Wednesday, December 4, 2013
As much a reworking as an updating of Late Spring, Ozu’s final film recasts Chishu Ryu as an aging widower anxious to settle his daughter’s marriage. Taking into account the social transformations of the intervening decade, Ozu recontextualizes the earlier story by making the female characters far more assertive and keeping an eye out for characters enamored of expensive golf clubs and refrigerators, thus extending the ironic commentary on growing consumerism laid down in Good Morning. The film’s Japanese title, The Taste of Mackerel, alludes to the time in late summer when the delicacy is in season. Ozu’s wistful swansong is an beautiful evocation of particular moods, flavors, and places, not least the hauntingly empty house to which Ryu once again returns in an unforgettable coda. New digital restoration courtesy of Shochiku.