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Film / The End of Summer

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The End of Summer is a 1961 film by Yasujiro Ozu.

It centers on the Kohayagawa family, which operates its own sake brewery in Kyoto. Patriarch Manbei is semi-retired from the operation of the brewery, which isn't doing particularly well, small independent companies like his having to struggle against the conglomerates. He is more concerned with getting his female relatives married off. His daughter-in-law Akiko (Setsuko Hara, in her sixth and last film with Ozu) is a widow in her early forties; Manbei's brother-in-law is trying to get Akiko paired off with a friend of his. His daughter Noriko is unmarried and works in an office; for her the family has chosen a well-to-do beer salesman. Unbeknownst to them, Noriko has fallen in love with one of her coworkers.

Manbei, however, has more on his mind than getting younger people married. It turns out that he has been sneaking out of the house, avoiding the sharp eyes of his daughter Fumiko (who lives at the brewery with her husband Hisao, who's running the business). Manbei has been making surreptitious visits to his old mistress Sasaki, whom he recently ran into after not having seen her for nearly 20 years. Sasaki has a daughter, Yuriko, whom Manbei believes to be his. Most of the family is either tolerant or indifferent to this affair but Fumiko is incensed.

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The next-to-last film of Ozu's career and the only movie he made for the Toho studio.


Tropes:

  • The Cameo: Chishu Ryu, who was in almost every film Ozu ever made (Ryu starred in Ozu masterpieces Tokyo Story, Late Spring, and An Autumn Afternoon), pops up near the end of the movie as a farmer washing radishes in the river.
  • Creepy Crows: The farmer played by Chishu Ryu notes an unusually large number of crows sitting around and wonders if someone has died. It's Manbei that's died, and soon enough smoke rises from the crematorium that's on the other side of the river. The very last shot shows crows sitting on the headstones in the graveyard.
  • Faux Fluency: No one seems to know who the two white dudes playing Yuriko's boyfriends George and Harry were, but they both demonstrate terrible fake American accents.
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  • Intro Dump: The arrival of several additional family relations after Manbei has his heart attack is amusingly explained by the clerk at the brewery trying to explain to one of his co-workers just who the hell all these additional Kohayagawa relatives are.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Yuriko, who calls Manbei "father", says to her mother that she remembers calling someone else "father" when she was a small child. When Sasaki admits that she doesn't really know who Yuriko's father is, Yuriko shrugs and says Manbei can be her "father" as long as he gets her that mink stole she wants.
  • Match Cut: From torn-up betting slips fluttering down from the grandstands at a racetrack, to the waves in a neon sign in Osaka.
  • The Matchmaker: Kitagawa, Manbei's brother-in-law, who tries to match Akiko up with his buddy Isamura. Akiko is not at all interested.
  • Old Flame: Manbei has taken up with his old mistress of two decades ago, much to the family's consternation.
  • Race Fetish: Yuriko has a thing for white dudes, going out on dates with two different ones over the course of the movie.
  • Rule of Three: Manbei's daughter-in-law Akiko, his daughter Fumiko, and his daughter Noriko, representing respectively the widow, the wife, and the maiden.
  • Secret Other Family: Actually, it isn't secret. The family knows about Sasaki and Yuriko, although none of them believe that Yuriko is really Manbei's daughter. Fumiko, who remembers her mother crying when finding out about Sasaki twenty years ago, is enraged that her father is seeing Sasaki again.
  • Translated Cover Version: The workers at Noriko's office party sing a Japanese song to the tune of "My Darling Clementine".
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