Early Summer

October 25, 2010

2 hours and 5 minutes of watching a family doing normal “family things” and a marriage sprinkled in the middle of it. Sounds boring, right? Well, honestly, it was. But, after a day of completely taking it in, I have to say this was a very interesting take on the family life.

Released in 1951, Early Summer gives us a look into the lives of members of a family as they go about their normal routine of cooking, working, and having fun as a family. As the movie progresses, we find out that the younger lady in the household (the sister of the father) is being pushed by both her parents and her brother and sister-in-law to a find husband. The rest of the movie is about her deciding who to marry and how to spend the rest of her life.

The director of Early Summer, Yasujiro Ozu, apparently, didn’t like the use of plot. This seemed appropriate for Early Summer-at least the first half. In fact, if it weren’t for the brothers being there for comedy relief, the first half of the film would’ve been a complete snore-fest. It doesn’t pick up until the sister was told that she had a marriage proposal. From there out, we see how she goes from one individual to marry to another, and how her family, grudgingly, let her go about her decision.

Although I wasn’t much of a fan of his movie, Ozu showed us something really striking. As I stated before, the first half seemed of the film seemed to only be about the life of a particular family in post-war Japan. He used a very odd technique in his camera angles, making it seem like we, the audience, were there during every scene that had the family as the major component. And, I thought that was VERY well made, considering that I’ve never seen how families in Japan go about their business. It was very new to me, and very interesting.

Overall, Ozu really did show us a plotless film. It looked like he just left a camera running in a family’s home. It’s a very intriguing way of filmmaking, one that he expertly does. It’s unfortunate, though, the movie was so boring.

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4 Responses to “Early Summer”

  1.   Amy Herzog said:

    This film really seemed to polarize people in terms of their responses, so I really appreciate how open-minded you were, and how carefully you observed Ozu’s technique!

  2.   zen629 said:

    Even Ozu’s movie style is slow and quiet but his movie is close to reality. The characters in his movie are very details and unique, like Noriko – she is a easy going girl that I can tell from her sweet smile. And I also agree with your opinion, Early summer makes us more understanding about the Japanese family live between tradition and modernization in the postwar era.

  3.   Sinyee Cindy Leung said:

    Somehow, I dont know why I didnt think it was boring. I tried to think what the reason is and it would be because where I grew up is influenced by Japanese culture a lot. We follow Japanese fashion, we use Japanese electronics,etc. For me, Early Summer is just a normal film and gave me a sense of serene…(And I kept thinking about my family when I was watching it.)It was more like a documentary for me.

  4.   bpana0813 said:

    I think the stationary camera technique was majorly beneficial to this movie, partially because the whole movie was basically about Japanese family life, and partially because all of the action just seems to unfold around the camera making us, the viewers, as you said, “were there during every scene.”

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