An Autumn Afternoon ★★★

Call it Ozu fatigue, but by the time I got to the 15th film by the director in less than three weeks, and, look, another daughter that needs to get married off? I’ll admit, however, that such a statement is more or less a total fallacy, because if anything, these films revealed that each one has its own agenda and message. So this one has plenty of curiosities. First of all is the continuing Westernization of society—televisions, radio, and golf take prominent places in the frames, and Ozu centralizes the issues of wealth and material desire in a way I don’t any of his other films do (though class is certainly an issue throughout). Secondly is his approach to World War II, which here seems to be finally more melancholic about the fact that they surrendered (one scene has two war buddies thinking about what they’d be doing if they won — “We’d probably be in New York!”), and there’s that truly odd sequence of the two buddies and the waitress marching along to the Navy theme song. Structurally a little messy; usually I find his films to have way too many endings, but this one actually felt cut short. And after 15 films, I still hardly love Ozu (the four I’ve seen by Mizoguchi all rank above any I saw in this retro), but at least no one can call me out for lack of trying.