Late Autumn is character as jigsaw puzzle, with tantalising missing pieces—the characters' silences, the film's empty spaces.
Ozu's film concerns the mystery of the human essence, and much of it is devoted to the surmises, opinions, machinations and viewpoints of those around the mother and daughter, including Aya's friend Yuriko and three friends of her late father. As in Citizen Kane, each observation or comment presents the two women in a new, slightly different light. The goal is not so much truth or completeness as an appreciation of the elusiveness of truth. The most 'dramatic' scene—Akiko 'rhapsodising' about her late husband when it is suggested she should remarry—is not...
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