The End Of Summer (1961)

by guest writer

The End of Summer is Yasujirô Ozu’s penultimate motion picture and combines themes that guided him through his entire career like generation shifts, old vs. new, family loyalty and death. This time around we are presented with the difficulties faced by the Kohayagawa family as they struggle to adapt their traditional values to a rapidly changing post-war Japan. As the business controlled by the Kohayagawas starts to fail faced with increasing competition, the father figure character Banpei recalls an affair with an old flame much to the disapproval of his daughter Fumiko.

The film opens with a neon advertisement sign proclaiming ,,New Japan” and there are static shots of pagodas and temples side by side with TV antennas and office buildings. A superb, bittersweet elegy of a vanishing world, The End Of Summer is beautifully shot in muted color. We must leave it to the director to make even the smoke coming out the crematorium’s chimney look poetic and charged with a positive message.

photo: still from the film; production credits

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