there’s something about Ozu

There’s something about Ozu films that I love.

Perhaps it’s the quietness of the plot, where I know nothing is going to jump out at me, make my heart race, or leave me in a soggy puddle on the floor.

His movies are not very long but they take me hours to watch. Why? With most of them, I pause specific scenes just so I can take in everything that’s there. And there’s always a lot to take in.

I’m forever in awe at the control he exerted over the frames. The attention to detail. The keen observation of the rule of thirds. How artfully so many of his shots were framed.

Ozu’s colour films are a whole other story. The juxtaposition of colour is an added level of awareness I’ve yet to see another director exhibit.

In my post tatami view I mentioned that he was the first director to introduce the idea of the ‘pillow shot’. If you haven’t read that post, it’s okay.

Basically, a ‘pillow shot’ is a static shot that has no real part in the telling of the story. It’s Ozu’s ‘visual comma’ – a pause, a moment to breathe in and out.

In most of his pillow shots, something moves, but the movement is always subtle.
Billowing smoke from a smokestack.
A shadow flitting on a wall.
And as I mentioned before, my favourite – drying laundry moving gently in the breeze.

I’ve loved all of his pillow shots so much so that I decided to paint some of them – digitally.

Check out his colour composition. Then, note how all the lines (more or less) follow each other.

pillow shot from Equinox Flower (digital painting 2023)
(click on Ozu – Pillow Shot to see a full size image)

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