Yasujiro Ozu

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puxzkkx
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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#401 Post by puxzkkx » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:26 am

I just saw Late Autumn which I liked a lot. Here the focus is again on the shifting tides of a quickly Westernising Japanese culture, and Ozu looks at the way Japan disenfranchises itself in the generational shift, which specific attention given to women as the rope in a figurative cultural tug-of-war. The symbols of the patriarchy are even more concrete than they have been in any other 50s Ozu - the trio of Mamiya, Hirayama and Taguchi is comical but at the same time creepy and unsettling: the offhand contempt with which Mamiya and especially Taguchi treat their wives, or the way they prioritise the marriage of their war widow friend's daughter (of course, seeing as they had idealised the mother as their own wartime Amaterasu) over the well-being of their own families. Miyami's meeting with Ayako in the coffee shop comes off like an interrogation; their bookending scenes at the inn play like watching a coven in their lair: they come off as a paternal oligarchy struggling to control a Japan that is rapidly slipping away from them with its embrace of modern values and sexual politics (witness them at a loss when faced with Yuriko, the 'new woman' of 1960s Japan!). And once again the ending is a shock - not as 'final' or mournful as An Autumn Afternoon's, but it leaves us hanging with the knowledge that our female protagonists - our stand-ins for the women of Japan - have accepted, to some extent, a reassimilation into the old, patriarchal value structure. But are the consequences of this apparent to them - to what degree were they coaxed into it and to what degree was this a matter of convenience for them? And will they find a way to transform ancient and quickly outdating institutions such as omiai and the traditional Japanese marriage into ones that offer them more agency? After all, even if Miyami takes the credit, Ayako started her courtship with Goto on her own - and, as Yuriko says, she didn't like her hair done up in the customary wedding style!

Setsuko Hara is marvelous in this. After building up her persona with Late Spring and Early Summer every one of her performances for Ozu after those films have progressed a careful deconstruction of it. The joy (and the pain) in watching her in these later films is in seeing the slight changes in expression that turn her famous smile into a grimace. She's tremendously moving.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#402 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:45 pm

I don't see how the female protagonists here have accepted "a reassimilation into the old, patriarchal value structure". Quite the contrary.

A very funny movie, all in all, despite the genuine feeling pathos of the end -- unlike Autumn Afternoon, the (at least temporarily) sad parent is not maudlin and intoxicated.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#403 Post by puxzkkx » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:59 pm

Well, I guess they haven't actually submitted to that structure - but the patriarchy (represented by Miyami, Taguchi and Hirayama) seems to believe that they have, which is what I think Ozu thinks is the point.

I agree about the bawdy humour - I think it functions as an illuminating device for some rather bitter societal observation, but it has a looseness that recalls Early Summer. I want to see Equinox Flower, now - how disappointing that Ozu made so few films in colour, as some of the ones he did approach absolute perfection.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#404 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:41 am

I see the failure of patriarchal authority (not merely its waning) as a predominant theme in Ozu's films from Tokyo Twilight onwards. When his non-comic handling of this theme in Tokyo Twilight met utter rejection by public and critics alike, he did not abandon this issue. Rather he returned to it -- but presented it in a more humorous fashion (with a little pathos blended in). I don't think one finds "bitterness" in any of the post-TT films (even in the most biting of all -- End of Summer). I would say that the social jabs are sharp, but made in a spirit of hope that people might recognize (ruefully) their defects if shown in a more light-hearted fashion.

All the color Ozu films look splendid -- except when mis-transferred (as has been all too often by some Western DVD companies).

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#405 Post by puxzkkx » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:53 pm

I think it's been established that we see these films differently! ;P I find Ozu's later films all have a cynical edge.

