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Early Summer

I really enjoyed this film.  I love how simple the storyline was, like Umberto D, and how easy it was to relate to each character.  The fact that both films were shot in black and white simplify the plot and help the audience to focus on the important aspects.  For example, neither film was ornate with color or distracting compostions.  Rather, the angles used helped guide us to fully and more easily comprehend the emotions being conveyed by the simple, yet powerful characters. 

Despite the serious undertone of the movie, I enjoyed the humor because it was witty and relateable.  The conflict between the single women and the married women was ongoing and very relevant to the overall plot, and I love how playful it was rather than being chastising or antagonistic.  The single women were more Americanized or less traditional Japanese.  They wore shoes rather than the wooden slippers that the married women wore.  Also, rather than wearing the traditional kimonos or other Japanese garments, the single women wore suits, dresses, skirts, and even their hair style was more put together and stylish.  The married women were always being filmed in domestic settings where they’re preparing dinner or serving their family, whereas the single women are portrayed in a jovial, even immature light.  The single women are filmed in various settings whether it’s in the work place, at home, or out with their friends.  Also, the conversations that the women have vary based on their marital status.  The married women are always concerned or involved in and with the lives of others, as if their wants and needs are interlinked with that of their families.  The single women have very self-centered conversations whether it’s making plans to go out with their friends, making their own decisions sans influence from others, and the occasional gloating about their lack of dependency and responsibility.

I was disappointed with the ending because I had so much faith that Noriko would live a content life on her own, despite the incessant pressure from her family and, on occasion, her friends.  I thought she would break the mold and stay single because it seems she didn’t share the passion of marriage with her friends but, rather, saw the light in remaining single.  When she chose to marry Fumiko, I think his name was, I was moreso disappointed because not only is he not well off but he seems to be a traditional man.  For example, he didn’t even consult his mother about moving nor did he value her opinion; he merely told her of his decision and expected her to deal with it.  And the fact that Noriko had to compromise her current lifestyle to adopt a new one, one that I thought she would avoid, is a bit disheartening for me.  I admired that she did not bend under pressure but the fact that she ultimately chose to marry and for the same reasons enforced by her family, that killed the free spirited mood for me.  But altogether, I found this film very enjoyable and I think that Yasujiro Ozu did a brilliant job.

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3 Comments

  1.   khan wrote:

    I totally agree with you in that the movie was a light and simple movie, therefore enjoyable. I liked your comparison of the married women and the unmarried women. You are right, the married women were shown as traditional and the unmarried women were shown as modern. I guess the reason for that was becuase the married women were marrieed because they followed the Japenese tradition of getting married at the earliest time possible and then becoming housewives. The modern women on the other hand were modern in clothing as well as their ideas because they chose to defy the Japanese tradition of getting married earlier. Another thing is that I believe that I believe that Kenkichi,the man that Noriko marries, is in fact modern not traditional. As you have said he does not take his mother’s advice about moving, I believe that makes him modern. A traditional Japanese would respect their elders as is the case in other traditions and since he did not care to even ask his mother’s opinion on the matter that would make him modern. Anyways great post really enjoyed reading it and don’t mind my suggestion, you did a good job!

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Permalink
  2.   alyssacaracciolo wrote:

    I agree that the characters were all so relatable. I enjoyed that a lot. I, too, enjoyed the witty aspects that helped us lean away from the seriousness of the film.

    I love your comparisons between the married women and the single women. It once again proves the Traditionalism vs. Modernity theme of the film. As well as, like I said in my post, the idea that the married women were married “on time.” As in, before they got too old and no man would be interested in them.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Permalink
  3.   raf modelleri wrote:

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a top notch article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

    Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

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