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late autumn

January 23, 2010

[Guardian] Ozu’s career ran in reverse, somehow. Other film-makers start simple then arm themselves with all the techniques and stylistic influences they can acquire. In the 20th century, film-makers encountered sound, colour, location filming and widescreen camerawork and widened out their movies accordingly. Ozu instead pared back, resisting sound until 1935, eight years into his career, and deploring CinemaScope when it arrived in 1953. Early on, his camera moved more, and dissolves, screen-wipes and other transitional gimmicks were more prevalent. But experience made him foreswear everything that was not Ozu. Every outside influence was jettisoned in search of a purity of expression that, in the end, left no obstacle, nothing, between the viewer and the characters, their words and their faces. Nothingness was big with Ozu: nothing, or little, of his own drunken bachelor life surfaces in his movies. But his world feels that much fuller thanks to the clarity with which he depicts it. We just have to learn how to watch him.  (read)

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