Search - Stories of Floating Weeds (A Story of Floating Weeds (1934) / Floating Weeds (1959)) - Criterion Collection on DVD

Stories of Floating Weeds (A Story of Floating Weeds (1934) / Floating Weeds (1959)) - Criterion Collection
Stories of Floating Weeds / Floating Weeds - Criterion Collection
A Story of Floating Weeds 1934
Actors: Ganjiro Nakamura, Machiko Ky, Haruko Sugimura, Takeshi Sakamoto, Chko Iida
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2004     3hr 25min

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 ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ganjiro Nakamura, Machiko Ky, Haruko Sugimura, Takeshi Sakamoto, Chko Iida
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Creators: Hideo Shigehara, Kazuo Miyagawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Masaichi Nagata, Kgo Noda, Tadao Ikeda
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/20/2004
Original Release Date: 11/24/1970
Theatrical Release Date: 11/24/1970
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 3hr 25min
Screens: Black and White,Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 19
Edition: Special Edition,Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

I loved loved loved this movie!
E. Dolnack | Atlanta, GA USA | 05/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you only buy one Japanese film to add to your DVD collection, let it be an Ozu film and "Floating Weeds" is a wonderful place to start. There's really nothing I can say that isn't absolutely praiseworthy about Ozu and this film. It truly is a masterpiece in every sense of the word.The Criterion Collection DVD is also a masterpiece, giving us both the original silent "Story of Floating Weeds" and the 1959 remake "Floating Weeds", (both directed by Ozu). The mastering is done well, the sound is great, and the voice-over commentary by famed Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times is a delightful surprise. Ebert humbly acknowledges that there are better Japanese film & culture experts out there, but "does his best" to give a very thorough description of Ozu's very unique style. Needless to say, it's one of the better and more informative commentaries I've heard and Mister Ebert is modest.The story is genuine, sweet, simple, and believable. The characters are solid and have great depth. Ozu keeps the action and emotions to a realistic level without resorting to over-acting in any of his films. They almost don't feel like films in this way, but feel like intrusions into other peoples lives, but politely so. Many people have speculated as to Ozu's curious method of placing his camera just below the eye-level of his actors onscreen, and I have my own theory. Perhaps Mr Ozu also has the innocence of children in mind, and is trying to see the world unbiasedly and naively like a child might - from the aproximate eye-level of a child viewing the events happening in the same room as he or she? It's an idea anyway. Perhaps also Ozu wants the camera to look up to his characters as if it is respectfully just below them submissively, as if it is bowing to them all in respect? It's difficult to say for certain, but the look is unique in all of film and once it hooks you, you're hooked for life! You have been warned.After this wonderful classic, I recommend Ozu's "Tokyo Story" from 1953 (also recently released by the Criterion Collection). Ozu is a great film master and no one could compose a shot like he in all film history. If you haven't, you must see an Ozu film at least once in your lifetime!"
What is a family?
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 01/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ozu called himself a "tofu dealer" who sold many different kinds of tofu, but never pork cutlets or anything like that. He was a master of variations on a theme, taking simple stories and telling and re-telling them, each time with a subtle difference, a slight bend in light and tone. In this stunning DVD package, we are treated to two servings of the same tofu, with the flavor variation that comes with ageing.

The older film, 1934's silent masterpiece "A Story of Floating Weeds" ("Ukigusa monogatari") was made by a younger man with a younger man's passion and righteousness, and the more modern update, 1959's "Floating Weeds" ("Ukigusa,") longer and in color, shows the mellowing that comes with age, the greater desire to forgive, as we see the same story unfold in the hands of an older version of the same man.

Like the river weed from which the films take their names, the Kabuki actors in both versions float from town to town, going where the course takes them and leaving behind nothing permanent. Long ago, however, one piece of ukigusa, the troupe leader Kihachi, betrayed his nature and left behind something of himself, a son. Now, the course of the river brings Kihachi back to his house of old memories. He is excited, pleased with his son, and briefly considers abandoning his drifting ways to become a true and settled tree. But Kihachi does not float alone, and his leaves and roots are entangled with his Kabuki troupe, including his lover who is determined to keep him drifting.

Like all of Ozu's films, the role of the family is the forefront of "A Story of Floating Weeds/Floating Weeds." In these films, the idea of family is hard to define. Is it the Kabuki troupe, who live, sleep, eat and work together day in and day out, or is it the biological attachment with a son you have rarely met and a woman you never married. Irregardless of the definition, a breakdown is imminent, and only after the pieces have been scattered can we divine the truth.

Individually, either of these films is a treat, but bound together like they are in this Criterion Collection release the bar is raised even higher. A masterpiece of DVD craftsmanship to compliment two masterpiece films. Each film has a commentary track, "A Story of Floating Weeds" by Japanese film grandmaster Donald Richie, who also did the subtitles and provides an insert essay, and "Floating Weeds" by admitted Japanese film novice Roger Ebert. Both commentaries are incredibly insightful and add to the level of appreciation for these films. The new soundtrack for "A Story of Floating Weeds" is sublime, although I have never heard the original so I cannot make a comparison.

Hats off to the Criterion Collection! Now more Ozu, please! Keep them coming, just like this."
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 06/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sublime heroism in small gestures and difficult moral decisions infuse Yasujiro Ozu's 1959 masterpiece, FLOATING WEEDS (Criterion).

An aging Kabuki actor returns to a small town with his troupe and reunites with his old lover and illegitimate son, an act that enrages the actor's current mistress. In some ways, the story is the flip side of the Prodigal Son parable. Here, a bad dad returns to save his son from the temptations of the corrupt world.

This great humanistic film transcends the time and place of its story. I especially enjoyed Roger Ebert's highly informed commentary. Highest recommendation.

Note: The loaded double disc also includes the original 1934 silent version of Ozu's film with an extraordinary new score by noted silent film composer Donald Sosin."
Another fine release from criterion....
Stalwart Kreinblaster | Xanadu | 10/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Floating weeds is the first Ozu film I have seen in color - it is very interesting to see how this master of black and white decided to utilize colors in a very striking way. The story is, like most Ozu films, very simple - about daily life - and leads, eventually, to a course of dramatic emotional events surrounding a family. It is not nearly as sad as 'Tokyo Story' but makes you reflect just as much. It is also an interesting comment on acting - on and off the stage - as the father in the film pretends he is an uncle to a son who does not know that this traveling actor - is actually his father - who elected to live a travelling life with an acting group - instead of settling down to raise a family.
This is another great criterion dvd - featuring commentary from Roger Ebert - and a beautiful transfer of the movie - and the earlier 1934 version. Ozu is without a doubt one of my personal favorite movie makers."