From the very beginning I would like to say that numerous fundamental problems and hardships people face in their life, mostly find reflection in Yasujiro Ozu’s films. For example, we may point out the problem of birth and death, conflict between custom and changes, between tradition and modern transformations. Having studied Yasujiro Ozu’s career we may divide it into two parts, the boundary line thereof is the World War II. First, at the very beginning of his career, analyzing his first steps in cinematography we can state that his works were greatly influenced by American-made films.
Although, the films we are going to take into consideration (Tokyo Story, Late Spring, Early Summer, Floating Weeds, An Autumn Afternoon) belong to the later period of Yasujiro Ozu’s career and we fearlessly may call them masterpieces. Taking into consideration the titles of the films we see that almost all they reflect the circle of changing four seasons of Nature. Incorporating Nature in his works, Ozu tries to build up a symbolic back scene to emphasize instability and changing nature of human feelings, thoughts and experience.
One more similarity we see in Yasujiro Ozu’s films of later period is that he skillfully presents detailed and rather apt description of family life. He is really a great master in the whole history of cinematography. Nature is also employed by the author to highlight the great and potent sensibility that ever present in Yasujiro Ozu’s films. It is very difficult to describe but you can sense it through different devices of the author, in other words we may call it as sympathetic sadness. His films speake eloquently about Japanese culture and life in general.
One more similarity we may point out is simple and unambiguous plot, for in the films we analyze Yasujiro Ozu presents a lifelong record or description of the Japanese culture, family and all the transformations a family is supposed to experience. As a rule this description regards an inner world of the middle-class family. There is one characteristic feature concerning the plot of the films of 1950-60s. Almost all of them are focused on the marrying off of a loyal daughter in order she could start he? own independent from parent family life.
From the first look we may say that he confines by only daily life in his works. To speak the truth Ozu’s films mainly deals with the world of ordinary people within their ordinary life. Nevertheless, along with it, if analyzing deeply, we may trace many complex characters, relationships of various kinds. Indeed Ozu’s films are very rich with feeling and very often are full of backdrop sense. Many people say Ozu was a homosexual, but within his films he puts on his heroes great social pressure concerning marriage.
This is also can be pointed out as one of similarities in Ozu’s films of later period. No one in his films speaks against marriage, but some try to resist it. The author shows that opinion of the society is that burden everyone is carrying throughout of hisher life. In spite of the fact that Ozu makes marriage obligatory the films never speak in favor of it. By means of this idea Ozu wants to show that marriage is a demand from the side of society and it is the matter of individuality if it brings benefits or sufferings.
This problem is common in “Late Spring”, “Late Autumn”, “Early Spring”. One more similarity we may see in Ozu’s films is that he shows people making a choice in their life. The author shows people happy in the beginning of the film, but when the case of marriage comes up unhappiness appears. Ozu stresses that the choice is made, be it produced by social pressure or by will. All in all we conclude that Ozu’s films of later period are happy-end-melodramas.
He sometimes shows real human sufferings, but presents them as dramatic outcome of the human condition. Much attention in the films Ozu pays to the fact of time passing. For example, in one scene Ozu shows a boy winding a clock. Interpreting it we may say that time for Ozu is something a man wants to control, nevertheless it passes by out of our control. Lokking for common features in Ozu’s films we may say that being under the influence of American cinematography, he incorporates in his films scenes typical for every American movie.
As an example we may point the scenes of friendly relationships, as a rule they are always linked with such traditionally American activities as lovely and happy bicycle ride on the beach in Late Spring, or playing golf and baseball in An Autumn Afternoon. As a conclusion it is very important to say that Yasujiro Ozu’s films are very symbolic as Japanese culture itself, mysterious, two-faced and unperceivable for a Western man. From the first sight simple films convey such depths of feelings and emotions as only a late fruit of skillful filmmaker with a rich cinematographical experience.