Late Autumn (Akibiyori) (1960), Dir. Yasujiro Ozu


Yôko Tsukasa as the sensitive and defiant Ayako Miwa.

Rating: 9/10

Showing as part of the Ozu retrospective at the BFI, I was intrigued to see more of his work having consantly heard what a legendary director he is and feeling like I hadn’t given him his due when I first saw Tokyo Story for my uni film course (as I have said earlier I had just found out that I was meant to give in work tomorrow which I thought wasn’t due for ages so wasn’t in the best of moods). I wanted to see his work again and see what all the fuss was about.

It turns out this Ozu film was much funnier than I was expecting having had the impression that his films were slow and serious (which reminds me of when I saw The Seventh Seal and realised that Bergman does have a sense of humour despite his reputation). They are indeed slow and one unused to his style may need to watch his films a number of times to get used to it.  The actors, particularly the women, also tend to maintain quite a polite and ever-smiling demeanour which can be frustrating to some expecting a full-display of emotions but it reflects Japanese etiquette and the reserved nature of the Japanese. Also unlike mainstream Western editing techniques which favours fast-paced editing and shot/reverse shots, Ozu’s style favours reflective shots held for longer than is normally expected and instead of a lot of  shot/ reverse shots he frames the actors individually like portraits. The camera is often placed unusually low reflecting character’s positions on the traditional tatami mats.

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