Color . 128 minutes

Shochiku Ofuna Studio

Written By

Ozu Yasujiro
Noda Kogo
Satomi Ton (novel)


Atsuta Yuharu

Music By

Satio Kojun


Hara Setsuko (Miwa Akiko)
Tsukasa Yoko (Ayako)
Okada Mariko (Sasaki Yuriko)
Sata Kenji (Goto Shotaro)
Saburi Shin (Mamiya Soichi)
Sawamura Sadako (Fumiko)
Kuwano Miyuki (Michiko)
Shimazu Masahiko (Tadao)
Ryu Chishu (Miwa Shukichi)
Kita Ryuji (Jirayama Seiichiro)
Mikami Shinichiro (Koichi)
Nakamura Nobuo (Taguchi Shuzo)
Miyake Kuniko (Nobuko)
Tasiro Yuriko (Yoko)
Shitara Koji (Kazuo)
Watanbe Fumio (Sugiyama Tsuneo)
Chino Kakuko (Takamatsu Shigko)


At the annual memorial service of their friend Miwa, three old buddies propose to find a husband for his daughter Ayako. She refuses because she wants to remain by her mother Akiko's side. The men, who harbour a lifetime crush on Akiko then scheme to marry Akiko to one of them. This causes great discard and distress. With the interception of Ayako's friend Yuriko, mother and daughter reconcile, and attend the latter's weddings with a mixture of joy and sorrow.

Thoughts from Ozu
In this world, people love to complicate the simplest matters. Things may appear complicated, but who knows, the essence of life may be unexpectedly simple. That's what I aimed to express. It's easy to create drama through emotions, crying and laughing denote sadness or joy to the audience. However, that's just an explanation. Even if feelings are expressed, it doesn't mean that the characters personality or style has been properly represented. For a long time, I have wanted to do away with all the dramatic elements, to express sorrow without tears, to capture a sense of life without any intense emotional upheaval. Since Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family, I have striven for this effect, but this approach is not easy to master. Late Autumn was acceptable but it hadn't completely attained that state yet.

The 52nd film, shot from July to November 1960. Ozu returned to the Ofuna studio, and the film's setting returned to Tokyo. The original story by Satomi Ton was written in the same way for Equinox Flower. Therefore, it is a collaboration of Satomi, Noda, and Ozu. The screenplay interweaves some parts of other novels by Satomi. Again, the daughter's wedding. In contrast to previous films, the relationship, not between father and daughter, but between mother and daughter, is the point. The screenplay of Late Spring was consulted for reference, and as a result, the story is a variation of Late Spring. However, the distinctive feature is the importance of the characters that appear around the central figures of mother and daughter. The three middle-aged men (company directors, university teachers) and their respective families are depicted with the same diligence. The record of their friendship is interwoven with the marriage of a late friend's daughter. (However, their efforts are without relation to her marriage). Although mother and daughter live in an apartment somewhere in the suburbs, the "uptown" spirit is strong. It can be supposed that they would live in an "uptown" mansion, if the husband and father would be alive. Ozu does not sympathize anymore with the shitamachi community or with the suburbs. "Uptown" and its lifestyle and surroundings had become the fortress of his Tokyo. The part of the daughter is played by Toho's treasure Tsukasa Yoko. Ozu liked her very neat image, and the pure Hara Setsuko is the mother. The two women are constructed with the comical, sophisticated and at the same time indecent talk of the three men. This opposition gives life to this basically simple story. However, since Ozu wanted to borrow two top stars (Hara and Tsukasa) from Toho, Toho naturally requested compensation. Shochiku and Toho met with difficulties concerning the exchange conditions and Tsukasa's appearance was delayed, interrupting the shooting. White and blue are the basic colors in the film. Ozu was concerned with stifling the characters emotions to the utmost. Even among Ozu's films, which are very stylish, Late Autumn gives a particularly noble impression. At the end, all protagonists leave one by one, and finally, the mother remains alone. In the last scene, the sensuality of Hara Setsuko becomes visible, hidden until then. Towards the end of the shooting Ozu wrote in his dairy about his extreme exhaustion and lack of energy. His strong body started to weaken.

Articles / Essays
Late Autumn : Always a Fine Day
by site contributor Doron B. Cohen (Kyoto)

Time and Tide : Ozu's Late Autumn
by Adrian Danks (Senses of Cinema)

Personal Thoughts and Comments
In Late Autumn Ozu shifts his most common relationship (father-daughter) into a relationship of a widowed woman (brilliantly played by Setsuko Hara) who leads her daughter to believe she wants to remarry (much like the father in Late Spring), as the mother is pushing marriage onto her daughter (along with the daughters best friend and three middle-age men who all wanted to marry her mother), yet she insists she is fine without a husband. Late Autumn certainly recalls Ozu's definitive 1949 masterpiece Late Spring, yet it is a bit more of a gentle, lighthearted comedy that still plays on many of Ozu's traditional themes and complex emotions. Ozu's use of composition acts as another character in the film and captures most of the expression and emotions of the film (most notably in the masterful use of color). Ultimately with Late Autumn Ozu captures the essence of life's simplicity and humans tendency to complicate it. At the core of all of Ozu's postwar films is the unavoidable sadness of life caused by change. The ending captures this in a perfectly bittersweet way as we see Akiko alone. She is sad that her daughter has left, yet is smiling as she accepts this sadness and is happy for her daughter. But again we wonder if they've conformed their simple life of happiness to fulfill the 'obligations' of life. Simple, humorous, warm, and deeply touching, Late Autumn is another masterpiece from one of cinema's true masters of filmmaking.

Film Images

"Pillow Shots"
The final scene from Late Autumn
blu ray              dvd (R1)    (R3)