Yasujiro Ozu

Floating Weeds

Floating Weeds

In 1959, Yasujiro Ozu remade his 1934 silent classic A Story of Floating Weeds in color with the celebrated cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa (Rashomon, Ugetsu). Setting his later version in a seaside location, Ozu otherwise preserves the details of his elegantly simple plot wherein an aging actor returns to a small town with his troupe and reunites with his former lover and illegitimate son, a scenario that enrages his current mistress and results in heartbreak for all. Together, the films offer a unique glimpse into the evolution of one of cinema's greatest directors. A Story of Floating Weeds reveals Ozu in the midst of developing his mode of expression; Floating Weeds reveals his distinct style at its pinnacle. In each, the director captures the joy and sadness in everyday life.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • Audio commentary by film critic Roger Ebert
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation by Donald Richie
  • Optimal image quality:RSDL dual-layer edition

Available In

Collector's Set

Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films

Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films

DVD Box Set

50 Discs

$650.00

Collector's Set

A Story of Floating Weeds/Floating Weeds: Two Films by Yasujiro Ozu

A Story of Floating Weeds/Floating Weeds

DVD Box Set

2 Discs

$31.96

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • Audio commentary by film critic Roger Ebert
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation by Donald Richie
  • Optimal image quality:RSDL dual-layer edition
Floating Weeds
Cast
Ganjiro Nakamura
Komajuro
Machiko Kyo
Sumiko
Ayako Wakao
Kayo
Hiroshi Kawaguchi
Kiyoshi
Haruko Sugimura
Oyoshi
Hitomi Nozoe
Aiko
Chishu Ryu
Theater owner
Koji (Hideo) Mitsui
Kichinosuke
Haruo Tanaka
Yatazo
Yosuke Irie
Sugiyama
Hikaru Hoshi
Kimura
Mantaro Ushio
Sentaro
Kumeko Urabe
Shige
Credits
Director
Yasujiro Ozu
Script by (based on the 1934 Ikeda script)
Yasujiro Ozu
Script by (based on the 1934 Ikeda script)
Kogo Noda
Cinematography
Kazuo Miyagawa
Art direction by
Tomoo Shimogawara
Lighting by
Sachio Ito
Music by
Kojun Saito

From The Current

The Signature Style of Yasujiro Ozu
The Signature Style of Yasujiro Ozu

With his singular and unwavering style, Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu disregarded the established rules of cinema and created a visual language all his own. Precise compositions, contemplative pacing, low camera angles, and elliptical storytelling a…

/
Will Oldham’s Top 10
Will Oldham’s Top 10

Singer-songwriter and occasional film actor Will Oldham has released eighteen albums.


Sonic Youth’s Top 10
Sonic Youth’s Top 10

Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, and Steve Shelley ganged up for this Criterion top ten—or twelve, as it turned out. The New York–based no wavers have been making music together since 1981. Their albums include Daydream Na


Götz Spielmann’s Top 10
Götz Spielmann’s Top 10

Götz Spielmann is the director of Revanche.


Neil LaBute’s Top 10
Neil LaBute’s Top 10

Neil LaBute, director of In the Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbors, and Nurse Betty, has contributed supplemental interviews to two Criterion DVD editions: Mike Leigh’s Naked and Eric Rohmer’s Love in the Afternoon, the latter available i


Stories of Floating Weeds

“Floating weeds, drifting down the leisurely river of our lives,” has long been a favored metaphor in Japanese prose and poetry. This plant, the ukigusa (duckweed in English), floating aimlessly, carried by stronger currents, is seen as emblemati…

By Donald Richie


Floating Weeds

Subtle, lyrical, and delicately bittersweet, Floating Weeds offers an excellent introduction to the cinema of Yasujiro Ozu—one of the greatest of all Japanese filmmakers, and until recently in the West, one of the least known. “The Japanese . . …

By David Ehrenstein


Explore

Yasujiro Ozu

Writer, Director

Yasujiro Ozu
Yasujiro Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu has often been called the “most Japanese” of Japan’s great directors. From 1927, the year of his debut for Shochiku studios, to 1962, when, a year before his death at age sixty, he made his final film, Ozu consistently explored the rhythms and tensions of a country trying to reconcile modern and traditional values, especially as played out in relations between the generations. Though he is best known for his sobering 1953 masterpiece Tokyo Story, the apex of his portrayals of the changing Japanese family, Ozu began his career in the thirties, in a more comedic, though still socially astute, mode, with such films as I Was Born, But . . . and Dragnet Girl. He then gradually mastered the domestic drama during the war years and afterward, employing both physical humor, as in Good Morning, and distilled drama, as in Late Spring, Early Summer, and Floating Weeds. Though Ozu was discovered relatively late in the Western world, his trademark rigorous style—static shots, often from the vantage point of someone sitting low on a tatami mat; patient pacing; moments of transcendence as represented by the isolated beauty of everyday objects—has been enormously influential among directors seeking a cinema of economy and poetry.