Yasujirō Ozu in Color: The Final Six Films
The influential Japanese filmmaker and screenwriter Yasujirō Ozu (小津 安二郎) was born in Tokyo, on December 12, 1903. Before his death exactly 60 years later, on December 12, 1963, Ozu would make 54 feature-length films, several of which, including his much-heralded masterpiece Tokyo Story (1953), are uttered in the same breath as history’s most beloved movies. The bulk of Ozu’s work is situated within the shomin-geki (“common people drama”) tradition, mirroring real-world tensions within multi-generational families in postwar Japan. With his iconic low-angle framing, Ozu seats his viewers next to his protagonists on the tatami mat, inviting us into intimate domestic settings to both embrace and scrutinize the complicated dynamics of mid-century Japanese life.
This September, the museum will screen Ozu’s six films shot in vibrant color to celebrate the 120th anniversary of his birth. Another way to honor his legacy is at the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, where an exhibition of rare behind-the-scenes photographs, publicity stills, and never-before-seen snapshots from Ozu’s life and work is on display through December 2023.