Friday, March 16, 2007

March 16th Log

1953, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan

Repeat Viewing, DVD

Widely considered among the greatest films in the history of Japanese cinema, Ozu’s 1953 Tokyo Story stands as a true masterpiece of filmmaking. Tokyo Story is a reflective film about morals, selfishness, and youth's treatment (or mistreatment) of the elderly. But it's also a deeply moving love story, while never being manipulative or over-sentimental as Ozu achieves the most moving emotions through his trademark simplistic style. The film's final moments and images represent the power of love, and the need for human connection in a way that is unforgettably sad - captured through Ozu's transcendent cinematic language and of course Setsuko Hara's stunning performance. Every single shot is beautifully and expressively composed and Tokyo Story may feature Ozu's most prominent use of his defining "pillow shots". At the core this is a film of the inevitability of life changing and the transcient acceptance of this inevitability. This is expressed in both the changes of a postwar Japanese society and more specifically of the family. By presenting these daily life cycles and changes through generations of a family, Ozu has created a film that is widely universal and transcendent. It is the ordinary routines that can hide the sadness of life, but it is the willingness to accept sadness and change as part of the life cycle. Life does goes on and Tokyo Story understands and accepts this as something that must be. Ultimately the film captures this in the end as the family has been destroyed and we come back full circle to where it began. Tokyo Story is one of the most moving films ever made. It understandings and complexities of human emotion and behavior is flawless and under the minimalist direction of Ozu’s style as well as the superb performances by his cast, Tokyo Story emerges as one of the truly great film achievements in the history of world cinema. A classic film to cherish and to revisit.

>> More on Tokyo Story @ A2P Cinema's Yasujiro Ozu website HERE

>>> Here is a scene from Tokyo Story. This clip shows the star entrance given to Setsuko Hara, who plays the compassionate daughter-in-law Noriko. Notice the flawlessly detailed use of space and pattern within the visual composition:

1973, Charles A. Nichols / Iwao Takamoto, United States

1st Viewing, DVD

I’m planning on viewing next weeks DVD release of Charlotte’s Web and first decided to check out this 1973 animated version. Surprisingly this is a rather disappointing adaptation of the beloved classic in that it has little imagination as it tied down by forced musical bits. The story is a rightful classic on universal themes of friendship, life, prejudice, and ignorance but this film seems to tack on a bit too much sentiment and content that easily dates it. The voice work is solid by the well known cast (most notably Henry Gibson as Wilbur and Debbie Reynolds as Charlotte). This could be a decent film for children and it certainly is not a horrible film simply because the story is a timeless one. This film has opportunities to be much better with a film that is more faithful or trusting in the original source. I am hoping the 2006 version captures this a bit better.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home