Sunday, June 17, 1990

Yasujiro Ozu

Two Silent Masterworks

San Francisco Art Institute

Tonight the Cinematheque will present two of Ozu’s early silent melodramas. Ozu, whose career as director began in 1927, explored a variety of genres before arriving at the meditative refinement he is so noted for. His films of the early 30’s are remarkable because they serve as a bridge between his youthful fascination/emulation of Hollywood cinema, and his emerging personal style. The films of this period lay the thematic foundation for his mature work: a concern for human conflicts as reflected in Japanese family life. Woman of Tokyo (1933, 47 min.) depicts a brother/sister relationship and the sacrifices they commit on behalf of each other. In a A Story of Floating Weeds (1934, 89 min.) “Ozu turned this slightly melodramatic story into a picture of great atmosphere and intensity of character, one in which story, actors, and setting, all combined to create a whole world; the first of those eight-reel universes in which everything takes on a consistency somewhat greater than life.” (Donald Richie) Total running time: 136 minutes.

pictured: Woman of Tokyo (1933) by Yasujiro Ozu