Home > Quick Review > Quick Review: FLOATING WEEDS (1959)

Quick Review: FLOATING WEEDS (1959)


Director: Yasujiro Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu is the unquestioned master of the domestic drama, as he is well-known to be.  His films tend to gravitate towards tales of family life, seemingly mundane when viewed as a whole, but rife with drama and issues most audiences can empathize with when broken down to the various minutiae of familial interaction.  This film concerns a theater troupe and well as a very dysfunctional domestic situation, each serving as a family in it’s own right with their own set of problems to deal with.

It’s very well understood that Akira Kurosawa is my favorite filmmaker who ever lived, but Ozu certainly is not far behind, even after only seeing three of his films (TOKYO STORY and LATE SPRING being the other two).  The two gentleman couldn’t be further apart in terms of content and style really, but I find myself entranced by the static camera and simple-yet-honest stories of families and their common problems always present in Ozu’s films.  Each of the tales I’ve seen have been uplifting yet heartbreaking in their own way, perhaps none more heartbreaking than TOKYO STORY.  FLOATING WEEDS  never leans toward melodrama, as it would in the hands of a lesser director.  Ozu keeps it simple, with minimal music and very static camera work that allows the actors to unfold the tale through their interactions.  There are several moments of true humor sprinkled throughout as well, which grounds the story and keeps it in a more realistic place.

All-in-all, the film was great, which only serves to increase Ozu’s standing as a master craftsman in my book.  He’s not flashy or stylistic, but his stories are honest creations that require his steady hand and a patient, unflinching camera that magnifies problems we all see everyday in our own families.

Categories: Quick Review
  1. April 12, 2012 at 1:54 am

    I remember it’s one of Roger Ebert’s top 10? There is a commentary by him in the Criterion disc though.

    I don’t know why Ozu remade the film himself,maybe he loved the story and the character too much.His story is never melodramatic and the characters are very HUMAN.I love the color of this film,you should see more of his color films too!!

    • April 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      I didn’t know that Ebert had it in his Top 10 of all time, I read that after I watched it. Pretty lofty standing.

      I was wondering why he remade his own film as well, perhaps for the color. His stories are so engrossing, yet seemingly simple. He’s so great at pulling the viewer in.

      It was surprising to see color in this film, I only know his B&W stuff, I’ll definitely have to check out some more. Thanks David!

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