Late Autumn | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Late Autumn

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I'm not the world's biggest Ozu fan, but this late work (1960) is one of his finest. Three middle-aged men who once wooed the widowed Akiko (played with a wonderfully subtle mix of emotions by Setsuko Hara) conspire to marry off both her and her daughter, who declares herself happy as she is. The gentle comedy that ensues makes some good feminist points, but Ozu's deepest theme emerges out of the contrast between the bumbling, sometimes silly strivings of the characters and the stately tranquillity of the spaces around them. Occasional shots of interiors emptied of people are key: human dramas are seen from a distance, as blips within the inexorable passage of time. In Japanese with subtitles. 129 min. Sat 2/12, 3 PM, and Wed 2/16, 6 PM, Gene Siskel Film Center.

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