Criterion Collection


When you’re in the mood to watch a movie, picking the right film can be a daunting process.  Everyone hopes to enjoy whatever film they commit themselves to watching, and nobody wants to waste their time.  In this regard, something that has personally helped aid me in selecting great films to watch is the Criterion Collection.

What is the Criterion Collection?

The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that licenses only what it considers to be exemplary classic or contemporary films.  The Collection was founded in 1984, and currently licenses an astounding 1,265 films with more being added every month.  If you’re struggling to find a film to watch, simply browse the Criterion Collection’s catalog of films and you surely won’t be disappointed.


At this point, you may be asking yourself if this post is actually an ad for the company: it’s not. The Criterion Collection does get a lot of love from the film community, though. In a 2009 blog post, Roger Ebert called Criterion “the standard bearer among high-quality DVDs.”  What makes the collection attractive is the care taken to present a film in all its celluloid glory, with a lot of attention given to image restoration and digital transfer. The DVDs also have spiffy packaging, and the special features—interviews, artist bios, etc.—add context that helps viewers understand and appreciate the film.  Most of us take these add-ons for granted nowadays, but Criterion was one of the first companies to routinely include them.

The Criterion Collection meets the high standards of film industry aficionados, but it is also good for regular folks who just want to see something different—it’s been called a “film school in a box” (“Criterion DVD Collection,” NPR, June 12, 2004). In the blog post mentioned above, Roger Ebert profiles a guy named Matthew Dessem who, after renting a few Criterion titles from his local video store, decided to watch every single Criterion movie and blog about it. Dessem decided to blog “to keep myself honest and force myself to think critically, because I had a premonition of dust collecting on The Seventh Seal” [a challenging Swedish art film] “while I watched This Is Spinal Tap.” https://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/the-man-who-is-scaling-mt-criterion-film-by-film


My Criterion Picks

While working at Media Services, I’ve been using the Criterion Collection to learn about film in the same way. Listed below are three of my favorite films that I’ve chosen from the collection, that I’m sure can be enjoyed by everyone.

Che

To begin, Che is a two-part film with a total runtime of 4 hours and 28 minutes; all of which you will be captivated and enthralled by as you follow the true story of Che Guevara, a major influence of the Cuban Revolution.  Che is a realistic depiction of the volatile and turbulent life of those living in a country plagued by dissonance, turmoil, and undergoing a revolution, and does not shy away from difficult but realistic circumstances that these individuals are exposed to.  Che is exemplary in the sense that the film focuses heavily on the psychological and moral aspects of revolution and human nature, instead of relying on violence to draw the viewer in.

Secret Sunshine

Secret Sunshine is a South Korean film focusing on a woman named Lee Shin-ae and her young son, who moves to a town named Secret Sunshine after the tragic death of her husband.  Secret Sunshine is a story of Lee Shin-ae’s battles with grief, faith, and acceptance.  This film paints a very brutally honest yet realistic portrait of unexpected tragedies that affect good people and the psychological trauma that that is subsequently induced.  The film’s cinematography and ambient feelings of atmospheric beauty serve as a catalyst to cause the viewer to reflect on their own life, realizing that even unfortunate events can sometimes contain beauty depending on your perspective.

Fish Tank

Fish Tank is a gritty, ultra-realistic film depicting the life of a young girl’s struggle with leading an aimless life.  Mia is depressed and socially isolated, taking her anger out on those around her.  Mia finds solace in dancing to hip-hop music, and attempts to pursue her dreams of competitive dancing in order to break out of her monotonous, mundane and seemingly hopeless life.  Fish Tank has won numerous awards for its skillful portrayal of life and the unexpected struggles and hardships that accompany it.

The Criterion Collection consists of films that are sure not to disappoint—or at least to provoke interesting thought and discussion—and here at Media Services we have a large portion of their collection.  Below is just a sampling of our holdings, along with a link to the full Criterion Collection list. Feel free to stop by and browse for a movie that’s right for you!

This blog post was written by William Power, a junior majoring in Informatics who enjoys reading and watching movies.

See full Criterion Collection here

A few of the many Criterion titles available at Media Services (links take you to the IUCAT item record):

Angst essen Seele auf Ali, fear eats the soul

Ballada o soldate Ballad of a soldier

Carnival of souls

I fidanzati

Kumonosu-jo Throne of blood

Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot M. Hulot's holiday

Leti͡at zhuravli The cranes are flying

Monty Python's Life of Brian

Muerte de un ciclista Death of a cyclist

Mystery train

Nóż w wodzie Knife in the water

Orphée

Quadrophenia

Rashōmon

Repo man

Slacker

Sommarnattens leende Smiles of a summer night

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm two takes

Ṭaʻm-i guylās A taste of cherry

The harder they come

The 39 steps

 

It’s the Hottest Color Trend in TV and Film. But Why?

