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Flavor of green tea over rice (Ozu, 1952) #DTC 469

A married couple goes through a difficult time, even contemplating a break-up.

It's really hard to find something in the storyline - it sounds transparently thin and boring when compressed to one sentence. Nevertheless, as always Ozu has managed to create a whole universe with not much else in it than that very unspectacular married couple. The biggest event/crisis in their lives is, when he is supposed to go to work in South America and she doesn't let him tell her the news.

There are also some highly interesting observations about Japanese marriage culture. As the couples get wed by recommendation, not by love there is a potential generational conflict, plus a high social acceptance for adultery or having a mistress.

The strange calmness of Ozu's films is gripping so strongly anytime - and I'm still trying to figure out how he did it. His beautiful shots of empty corridors, hallways, and other living spaces evoke strong emotions. At the beginning of the film those pictures don't have too much weight, but once the characters have imbued them with their emotions, the walls continue to emanate those feelings, long after their source has left. And all of this manages to transcend through the screen.

Ozu still moves the camera in this one, but it's only very slow tracking shots - if at all. Many visual elements are present also here: the train and the office hallway.  The plane shot seems quite an exception for Ozu.

Not in this film, but in a couple of others there was a "sad" picture of a mirror in an abandoned bedroom that makes your heart stop, it's so full of feeling.

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They drive by night (Walsh, 1940) #DTC #161

Two truck-driving brothers dream of a better future and financial independence in a sea of good and bad fortune.

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In terms of interesting characters, Ida Lupino as the selfish wife that tries to seduce George Raft's Joe she is definitively at the most intense when she slowly sheds all the layers of sanity towards the end. Although her motives are a bit unclear - the amazing thing about her behavior is that she values love over money. In that perspective the movie feels like a tragedy, as (except for the loan shark) everybody has comparatively sophisticated understanding of emotion and life.

Au revoir les enfants (Louis Malle, 1987)

During second world war the monk running a boarding school for upper-class kids hides Jewish kids.

This highly personal movie is very touching and manages to avoid all the pitfalls of being overly emotional. Music and editing are very subdued and carefully used to underline situations. This makes the story ring true (which it was) and gives the viewer good time to settle into the universe that these kids live in.

There are many quite complicated scenes and I was interested in one particular: When Jean gets invited on parent's day by the mother of his new best friend into a posh restaurant. In that very restaurant there are Nazis at one side of the room and an elderly Jew sitting on the other side. The table of the family is right inbetween. Many things about France during the war are told during this scene, I'll just try and focus on camera placement.


The focus shifts twice in the scene: From the family table to the French Jew's table  (who I have been told wears the red …

Glory (1989, Edward Zwick)

A young commander in the civil war is asked to recruit and lead the first all-black Confederate battalion into the Civil War.

I am not too interested in details of the American Civil War but the film managed to stir my interest in some ways. I might want to look up the difference in treatment of the many Chinese laborers that were employed in the development of the West and what kind of legacy this particular group of people has to suffer from in contrast to the better-known fate of African-Americans.

There are some interesting scenes in the film. I decide to examine the battle scene in the beginning. It introduces Broderick's character as a naive and brave but inexperienced soldier - a great choice of casting, especially in contrast to the hardened appearance of Washington. According to imdb footage was used from re-enactment groups and intercut with the staged film.

Before the battle scene commences Broderick walks in row of soldiers and talks over the pictures of the gathering…