Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Posts tagged ‘Yasujiro Ozu’

KIMONOS ON MONDAY (Week #34): Kimono wardrobe used in “The Equinox Flower”

fujiko in equinox flower

Kimono wardrobe utilized in Ozu’s 1958 film”The Equinox Flower”:

EquinoxFlowerPoster2

“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”.

Equinox Flower very long poem at reunion

Note the man’s kimono worn by Ryu-san in this scene. That was one long poem! Good thing there was a lot of Japanese beer at this reunion.

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 : )

drawing of fujiko yamamoto in equinox flower

I recommend “The Equinox Flower” for your Netflix queue!

KIMONOS ON MONDAY (Week #27): The “eternal virgin” Setsuko Hara

legendary actress setsuko hara

I think I fell in love with Setsuko Hara through her character “Noriko” in the Yasujiro Ozu film Tokyo Story.  She played a beautiful, and traditional Japanese woman – a widowed daughter-in-law, still devoted to her in-laws. Especially in the Ozu films, she epitomized such beauty of modern Japanese women.  Such warmth. Although she was not mainly known for wearing kimonos in film, I was still able to find a few kimono images from the Internet. Please enjoy this gallery.  Then go rent one of her movies!

It is unfortunate that this endearing actress chose to cut her career short. She disappeared from movies to lead a solitary life at age 43. Satsuko Hara (real name Masae Aida) is 94 years young, and lives (in seclusion) in Kamakura Japan. She never married. There is much speculation as to why she abandoned her film career. She retied soon after Ozu passed away, fueling more mystery and speculation. Satsuko Hara is attributed to be the inspiration for the late Satoshi Kon’s anime film “Millennium Actress” (trailer here).

setsuko hara was in tokyo story

Dear lady, let us celebrate our birthday’s together next year!

You can see more of the great Setsuko Hara here on on my Pinterest board.

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