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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 10:43 am 
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psufootball07 wrote:
Was that Hepburn one on Early Summer? I believe so, but it could've also been Late Spring or An Autumn Afternoon.

Early Summer, I believe. I seem to recall this coming up in a conversation between Noriko and her vaguely creepy boss (but maybe I'm wrong).


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 11:20 am 
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Yes, it's discussed in the Early Summer thread.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:29 pm 
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I'm watching A Story of Floating Weeds- in one scene two characters are playing Go, and it's translated as chess (complete with 'translated' terminology.) Does anyone know why they would do this? Is the idea that Go is so foreign that Americans wouldn't be able to figure out what it was, or am I missing something?

It left 'moxa' untranslated, which certainly seems more exotic than Go...


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:37 pm 
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Criterion has always been strange with it's translations of Japanese films in regards to culture. I think it's this film, but it could be an other Ozu where they changed the name of a recognized actor to Mifune and I'm pretty sure in one of the Noriko films they used the wrong Hepburn.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:03 pm 
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I'd assume it's a matter of what the subtitle translator decides to do, and Criterion just checks for outright errors (I still remember the Discreet Charm fiasco over a decade ago).
Another case similar to this was the decision to change the reference to Tintin in La Haine, even though the Tintin books have sold millions of copies the world over, including North America. But perhaps I shouldn't bring that up again. It's not as though it's really significant to the film.

But if they release Early Summer on Blu-ray and leave in the reference to Audrey Hepburn, then I'll go apeshit.


Last edited by Gregory on Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:07 pm 

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Michael Kerpan wrote:
psufootball07 wrote:
Was that Hepburn one on Early Summer? I believe so, but it could've also been Late Spring or An Autumn Afternoon.

Early Summer, I believe. I seem to recall this coming up in a conversation between Noriko and her vaguely creepy boss (but maybe I'm wrong).

You're close. The creepy boss is talking to Noriko's friend about Noriko when the matter comes up.

For those who missed the earlier discussion, the friend mentions that Noriko has a photo or photos of "Hepburn" and the boss then asks if she's a lesbian. The translator of the most recent Criterion release (as opposed to the original LD where this mistake wasn't made) assumed that the Hepburn in question was Audrey (who has been practicaly deified in Japan since the 50s). However, Early Summer was produced in 1950 for a 1951 release; it would not be until 1953 that Audrey Hepburn would burst to stardom through, of course, Roman Holiday. At the time of Early Summer's production, she was still unknown.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:54 pm 
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Actually, now that I think of it, the titles that say the master's son (Shinkichi?) is in postgraduate studies seem sort of odd, given that the context would imply he's 18 or younger- can anyone clarify?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:27 pm 
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I think the son may be in a post-middle school program -- but maybe not in a college prep-type high school. (I think people may have graduated from middle school a bit later in Japan then -- and remember that Ozu himself never went past middle school, yet got a job as a junior teacher after his graduation).


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:23 am 
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Jack Phillips wrote:
For those who missed the earlier discussion, the friend mentions that Noriko has a photo or photos of "Hepburn" and the boss then asks if she's a lesbian. The translator of the most recent Criterion release (as opposed to the original LD where this mistake wasn't made) assumed that the Hepburn in question was Audrey (who has been practicaly deified in Japan since the 50s). However, Early Summer was produced in 1950 for a 1951 release; it would not be until 1953 that Audrey Hepburn would burst to stardom through, of course, Roman Holiday. At the time of Early Summer's production, she was still unknown.

When the BFI Blu-ray came out and I got an early checkdisc, I remember being asked to have a look to see if the same mistake had been ported over. Given that the BFI were using Criterion's HD master, it was at least a passing possibility. But it hadn't - it was unambiguously Katherine Hepburn.

