Yasujiro Ozu

In the film industry nobaody (except avant garde filmmakers)

has developed a style as different as Yasujiro Ozu. He said of his

own work, " I have formulated my own directing style in my head,

proceeding without any unnecessary imitation of others". His films

are like experimental films, but on the other hand most of his films

are about the ordinary lifes of japanese people. His films are

reflecting japanese mores and mostly lower-middle class family


He first entered the film industry in 1923 in the shochiku

studios as an assistant cameraman and assistant director. He

directed his first film in 1927 Ozu has won the best film award of

Kinema Jumpo three times for I was born(1932), Passing Fancy

(1933) and A story of floating weeds(1934). After 1934 he was sent

to Singapore to make propoganda films.

As we said above Ozu's cinematic style is very different from

most of the directors. First of all his camera placement is very

importent, in his films the camera is always close to the ground the

height is not importent as long as the camera stays lower than the

object being shot. Ozu developed his own tranzition system,he was

putting framed shots of the surroundings between the scenes to tell

us that the scene and the setting has changed. usualy these shots

are longer than normaly it should be. One of the very important

style of Ozu is he did not obey to the 180 degree rule infact he

used all the 360 degree space. Ozu orbitted the camera around the

characters and he broke down the 360 degree space into multiples

of 45 degrees. He shots characters from 90 degree poin of viewes

and in many differnt directions. This is offcourse unusual for the

viewers but they getalong with the story so well and that is tha

magic of Ozu. If you break the 180 degree rule the actors facing

each other will look like they are looking to the same direction, but

Ozu found a solution to it, he was placing characters in identical

positions between and within the shots so with his style there was

no problem. One thing that i don't understand in Ozu's films are

that some objects change positions in some scenes on their own like

bottels they sometimes come closer or just swap positions these are

very unusual to us. Ozu never zooms in or out thats very strange to

me. Also he never uses pans becouse he says that they disturb his

framing, he doesn't use pans but he does some tracking like he

moves along the road with a character.

Ozu's films as they are about only japanese life did no cought

the attentions of other countries, but when europe and the american

movi industry discovered his style his films started to show up in

other countries and many critics has been done on his style. some

critics compared Ozu's style with zen buddhism and some like Noel

Burch said that Ozu rejected the hollywood style and the ideological

aspects of hollywood. Apart from all these unusual style ozu's films

are perfect melodramas with marrige life and death are being


Tokyo Story is a very good example of Ozu's style. In this

film like all of his films he uses his camera as an observer of life.

His shots are from an eye level of a japanese person who is sitting

on the floor. He begins a shot before people comes into aroom and

the camera stays a few seconds after they go out of the room. He

sometimes pauses an exterior shot, he does not hurry to go to the

next scene. In Tokyo story we also understand that he is a great

screenwriter, the relations between the children and their parents

are so well desined, when parents come to Tokyo to visit their

children they see that things are working different in a big city,

their children try to treat them politely but in the fast life of

Tokyo parents feel that they are not as importent to their childrens

as they should be. Also Chishu Ryu(the father)plays perfects and

the scene that he learns that his wife will die is superb. Toky story

moves slower than most of other American movies and offcourse we