The colours are so lush - I don't know of any other director who took to colour with such grace and enthusiasm.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#406 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:04 pm

Sorry -- "cynical" might apply (to some extent) to something like Early Spring, but I just can't see it applying to Ozu's last films at all. From the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary --

Definition of CYNICAL

1: captious, peevish

2: having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic: as

a: contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives <those cynical men who say that democracy cannot be honest and efficient — F. D. Roosevelt>

b: based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest <a cynical ploy to win votes>

I see Ozu's attitude as people are imperfect -- and should recognize their imperfections -- but that these imperfections were no reason to give up on humanity.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#407 Post by puxzkkx » Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:57 pm

A Hen in the Wind is a bit more ‘direct’ in its focus and presentation than some later Ozu (in which his willingness to tackle multiple facets of the same central issue fascinates me a bit more) but it is very interesting to see him explore a very Naruse milieu for once - a slum, essentially. This has an immediate, violent physicality that is usually mediated in Ozu - this makes moments such as Tanaka’s climactic tumble outstanding in the wider context of Ozu’s filmography but perhaps less effective in-film than, say, the slaps in The Munekata Sisters or Floating Weeds. Also interesting to see him make such a potent anti-war statement so soon after - from Late Spring on these statements were rarefied and symbolised. Here the war has destroyed an economy and trapped women in a defeating double-standard that demands they fill the ‘man’s role’ while he’s in service but punishes them for trying to do so. The rift it has created within the ‘services generation’ creates a backdrop of desperation, neglect and disenfranchisement against which the post-war generation begin their lives. In every scene the young son confronts a possible spoiling of innocence, until Ozu appears to concede that innocence is something these kids will just have to grow up without. This is perhaps best expressed in one image that shocked me with its out-of-nowhere symbolic heft: the parents’ post-argument embrace, half-obscured by a doorway, punctuated by the slow, unexplained descent of a paper balloon. 15 years earlier, Ozu asked: “Where now are the dreams of youth?” - these are they.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#408 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:48 pm

Hen in the Wind is a remarkable film (even if, perhaps, a bit flawed -- in relatively minor ways). Nothing else quite like it in the Ozu catalog. ;~} However, it does fall into the same general set which also includes Tenement Gentleman, Early Spring and Tokyo Twilight. All deal more explicitly with social problems -- and (mostly, except maybe for Early Spring) met with contemporary rejection.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#409 Post by Drucker » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:32 pm

In honor of Donald Richie and the 50th Anniversary of Ozu's death, 3 weeks of Ozu this June at Film Forum. All films shown will be in 35MM prints (except Kagamijishi, being shown in 16MM).

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#410 Post by teddyleevin » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:44 pm

What Ozus on that calendar would the experts here most recommend? Mainly, what's best with an audience, what's best on a print, and/or what can't one see on DVD? My Ozu experience is basically limited to Tokyo Story and some of his comic silents, all of which I've enjoyed.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#411 Post by swo17 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:49 pm

Definitely try to catch Record of a Tenement Gentleman, one of the few that the BFI haven't gotten around to yet.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#412 Post by jwd5275 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:56 pm

I definitely second that. I saw it in a theater here a couple of years ago and it still remains as one of my absolute favorite Ozu films.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#413 Post by wigwam » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:52 pm

Thirded, and I was also surprised by Hen in the Wind but for theater I would most want to see his later color ones, Autumn Afternoon, End of Summer, and Late Autumn are my favorites of that era

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#414 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:24 pm

They're all great. ;~}

Do think about things like Walk Cheerfully and Tokyo Inn -- as well as (so-called) Tenement Gentleman.

I wouldn't recommend Munekata Sisters and Toda Family to anyone but completists (addendum: like me).
Last edited by Michael Kerpan on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#415 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:36 pm

For the record I would second the last line in Michaels post above. They're not bad films by any means, but they're not the endlessly rewatchable treasure troves that we tend to think of when it comes to Ozu classics and less seen gems.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#416 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:08 am

Carlotta have announced a theatrical release of The Only Son (restored). as well as the restored Tokyo Story.
Has there been similar work done on Son does anyone know ?

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#417 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:48 am

Well, I haven't heard anything in particular about any large-scale restoration work on Only Son. Doesn't mean it hasn't happened, of course.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#418 Post by Jack Phillips » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:15 pm

Can anyone comment on the new Blu of Tokyo Story being issued in Japan on July 6? I note that it has English subtitles (probably only for the feature), and that it is supposed to commerate the 110th year of Ozu's birth. I'm guessing this has been transfered from the new restoration?

