'Ukigusa" is the latest film of Yasujiro Ozu, the director whom most Japanese consider "the most Japanese director."

His films are quiet yet powerful, meditative yet implying the strain beneath the surface; they are composed, almost like a mosiac, of small, clear-cut, occasionally even haikulike scenes; they are dedicated to an evocation of the awareness of the transience of all things; they show minor tragedies, and their conclusions are a shrug and a smile.

The current Daiei picture is the latest expression of this "mono no aware" in Ozu's postwar films. A small theatrical troupe, led by Ganjiro Nakamura, comes to a small town in the Shima Peninsula. As soon as they have arrived, Nakamura goes off to visit Haruko Sugimura, a woman he had known before. Machiko Kyo, the leading actress, is jealous and eventually confronts them. Nothing comes of it, the troupe is losing money and is eventually disbanded. Nakamura leaves Haruko and finds Machiko waiting in the station. They decide to go off together.