Derik Badman's Journal

2019-10-18 08:20

On some kind of roll, I watched Ozu's Early Summer (1951) last night. This one is much more in the mold of the later family dramas than the others I've watched recently. Much like in the slightly earlier Late Spring Setsuko Hara stars as an unmarried young woman named Noriko. Her marriage (or at least the selecting of a husband) becomes the primary plot thread. A young Chishu Ryu also stars as her older brother who often acts as the antagonist in this one. This has a lot of the elements of the later family dramas, though unlike many features young children as part of the family, comedic relief, and an even playing a part in the marriage plot. It also features the various lacunae in the plot that is characteristic of Ozu.

Once Noriko impulsively picks her suitor, we actually never see him reacting to the idea of the marriage. He sees her before he knows about her decision, and then after he finds out we never see him in the film again. The husbands-to-be in these films are almost never important, especially once they become the husband-to-be. Even the other suitor in this film never actually appears in person.

One strange scene that jumped out at me in this one, was an odd camera movement. I forget the specifics of the scene, I think it's at the doctor's office where the brother works. A woman has come to see him for a check-up (she gets sick when she drinks a few cups of sake!). They are in the background, sitting, then get up to go into, one assumes, an examination room. They exit through a door at the back of the shot. The camera lingers for a moment and then tracks... to the right across some shelves of books in the foreground. It moves a few feet and then... cut to the next scene. I may have some of the specifics of that wrong, but the odd tracking at the end of the scene stood out to me as unusual. I should watch it again to remember what the next scene is and whether it has any connection.