Sad news today: It was announced that the great actress Setsuko Hara passed away in Japan last September 5th.
She was 95 years old.
Rather like Deanna Durbin before her, Hara completely turned her back on films after retiring in the early '60s, refusing interviews.
Obituaries have been published in The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Adam Bernstein of the Post describes her as "a movie star of exquisite power," while David Mermelstein of the Wall Street Journal writes that her films "will continue to enchant and move future generations largely because of her presence in them."
Setsuko Hara has been one of the standout performers as I've started to become acquainted with Japanese cinema in the last few years. It is not overstating to say that her performances in Ozu's LATE SPRING (1949), EARLY SUMMER (1951), and LATE AUTUMN (1960) are unforgettable.
I'm glad to know I have so many of her performances still ahead of me to become acquainted with for the first time, including TOKYO STORY (1953). (January 2017 Update: Here is my review of TOKYO STORY.)
Truly, she was one of the greats of the cinema.