Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story was striking to me in that it gracefully and accurately portrayed a universal human condition while also achieving striking visuals and an engaging story. It isn’t often that a film both feels true to life, is superbly engaging, and visually interesting. Intentional cinematography and shot composition is something I watch closely for in films. Ozu showed that even with limited resources a filmmaker can create effective cinematography. He used a 50mm lens (one of my favorites), minimal camera movement, and often used the same angle multiple times. Ozu masterfully took advantage of his sets and locations, using landscape and architecture to frame his shots and guide the viewer through his scenes.
I love a film that is slow, quiet, and engaging. Too often filmmakers rely on quick cuts and heavy action to engage the viewer. This is something I would like to work on in my filmmaking. I often feel it is too risky to leave a shot for more than, say, five seconds. This is an inhibition I will work to overcome.
In my film this quarter I am striving to tell a simple, personal story through interesting visuals and locations, something that Ozu has clearly mastered.