Early Summer ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Long review of this masterpiece, my favorite Ozu I've seen to date.

For years the giddiest feeling I got from cinema was seeing an intense thriller with really well-drawn characters; raised on Hitchcock, I could think of nothing better. But while there are many attempts at Hitchcock, there are precious few successes, and though I still love the breathless feeling I get from that kind of movie, now I find my biggest thrill comes from when I genuinely feel I have spent time with and come to know and deeply empathize with characters who truly resemble actual breathing humans and are meanwhile just doing the day-to-day bullshit that real people do, which I now find as exciting as any MacGuffin; my reaction to Early Summer isn't a world away from my reaction to, say, Broadcast News or 20th Century Women even if it's much more aesthetically beautiful than those films. In all cases, I feel I am watching something as difficult to pare down or summarize as life itself -- and while it gets right at my heart, in a more intellectual sense, I just marvel at how impossible it seems it would be to create such a thing.

Could the eerily realistic combination of calmness and chaos in the family scenes in the first half of this have been the inspiration for the early scenes of "Bart vs. Thanksgiving," which when I was a kid felt more like an actual family gathering to me than any of my own real-life family gatherings? Only behind a spoiler tag would I ask such a weird, showing-my-full-deck question.

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