Classic Movie Review: Floating Weeds (1959)


Title: Floating Weeds
Release Date: November 17, 1959
Director: Yasujirō Ozu
Production Company: Daiei Film
Summary/Review:

The movie captures a few hot days in a seaside town as a traveling theater troupe visits.  Ozu sets up a visual stunning composition for every shot, never panning or zooming the camera, only cutting the next shot for movement.  It’s the type of movie that you can let marinate over you. Seemingly idle conversations among villagers and actors casually provide key information.

The main plot involves the lead actor, Komajuro (Ganjirō Nakamura), visiting an old lover, Oyoshi (Haruko Sugimura) at her cafe.  They have a teenage son, Kiyoshi (Hiroshi Kawaguchi), who only knows Komajuro as his uncle.  Komajuro’s current girlfriend, an actor named Sumiko (Machiko Kyō), hires as younger actor, Kayo (Ayako Wakao), to seduce Kiyoshi.  Instead Kayo and Kiyoshi fall in love.

There is a good story of strict social class and changes in the modern world, as the old style kabuki troupe flops, and the respectable Kiyoshi insists upon a relationship with Kayo, despite the scandal.  Unfortunately, the climax of the movie includes considerable brutality toward women that is hard to watch and sours me on the film overall.

Rating: ***