You're quite right about Audrey Hepburn being totally unknown in 1950 - I don't think she even appeared onscreen at all until 1951, and a cigarette-girl cameo in the British comedy Laughter in Paradise is hardly likely to have had a major cultural impact anywhere, let alone the other side of the world.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:44 am 
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On the other hand, by the time Naruse made Daughters, Wives, Mothers in 1960, Setsuko Hara was playing an Audrey Hepburn-esque role and sporting an AH-esque short haircut.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:11 am 
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I'm saddened. I think Floating Weeds is the first time I haven't connected to an Ozu film. I watched A Story of Floating Weeds years ago, and remember really liking it, thought prior to watching Floating weeds I couldn't remember many of the details other than some family melodrama tragedy/secret-parentage involving an acting troupe. Watching Floating Weeds obviously brought back most of the details, and maybe it's that cognitive dissociation of trying to grasp something half remembered that kept me from really engaging with the material. On the other hand there's a sense of the film being somewhat off. The color balance seems like the midtones have been pushed magenta, the shadow color balance is all over the place from shot to shot and the whites have used an eyedropper to bludgeon autocorrect just the highlights back to white. The emotions of the film, boiling over, seem sometimes to strike the wrong modulation more often than not. That said, the most over-the-top scene, the gorgeous rain-drenched shouting match is instantly iconic; that scene and the final scene of the film involving the business of lighting a cigarette are the best moments of the film.

The film is okay, but I think I made a fairly big mistake in not rewatching A Story of Floating Weeds first, or I should have waited longer than a few days after watching Early Summer.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:22 am 
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movielocke wrote:
The film is okay, but I think I made a fairly big mistake in not rewatching A Story of Floating Weeds first, or I should have waited longer than a few days after watching Early Summer.

I watched the remake first, so I don't think watching the silent first would really make a difference. But yes, maybe you just Ozu'ed yourself out. At least you have a Roger Ebert commentary to look forward to (assuming you have the Criterion DVD).


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:37 am 
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movielocke wrote:
On the other hand there's a sense of the film being somewhat off. The color balance seems like the midtones have been pushed magenta, the shadow color balance is all over the place from shot to shot and the whites have used an eyedropper to bludgeon autocorrect just the highlights back to white.

You watched the Criterion version, right? The colors look much better/like you'd expect on the MoC.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:13 am 
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The color balancing of the Criterion DVD of Floating Weeds is pretty poor. But the Story of Floating Weeds in that set looks splendid (just too bad that the musical score is not well-suited to the material -- so I have to watch this soundless or with my own ambient music).


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:13 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
Jack Phillips wrote:
For those who missed the earlier discussion, the friend mentions that Noriko has a photo or photos of "Hepburn" and the boss then asks if she's a lesbian. The translator of the most recent Criterion release (as opposed to the original LD where this mistake wasn't made) assumed that the Hepburn in question was Audrey (who has been practicaly deified in Japan since the 50s). However, Early Summer was produced in 1950 for a 1951 release; it would not be until 1953 that Audrey Hepburn would burst to stardom through, of course, Roman Holiday. At the time of Early Summer's production, she was still unknown.

When the BFI Blu-ray came out and I got an early checkdisc, I remember being asked to have a look to see if the same mistake had been ported over. Given that the BFI were using Criterion's HD master, it was at least a passing possibility. But it hadn't - it was unambiguously Katherine Hepburn.

You're quite right about Audrey Hepburn being totally unknown in 1950 - I don't think she even appeared onscreen at all until 1951, and a cigarette-girl cameo in the British comedy Laughter in Paradise is hardly likely to have had a major cultural impact anywhere, let alone the other side of the world.

Could this be a reference to Dorothy Arzner's Christopher Strong in which Katherine Hepburn plays a pilot who it is implied may be a lesbian? I'm not sure if the film was released in Japan, but knowing Ozu's feminist stance and support for female directors, could this, perhaps, be a subtle nod?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:29 pm 
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I wouldn't say it was a reference to that film specifically, but Christopher Strong was the first film in which Hepburn's persona became fully formed. I think the pilot she played in the film was probably not a lesbian but rather sexually ambiguous (possibly bisexual) and sexually ambivalent (more concerned about her career than affairs or "settling down"). I believe the "lesbian" line in Early Summer was a remark on it being unusual for a young woman to collect photos of a female movie icon rather than mooning after male stars. What the men couldn't seem to understand was that Noriko collects Hepburn photos because the latter was a role model for her, so it's an interesting case of a Japanese star being explicitly linked to the persona of a Hollywood star -- as Noriko shares key qualities with Hepburn of making her own decisions about her life, her desires, and her place in a world run by men.
Many of the photos of Hepburn in her early days at RKO were of her on set, wearing men's clothing and displaying "unladylike" body language (for example on the set of Morning Glory, in wide-bottomed jeans, legs apart), so I think the inspiration of the Hepburn photos had more to do with her whole "independent" persona than any single role she'd played.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:02 pm 
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The actress who plays Otaka is credited as Rieko Yagumo in this, it seems, though she looks identical to an Emiko Yagumo who acted in Tokyo Chorus and a lot of other films (Rieko's other credits are scant on IMDb). IMDb credits both in Ukikusa monogatari, but Emiko doesn't have a character listed - does anyone know whether they were sisters who looked a lot alike or whether this is the same person?

