22 May 2003 | kerpan
Ozu's late film are far more varied than "common wisdom" would have it -- but, by any measure, "Hen in the Wind" (from 1948) is especially "atypical". This is the only Ozu film I've seen (out of 21 or 20) that has a tangible (and even raw) physicality -- it is more like proto-Imamura than "standard" Ozu (no -- Imamura was not yet working as Ozu's assistant -- that only began around 1951). Characters crawl, slither, and slide about. Sometimes, visually oversized bare feet stick into the foreground. Kinuyo Tanaka loses all self possession at the climax, and practically keens her dialog -- at a much higher pitch than I've ever heard her use in any other film.
This is an interesting story that deals with the collateral damage caused by WW2 (and the ensuing occupation) -- as it affected the lives of one young married couple. It was a flop with the audience, I guess -- so it became a path not traveled further. Artistically, it may not be completely successful, but it was a worthy effort.