By David Bordwell There he was, large as life, if not as lively. Ozu sat cross-legged, bent toward his camera and studying the final shot of Chishu Ryu in Tokyo Story. The Mitchell camera was real, as was the low-level tripod, and he had his trusty cigarettes in easy reach. But he, like Ryu, was only an effigy in a theme park.
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Bordwell has studied all surviving films and therefore has a greater overall analysis of the complete career of Ozu. The first part of the book focuses on "Problems of Poetics" and is organized into eight chapters: 1. Bordwell discusses their criticism and makes observations and judgements as well. It is largely easily readable for the general reader, however, there is a certain amount of academic jargon used when discussing the more technical aspects of filming.
In the second part of the book he discusses the films individually and even has notes about non-existing films that have been lost. Bordwell finds that most of his arguments are weakened by the number of omissions and inaccuracies regarding the film.
Also, it was observed in the passage discussing There Was A Father by Masahiro Shinoda, a former assistant director for Ozu, that when the things that were in the frame at the beginning had disappeared or the position had changed; these were considered to be very dramatic by Ozu. It is something that he does often his films. He then points out that stylistically the film crystallizes intrinsic norms that will be central to the later films.
It is a shot which Bordwell insists was quite worth the three days needed to set up. And he notes that in Green Tea Over Rice , that he would never employ such flagrant camera movements seen in the film-the later films would be much more static in camera movements.
To sum up, Bordwell has written a useful and revealing major study of one of the giants of cinema that is accessible to the general reader.
I thought his movies would be long, laborious, and important. Movies that you are glad you saw in retrospect, but that can be a slog to get through. Enter this book. On a recommendation from a friend I got this out-of-print book from the fabulous Pico-Union library and dove into the first half of the book. Reading about the elements of it, I was struck by how similar it is to the Oilipo literature movement in France where they arbitrarily add restraints to all of their work.
So, for example, Perec will write a novel without using the letter "E". Bordwell also shows how playful his work really is and how he confounds viewer expectations by breaking his rules occasionally.
Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema
Career[ edit ] Drawing inspiration from earlier film theorists such as Noel Burch as well as from art historian Ernst Gombrich , Bordwell has contributed books and articles on classical film theory, the history of art cinema, classical and contemporary Hollywood cinema, and East Asian film style. However, his more influential and controversial works have dealt with cognitive film theory Narration in the Fiction Film being one of the first volumes on this subject , historical poetics of film style, and critiques of contemporary film theory and analysis Making Meaning and Post-Theory being his two major gestures on this subject. Neoformalism[ edit ] Bordwell has also been associated with a methodological approach known as neoformalism, although this approach has been more extensively written about by his wife, Kristin Thompson. One scholar has commented that the cognitivist perspective is the central reason why neoformalism earns its prefix neo and is not "traditional" formalism. Neoformalists reject many assumptions and methodologies made by other schools of film study, particularly hermeneutic interpretive approaches, among which he counts Lacanian psychoanalysis and certain variations of poststructuralism.
They move in many different directions, across the history of film, but they do conveniently highlight several areas of my research. Most important, all of these areas of inquiry put a film or batch of films at the center of the process. This automatically sets me off from some of my peers. Today there are many scholars studying the film industry and probably many more seeking to understand filmic reception by studying audiences in their sociocultural contexts. I need my movies!