Noriko (Setsuko Haro there) is 27 years old and still living with her widowed father (Chishu Ryu there). Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her prof of a dad.
She’s a gorgeous girl is Nori-chan (well, Setsuko Haro obviously) Can’t stop smiling herself pretty; she butters up the old duffers, dad and uncle; has them dangled off her lovely little finger. She can’t wait to welcome father back home from the train. She’s a dads dream daughter (would be mine too)
A scheming Auntie is trying to marry off Nori. But also marry her daddy off too. Nori is not best pleased about her darling daddy with another woman. Is jealous. “I’m the one who understands him the best” she’s saying. She can’t leave her daddy in the clutches of another woman.
The film has really taken off (about half way through) Setsuko Hara is running this show now. With her pain, her jealousy. She wants to stay as Daddys darling, his golden girl. Can’t bear the thought of leaving him (is this an Elektra complex?)
But father is resolved to have her leave him. “You must marry sometime. I’ve been using you for too long. I couldn’t let you go. I must apologise for it. But it is time for you to marry. Or I will worry”.
And he doesn’t want her to worry. That she’d be leaving him in the lurch, left hopelessly to fend for himself. So feigns the possibility of marriage to this other woman. But of course what has replaced any worry in her (for him), is jealousy of this putative other woman who is going to steal her fathers heart away from her.
There is one lovely final trip together to Kyoto. “I want to be with you like this. I’m happy being with you like this. Marriage wouldn’t make me any happier. I like how it is now. My greatest happiness is to be with you”. But he jumps on her for that. Here is the whole heat-rending scene.
“Happiness is not a thing to wait for, but what you create”. Is it? The pursuit of happiness? We can all get what we want if we will it enough? (through hard work, and effort) I used to believe this. Not so sure anymore. Happiness is a capricious cat – come and goes when it pleases.
The talking to he gives her makes her realise how selfish (for being jealous) she’s been. It’s humbling how he gives her away like this. By sacrificing himself (his own selfish wants and needs – of her) His duty, as her father, is to liberate her towards her greater future happiness with a husband (when he as her father is no longer around)
“Mono no aware”; thats what this, and every other Ozu film I’ve watched is saturated by: the inevitable sadness of life caused by change. The impermanence that permeates every existence to its core. Thats what makes Ozu’s films so bitter-sweet, so tender, so human.
Dir: Yasujiro Ozu, Japan
7.5/10 (I’m probably going to have to uprate Ozu’s films by an extra mark when I look back. This should really be an 8)