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The Mamiya family is seeking a husband for their daughter, Noriko, but she has ideas of her own. Played by the extraordinary Setsuko Hara, Noriko impulsively chooses her childhood friend, at once fulfilling her family’s desires while tearing them apart. A seemingly simple story, Early Summer is one of Yasujiro Ozu’s most complex worksâ€”a nuanced examination of life’s changes across three generations. The Criterion Collection is proud to present one of the director’s most enduring classics.~ Criterion
Ozu once stated that ever since Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family (1941), he had started to learn to release himself from the toils of plot. Early Summer is exactly an almost plotless film centering on the marrying off of an “old maid” daughter from a three-generation-family living in Kamakura. When she impulsively agrees to the proposal of a middle-age widower with a daughter from next door who is actually the schoolmate of her elder brother who died in the war, everyone is surprised and disoriented. Typically, Ozu is more interested in the texture of family life in post-war Japan. By concentrating on the details of daily life, he hopes to “leave audience with a poignant aftertaste” with the ending of the film.