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#419 Post by andyli » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:41 pm

Not much, but some discussion can be found in this thread.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#420 Post by Drucker » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:12 am

The Ozu retrospective at Film Forum has been extended through July 25, 2013.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#421 Post by peerpee » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:10 pm

I'm dumping an enormous amount (200+) of very rare Ozu photographs here: http://enthusiasm.org/tagged/Ozu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#422 Post by tenia » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:57 pm

peerpee wrote:I'm dumping an enormous amount (200+) of very rare Ozu photographs here: http://enthusiasm.org/tagged/Ozu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
:shock:

Thanks, Nick ! :D

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#423 Post by feckless boy » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:33 am

peerpee wrote:I'm dumping an enormous amount (200+) of very rare Ozu photographs here: http://enthusiasm.org/tagged/Ozu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Wonderful! I might add that the bracket 『..........』 indicates from what films these production photos belong to. So for instance all photos marked 『秋刀魚の味』 are from An Autumn Afternoon, 『早春』 Early Spring etc etc. The Japanese titles can easily be identified via Ozu's Wikipedia filmography.

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#424 Post by Jack Phillips » Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:51 pm

Checking amazon.co.jp, I see that the 4 Shochiku color films are coming out in Japan in new Blu-ray editions (part of the continuing celebration of Ozu's 110th year). Equinox Flower and An Autumn Afternoon are scheduled for November, Ohayo and Late Autumn are due in March 2014. A box set of all four films will also come out in March. I know nothing about these releases except that the features are supposed to come with English subtitles. Also, there seems to be two editions of An Autumn Afternoon: a standard issue, and a deluxe model (I'm not sure what you get extra; the supplements probably won't be English-friendly anyway).

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Re: Yasujiro Ozu

#425 Post by tavernier » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:04 pm

New series coming to Film Society at Lincoln Center
THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER to present
OZU AND HIS AFTERLIVES
December 4 - 12

Series includes restorations of Ozu classics EQUINOX FLOWER and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON as well as Ozu-influenced films by Pedro Costa, Claire Denis, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Jim Jarmusch, Aki Kaurismaki, Hirokazu Kore-eda and Wim Wenders

NEW YORK, NY (October 31, 2013) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today Ozu and his Afterlives, a program honoring the work and legacy of the great Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu (1903 – 1963), running December 4 – 12. Timed to the 110th anniversary of Ozu’s birth and the 50th anniversary of his death on December 12, 2013, the series will celebrate the legendary filmmaker’s work as well as his indelible influence on some of today’s most notable directors.

“Ozu’s greatness can never be asserted often enough,” said Dennis Lim, the Film Society’s Director of Cinematheque Programming. “In this anniversary year, we wanted to recognize his modernity and his eternal relevance by showing two of his final color works, which happen also to be two of his most beautiful. We are presenting them alongside a wide range of more recent movies that were, in some way, made with Ozu in mind. These are all films that — to borrow a phrase from the director Claire Denis — grew under the shade of Ozu.”

The focal point of Ozu and his Afterlives will be the U.S. premieres of restorations of two exquisite color films by Ozu, EQUINOX FLOWER (1958) and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (1962), newly restored by the Japanese studio Shochiku to commemorate this anniversary year. The films screen seven times each during the nine-day series. The program also includes films by contemporary directors—from Jim Jarmusch to Pedro Costa, who once called Ozu’s films “documentaries about mankind”—that bear some trace, obvious or subtle, of the great Japanese master.

A great formalist as well as a great humanist, Ozu began his career in the silent era. Early on, he developed a spare, distinctive style that ran contrary to the conventions of Japanese and Hollywood cinema, and that he continued to refine and intensify through the final stage of his career. In his rigorous yet deeply expressive films, Ozu minimized camera movement and shot from a low camera angle, using a 50mm lens, and rejected standard editing patterns.

