Samstag, 9. Juni 2012

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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