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film

The End of Summer and Women in Love

One of the strongest images in Ozu’s The End of Summer (1961) is the crematorium smokestack at the top of a bland, inexpressive landscape, symbolizing the end of an old rake, who sneaked a day at the bicycle races with his mistress and died of overexposure. The sinewy sturdy old man (Ganjiro Nakamura, who looks like Picasso himself with his cockiness and golden sturdy vigor) is the only rambunctious member of a very restrained, duty-conscious family—the invariable cornerstone around which Ozu constructs his pared down home drama perfections. The tactics of the long lead-in to the crematorium shot (besides the smokestack aimed at heaven, some equally sobering, numb landscapes shot nearly from sand level of two peasants washing clothes in the river, and three crows I pacing very nervously, waiting for the old man’s cremation, plus a few moments with the querulous, self-concerned family,

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