Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維 (webcowgirl) wrote,
Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維

The end of the Ozu festival

So after two months, the Ozu festival has ended. We saw three movies in the last week: End of Summer, Early Spring, and The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice. I'll be happy to not see anymore Japanese domestic dramas for a while, despite the "masterly" film making; too many people making choices based on what society expected of them, too little of people seeking personal understanding, happiness, or fulfillment. Lots of insights into Japanese culture, mind you, but sometimes it was all a bit too harsh.

The very last movie we saw (Green Tea Over Rice) had some great scenes set at a Pachinko parlor, and I laughed out loud when they went out to eat at the "Calorie Hut (insert picture of pig)." However, it was mostly about a rather priggish wife doing her best to "outwit" her husband, and rather sad insofar as neither of them seemed to be making any attempt to get to know the other. Ah, arranged marriages!

Of this lot, my favorite was decidedly End of Summer, which was about an aged patriarch embarassing his family as he gets closer to death. He was probably in his sixties or seventies, and I loved that he was sneaking away to go drink some hootch with the girlie he'd hooked up with way back when. His daughter in law was mortified, but I think the phrase "he died as he lived" was far more of a celebration in this case than a cause for remorse.

Early Spring, meanwhile, was more of a domestic drama, "married man fools around on wife, will she forgive him!", but fascinating in its depiction of Japanese office culture. I also liked that for this film, finally, we actually saw a woman taking ownership of her sexuality; she was portrayed as a wee bit of a villain, but I found her far more appealing than most of the dull young virgins who seemed to spend all of their time contemplating marriage proposals and little else (in most of the last half of Ozu's work).

Overall, I saw 14 Ozu movies in two months, but only missed two I was really hoping to see (due to scheduling issues). With the twelve I saw in 2005, I've now seen 28 of his 37 or so movies (many are missing; some only exist as fragments, but I did see some of those!). The only one of his sound black and whites that I missed was "The Munekata Sisters;" sadly I didn't see many of his color movies at all, but since there are only 6 and I've seen three, well, that's not too bad, really. As for his silents; well, there are many of them, but I don't think I'm particularly interested in seeing the ones I missed as I nearly fell asleep during every one of them.

Best movie? I'd say Late Spring, which I rated equal to Tokyo Story as 3 1/2 stars (out of four) but which just shimmered with beauty. And I got weepy at the end. I'd say watch them both if you can. As for me, my next stop in movie-land is Alice in Wonderland; after all this I could use something a little bit lighter!
Tags: japanese cinema, ozu

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