Monday, March 03, 2014

お早よう / Ohayou (Good Morning) [1959]

Why I Saw This Movie
My Cinephile friend has been telling me about the work of Yasujiro Ozu (W) for some time, and then finally invited me over to watch this movie with him one afternoon.  And I accepted, because the occasional Japanese movie every now and then stops me from completely forgetting the Japanese language.

The Review
          I have to admit, when my cinephile friend described to me the work of Ozu, it sounded terribly boring.  A Japanese director who obsesses about framing every shot perfectly, and who makes films about middle class families in Japan in which nothing really happens.
            And yet, even though I can’t explain why exactly, the film is very charming.  The characters were likeable; the humor subdued, but present; and the situations identifiable.
            Although some 50 years old now, to me this film seemed to perfectly encapsulate the atmosphere of everyday life in Japan.

Rating :
6 out of 10. (Although this is a tough one to rate, because more so than most movies, this one really depends on you being in the right mood for it.)

Other Things I Would Talk About If I Wasn’t Limiting Myself to 100 Words
* As we watched this movie, my Cinephile friend gave me quite an education on how meticulously each Ozu screen shot is structured.

*How this movie is so quintessentially Japanese--the huge emphasis placed on greetings, for example.

* In many ways, the subtlety of this movie was the complete opposite of the overly-dramatic Japanese film Always, and yet they reminded me of each other—both films depicted the small town life in Japan at the end of the 1950s, and in both movies the excitement of acquiring modern appliances is a big part of the film.
* My Cinephile friend tells me Ozu’s style, and his humor, has had a big influence on Wes Anderson, so here’s a link back to my review of Moonrise Kingdom
* (I have a feeling that I probably should remember something about Ozu from Donald Richie’s book, but I no longer have that book with me now, and have now forgotten almost everything in it.  Because the book overloaded me with lists of names and films, I never did properly absorb its information.)

Link of the Day

Noam Chomsky (2013) on "Confronting Reality" 

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