Film Critique: "Early Summer" Ozu's Personalized Techniques Directed By Yasujiro Ozu

1693 words - 7 pages

Yasujiro Ozu is one of Japan's most infamous, and talented filmmakers of all time. In a career that spanned thirty five years, Ozu created around thirty-six films, all which contributed in elevating his genre into the realms of high art. To the general viewer his work is still considered to be slow moving, high brow and lacking the commercial potential of other directors from his period such as Akira Kurosawa or Kenji Mizoguchi (Arnold et al., 2003), but his films project a raw, artistic subtlety that is rarely matched. His specialty is concentrating his plots around Japanese families, showing how they function, change and evolve as a collectivist unit. He has been called and labeled as "the most Japanese of all directors" (Schrader, 1972) for his unique portrayal of Japanese customs, situations, family units, arrangements and their confliction, all which have left an influential mark on Japanese cinema.'Early Summer', is a film by Ozu that portrays the stress and conflict that arises from a Japanese family as a unit. It takes place in post war Japan, an era in time already struggling with shifting cultural changes. It tells primarily about Noriko, an unmarried 28 year old secretary, whose brother, parents, friends, neighbors and boss all help her seek out a potential husband. Noriko, however decides to curve her own way in life and seeks out a husband on her own. She picks out Yabe, a widower with a child who is also her older brother's assistant, and her dead brother's friend. Noriko's decision to marry a widower, and also a close friend of her deceased brother (Shoji in WWII), causes her to be labeled an 'impudent' woman, the sort that her older brother Koichi constantly complains about, having found them too common since the war. She in turn makes an unacceptable choice, and breaks the set of social rules laid before her, and in breaking these rules and traditions, she shatters the unity of her family. In this critique, I will examine the Ozu's film 'Early Summer', and dissect his techniques, and comment on what they devote to the imagery implemented.Ozu claimed: "I formulated my own directing style in my own head, proceeding without any unnecessary imitation of others... for me there was no such thing as a teacher. I have relied entirely on my own strength" (Ozu, 1953). Ozu clearly stated that the style he implemented was one he devised out of his own strength, and rejected outside influences. Audie Bock points out, that since it is difficult to find parallels between Ozu's life and his films, Ozu must have regarded film as an art of fiction, one that realism must be distilled from: "His inspiration came from outside his own life, from his mind and the lives of others observed to perfection with that mind" (Bock, 1985). Maybe the reason for his unpopularity with normal viewers is that his films are always referred to in terms of their style, rather than their content. Ozu increasing refused to dramatize his stories, opting instead to focus...

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