From December 4th to 12th, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will be presenting Ozu and his Afterlives, a program honoring the work and legacy of the great Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu (1903 – 1963). Timed to the 110th anniversary of Ozu’s birth and the 50th anniversary of his death on December 12, 2013, the series will celebrate the legendary filmmaker’s work as well as his indelible influence on some of today’s most notable directors.
“Ozu’s greatness can never be asserted often enough,” said Dennis Lim, the Film Society’s Director of Cinematheque Programming. “In this anniversary year, we wanted to recognize his modernity and his eternal relevance by showing two of his final color works, which happen also to be two of his most beautiful. We are presenting them alongside a wide range of more recent movies that were, in some way, made with Ozu in mind. These are all films that — to borrow a phrase from the director Claire Denis — grew under the shade of Ozu.”
The focal point of Ozu and his Afterlives will be the U.S. premieres of restorations of two exquisite color films by Ozu, EQUINOX FLOWER (1958) and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (1962), newly restored by the Japanese studio Shochiku to commemorate this anniversary year. The films screen seven times each during the nine-day series. The program also includes films by contemporary directors—from Jim Jarmusch to Pedro Costa, who once called Ozu’s films “documentaries about mankind”—that bear some trace, obvious or subtle, of the great Japanese master.
A great formalist as well as a great humanist, Ozu began his career in the silent era. Early on, he developed a spare, distinctive style that ran contrary to the conventions of Japanese and Hollywood cinema, and that he continued to refine and intensify through the final stage of his career. In his rigorous yet deeply expressive films, Ozu minimized camera movement and shot from a low camera angle, using a 50mm lens, and rejected standard editing patterns.
Often called “the most Japanese of all directors,” Ozu has long held a special place in the pantheon of master auteurs, not least among fellow filmmakers (his TOKYO STORY was recently voted the best film of all time in Sight and Sound’s directors’ poll). “If in our century, something sacred still existed, if there were something like a sacred treasure of the cinema, then for me that would have to be the work of the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu,” said Wim Wenders, whose TOKYO-GA screens as part of this series. “For me never before and never again since has the cinema been so close to its essence and its purpose: to present an image of man in our century, a usable, true and valid image in which he not only recognizes himself, but from which, above all, he may learn about himself.”
The films that will be screened alongside EQUINOX FLOWER and AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON are Claire Denis’s 35 SHOTS OF RUM (2008), Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s CAFÉ LUMIERE (2004), Pedro Costa’s IN VANDA’S ROOM (2000), Aki Kaurismaki’s THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL (1990), Hirokazu Kore-eda’s STILL WALKING (2008), Jim Jarmusch’s STRANGER THAN PARADISE (1984) and Wim Wenders’s TOKYO-GA (1985).
Tickets are now available for purchase on www.FilmLinc.com. Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. Discount packages start at $30; $24 for students and seniors (62+); and $21 for Film Society members. Discount prices apply with the purchase of tickets to three films or more.
Films will be screened at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam).
For information about all the films that will be shown in the series, including schedules and links to purchase tickets, click here.