Equinox Flower ★★★★★

Yasujiro Ozu's first color film is a delight. I appreciate it even more now having seen Daniel Raim's documentary on Ozu's later work, where his qualities come out even more than in his previous work. His use of color is quite exquisite; turns out Ozu designed the whole of the set design himself in marvellous detail, the title cards are his an so on. Thematically we are in the same bracket with the breakdown of the traditional Japanese family, a value system in transition with a nostalgic touch seen from the perspective of the older generation. Some added potency comes in a powerful scene at a reunion where a traditional poem is sung by Ozu's favorite Chishu Ryu, here in a supportive role. For me it played into nostalgia, but more importantly the sorrow and pain of World War II. The film comes out only 13 years after the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagsaki, as well as the relentless bombing of Tokyo in 1945. We even get a direct link to that earlier on where the main character reminisces about the bombing shelters of Tokyo during the war. There is also humor, albeit gentle but as a whole the film works out perfectly. To support the story we have the stunning framing and photography, the usual low angle non invasive shots we have come to love from Ozu. The colors are a bonus and means the director can express himself further. The only thing I can maybe complain about is that I would have liked to see Setsuko Hara. Instead I got that wonderful red tea kettle.