Yasujirō Ozu Mini Season

Widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest and most influential filmmakers, Yasujirō Ozu disregarded established rules of cinema and developed a singular, unwavering style. Born in 1903, Ozu was passionate about film from a young age; following a brief stint as a substitute teacher, he went on to become an assistant in the cinematography department of Shochiku Film Company in 1923. He would eventually be promoted to director, making his first feature film Sword of Penitence in 1927.

Ozu’s career subsequently falls into two halves, divided by WWII. His earlier films are lighter in tone, whereas his post-war work focused on the day-to-day struggles of Japanese society. These films would tell stories of generational conflict, familial strife and the struggle between modernity and tradition. Three of these post-war films are returning to the big screen as part of the BFI’s Japan 2021 season, with The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice, Tokyo Story and Early Summer featuring as part of our December programme.

Alongside Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954, Yasujirō Ozu’s Tokyo Story (1953) stands as one of the most significant Japanese films ever made. Like Kurosawa, Ozu’s films keep a distinctly Japanese sensibility, particularly focussing on the traditions of family and homelife.

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