Yasujiro Ozu is often regarded as one of cinema’s most influential directors. The subtle, brilliant cinematography and authentic characters in his films form the foundation of undeniably exquisite works of art.
Setsuko Hara starred in six of Yasujiro Ozu’s films, but she is best known for portraying Noriko Hirayama in the ‘Noriko Trilogy’: “Late Spring,” “Early Summer,” and “Tokyo Story.” The trilogy focuses on the disconnect between traditional Japanese ideas and modern-day values, told through the lens of a young woman struggling to find her place in an unforgiving society.
Hara’s other-worldly radiance combined with Ozu’s technical yet poetic visual language is a match made in heaven. Though Setsuko Hara worked with several important Japanese directors, such as Akira Kurosawa in “The Idiot” and Mikio Naruse in “Sound of the Mountain,” it was Yasujiro Ozu’s death in 1963 that prompted Hara to quit acting and live out the rest of her days in peaceful seclusion.
The photograph below shows Setsuko Hara and Yasujiro Ozu on the set of “Tokyo Story,” Ozu’s masterpiece that was once voted the greatest film of all time.