Floating Weeds

1959, Movie, NR, 119 mins


Though Yasujiro Ozu directed some 50 films, very few have been shown in the United States and even fewer are available on videotape. FLOATING WEEDS, released in the US 11 years after its first showing, is a remake of Ozu's 1934 silent version of the story. A variation on the theme of the family that pervades nearly all Ozu's pictures, the film concerns a familial group of theater performers. Komajuro (Ganjiro Nakamura) leads a traveling troupe to a seaside village, where he is reunited after a 12-year separation with his ex-mistress, Oyoshi (Haruko Sugimura), and his illegitimate son, Kiyoshi (Hiroshi Kawaguchi), who has been led to believe that Komajuro is his uncle. Instead of staying with his troupe, Komajuro lavishes attention on his son. Made jealous by this sudden shift of devotion, Sumiko (Machiko Kyo), Komajuro's current mistress, arranges to have one of the troupe's actresses, Kayo (Ayako Wakao), seduce the son, hoping that by hurting the son she can also hurt the father. This was the first color film by Ozu, who has been called the "most Japanese of Japanese directors," since his works have not been assimilated as easily into Western culture as have those of his compatriots, and, conversely, his filmmaking style shows no Western influences. Released in Japan in 1959, the film was shown in the US until 1970. Also available on videotape under the title DRIFTING WEEDS. (In Japanese; English subtitles.) leave a comment

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