Discover Yasujiro Ozu

Following our successful mini-season celebrating the vibrant action cinema of Akira Kurosawa last month, this December Showroom Cinema is shining a spotlight on another heavyweight of Japanese cinema: the great Yasujirō Ozu. Join us for special screenings and discover these classics on the big screen.

Considered one of the world’s greatest and most influential filmmakers, Yasujirō Ozu disregarded classical rules of cinematic storytelling and developed an unwavering style that would influence art cinema for years to come. Following a stint as an assistant in the cinematography department of Shochiku Film Company, he was eventually promoted to director, making his first feature film Sword of Penitence in 1927. Ozu’s career falls into two halves, divided by World War II. His earlier films were lighter in tone, whereas his post-war work focuses on the day-to-day struggles of Japanese society. These films tell stories of generational conflict, familial strife and the battle between modernity and tradition.

Three post-war films are returning to the big screen as part of the British Film Institute’s (BFI’s) Japan 2021 season. Our favourites, The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice, Tokyo Story and Early Summer feature as part of Showroom’s December programme.

Screening on Thursday 16 December is The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice. A wry, tender story of relationships in post-war Tokyo. The film follows the strained marriage of Taeko and Mokichi, sharing the pair’s obvious clashes. The wife is sophisticated and bored, while her husband is kind with a small-town simplicity. On Sunday 19 December, we’ll be screening Tokyo Story, which follows an elderly couple’s journey to visit their adult children in bustling post-war Tokyo. Tokyo Story is widely considered Ozu’s masterpiece. On Wednesday 22 December, you can catch Early Summer. In post-war Japan, society has changed. Noriko is happily independent, but her family seek to find her a husband and welcome the proposal of her 40-year-old colleague.

This trio of Yasujirō Ozu films screening is deceptively complex. Each film explores the divide between generations and examines the family unit while depicting everyday life in post-war Japan. Tickets are on sale now

This article first featured in the Sheffield Telegraph on Thursday 16 December 2021.


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