Yasujiro Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu: Filmmaker for All Seasons

November 23 through December 21 at Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley

Pacific Film Archive celebrates late autumn by honoring the centennial of one of world cinema's greatest directors, Yasujiro Ozu (1903–1963). This 35-film retrospective presents Ozu's formally exquisite late dramas about the emotions of parents and children-including such classics as Late Spring, Early Summer, Tokyo Story, and The End of Summer-as well as his freewheeling 1930s college comedies, crime movies, and social dramas. The series, which will screen lovely new prints from Cowboy Pictures, is a rare chance to see these profoundly moving and lovely films on the big screen, where their subtle beauty and emotional force can be experienced fully. Much has been written about the aesthetic of Ozu's mature films, where a stationary camera is placed a few feet above the floor, offering the viewpoint of a person seated on a tatami mat. Pared down to exclude dissolves, flashy camera moves and quick cuts, these films focus all their attention on the characters-or even their absence-and on the tasks, habits, and gestures that combine to create everyday family life.

"Yasujiro Ozu: Filmmaker for All Seasons" is presented with the generous support of Owsley Brown III, and commemorates 150 years of U.S.-Japanese relations. We thank The Japan Foundation and Nathaniel Dorsky for their assistance. Screenings will take place in the PFA Theater, located at 2575 Bancroft Way near Bowditch Street on the southernmost edge of the UC Berkeley campus. General admission is $8 for one film and $10 for double bills. Advance tickets can be purchased during daytime business hours at the UC Berkeley Art Museum admissions desk, in the evenings at the PFA Theater Box Office, or by telephoning (510) 642-5249.

Late Spring, one of Ozu's favorite movies, stars two wonderful actors who became icons in his cinematic world. Chishu Ryu plays a widower who decides that his daughter (Setsuko Hara) should get married, rather than continuing to look after him. Ozu revisited this plot, with variations, throughout the rest of his career, in such films-which often starred Ryu and/or Hara-as Late Autumn, Early Summer, and his final film, An Autumn Afternoon. Other tales of the distance between generations include the masterly Tokyo Story (which is usually included on lists of the greatest films ever made) and the 1932 comedy I Was Born, But..., a tale of two young brothers who learn about adult hypocrisy; Ozu directed a loose remake of this film, Good Morning, in 1959.

But the director who for a time was considered "too Japanese" for American acceptance began as a young man enchanted by American movies. Though he generally declined to acknowledge influences, Ozu once told critic Donald Richie that he particularly admired Ernst Lubitsch's sophisticated comedies. "Yasujiro Ozu: Filmmaker for All Seasons" presents a number of early films ranging across many genres, especially college comedies (including Days of Youth, the earliest extant Ozu film, I Flunked, But..., and Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth?), crime movies (That Night's Wife and Dragnet Girl), and Depression-era social problem dramas (The Only Son, An Inn at Tokyo, and Woman of Tokyo). "Spring Turns to Autumn: The Post-War Films of Yasujiro Ozu" will play The Castro Theatre in San Francisco from November 14 through 20. The Castro schedule can be seen at http://www.thecastrotheatre.com. A schedule of screenings at Pacific Film Archive is attached. For further information, please see PFA program notes or phone
(510) 642-1412.

Posted by admin on December 22, 2014