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Now ravishingly restored by Shochiku Studios, Japan’s National Film Centre and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, ‘An Autumn Afternoon’ is the final work of Japanese master filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu (1903 – 1963).
One of the greatest last films in all of cinema history, Ozu’s masterpiece is truly autumnal, charting the inevitable eclipse of older generations by irreverent youth. Revisiting the storyline of his earlier ‘Late Spring’ (1949), Ozu collaborates once more with his regular screenwriter Kogo Noda and casts the familiar face of Chishu Ryu in the role of Hirayama, an elderly widower worried about the unmarried daughter who keeps house for him.
Counselled on all sides to marry her off before it is too late, Hirayama plays matchmaker and reluctantly prepares to bid his old life farewell. This is one of just six films that Ozu made in colour which he employed to great effect.
The spectacular use of primary colours within an otherwise muted palette is striking, often enlivened by meticulous placing of objects in the frame: a red lantern in a street scene (he is particularly fond of splashes of bright red), a bright blue bucket on the floor, and emerald green rice bowls on the dining table. With Chishu Ryu, Shima Iwashita, Keiji Sada and Mariko Okada. New 2K restoration. (subtitles)