Equinox Flower

Higanbana

dir. Yasujiro Ozu

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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An imperious patriarch is defied by his modernized daughter and deceptively compliant wife (Kinuyo Tanaka) in Yasujiro Ozu's lovely domestic comedy-drama.
Pure loveliness. Ozu's first film made in colour is both delicate elegy and delectable comedy, a portrait of a domestic tyrant (Shin Saburi) at odds with his liberated daughter (Ineka Arema), who shuns the idea of arranged marriage, and with his meek wife (Kinuyo Tanaka), who enters into a conspiracy to make sure the daughter gets her way. Funny and touching, Equinox Flower delivers a succession of quietly implosive epiphanies. With brilliantly elegant irony, Ozu has Saburi's hypocritical Hirayama give voice to the director's own sense of life's capriciousness: when his wife gently points out to him that he is not being consistent by approving of the love match of his friend's daughter while opposing that of his own, Hirayama declares that "Everyone is inconsistent now and then, except God. Life is full of inconsistencies. The sum total of all the inconsistencies of life is life itself." In a superlative cast, Tanaka is unforgettable as the determined, deceptively compliant mother.