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Yasujiro Ozu and Setsuko Hara

December 12th, 2015
  • 1aOzu-end-of-summer
    The End of Summer

    “It’s very easy to show emotions in drama: the actors cry or laugh and this conveys sad or happy feelings to the audience. But this is mere explanation. Can we really portray a man’s personality and dignity by appealing to emotions? I want to make people feel what life is like without delineating dramatic ups and downs.” –Yasujirō Ozu

  • See teapots from his films

    See Ozu paraphenelia from Brutus.. (his gourmet notebook is charming.. with maps to the restaurants)

  • Both Aki Kaurismaki and Hou Hsiao-Hsien called Ozu the mathematician.
    Aki on Ozu (youtube)

    Hou on Ozu (youtube)

  • 1aOzuHara1aOzumyknife

    Setsuko Hara – wiki (June 17, 1920 – September 5, 2015)

    Ozu was born on Dec 12, 1903.. he passed away on his birthday Dec 12 1963.

  • Donald Richie on Hara Setsuko

    We were deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of the great Setsuko Hara, star and soul of so many of the masterpiece creations of Yasujiro Ozu—among her many other memorable roles during the golden age of Japanese cinema. To pay tribute, we present again a beautiful piece on the legendary Ozu-Hara collaboration, by another great—Donald Richie

    In retrospect, the reason for her decision seems evident. Our Noriko, for so many years troubled by the demands of society on one hand and the needs of the self on the other, finally decided. She would do what she wanted. And she did. All attempts to lure her out over the years have been rebuffed. When a documentary was made on Ozu, she refused to appear, just as, when he died, she did not attend his funeral. Setsuko Hara was her own person at last.

  • Obit (guardian)

    New York times.

    “Like Garbo, Hara came to represent an ideal of womanliness, nobility and generosity,” David Thomson wrote in The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. And like Garbo, she held her public at a distance.

    “Every Japanese actor can play the role of a soldier, and every Japanese actress can play the role of a prostitute to some extent,” Ozu said of her. “However, it is rare to find an actress who can play the role of a daughter from a good family.”

    Ms. Hara, who never married and leaves no immediate family members, made more than 100 films. She worked with the director Mikio Naruse on several movies and with Ozu on “Early Summer” (1951), “Tokyo Twilight” (1957) and “Late Autumn” (1960).

    She teamed up with Mr. Kurosawa for a second time in 1951 in “The Idiot,” based on the Dostoyevsky novel. She was cast as the love interest of the title character and of a roguish aristocrat played by Toshiro Mifune. The film was not well received. Her last film before her retirement was Hiroshi Inagaki’s “Chushingura,” a retelling of the classic tale of the 47 ronin, a band of 18th-century samurai bent on avenging their slain leader. When she went into seclusion, Japanese filmgoers mourned. To them, Ms. Hara was more than an actress; she was, in some way, the soul of Japan itself. The novelist Shusaku Endo once wrote, of seeing a Hara film, “We would sigh or let out a great breath from the depths of our hearts, for what we felt was precisely this: Can it be possible that there is such a woman in this world?”

    Equinox Flower – Mother’s Day 2014

    May 10th, 2014

  • Ozu and mother (via)

    Ozu Yasujiro Story #1 (youtube)

    Ozu Yasujiro Sotry 2

  • Ozu and his mother

    “Ozu remained single and childless all of his life and stayed alone with his mother who died less than two years before his own death.
    Ozu died in 1963 of cancer on his 60th birthday.. buried with his mother. His grave at Engaku-ji in Kamakura bears no name—just the character mu (“nothingness”)”

    Happy mother’s day!

    Ohayo Ozu Yasujiro – 2013

    December 12th, 2013

  • (Google Japan honored Ozu on his birthday)

    Ozu was born on Dec 12, 1903.. he passed away on his birthday Dec 12 1963.

  • Ohayo trailer (youtube)

    Click to see Sada Keiji

    I love you…..

  • Hear his Voice

  • I was born but... (previous Post)

    Tokyo Chorus (previous post – Okada Tokihiko) –

    Floating Words (previous post)

    See Tokyo Twilight here.

    Ozu Yasujiro – 12/12/12

    December 11th, 2012


    Ozu biography on youtube

  • Ozu was born on Dec 12, 1903.. he passed away on his birthday Dec 12 1963.

  • Explore Behind the camera – many great links on Ozu.

  • Filmrefreviews of selected films

  • Arima Ineko from Tokyo Twilight

    You can see the darkest Ozu film on youtube ..Tokyo Twilight full film

    Tokyo Chorus (previous post – Okada Tokihiko) –

    I was born but... (previous Post)

    Floating Words (previous post)

    Okada Tokihiko, Ozu & Mizoguchi

    February 18th, 2012
  • Tokyo Chorus – full film

    Okada Tokihiko-

    Born on Feb 18, 1903, Okada Tokihiko was a charismatic actor who died of tuberculosis a month and two days before turning 31 years of age. He made 5 films directed by Ozu Yasujiro. His stage name was given by Tanizaki Junichiro. (via) Well respected actress Okada Mariko was one year old when her father died. (Okada Mariko who appeared in two films directed by Ozu and one of which was his last film Akibiyori..see her photo and a review here )

    Exquisite and economical. (Criterion) (Youtube excerpt does not do justice here.) Tokyo Chorus the DVD is available on netflix.

