Kimono wardrobe utilized in Ozu’s 1958 film”The Equinox Flower”:
“Equinox Flower” was the first color film by the great Japanese film director Yasujiro Ozu. Although this movie was not specifically about kimonos, a variety of kimonos were worn by the actresses. The kimonos were just a part of daily life and are seen in a variety of home and work situations. I might use the phrase “a slice of life” to describe many of the Ozu films. He was very good at depicting people in everyday situations. Very little is “over the top” in an Ozu film. Yet they are still beautiful, and poetic. They draw you in. We feel as if we are living in the moments depicted in the film. When I watch an Ozu film, I feel less like I am watching a movie and more like I am reading a good book. Sometimes I watch a portion of an Ozu film before bedtime, the way I might read for a while before bed. I know full well that I will not finish in one night, and I want to savor the experience over time.
The story itself is about an influential businessman (Shin Saburi) who is was often sought after for his straightforward and honest advice by his various business associates, family and friends. Despite his astute analysis and advice for others, he mishandles a situation closer to home. His daughter informs him that she wishes to marry a man that she loves, rather than enter into an arranged marriage that he wants. These changing, postwar cultural attitudes are explored in this gentle Ozu film.
I watch a lot of older Japanese cinema. It is always a treat for me when the great Chishu Ryu makes an appearance! Ozu often used him in his movies (ex. “Tokyo Story”). Here Ryu plays a man who seeks advice from the Saburi character. They have a good time at a reunion, where Ryu receites poetry. Note the “man kimono”.
Japanese actress Fujiko Yamamoto steals the show for me. She had a small but pivotal part as the daughters friend. Here is a cute fan art caricature of her in the movie : )
I recommend “The Equinox Flower” for your Netflix queue!