The Discreet Bourgeois

Possessed by an urgency to make sure all this stuff I love doesn't just disappear


Leave a comment

The Last Ten Films I’ve Seen

  1. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Sergei Paradjanov)
  2. The Hard Way (Victor Sherman)
  3. Ashik Kerib (Sergei Paradjanov)
  4. Older Brother, Younger Sister (Mikio Naruse)
  5. Early Summer (Yasujiro Ozu)
  6. The Rising of the Moon (John Ford)
  7. The Music Room  (Satyajit Ray)
  8. Searching For Sugarman (Malik Bendjelloul)
  9. Made In USA (Jean-Luc Godard)
  10. The Man With The Golden Arm (Otto Preminger)

 

The more I see of Ozu, the more I am amazed at how much is done with so little. All his films have such a placid surface and seem to be depicting only the most mundane of matters. Imperceptibly, but inevitably, there is a climax that is emotionally overwhelming. It seems to come from nowhere, but it has been brewing the whole time. Kurosawa’s oft-quoted description of Mikio Naruse’s films could certainly apply to Ozu’s as well: They are “a great river with a calm surface and a raging current in its depths”

The late, great Donald Richie provided the commentary on the Criterion edition of Early Summer.  He remarks on the great stylistic similarities between Ozu’s work and the novels of Jane Austen and the films of Robert Bresson, neither of which he knew. All three artists depicted the smallest things of life, with a seeming detachment, but which is actuality a God’s-eye view of the human condition.

Advertisements