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Thursday, February 6, 2014
Notes on Akibiyori (Late Autumn by Yasujiro Ozu, Japan: 1960- (Berlin Filmfestival II. - Berlinale Classics
I remember the Berlin Film festival
1988. Akibiyori was screened in the retrospective “History of the
colour Films”. I was already a big admirer of Ozu and I knew this
film already but until this very screening I knew some films by Ozu
only from TV in horribly German dubbed versions. This screening 1988
took place in a film theatre which is colsed since a long time now.
It was called “Astor”. I remember I sat in the first row and even
though it is by far not the saddest film by Ozu, I could not stop to
cry the fist 30 minutes. It was a brilliant print in french
subtitles. But I knew the film and the french subtitles did not
bother me at all.
I was blown away by the colours, a
beauty I was not prepared for. This was the begin of a year I
discovered more films by Ozu and – more important – on the big
Ozu made only 5 films in colour, but
some of them are the most beautiful colour films ever made. This
impression I had from the screening of
Akibiyori 1988 is burnt into my memory, Setsulo Hara´s kimono at her
last common journey with her daughter (who will get married soon)
remains unforgettable for me.
is also one of half a dozen films by Ozu I watched in the last 30
years more than 20 times and the most beautiful one was this
screening on a winter evening in the “Astor”
moment is hunting me, a moment of the film I am always looking
forward when ever I see this film.
Hara, who plays a widow works in a school for handcrafts. In the
background from a building close to this school we hear the Menuetto,
the second movement from Mozart´s piano sonata No. 11. It is part of
the soundtrack and appears like by accident. But it has a beauty like
this wonderful colours. It often happens in Ozus films, especially in
his late masterpieces: something appears like an accident but like a
Setsuko Hara´s Akiko Miwa makes her last journey with her daughter,
we hear a lot of songs from other hotel guests in the background.
Especially when Ozu began to make films in colours, the soundtrack
has a unique chemistry with the colours.
appear, which are connected with some character´s memories.
all his five colour films are corresponding with some very early
films by Ozu. Akibiyori could be seen as the sequel of Ozus.
Seishun no yuma ima izuko
(Where now are the Dreams of Youth, 1932). Parts of what the elder
characters in this film are remembering from their life reminds
exactly in this film made 28 years earlier. Even without ever having
used flashbacks, the past is always present in Ozus films. Ozus
characters are always full of memories and I remember my first
impression I had from Akiko was, that as absurd as it seems, these
characters have a life on their own. The first night after the first
time I saw this film, I dreamt only about the characters, this dream
was an endless variation of Akibiyori.
come back to this remarkable screening of 1988, I think it was the
first time that I was really obsessed with these rooms the characters
are living in and with.
though Ozu reduced his formal cinematic a lot, I am not so sure about
calling him a minimalist. There was a time when I thought I have to
be interested in Bresson as well but his films left me cold until
today opposite to Ozu. You can call Ozu´s films formal strict, but
after seeing most of his films, you remember the delicious dished in
these films and the exquisite kind of drinks they enjoyed in this
can be changed, renovated, varied or be painted in different
colours. Akibiyori is like his first colour film Higanbana and his
last masterpiece Samma no aji close to the plot of one of his most
famous film Banshun.
But if you see this mentioned film in a row the changes and
variations he made are evident.
is with Samma no aji, Ozu´s finest films in colour. Even
though I consider Samma no aji as one of the finest films Ozu
ever made, as an introduction into Ozus work with colour, Akibiyori
is probably the better access.It is also one of Ozu´s lightest and
often funniest film. His comedy Ohayo,(1959) might be his
funniest film after the war but leaves me relatively cold. Together with Bakushu (1951) and Soshun (1956) Akibiyori is probably Ozu´s most successful approach to come very close to his vision "to show the life "without dramatic ups and downs".
Screenings: February 10, Cinemaxx 8, 20.00 february 15, Cinemaxx 8, 19.00