A Story of Floating Weeds

A Story of Floating Weeds ★★★★½

Ozu's original silent version of Floating Weeds has some of the best dialogue I have witnessed in silent cinema, perhaps together with Dreyer's "Michael". So, it is not surprising that he later remakes this movie in sound. What is surprising though, he kills off some of the strongest dialogue in the remake (which makes this original movie so good), inline with his later softer natural tones of storytelling. An example is the fishing scene, where father accidentally drops and looses his wallet into the stream, and boy without knowingly that he is his real father, mocks him telling he neither has money nor any invoice, so why to get upset? However it is this expression of the boy that upsets the father, this impression he has left on his only child whom he loved secretly all this time, hoping to reconnect one day. The floating away wallet then, becomes a symbol of the father, who will float away at the end of the movie eventually, in despair. In the remake though, Ozu kills this scene in cold blood, and the scene becomes father and son fishing at the seaside, through some small talk.

It is also the acting what makes this movie so special, compared to its remake. All the actors look like they are born to play their particular roles. Take Takeshi Sakamato playing the lead as the father for instance. At the climax of the movie, and probably in the most dramatic moment of his character's whole life, he itches his arse! Because this is the character, and he delivers it in every mimic, in every move. Full respect!

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