If the latter, 'Rieko' might be a mistranslation or something? The only pictures Google brings up of her are stills from Ukikusa monogatari, whereas a search for Emiko brings up promotional materials and headshots


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:07 am 
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IMDB is kind of wrong. It is the same person.

The actress' real name is Chieko Yagumo, but went by "Emiko Yagumo" as her stage name in the silent era.
She changed her stage name to "Rieko Yagumo" in 1932 and for the rest of her short career, until 1937.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:36 am 
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movielocke wrote:
I'm saddened. I think Floating Weeds is the first time I haven't connected to an Ozu film. I watched A Story of Floating Weeds years ago, and remember really liking it, thought prior to watching Floating weeds I couldn't remember many of the details other than some family melodrama tragedy/secret-parentage involving an acting troupe. Watching Floating Weeds obviously brought back most of the details, and maybe it's that cognitive dissociation of trying to grasp something half remembered that kept me from really engaging with the material. On the other hand there's a sense of the film being somewhat off. The color balance seems like the midtones have been pushed magenta, the shadow color balance is all over the place from shot to shot and the whites have used an eyedropper to bludgeon autocorrect just the highlights back to white. The emotions of the film, boiling over, seem sometimes to strike the wrong modulation more often than not. That said, the most over-the-top scene, the gorgeous rain-drenched shouting match is instantly iconic; that scene and the final scene of the film involving the business of lighting a cigarette are the best moments of the film.

The film is okay, but I think I made a fairly big mistake in not rewatching A Story of Floating Weeds first, or I should have waited longer than a few days after watching Early Summer.

I could have pretty much written this post. I don't think one could (or should be able to be Ozu'ed out. I have been eagerly going chronologically through his post-war work the last couple of weeks. Watching I Was Born, But... before Good Morning, and also watching the b/w silent Floating Weeds before the color remake. I'm not a fan of Sosin's score but still this is by a distance the best of the silent Ozus that I have seen. It is just filled with amazingly lyrical shots that I cannot get out of my head. Watching the remake, I understood that it is generally viewed as an improvement over the silent version, but I have to disagree, and I was even baffled that this is viewed as one of his major films. The silent version is viewed as fragmented, which it probably is. A little. But the remake, instead, is just way too long and drags on and on and on. Also, I thought it was marred by overacting and I didn't think that the humor worked like it did in Good Morning in all its glory. Or Equinox Flower for that matter. All this said, there are some amazing shots, especially the ones, movielocke mentions, but most of the shots in the remake don't compare very well with the lyricism of the ones in the silent. The scores of both this one and Good Morning also reminded me of Ozu's French uncle Tati's Mon oncle, which didn't quite suit them, I think. I'm sure Ozu must have seen Mon oncle just before shooting this two films (even thought there's only film posters by Malle and Kramer in Good Morning. Ebert, in his review, was reminded of Mr. Hulot's Holiday, but I think My oncle comes closer.

So are movielocke and I the only ones who find the color Floating Weeds incredibly overrated?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:21 am 
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You're not alone. It's been years since I have seen either, but I remember being really impacted by the silent version of this story over the remake. Which is weird for me as I am a casual fan of silent film and nothing near the many aficionados here. As stated above, the silent version is a joy to watch visually with every shot being so dense in meaning and composition. I found the remake to be somewhat sterile, or to use tired expression, going through the motions.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:30 pm 
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I love both versions -- but I did see the new color version well before the silent one. Having seen both numerous times over the past 15 years, I probably do prefer the earlier version (largely due to loving the performances somewhat more), but would not want to be without either. I do think the silent version is Ozu's most visually beautiful black and white film (and luckily one of the best-preserved).


