Year: 1961
UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Ganjiro Nakamura, Michiyo Aratama, Reiko Dan, Setsuko Hara, Daisuke KatO, Keiji Kobayashi, Yko Mochizuki, Hisaya Morishige, Chieko Naniwa, Chishu Ryu, Kakyu Sazan, Masahiko Shimazu, Yumi Shirakawa, Haruko Sugimura, Akira Takarada, Haruko Togo, YOko Tsukasa
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese (English subtitles)
UK: 103 mins
UK Certificate: PG
UK Release Date: 8 August 2003


Ozu's penultimate film returns to the genre closest to his heart - the intimate portrayal of Japanese family life, exploring the breakdown of traditional family values in the face of postwar progress. It owes a great deal to many of his earlier shomin-geki - family films like TOKYO STORY. The Kohayakawa family sets about running its sake business, arranging to marry off its youngest daughter Noriko, and exploring the possibility of helping their widowed daughter-in-law Akiko to remarry. Meanwhile the head of the family Manbei, sneaks out daily, to visit a former mistress. Manbei's behaviour upsets his daughter Fumiko, who furiously rebukes him.

When Manbei has a sudden heart attack, recriminations are set aside as the family rally round the ailing patriarch. However, Manbei soon resumes his philandering ways. The passing of the old order and a resigned acceptance of the inevitability of change finds perfect expression in Ozu's pared down visual style, revealing his characters in both a compassionate and humorous light.

On a brand new print and in a tribute to mark the legendary Japanese filmmaker's 100th anniversary, Yasujiro Ozu is admired by many of the world's leading directors, including Martin Scorsese and Wim Wenders, for his humanist tone and trademark cinematic style. Ozu's films are frequently to be found in filmmakers' and critics' Top 10 Best Films lists. In a career which spanned 35 years - from his 1927 feature debut THE SWORD OF PENITENCE to AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON in 1962 - Ozu made a total of 53 films.