Review of Early Spring (1956)
Ozu Yasujirō (director).
A fairly young and handsome veteran of WW2 has a steady job with prospects at a fire-brick company. His marriage to a good woman seems fine, except that their only child died some years ago. Yet the man takes a sudden and mutual interest in a lady from the steno pool, easing the monotony of the waishatsu era in a loveless affair that cannot stay hidden for any real length of time.
Superficially a drama. More centrally a critical look at grey- and white-collar culture. I’ve only seen it subtitled in Danish when I was half asleep from a cold. Despite being over two hours of greyscale, deliberately paced and scarcely dramatic footage, with stationary cameras, it was somehow still a pleasure from start to finish. You know you are damaged by japanophilia when a glamourless sequence depicting a train reaching the rush-hour horde, all in white shirts on the edge of the platform, has you in thrall.