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An artist creates his own style,
and this style reflects
the man himself and his character.
Yasujiro Ozu had his own themes,
his own style,
his own way of seeing.
From the perspective
of low camera angles,
he observed the world
of parents and children.
Just as one who avoids raging torrents,
instead preferring calmer waters,
Ozu did not engage
in turbulent dramas
but preferred to tell subtle stories:
a daughter getting married
and leaving her parents behind,
aging parents left alone,
awaiting death.
Ozu never tired
of observing these things.
He never tired of searching
for an order in his world,
just as a monk never tires
of striving for enlightenment.
What kind of person was Ozu, then,
to choose such a rigorous path?
Why was he so dedicated
to portraying marriage and family?
Inscribed on his gravestone
at the Engakuji Temple in Kamakura
is the character for mu,
or ''nothingness. ''
What does this ''nothingness''
finally mean?
Produced by
Written by
Cinematography by
Edited by
Music by
Narrated by
Directed by
So your first role was in I Flunked, But... ?
I got a script for the movie,
the first I ever received.
I was happy about it.
You played the one who graduated?
Yes, the heroes
were the ones who flunked.
That scene where you asked
Kinuyo Tanaka for bread.
Yes, Miss Tanaka.
Miss Tanaka and Mr. Saito?
Yes, they played
the principal roles.
Then, in I Was Born, But...
you played a company clerk
who helps his boss move.
I was also the one
who ran the film projector.
You played that role, too?
Which role most impressed you?
- Our last silent film in 1936-
- College Is a Nice Place.
That was a big role for me.
I had to do so many retakes.
Then The Only Son?
Yes, that was Ozu's first talkie.
You played a teacher.
Yes, that role helped my career.
Then you got the lead in
There Was a Father.
Right. That film was made in 1942?
That's right.
It was a big role.
I was on screen
from beginning to end.
I was surprised that Ozu
offered me such a large role.
He said, ''Come here, Ryu. Let's talk.
You normally go like this
when you're happy,
and like this when you're sad, right?
Those expressions won't work in
There Was a Father.
So just act as if your face
were a Noh mask, okay?''
That's what he told me to do...
and thinking of a Noh mask was good.
Yasujiro Ozu's first film was
The Sword of Penitence in 1927.
By the time he made
An Autumn Afternoon in 1962,
he had made 54 celebrated films
in the 35 intervening years.
What was he searching for
during the 60 years of his life?
Could it be that all of
his fame and masterpieces
somehow came to ''nothingness''
in the end?
The answer to that question can be found
only by examining his life and works.
Filmed in 1932 I Was Born, But...,
opens with the subtitle:
''A Picture Book for Adults.''
When children look at the adult world
with their naive and honest gaze,
what do they feel?
The feeling
of being disillusioned with life
is already apparent
throughout this film.
Yasujiro Ozu was just 30 years old.
''You say we must become great men,
but you're not.''
''Why must you bow down
to Taro's father?''
''Because his father is an executive.''
''Then you're just a coward.''
Yasujiro Ozu was born
on December 12, 1903, in Mannen,
in the Fukagawa section of Tokyo,
the second son
of Toranosuke and Asae Ozu.
The Ozu family ran a wholesale
fertilizer plant named Iwasaya.
In 1909, he entered
public kindergarten in Fukagawa.
In 1910, he attended
Jinjo elementary school.
He liked to draw pictures.
In 1913, leaving his father
behind in Tokyo,
the rest of the family moved to the city
of Matsuzaka in Mie prefecture.
Yasujiro entered fourth grade
at the Matsuzaka public school.

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