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:38 pm 
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I really liked both but definitely prefer the silent. The tone in the remake is obviously different - the story is a little lighter, with more comedy alternating with the violently dramatic moments, so that it doesn't generate the same mood and emotion. Great characters and visuals throughout though, although Nakamura in the lead is a little dull. I can think of much weaker late Ozus, like Tokyo Twilight and especially The End of Summer.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:43 am 
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Rayon Vert wrote:
I really liked both but definitely prefer the silent. The tone in the remake is obviously different - the story is a little lighter, with more comedy alternating with the violently dramatic moments, so that it doesn't generate the same mood and emotion. Great characters and visuals throughout though, although Nakamura in the lead is a little dull. I can think of much weaker late Ozus, like Tokyo Twilight and especially The End of Summer.

I don't know, I just couldn't at all get into the comedy of the remake. I didn't find it funny, mostly just over the top, both with regards the supposedly comedic scenes and the (overly) dramatic ones. I don't know exactly why, but the film struck me as very "off" compared to his other late ones. Maybe it has something to do with it being produced by another studio? I don't know, it just felt forced. As mentioned, there were of course some great classic shots, and Haruko Sugimura was amazing as always. To me she's the archetypal Ozu actress, even more so than Setsuko Hara (but of course behind Chishu Ryu). But yes, I agree that the lead didn't impress as opposed to the one in the silent. The only shot that I think bettered the silent version's was the very final shot, especially the composition of the red lights of the train going into the blue of the night. The scene of the father going fishing with the son was very underwhelming in the remake compared to the poetic one in the silent.

With regards to the weakest late Ozu film, for me it has to be Floating Weeds or Early Spring which I found to be at least half an hour too long, very meandering and badly paced. Way too long to tell a simple story. I haven't seen The End of Summer yet; still missing his final three films as I am going chronologically through his filmography. But I quite liked Tokyo Twilight, mainly because it is so different compared to his other films. Almost noir'ish. I know that people complain about it being too melodramatic, but I mean, haven't they seen Floating Weeds?

My favorite Ozu film so far has to be Late Spring which just hit me so hard. It's just prime Ozu, and I think it surpasses Tokyo Story. So I'm looking forward to the next film in line, Late Autumn, as I understand that it's a loose remake with the father subbed for a mother?

Is there any of his silents that should be rated as must-sees? I didn't like I Was Born, But..., so I don't think I should be traveling down the comedy road of his silent work. When the comedy's not too forced and bittersweet, like in The Record of a Tenement Gentleman or Equinox Flower, I like it, though.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:01 pm 
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jegharfangetmigenmyg wrote:
Rayon Vert wrote:
I really liked both but definitely prefer the silent.

Is there any of his silents that should be rated as must-sees? I didn't like I Was Born, But..., so I don't think I should be traveling down the comedy road of his silent work. When the comedy's not too forced and bittersweet, like in The Record of a Tenement Gentleman or Equinox Flower, I like it, though.
im planning on rewatching both of these because the second watch of good morning made me really love it, which I definitely didn't the first time around, so I wonder if the same thing will be true of floating weeds.

Ozu's best silent film is "an inn at Tokyo" which is just phenomenal, and in my opinion one of his best films overall. Also great is Walk Cheerfully (another one that rocketed up in my estimation on second viewing), dragnet girl is outstanding as is where now are dreams of youth and Tokyo chorus

That's off the top of my head, I think I'm missing one major silent favorite.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:01 pm 
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Well, I actually really liked Good Morning upon first viewing. It is just hilarious and has great performances from everyone, including the unforgettable little kid, and I'm not usually into such cutesy-pie films at all, but he (and Ozu) just nails it. I Was Born, But... I never could get into. Thought it was very stilted and half an hour too long. Then I read a lot about its supposed greatness, saw it again, and still didn't like it. There is of course some cinematic greatness throughout the movie here and there. Just like the Floating Weeds remake, by the way. But all in all disappointing.

Thanks for the tips regarding his silent films. I also heard many good things about Passing Fancy. Is that the one you are missing?


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