Yasujiro Ozu

Early Summer

Early Summer

The Mamiya family is seeking a husband for their daughter, Noriko, but she has ideas of her own. Played by the extraordinary Setsuko Hara, Noriko impulsively chooses her childhood friend, at once fulfilling her family's desires while tearing them apart. A seemingly simple story, Early Summer is one of Yasujiro Ozu's most complex works—a nuanced examination of life's changes across three generations. The Criterion Collection is proud to present one of the director's most enduring classics.

Film Info

  • Yasujiro Ozu
  • Japan
  • 1951
  • 125 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • Japanese
  • Spine #240

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • Audio commentary by Japanese-film expert Donald Richie, author of Ozu and A Hundred Years of Japanese Film
  • Ozu’s Films from Behind-the-Scenes, a conversation about Ozu and his working methods between child-actor and sound technician Kojiro Suematsu, assistant cameraman Takashi Kawamata, and Ozu producer Shizuo Yamanouchi
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
  • Plus: a new essay by film scholar David Bordwell, author of Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema, and an essay about Ozu by filmmaker Jim Jarmusch

New cover by Michael Boland

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • Audio commentary by Japanese-film expert Donald Richie, author of Ozu and A Hundred Years of Japanese Film
  • Ozu’s Films from Behind-the-Scenes, a conversation about Ozu and his working methods between child-actor and sound technician Kojiro Suematsu, assistant cameraman Takashi Kawamata, and Ozu producer Shizuo Yamanouchi
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
  • Plus: a new essay by film scholar David Bordwell, author of Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema, and an essay about Ozu by filmmaker Jim Jarmusch

New cover by Michael Boland

Early Summer
Cast
Setsuko Hara
Noriko Mamiya
Chishu Ryu
Koichi Mamiya
Chikage Awashima
Aya Tamura
Kuniko Miyake
Fumiko Mamiya
Ichiro Sagai
Shukichi Mamiya
Chieko Higashiyama
Shige Mamiya
Haruko Sugimura
Tami Yabe
Hiroshi Nihonyanagi
Kenkichi Yabe
Kuniko Igawa
Takako
Seiji Miyaguchi
Nishiwaki
Shuji Sano
Sotaro Satake
Zen Murase
Minoru Mamiya
Isao Shirosawa
Isamu Mamiya
Kazuyo Ito
Mitsuko Yabe
Tami Yamamoto
Tomiko Nishiwaki
Credits
Director
Yasujiro Ozu
Writers
Kogo Noda
Writers
Yasujiro Ozu
Producer
Takeshi Yamamoto
Cinematography
Yuharu Atsuta
Editing
Yoshiyasu Hamamura
Art director
Tatsuo Hamada
Lighting
Itsuo Takashita
Music
Senji Ito
Assistant director
Shohei Imamura
Recording
Yoshisaburo Seno

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…

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Early Summer

Today, ambitious directors experiment with the ensemble plot. More and more they shift away from a single protagonist and toward a group of characters connected by kinship, friendship, or some striking event. The structure isn’t unknown in studio-e…

By David Bordwell


Explore

Yasujiro Ozu

Writer, Director

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.