(1959)4Craig ButlerLike the majority of director Yasujiro Ozu's work, Floating Weeds is concerned with family relationships and interactions between different generations. It also shares the director's amazingly serene yet appealing visual style, created through the use of the simplest means possible: no tracking shots and no use of dissolves or fades, just long, steady shots, often in a wide frame, interrupted only by judicious editing, with occasional symbolic or atmospheric "pillow shots," which offer moments of contemplative pause. The effect is hypnotic and enthralling and used to particularly good effect in Weeds. The script is also typically Ozu, dealing with a subject that could easily fall into heavy melodrama or even soap opera, but which for the most part skillfully avoids this through the use of implication and nuance rather than direct statement; it is only in the second half that the schematics of the story come into play a bit too strongly. The actors are uniformly excellent, creating a genuine ensemble piece (entirely appropriate for a film dealing with a troupe of actors) and providing many memorable moments, such as the touching final segment in which Machiko Kyo deftly signaling her love and forgiveness of Ganjiro Nakamura merely by the manner in which she pours a glass of wine for him. Weeds is a film of quiet beauty, a gem that discriminating viewers will treasure.