Setsuko Hara, Ichiro Sugai, Chieko Higashiyama, Chishu Ryu,
The radiant Setsuko Hara is a happily single young woman who, in the eyes of her traditional family, can’t be happy at all until she’s married. Unbeknownst to them, however, she has her eyes set on someone, a widower with a young child. About Early Summer, Yasujiro Ozu stated, “I was interested in getting much deeper than just the story itself; I wanted to depict the cycles of life, the transience of life. . . . Consequently, I didn’t force the action, but tried to leave some spaces unfilled . . . leave viewers with a pleasant aftertaste.” As Donald Richie noted, “These tiny empty moments are the pores in an Ozu picture through which the movie breathes. They define the film by their emptiness.” The “aftertaste” is a bit sad, however; as the daughter marries, her family dissolves, leaving her parents alone to contemplate their life and their hopes for their children, to savor transience. Their gaze extends the film beyond the edges of the screen.