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Review Blog

What Did the Lady Forget?

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on August 8, 2014 at 4:40 PM


Yasujiro Ozu




IDEA:  The young, liberated Setsuko comes to visit her affluent aunt and uncle in Tokyo. While there, she discovers a power imbalance in their relationship she brashly attempts to correct.

BLURB:  There is an acridity to What Did the Lady Forget? that is rather atypical of Ozu, a confrontational, transgressive quality that comes as a series of slow shocks. It is a rebellious attitude that festers under the picture’s surface, gradually accumulating in an impertinent face-scrunch or a nudge in the stomach, making itself known by rowdy schoolboys and refined professors alike. Because Ozu’s focus here is on the bourgeoisie, he gets to indulge in a particular brand of class satire that marries his characteristic generosity with vinegary critique. Though the results are rather problematic by today’s standards (an instance of domestic abuse, though handled shrewdly in terms of how its characters react to it, is still uneasily deferred), the observations on intergenerational influence and social mores still resonate with Ozu’s astute touch. Many films have picked apart the repressed, hypocritical upper classes; none, perhaps, with such simultaneous gentility and roguishness.

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