Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Woman of Tokyo (Yasujiro Ozu, 1933; photographed by Hideo Shigehara)

Ozu's von Sternberg-influenced silents are full of these kinds of still lives, usually coupled with a backwards dolly -- as though the objects carefully placed in the frame at the beginning of the shot are an entry-point into a world, a world which becomes more and more visible as the camera moves away from the objects.


Anonymous said...

In I Was Born, But... there's this medium shot of the father's boss's door upon which is printed the word Private - inside the boss is rewarding the father for his dutiful loyalty I think - and then there's a dolly out to reveal the other employees huddled around the door; it's pretty great.

Gautam Valluri said...

Interesting to note that Ozu did dolly out a lot in his 30s films. As he neared the 50s, he stuck with his 50mm and hardly ever moved the camera.

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky said...

Gautam and Anonymous,

Yes; in fact, the dolly out is the technique I most associate with Ozu's silents (he seems to use it more than anyone else, sometimes for several shots in a row) -- and yet when most people talk about Ozu, they usually restrict definitions of his style to the postwar films, which have much less camera movement -- and when the camera moves, it's never with pomp.

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