An Autumn Afternoon, film review: Stately, slow-burning but very moving family drama

(PG) Yasujiro Ozu, 112 mins Starring: Chishu Ryu, Shima Iwashita, Keiji Sada, Mariko Okada

Geoffrey Macnab@TheIndyFilm
Thursday 15 May 2014 22:48

Yasujiro Ozu's final film, re-released in a restored version, is a stately, slow-burning but very moving family drama. Chishu Ryu plays Hirayama, an elderly widower with an adult son and daughter who still live at home.

He is both quietly selfish – he depends on the daughter and doesn't want her to have a life of her own – and very perceptive about his own foibles and those of his children.

There is a wonderfully funny sequence involving his married, hen-pecked son's ambition to own a set of golf clubs he can't afford, and much banter and gentle slapstick involving Hirayama and his cronies.

An Autumn Afternoon may seem like quintessentially Japanese subject matter but, just as in Ozu's A Tokyo Story, its themes turn out to be utterly universal.

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