Films byTexts by Yasujirô Ozu

Yasujirō Ozu (1903-1963) was a Japanese filmmaker and screenwriter. He developed the shomin-geki, “the drama of ordinary people”, a genre focusing on the family life of the Japanese lower middle class. He began his career in the era of silent film and built up a reputation with comedies such as Daigaku wa deta keredo [I Graduated, But...] (1929) and Umarete wa mita keredo [I Was Born, But...] (1932). 1947 was the start of Nagaya shinshi roku [The Record of a Tenement Gentleman], a series of films in which a concern for post-war conditions went hand in hand with further stylistic refinement. Plot was more or less eliminated, while character studies predominated. Ozu’s films are characterized by static shots, with the camera about 70 centimetres above the ground. His best-known and most celebrated films include Banshun [Late Spring] (1949), Bakushu [Early Summer] (1951), O-chazuke no aji [The Flavour of Green Tea over Rice] (1952), Tōkyō monogatari [Tokyo Story] (1953) and Sōshun [Early Spring] (1956).

FILM
Early Summer
Yasujirô Ozu, 1951, 125’

“I wanted to describe such deep matters as reincarnation and mutability, more than just telling a story. For this reason, Early Summer was one of the most demanding work I’ve done in years. There was criticism about the children being unruly.

FILM
Early Spring
Yasujirô Ozu, 1956, 145’

In Early Spring, Ozu examines life in postwar Japan through the eyes of a young salaryman, dissatisfied with career and marriage, who begins an affair with a flirtatious co-worker.

 

FILM
Tokyo Twilight
Yasujirô Ozu, 1957, 140’

Tokyo Twilight follows the parallel paths of two sisters contending with an absent mother, unwanted pregnancy, and marital discord.

 

FILM
Equinox Flower
Yasujirô Ozu, 1958, 114’

Later in his career, Ozu started becoming increasingly sympathetic with the younger generation, a shift that was cemented in Equinox Flower, his gorgeously detailed first color film, about an old-fashioned father and his newfangled daughter.

 

FILM
Good Morning
Yasujirô Ozu, 1959, 94’

Letting rip a fart –
It doesn’t make you laugh
When you live alone.

Senryu poem

 

FILM
Late Autumn
Yasujirô Ozu, 1960, 128’

A widow tries to marry off her daughter with the help of her late husband's three friends.

 

FILM
An Autumn Afternoon
Yasujirô Ozu, 1962, 113’

The last film by Yasujiro Ozu was also his final masterpiece, a gently heartbreaking story about a man’s dignifed resignation to life’s shifting currents and society’s modernization.