gill moore photography

Tag Archive for 'japanese'

“Tokyo Story” a film by Yasujiro Ozu (Japan) 1953

This is a wonderful film I saw last weekend. I have listed below some random facts and opinions. I hope it intrigues and encourages some of you to see it and do let me know what you think.

  • Brief Plot : Two elderly parents from a small seaside town in southwest Japan pay a visit to their busy children in Tokyo – a journey that, before the introduction of the bullet train, took almost a day.
  • Released one year after the end of the Allied Occupation of Japan, showing the changes and transitions on the road to a modern Japan.
  • “This film is the Director’s masterpiece: tender, profoundly mysterious and desperately sad” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)
  • A classic of World Cinema (BBC)
  • Made post World War II, released in 1953 and shot in black and white.
  • One of the best 100 Films ever made (Time Magazine).
  • Sight and Sound magazine called “Tokyo Story” one of the three greatest films of all time”.
  • The Best Film Ever Made declared in 2005 by Halliwell’s Film Guide.
  • Simple yet universal theme of families and how they can drift apart.
  • 100% Japanese reflecting a very different culture and society values to the West.
  • Many filming techniques are quite alien to those familiar with mainstream movies.
  • Trademark Ozu style: slow and still, low camera angles, minimilist, static camera (as a mere observer), lack of action, uneventful plot, no upbeat ending, landscape or wide-shots are used to allow a “chill-out” and separate scenes, characters often filmed sideways allowing the viewer to feel in the middle of the conversation, scenes often filmed in profile and framed within a building.
  • The Director pioneered “ellipses” where major events are discussed but not shown within a film.
  • “Tokyo Story” was not released in the US until 1972.
  • Ozu made 54 films (26 in his first 5 yrs), which were very popular in Japan but under-appreciated in the West.
  • There is a lack of editing and scenes are often shot in one take.
  • Because of this lack of manipulation the viewer slowly becomes emotionally engaged with the characters and eventually by the end of the film the cumulative effect is that it hits home with power and honesty.
  • Ozu does not point fingers instead he creates more of a contemplative meditation on the transitory nature of life.
  • One of the most sympathetic characters Toriko (the daughter-in-law) is played by Sesuko Haro who features in many of the Director’s other films. The actress never gave interviews and refused to be photographed, she retired from making films at the height of her fame.
  • The viewer is drawn towards the characters through subtle gestures, observation of Japanes social manners and conversation, tiny details echo the bigger picture with wonderful camera framing and cinematography.
  • Sound plays an important part, the rhythm of journey pervades the entire film, from background steamboats to speeding trains. A ticking clock or the sounds of the city subtly compliment the major themes of the story.
  • One of the Director’s favourite films was Orson Welles “Citizen Kane”.
  • My favourite key message “the beauty of life is often found by standing still”
An amazing website detailing images and journals from Ozu’s huge back catalogue can be found here it seems to be part of the University of Toyko website.

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Chelsea Flower Show 2008: My 3 favourite design ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

The Chelsea Flower Show 2008 has been taking place this week and amongst the showy big-budget affairs you can always pick out a few clever and inspiring designs.

Three of my favourite ideas were:

1) The walls on the “Pemberton Greenish Recess Garden” by Paul Hensey and Neil Lucas. Awarded a Silver Gilt Medal.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the main designers is Paul Hensey based in Lancashire, England. His background is in product design and I think his roots shine through brilliantly within this garden. He frames the planting by creating tactile and innovative walls, one is made from recycled blocks of off-cut wood which has the added benefit of absorbing sound, very useful in an urban setting. Simple, neat and brilliant.

2) The use of mosses in the “Midori No Tobira (The Green Door) Garden” by Ishihara Kazuyuki . Awarded a Gold Medal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Japanese designer draws inspiration from “the smell of moist earth, the softness and sheen of wet rocks, the irregular flow of water” and always brings elements of innovative Japanese garden design to his work. Using vertical “living walls”, planting on spare roof space and working to a perfectly natural colour scheme of white, blue and green his creations are always wonderfully soothing spaces. Inspirational and relevant.

3) The firepit in the “Fleming’s and Trailfinder’s Australian Garden” by Jamie Durie. Awarded a Gold Medal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Created with a budget of £400,000 and featuring a myriad of native Australian plants this garden is a stunner but probably a little out of reach for your ordinary Pom. The neat design of the firepit within a central circular table may prove useful though. Imagine being able to brave a chilly UK evening with a clear dusk night falling, some “al fresco” dining could be possible with a crackling fire providing some warmth. Turning the fire pit into a barbecue would give still more functionality. A win-win for me.
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