Late Autumn ★★★½

Comedy of (Re)marriage.

Begins with a funeral, ends with a marriage, and the center 90 minutes is more or less a comedy about these three old geezers going around trying to scheme a couple of marriages, albeit quite by accident. Also there’s that really weird interlude about clams, which I’m told is a sex joke. This was my first color Ozu, and his transition doesn’t disappoint; every color in the film is pronounced and delineated (no blending) in the way it creates very separate planes of action and space, as well as makes prominent the difference in dress by Akiko and Ayako (look at those heels!). Even the beer feels very specifically colored. It’s all relatively easy going until it becomes somewhat tragic with those final shots of Akiko coming to terms with the loss of her daughter and her upcoming solemn life. I ran into a friend of a friend after the film who is quite the Ozu scholar, and said he was disappointed with the middle of the film, as it sort of went against Ozu’s usual sense of mono no aware (apparently a type of restraint in which one allows nature to take its course—read Donald Richie) until the final scene. This kind of felt like a very narrow auteurist reading, because the scheming is a lot of fun.