The Cinema of Ozu According to Kiju Yoshida (Yoshida Kiju ga kataru Ozu-san no eiga)Directed by Kiju Yoshida.
Japan, 1994, digital video, color, 59 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.
Yoshida grew close to Ozu Yasujiro during his time at Shochiku, where he was able to observe the legendary master at work. Although Yoshida and his generation outspokenly rejected the values of Ozu, Kurosawa and the older humanist filmmakers, over the years Yoshida found himself increasingly drawn back to Ozu’s films, fascinated by their unique rigor, formal language and delicate balance between comedy and tragedy. In 1998, Yoshida published a remarkable revisionist study of the venerable master, Ozu’s Anti-Cinema, which positioned Ozu not as a classicist but as an avant-garde and eccentric artist who reinvented film narration and cinematic space. For Japanese television, Yoshida adapted his own text into a four part documentary, which he also condensed into the one hour version which we will see tonight.
Ozu Yasujiro’s penultimate film and one of the great works of his last years, Late Autumn offers an enchanting reinvention of Ozu’s most recurrent themes—the dissolution of the Japanese family and the loneliness of old age—focused on the efforts of three aging businessmen to marry off a friend’s daughter and perhaps find a partner among them for her widow mother as well. In one of her best Shochiku roles, Mariko Okada almost steals the film as the daughter’s best friend who intervenes and embodies the voice of the younger generation so important to Ozu’s late work.