozu films, Early Summer now stands firmly in my top 3.
Oh, yes, the review:
Noriko never came to be.
A spirit in pursuit of purity, an idealist, a being comprised out of dreamworlds rendered awake. That was Noriko in Late Spring. At 27, her pursuit, her road, hit openings of definitive entrance, namely marriage, into the world, away from her father. But in that very world lay, she found, as she did in herself, objects natured in ways different entirely from the spiritual or ideal life she did not want to live beyond - embodiedness, desire, destruction; these shouldn't and couldn't, she felt, accompany her spirit into spring. Her entrance into the world was thus to be, at best, late.
She didn't want to leave the ideal, but changed circumstances - her aging, for one - meant she already had. She denied its significance, and by doing so a world that, in her every move from it, had its forces coalesce around her, pressuring and moving her spirit into the place deemed right for it. Alternative paths closing off, the openings having gotten smaller, she eventually, graciously, submitted to its flow, returning to order the chaos she once needed from the world. In return for her grace, she is given by the world her gift in kind, relieving her from its pressures, and allowing her to use the newly entered world as a note necessary to write the harmony she always so desperately sought.
In Early Summer, instead, she finds herself a modern woman. Where she was timid, she is now unabashed. Where she was bounded to her father, a patriach - the same actor is here rendered an incel-like, intemperate, whiny brother - she now is an individual, her family an afterthought. Speaking through contrasts to its earlier rendition, Ozu lets the worlds of the natural and the technological, the traditional and the modern, ever so subtly, collide. And where no such moments of interaction can be seen, even more powerful moments can be spoken of. These are moments where the two worlds pass by each other, one not cognizant of the other, the witnesses rendered powerless in light of a blind audience. Experts in a game no longer played, participants in a game of rules unknown, they watch, through memories of a past rapidly disappearing, a society starting anew.
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