Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2020 June 12 • Friday

Adding support to some of Adam Mars-Jones's obervations about Ozu's Late Spring, made in Mars-Jones's exhilarating book Noriko Smiling, is this issue of the Saturday Evening Post dated October 9, 1948.

This is the scene on top of a pile of books and magazines in the home of Noriko's friend Aya, who is thoroughly Westernized, a divorced, independent woman who works as a stenographer and is fluent in English with a home furnished in Western style and, in the scene that features her pile of books and magazines, trying to get Noriko to eat a very Western cake that she's just made.

The Post and a few other magazines are obscuring the book titles there, but when Noriko leaves, the magazines fall and you can see that they include Inside U.S.A. and Woman as Force in History.

That second volume in particular could be relevant to Mars-Jones's theory, that Late Spring is about sexual violence and trauma. Written by Mary R. Beard and published in 1946, it appears to be about "the roots of sexual discrimination, the subjection of women throughout legal history, and the impact of women on politics, economics, culture, social and intellectual developments since ancient times" (according to a description that responds quickly to search engine queries).

The presence of this book is very suggestive and I doubt that it's placement there is an accident.

And this particular Saturday Evening Post has no fewer than three stories about women in states of divorce, exploitation or, it seems, traumatic marriage situations.

I'm prepared to read all three of these just to see if there's any direct connection to any of the elements of Late Spring but that's probably overkill.