Yasujiro Ozu / JP, 1956 / 145 min.
The life of an underpaid office clerk is filled with pitfalls, especially when he gets entangled in an affair. Ozu provided a portrait of the family life of an average Japanese ‘salary man’. He did so with warmth, humour and compassion for the hard workers at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy.
Sugiyama, a poorly paid office clerk accepts the advances of the department’s flirt, in part to alleviate the boredom of his passionless marriage. His wife finds out and tries to start over with Sugiyama.
Unlike most of Ozu’s post-war films, Early Spring is set in the lower middle classes, in a white-collar environment. The film focuses on a unique period in modern Japanese history, the 1950s during which the former empire reassembled itself after the war. There was little hope for the future; even those in work were usually poor.
Ozu inimitably manages to capture the joy and sadness of everyday life in a human, sometimes humorous tale.
The 4K restoration was taken care of by the Shochiku production company. In Eye and national cinemas.
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Yasujiro Ozu, Masaki Kobayashi, Takeshi Kitano: the masters of Japanese cinema. But did you know that their work was made possible by Shochiku? In 2022 Eye is marking over one hundred years of one of Japan’s oldest, and largest, film companies.