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Yasujirō Ozu

by Black Irish
“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson Few directors are so instantly recognisable across the span of their careers, in this case just over thirty. Whose style of composition and editing develop so uniformily that films begin merging into one another and upon remembrance, we confuse roles or scenes from different films. An aesthetic favoring ellipsis and elision of traditional drama, still lifes of empty space or objects serving as bridges between moments,… Read more

“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Few directors are so instantly recognisable across the span of their careers, in this case just over thirty. Whose style of composition and editing develop so uniformily that films begin merging into one another and upon remembrance, we confuse roles or scenes from different films. An aesthetic favoring ellipsis and elision of traditional drama, still lifes of empty space or objects serving as bridges between moments, intimacy generated through ordinary dialogue and a low-placed camera emphasizing line, balanced asymmetry and foreshortening allows the presumption of Ozu as the ‘most Japanese’ of his country’s filmmakers. These elements suggest the long traditions of Eastern visual art and philosophy, but compared with contemporaries such as Mizoguchi or even Kurosawa, he differs. Never making an historical film, Ozu was committed to the modern era and the development of Japan’s urban society from the Depression up through the early sixties, as well as an enthusiast of Western culture. His protagonists watch Western films and television, enjoy baseball, drink beer, eat hamburger and tomatoes, play golf, hang posters of foreign destinations all alongside memorial services, marriage ceremonies, drinking binges of sake. His interest being where tradition and progress intersect, he reveals the ties between friends, lovers and relations through their tenuousness. Child-like demands for toys, the refusal or delaying of marriage, neglect of parents or spouses, the inevitability of separation either through death or moving away. This man, who lived with his mother most of his life, breaks others apart and undermines ‘Japanese’ life, to bring back the curtain and reveal the subtle agonies we all share.

Most Anticipated Films:
- Flavor of Green Tea over Rice (1952)
- A Hen in the Wind (1948)
- Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth? (1932)
- An Inn in Tokyo (1935)
- I Flunked, But… (1930)
- Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family (1941)
- Dragnet Girl (1933)
- Days of Youth (1929)

And Now For Something Completely Different:

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