Often called “the most Japanese of all directors,” Ozu has long held a special place in the pantheon of master auteurs, not least among fellow filmmakers (his TOKYO STORY was recently voted the best film of all time in Sight and Sound’s directors’ poll). “If in our century, something sacred still existed, if there were something like a sacred treasure of the cinema, then for me that would have to be the work of the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu,” said Wim Wenders, whose TOKYO-GA screens as part of this series. “For me never before and never again since has the cinema been so close to its essence and its purpose: to present an image of man in our century, a usable, true and valid image in which he not only recognizes himself, but from which, above all, he may learn about himself.”

The films that will be screened alongside EQUINOX FLOWER and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON are Claire Denis’s 35 SHOTS OF RUM (2008), Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s CAFÉ LUMIERE (2004), Pedro Costa’s IN VANDA’S ROOM (2000), Aki Kaurismaki’s THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL (1990), Hirokazu Kore-eda’s STILL WALKING (2008), Jim Jarmusch’s STRANGER THAN PARADISE (1984) and Wim Wenders’s TOKYO-GA (1985).

FILMS, DESCRIPTIONS & SCHEDULE

35 SHOTS OF RUM (35 Rhums) (2008) 100 min
Director: Claire Denis
Countries: France/Germany
Claire Denis’s gloriously delicate and graceful film begins in the territory of Renoir’s La Bête humaine and gradually develops into an unlikely and enchanted evocation of Ozu’s Late Spring. Denis regular Alex Descas is Lionel, a train driver who shares a modest apartment, and a life of tacit, mutual devotion, with his daughter Joséphine (Mati Diop). Beyond their cozy domestic existence lie threats and temptations, connections to the outside world that are sure to weaken their bond. Shot by frequent Denis collaborator Agnès Godard with a score by Tindersticks, this moving cinematic ballad casts a lovely gossamer spell. A wonderful German interlude features a guest appearance by Ingrid Caven.
Saturday, December 7 at 1:45PM
Tuesday, December 10 at 5:00PM

AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (Sanma no aji) (1962) 133 min
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Country: Japan
As much a reworking as an updating of Late Spring, Ozu’s final film recasts Chishu Ryu as an aging widower anxious to settle his daughter’s marriage. Taking into account the social transformations of the intervening decade, Ozu recontextualizes the earlier story by making the female characters far more assertive and keeping an eye out for characters enamored of expensive golf clubs and refrigerators, thus extending the ironic commentary on growing consumerism laid down in Good Morning. The film’s Japanese title, The Taste of Mackerel, alludes to the time in late summer when the delicacy is in season. Ozu’s wistful swansong is an beautiful evocation of particular moods, flavors, and places, not least the hauntingly empty house to which Ryu once again returns in an unforgettable coda. New digital restoration courtesy of Shochiku.
Wednesday, December 4 at 7:00PM
Thursday, December 5 at 1:00PM
Friday, December 6 at 5:00PM
Saturday, December 7 at 4:00PM
Tuesday, December 10 at 2:30PM
Wednesday, December 11 at 6:00PM
Thursday, December 12 at 8:30PM

CAFÉ LUMIERE (2004) 104 min
Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Countries: Japan/Taiwan
Commissioned to mark Ozu’s centenary year, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s quietly breathtaking city symphony updates the Japanese master’s recurring concerns: the family in decline, the clash between tradition and modernity. Newly returned from a stay in Taiwan, the heroine wanders the Tokyo streets and rides the trains while researching a project on a modernist composer. Suffused with the pathos of contemporary urban solitude, this literal Tokyo story taps into the daily rhythms of the metropolis, seeming to capture the vibrations of its secret life.
Wednesday, December 4 at 4:30PM
Friday, December 6 at 7:30PM

EQUINOX FLOWER (Higanbana) (1957) 118 min
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Country: Japan
Stern, workaholic businessman Hirayama (an outstanding Shin Saburi) denounces the unromantic arranged marriage his parents imposed on him, yet recoils in anger when his own daughter, Setsuko, decides whom to marry without consulting him. Accused of being inconsistent, he angrily protests: “Everyone is inconsistent, except God. The sum total of inconsistencies is life!” With this ambivalent, seemingly hypocritical patriarch, Ozu fashions one of his most memorable characters: a sad, remarkably dour paterfamilias of conflicted impulses stubbornly clinging to preordained, conservative thinking in spite of his own better judgment. Ozu’s first full-fledged comedy in over 20 years, the gorgeously shot EQUINOX FLOWER was also his first film in color. Though he remained steadfast in opposing widescreen, which to him resembled a “roll of toilet paper,” Ozu took to color with great enthusiasm.
Wednesday, December 4 at 2:00PM
Thursday, December 5 at 3:30PM
Friday, December 6 at 2:30PM
Sunday, December 8 at 6:45PM
Tuesday, December 10 at 7:15PM
Wednesday, December 11 at 1:45PM
Thursday, December 12 at 4:00PM

