Tuesday, February 26, 2013

354. Ukigusa/Floating Weeds (1959)

Running Time: 119 minutes
Directed By: Yasujiro Ozu
Written By: Kogo Noda, Yasujiro Ozu
Main Cast: Ganjiro Nakamura, Machiko Kyo, Hiroshi Kawaguchi, Haruko Sugimura, Ayako Wakao
Click here to view the trailer


Moving right along with the three film salute to Yasujiro Ozu, we come to the remake of his own 1934 film, "The Story of Floating Weeds" - this one simply called "Floating Weeds". I had a more difficult time getting through this one, than I did with "Tokyo Story". Why, you ask? Read on...

The main story of "Floating Weeds" deals with a troupe of Kabuki actors, who arrive in a seaside town, during a very hot summer. Upon their arrival, many of the troupe's actors make their way around town, flyers in hand and promote the upcoming series of shows that they plan to put on. Komajuro (Nakamura), the troupe's master, takes time to visit an old flame and the two reminisce. It seems that the old flame, named Oyoshi (Sugimura), has a child by Komajuro. The child, Kiyoshi (Kawaguchi), now nearly college age, doesn't know that Komajuro is his father and thinks that he is actually his uncle. While in town, Komajuro plans to spend as much time as he can with Kiyoshi and during an all day fishing outing with him, his current flame, Sumiko (Kyo) begins to wonder where he's been getting off to. When he returns, she confronts him about it, but not wanting anyone to know about his illegitimate son, he hides the details from her and simply tells her to stop being jealous. This only makes Sumiko more curious and when she asks around, she finds out that Komajuro has been seen at Oyoshi's place many times. Sumiko begins to suspect that Komajuro is cheating on her and goes to Oyoshi's to confront all three of them: Komajuro, Oyoshi and Kiyoshi. When there, she sees Kiyoshi and makes the assumption that he is the child of Komajuro. Later, Sumiko pays another female member of the troupe, the beautiful Kayo (Wakao), to seduce Kiyoshi.

Whew, that got a little confusing at the end there, didn't it? I'm not going to say that "Floating Weeds" was horrible, because with it's superb cinematography and top notch acting, it definitely had it's merits as to why it was included in THE BOOK. I'll simply say that the film wasn't for me, was very traditional in it's themes (once again Ozu finds fascination with the interaction between different generations, something that I found interesting in "Tokyo Story", but not here) and due to it's traditional nature, that may have been detrimental in my dislike for it. It wasn't necessarily hard to get through, I WAS able to get somewhat lost in the story. It's just that I didn't care enough about the characters to wonder how they'd turn out. It seems to me, after only watching two Ozu pictures, that the filmmaker is very of his time and obviously some of the themes and ideas that fascinate him, aren't as interesting to me. I won't necessarily look forward to the next Ozu offering ("An Autumn Afternoon"), but after one like and one dislike, nor will I dread it.

RATING: 4/10  I really hate wrapping things up THAT fast, but I've said all I needed to say on this one. Next up for Ozu: "An Autumn Afternoon".


February 26, 2013  7:20pm

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