An Autumn Afternoon
(Samma no aji)
Shima Iwashita, Chishu Ryu, Mariko Okada, Keiji Sada,
Chishu Ryu again portrays a widowed father who takes a notion to marry off his daughter, and pulls it off with the help of his drinking circle of ex–school chums. After the wedding, still dressed up, he is asked at a bar, "Formal affair—funeral?" "Something like that," he replies. Ozu's beautiful last film is an almost bitter portrayal of loss linked to the tensions of modern living and the unsavory effects of consumer society on family life (displayed in golf clubs and Frigidaires, in a heightened awareness of objects). That nothing is as it was implies that nothing is as it should be: the former sensei who now runs a noodle shop (reminding us of 1931's Tokyo Chorus) and who drinks—where, indeed, are the dreams of youth?; the characteristic Ozu corridors that here give way to alleyways, signs, dumps, and ruins. "It is autumn again," Donald Richie writes, "but now it is deep autumn. Winter was always near, but now it will be tomorrow."