IN VANDA’S ROOM (No Quarto da Vanda) (2000) 171 min
Director: Pedro Costa
Country: Portugal
A series of shadowy domestic tableaus, shot with a small, static digital camera and using only available light, this second feature in Pedro Costa’s groundbreaking Fontainhas trilogy is a stark, matter-of-fact portrait of a community whose world is literally falling apart. With the intimate feel of a documentary and the texture of a Vermeer painting, IN VANDA’S ROOM takes an unflinching look at a marginalized Lisbon community, but is centered around the heroin-addicted Vanda Duarte. Through Costa’s camera, individuals many would deem disposable become vivid and vital. This was his first use of digital video, and the evocative images he created remain some of the medium’s most astonishing.
Sunday, December 8 at 3:15PM

THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL (Tulitikkutehtaan Tytto) (1990) 70 min
Director: Aki Kaurismaki
Country: Finland
A poker-faced black comedy about a young woman’s exploitation and revenge, pared to 70 minutes of perfection. With searing economy, Aki Kaurismaki lays bare the deadened existence of his wallflower heroine, who finds a temporary escape from her tedious, assembly-line job and her loutish parents in the arms of an affluent but dubious Prince Charming. The mortified heroine may remind you of a Bresson martyr, but when she’s dumped by her man, she’s anything but passive in her revenge. In one of his bleakest and most heartbreaking works, Kaurismaki mixes deadpan wit with depth charges of feeling.
Tuesday, December 10 at 9:45PM
Wednesday, December 11 at 4:15PM

STILL WALKING (2008) 114 min
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Country: Japan
Unfolding largely over the course of a daylong gathering of a family still mourning the loss of its eldest son, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s fine-tuned elegy—full of personalizing details and the sense memories of childhood—was a direct response to the death of his mother, whom he nursed in the last two years of her life. Kore-eda grants his characters no epiphanies, but allows them moments of dawning awareness. In this quietly anguished domestic drama, resentments go unaired and problems remain unsolved, but they are privately recognized and even understood—which is, at least, one definition of family love.
Wednesday, December 11 at 8:30PM
Thursday, December 12 at 1:30PM

STRANGER THAN PARADISE (1984) 89 min
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Countries: USA/West Germany
In Jim Jarmusch’s classic hangdog fable, a pair of deadbeat hipsters and a teenage immigrant (indelibly played by John Lurie, Richard Edson, and Squat Theater’s Eszter Balint) elevate hanging-out to one of the fine arts. Shot by director-to-be Tom DiCillo with a keen eye for desolation and disrepair, the film moves from the empty streets of Manhattan’s ungentrified Lower East Side to the suburban sprawl of Cleveland to the scrubby Florida coastline. It was Jarmusch himself who most evocatively described the film’s winning if incongruous tone: “a neo-realistic black comedy in the style of an imaginary Eastern European director obsessed with Ozu and The Honeymooners.”
Thursday, December 12 at 6:30PM

TOKYO-GA (1985) 92 min
Director: Wim Wenders
Country: USA
Wim Wenders travels to Tokyo to pay homage to Ozu, whose films he considers "sacred treasures." His impressions of the country formed entirely by the cinema, Wenders interviews Ozu's collaborators while the symbols of the new Japan—all-night pachinko parlors, golf ranges atop downtown skyscrapers, rockabilly teenagers—conspire to shatter his illusions. The diary film features encounters with Ozu actor Chishu Ryu and cameraman Yuharu Atsuta. Chris Marker appears in a single playful shot, briefly glimpsed behind a newspaper.
Wednesday, December 4 at 9:30PM

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