    Combining three prevalent genres of the day—the student comedy, the salaryman film, and the domestic drama—Ozu created this warmhearted family comedy, and demonstrated that he was truly coming into his own as a cinema craftsman

    A child actress on the right was Takamine Hideko in her first film.
    Takamine Hideko takamine (Previous post shows Takamine in Mistress based on Mori Ogai)
    See more photos and review here.

    Beyond the family-oriented exchanges that anyone who’s had to raise children on a limited income can easily relate to, Tokyo Chorus offers a variety of other pleasures, including some nice vintage exteriors from the old city of Tokyo, before it had been transformed even further into the gleaming neon metropolis we’ve known for the past several decades. And it’s also easy to admire Ozu’s social conscience and earnest desire to boost the morale of Depression-era Japan.

    The Lady and the Beard is the second teaming of Ozu, Kitamura, and Okada. The cast of the famous beau Eipan (Okada’s nickname) in a very masculine part (with beard) was a weird, but successful idea of Kitamura. The audience has the great pleasure to see his handsome face after he shaves the beard. In the autumn of 1929, Okada had changed from Nikkatsu to Shochiku. The Lady and the Beard is his third film with Ozu, after That Night’s Wife and Young Miss. This film was shot in a mutual effort in a mere 8 days (including overnight work).(Via)

    Okada as Judge
    from Water Magician/Taki no Shiraito

    Taki no Shiraito (Water Magician with English subtitles – youtube)

    Water magician

    Donald Richie writes that this was the first of Mizoguchi’s “woman’s pictures.” By this, he is referring to the many movies that Mizoguchi made which featured female lead roles and heroines.

    Tokyo Chorus is a must see for Ozu fans and Okada gave his finest performance, as for the Water Magician the film belonged to the actress Irie Takako who produced this film.

    Ozu Yasujiro. (previous post)

    Ozu was born but..

    December 11th, 2011

    Innocent children disovered the father was no hero. (A bit like how the 99% feels about our government)

    Ohoyo – Good Morning is Ozu’s hilarious Technicolor re-working of his silent I Was Born, But.. .(The younger brother says ‘I love you’.. post war Japan in danchi or suburb the kids negotiate for a TV set).

    Ozu spirit of a clown

    The clown is lonely, but he must hide his loneliness and play the fool joyfully, comically. That’s the spirit of Ozu’s film.

    Wim Wenders made two great documentaries one was Buena Vista Social Club and another Tokyo-Ga. Wim Wenders is responsible for increased attention paid to Ozu.

    Aki Kaurismaki calls Ozu a mathematician

    Jim Jarmusch on Ozu (He mentioned Kawakita Kazuko a formidable pioneer distributor of Japanese films to Europe and vice versa) in the article

    Ozu’s grave “MU’ shows up in many of these documentaries. (See here at Engakuji)

    Hou Hsiao Hsien made Cafe Lumiere as a tribute to Ozu.. (see Hou talking about Ozu)
    (Dorris Dorie, Cherry Blossoms, Wayne Wang – Dim Sum also are tribute films for Ozu)

    Claire Denis on Yasujiro Ozu

    Late Spring finale

    Floating Words (previous post on Ozu)

    Floating Words

    May 21st, 2006

    Finally saw Early Summer and Floating Weeds.

    Ozu Early Summer Yasujiro Ozu and “Early Summer”.

    Setsuko Hara (right, from the photo above) was Ozu’s muse and Susan Sontag’s favorite Japanese actress.
    (Both Ozu and Setsuko Hara remained single, Ozu was most likely gay and Setsuko was Garbo like, read more about her here, The Enigma of the ‘Eternal Virgin’.)

    Hara Setsuko doll or droll.

    Contrary to received opinion, Yasujirô Ozu does sometimes move his camera. And when he does ­ as is usually the case when filmmakers do something in an exceptional way (i.e., Mizoguchi’s rare close-ups) ­ it is wonderful, because it is fully motivated, even if not strictly necessary. (From Rouge, Miguel Marias)

    Move your mouse and animate the film stills.

    TV film critic Roger Ebert was selected to do a commentary for “Floating Weeds’ Criterion DVD collection. It was a case of floating words by constantly repeating the few things he knew about Ozu.

    Floating Weeds Floating Weeds Yasujiro Ozu (image source)

    Speaking of words, we might explore and learn a few catchy
    Japanese phrases, (onomatopoetic) and play on last names of a film master and a famous Japanese actress.

    Japanese Sound effects and what they mean

    Ozu Ozu – means nervous, diffident, sheepish

    Hara Hara – uneasy feeling, thrilling, scary

    Hiso Hiso - whispering, hiding something like Cheney and his oil gang.

    Butsu Butsu – mumble (Bush talk), erupting pimples

    Bu Bu/Bou Bou – grumble, complain, pig sound (Bush talk)

    Bera Bera - glib, jabber, Roger Ebert film talk, floating words – including Hara hara (scary) and Ozu Ozu (insecure feeling) –

    Pera Pera – fluent like Takeshi Kaneshiro who speaks in Mandarin, Japanese, Cantonese and Tawaian dialect

    Waku Waku or Doki Doki- happy excitement