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No synopsis for Floating Weeds.
For more about Floating Weeds and the Floating Weeds Blu-ray release, see Floating Weeds Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 3, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Chishû Ryû
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
» See full cast & crew
Floating Weeds Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 3, 2013
Yasujirô Ozu's "Ukikusa" a.k.a "Floating Weeds" (1959) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Eureka Entertainment. The only supplemental feature on the disc is an original theatrical trailer for the film. The release also arrives with an illustrated brooklet featuring Ignatiy Vishnevetsky's essay "Getting an Angle on Ozu" and excerpts from Yasujiro Ozu's personal diaries. In Japanese, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
An acting troupe arrives in a small and sleepy town and its leader, Komajuro Arashi (Ganjiro Nakamura, The Lower Depths, Summer Clouds), immediately arranges to meet the owner of a sake bar with whom years ago he had a son. Because he could only occasionally visit, Kiyoshi (Hiroshi Kawaguchi, Giants and Toys) was told by his mother Oyoshi (Haruko Sugimura, Tokyo Story, Late Chrysanthemums) that Komajuro was his uncle.
In the days that follow, Komajuro's mistress, Sumiko (Machiko Kyo, The Loyal 47 Ronin, Ugetsu Monogatari), notices that he spends a lot of time with Oyoshi and then accidentally discovers that the two had a son. Barely able to contain her anger, she asks the young and stunningly beautiful actress Kayo (Ayako Wakao, Manji, Red Angel) to seduce Kiyoshi. At first Kayo refuses, fearing that Komajuro will fire her if he finds out, but then reluctantly agrees. When she approaches Kiyoshi he falls madly in love with her, and eventually vows to spend the rest of his life with her.
Slowly beginning to realize the consequences of her actions, Kayo begs Kiyoshi to forget about her, but he goes before his mother and Komajuro and announces that he wants to begin a new life with the girl of his dreams. The confession enrages Komajuro and he immediately proceeds to punish Kayo for destroying his son's life. When she reveals to him that she was asked to seduce Kiyoshi, Komajuro also condemns Sumiko and then disbands the troupe. Meanwhile, Oyoshi finally reveals to Kiyoshi that Komajuro is his father but the boy rejects him and warns him not to treat Kayo as he did his mother when he was young.
Yasujirô Ozu's Floating Weeds is a simple, notably quiet film. As it is the case with many of his best films here Ozu's camera simply observes the main characters from afar as they deal with the issues that affect their relationships.
Even though there are important revelations throughout the film, there are no powerful climaxes. The camera remains static, primarily at floor level, observing but not interfering. The approach allows the viewer to witness a series of events and contemplate their importance rather than simply judge the characters involved with them as they interact with each other.
The different themes the film tackles are universal in nature. The dilemmas the main characters face are very familiar because all of them appear during different stages of life and in one way or another everyone has to deal with them. Naturally, there is absolutely nothing unique about the small triumphs and failures the main characters experience.
The manner in which Ozu captures them, however, is what makes Floating Weeds so fascinating to behold. Its simplicity keeps the film firmly grounded in reality and allows the viewer to experience the essence of life's journey. This may not sound terribly convincing, but it is precisely the reason why Floating Weeds is worth seeing.
The film is based on a script by Kogo Noda (Late Spring, Tokyo Story) and it is actually a remake of Ozu's silent film The Story of Floating Weeds (1934). It was lensed by the great Japanese cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa (Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu Monogatari, and Sanshô Dayû).
Floating Weeds Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.34:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Yasujirô Ozu's Floating Weeds arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Eureka Entertainment.
The high-definition transfer is somewhat inconsistent. While detail is mostly satisfying, depth is often quite problematic; a number of the outdoor sequences in particular look notably flat (see screencapture #1). Many of the close-ups also look disappointingly soft (see screencapture #8). The good news here is that serious sharpening corrections have not been performed. But there is very little healthy and properly resolved grain, which is why the film does not have the convincing organic look it ought to have. Also, most colors are relatively stable, but the blacks are often weak, at times looking even desaturated. Lastly, some small frame skips are easy to spot, as well as tiny flecks and scratches. All in all, the Blu-ray release represents a step up in quality over the R1 DVD release of the film, but it is quite clear that there is plenty of room for sizable improvements. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Floating Weeds Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray disc: Japanese LPCM 2.0. For the record, Eureka Entertainment have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
Generally speaking, the dialog is stable and easy to follow. Some light hiss occasionally sneaks in but it never becomes distracting. The range of nuanced dynamics is fairly limited, but this should not be surprising considering the film's modest sound design. There are no serious audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review.
Floating Weeds Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Floating Weeds Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Yasujiro Ozu's Floating Weeds is a deceptively simple, notably quiet film. Like the majority of the Japanese Master's best films, it touches the heart in a special way and forces one to think about life and what makes it worth living. Like Tokyo Story, I think that it is an essential film to see and own. The Blu-ray release represents a step up in quality over previous DVD releases of the film, but there is definitely room for sizable improvements. RECOMMENDED.
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Floating Weeds Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Floating Weeds Blu-ray - November 15, 2012
British distributors Eureka Entertainment have officially announced and detailed their upcoming Dual Format Edition of Yasujirô Ozu's Ukikusa a.k.a Floating Weeds (1959), starring Ganjirô Nakamura, Chishū Ryū, Machiko Kyô and Haruko Sugimura. The release ...
Floating Weeds Blu-ray Screenshots
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