Banshun (Late Spring)

Banshun (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949) aka Late Spring

Setsuko Hara, Chishu Ryu

Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father.

Paul Schrader calls Ozu's films 'transcendental' cinema. But then he's a (creative) writer, not a theoretician, and does not actually define his terms, saying rather what they are not. The blurb on the back of the book is somewhat more helpful, saying in part, '... the transcendental style expressed a spiritual state with austere camerawork, acting devoid of self-consciousness, and editing that avoids editorial comment'.

I don't know what a 'spiritual state' is, nor how you can tell an actor is not self-conscious (as it's internal). Maybe I should know by now what 'editorial comment' might be, but I don't (yet).

So for me, this is just a very simple story told in a straightforward way, and it's one of my favourite films.

This is one of three films called the 'Noriko' trilogy - the others are Early Summer (Bakushu, 1951) and Tokyo Story (Tokyo Monogatari, 1953) - in each of which Setsuko Hara portrays a young woman named Noriko, though the three Norikos are distinct, unrelated characters, linked primarily by their status as single women in postwar Japan.

There is a backstage story. Setsuko Hara herself never married, and never made another film after Ozu died.


Schrader, Paul 1972, Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer, Da Capo Press.

Garry Gillard | New: 11 March, 2017 | Now: 9 September, 2018