Friday, 5 March 2010

Equinox Flower - Filmhouse - 4/3/10

The final film in the Ozu season and also his first film in colour.

To paraphrase Rolf Harris; "Can you tell what it's about yet?"

Once again we see family life, tradition, love, marriage, creeping modernism and the beauty of Japanese culture spread out before us and we simply watch. How someone can take the same basic ingredients and yet constantly deliver something that seems unique is, perhaps, the true measure of Ozus genius as a film-maker. Looking back over the 8 films I managed to see from the season they seem to blend into one glorious entity.

"Equinox Flower" does bring some new ingredients, most notably references to the clash between traditional Japanese religious beliefs and the creeping influence of Western Christian views. There are mentions of the fox God (which I am going to assume is from Shintoism) and to God as well as glimpses of a Catholic run hospital. This may well be a metaphor for the central father figures conflicted views on marriage; advising his daughters friend to marry for love or when she is ready but being utterly appalled when his own daughter announces her intentions to do exactly that.

Once more Ozu delivers a slow, tender and thoughful rumination on the conflicts at the heart of the modernising Japan and one cannot help but feel that what is being lost is more valuable than what is being gained.

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