Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu is not for everyone. His style, in a world of superhero movies and Michael Bay-influenced editing, seems woefully obsolete: his films constantly study the subtle relationship conflicts arising within traditional Japanese families, and his films are almost entirely composed from long shots that he does not cut away from regularly - sometimes even holding shots after all the characters have walked out of frame. But Ozu’s films hold a trump card that transcends his incredible economy of style: they are devastating inquiries into nothing less than the human soul.
And "Late Spring", just released onto Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection, is one of his most affecting works. Looking into the life of a widowed man as he marries off (and loses) his last remaining family member, his daughter, Ozu attacks concepts of stoicism and solitude with a quiet understanding that is profound to this very day. The finale of "Spring" still remains one of the more melancholic moments I’ve ever seen committed to film - and I guarantee you, once you see this film it is not an image that leaves your mind easily.
And, as always, the Criterion Collection has done right by this masterpiece; releasing the Blu-ray with cleaned-up picture quality that makes "Late Spring" look as good as ever (due to the nature of the time period in which it was released, there is still some definite print damage, but Criterion did the best they could.) Add this to their regular features - a booklet full of informative essays, commentaries by historians, and a feature length film (by Wim Wenders!) on Ozu’s influence. "Late Spring" isn’t for everyone, no. But if your cinematic tastes are imbued with a bit of patience (and if your interested in human stories more than superhero films) then Ozu is for you.