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A Story of Floating Weeds / Floating Weeds: Two Films by Yasujiro Ozu - The Criterion Collection

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Genres: Drama, Silent
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Plot Sypnosis:

In 1959, Yasujiro Ozu remade his 1934 silent classic A Story of Floating Weeds in color with celebrated cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa. Setting his later version in a seaside location, Ozu otherwise preserves the details of his elegantly simple plot wherein an aging actor returns to a small town with his troupe and reunites with his former lover and their son, a scenario that enrages his current mistress and results in heartbreak for all. Together, the films offer a unique glimpse into the evolution of one of cinema's greatest directors. A Story of Floating Weeds finds Ozu in the midst of developing his mode of expression; Floating Weeds reveals his distinct style at its pinnacle. In each, the director captures the joy and sadness of everyday life.

A Story of Floating Weeds

Rich in backstage atmosphere and class-conscious insight, A Story of Floating Weeds was one of Yasujiro Ozu’s final silent films, and it displays his complete mastery of the form. With a vivid sense of character and the world of rural Japan, he sketches a poignant tale of family secrets, jealousy, and creative community, buoyed by grace notes of humanist observation and by luminous black-and-white cinematography that shows his spare yet lyrical visuals at their most soulful.

Floating Weeds

One of six sublime color masterworks that Yasujiro Ozu produced late in his career, the director’s second filming of his own 1934 silent triumph A Story of Floating Weeds represents the mature flowering of his style. Harnessing the full expressive potential of color, sound, music, and his exquisite compositional sense, he brings new depths of bittersweet feeling—tinged with an aging artist’s melancholic nostalgia—as well as a new air of expansiveness, to a story with enduring resonance.


  • 4K digital master of Floating Weeds, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack (Blu-ray); high-definition digital transfer of Floating Weeds (DVD)
  • High-definition digital master of A Story of Floating Weeds, featuring a score by composer Donald Sosin, presented in 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary for A Story of Floating Weeds by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie and for Floating Weeds by film critic Roger Ebert
  • Trailer
  • English subtitle translation by Richie for Floating Weeds
  • PLUS: An essay by Richie

    Covers by Lucien S. Y. Yang
Release Details

Movie Release Year: 1934
Tech Specs & Release Details

Specs: Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec: 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect Ratio(s): 1.37:1
Audio Formats: Japanese uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Subtitles/Captions: English