An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

An Autumn Afternoon (1962), directed by Yasujirō Ozu.

In some ways this is similar to the director's Late Spring (1949): a widowed father must give up his daughter to marriage, which may not increase her happiness and will certainly increase his loneliness. We have the same slice-of-life view of Japanese households, and the director's love of floor-level camera angles.

Different this time:

I don't recall a scene like this one in any other Japanese film of the period: Dad was a destroyer captain and shares drinks with an old shipmate, who says something like: "What if we'd won the war? We'd be in New York City and those blue-eyed kids would be wearing our haircuts and playing our instruments. Now our kids shake their backsides to Western music". Dad, considering: "Maybe it's best we lost".

(Aside: for some reason this reminds me of a comment by George MacDonald Fraser, who fought in Burma and admitted to a life-long prejudice against the Japanese. But, he said, I look at the old enemy veterans my age in their flowered shirts, watching the world going to hell with unhappy bewilderment, and I feel a bond with them).

Chishû Ryû is the father in both films. He has 264 acting credits in the IMDB and was in 38 Ozu films.

Ozu uses many visual linkages and correspondences between scenes. Not exactly gimmicks or gags, more like artful compositions that his fans watch for.

The director's last film. He died the next year on his 60th birthday.

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion with distinct natural grain. The commentary track is a meticulous analysis of the visual composition of the film, along with good info on Japanese culture and the historical context.

He says Japanese fascination with America began early in the 20th century, long before WW2. It shifted into a sort of hyper-consumerism after the war.