Stills from Diva, 1981


Blue, Purple, Pink. Slap on some neon and you have yourselves, at the very least, an aesthetically pleasing scene. This color trio has been showing up increasingly in TV and film. Is Stranger Things to blame? An 80s-nostalgic itch that this generation of content makers is scrambling to fill our screens with? Let’s dive deeper into the psychology of why these colors are so engaging.

The Pantone Color Institute named Ultra Violet as its 2018 color of the year, stating the choice was influenced by the aesthetics of artists Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix.

Blue: This color calls to mind feelings of calmness and serenity. It is a sign of stability and reliability. While there are many positive traits associated with this color, the age-old phrase “feeling blue” can hold true as well.

Purple: This color does not often occur in nature, and therefore has become a symbol of wealth and royalty. It can be symbolic of strength of character, as seen with the Purple Heart award in the military.

Pink: The lovechild of white and red, this color is strongly associated with femininity. Other traits associated with pink (and femininity) are kindness, nurturing, and compassion. Due to these strong associations, this hue appears frequently in discussions about the complex social constructs between gender and color.

So, what are these colors doing together? Let’s look at some examples of this aesthetic phenomenon available now in Media Services!

“San Junipero,” the Emmy Award-winning episode of Black Mirror, explores emotions transcending consciousness, decade, and even lifetime, as well as producing a rich and layered story revolving around two bisexual female characters in the 1980s.

Black Mirror – San Junipero (2016)

The Academy Award-winning film Moonlight also includes this color trio, right on the cover. Moonlight tells the story of Chiron, a Black man in Miami whose life is presented in three stages. The film covers many topics such as sexuality, identity, race, family, abuse, and drugs.

Moonlight (2016)

The nostalgia can once again be seen in Blade Runner 2049. New fans to the franchise can rest easy, as you do not have to have seen the original to enjoy this Academy Award-winning and visually captivating film. This neo-noir film employs gorgeous cinematography that at many points makes up for some lackluster storytelling.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Atomic Blonde, a 2017 action thriller starring Charlize Theron and set in the 80s, rounds out this list.

There are many more examples of this color combo in contemporary film and television. We may not be able to pinpoint just why hot pink, electric blue, and Paisley Park purple are so hot right now, but from what we can see so far, the trend will continue to captivate audiences a while longer. CC

Casey Callas is a senior studying Liberal Arts. When she isn’t watching movies, you can find her napping in a hammock somewhere around campus.

Chinese Cinema: Classics and New Trends in Context

When it comes to mainland Chinese cinema, many in the United States are familiar with wuxia (martial arts) films such as House of Flying Daggers. Some may be fans of “scar films” that emerged from the extreme hardships of the Cultural Revolution. I myself was introduced to Chinese cinema through 90s classics such as Raise the Red Lantern and Farewell My Concubine. What these all have in common is that they were made by filmmakers in the “Fifth Generation” or before.

 Leslie Cheung in Farewell My Concubine (1993) by Chen Kaige

The Fifth Generation filmmakers–such as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Tian Zhuangzhuang–comprise a group of Beijing Film School graduates who began working around the mid 1980s. After graduating, many of them were recruited by the Xi’an Film Studio where they went on to make a number of aesthetically and commercially successful films like the ones mentioned above. The term “Fifth Generation” is thought by many to be an umbrella term that is more descriptive of a time period than of a collective style or subject. However, as they were the first filmmakers to work after the period of absolute government control, they are united in their divergence from the socialist-realist style and ideological adherence of Cultural Revolution Cinema.

Gong Li in Raise the Red Lantern (1991) by Zhang Yimou

While most of these directors are still active today (Zhang Yimou’s largest-budget film The Great Wall was released in 2016), there has for some time been a Sixth Generation of Chinese filmmakers who have made their own way. After the protests and massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989, the government censorship and the lack of funding forced many aspiring filmmakers underground. Some of these films, such as Golden Lion winner Still Life by Jia Zhangke, are made with non-professional actors. Others are shot with low quality equipment with budgets less than $10,000. The films by Sixth Generation filmmakers are more interested in contemporary industrialization and loneliness, and are far less lush and romantic than their Fifth Generation counterparts.

Han Sanming in Still Life (2006) by Jia Zhangke

In addition to Jia Zhangke, there is Wang Xiaoshuai, Zhang Yuan, and Lou Ye. Anyone who is a fan of the florid and expressive films like Ju Dou or Hero might at first find films like Still Life or The Days cold and gritty, but there is an urgency to them that is very compelling.

Since the early 2000s, there has been a “dGeneration” of filmmakers, with “d” standing for digital. Most of these have been screened on the independent circuit. Some well-known titles are Taking Father Home by Ying Ling and Oxhide by Jian Yi.

If this seems like a lot to you, it’s because it is. And these are just the mainland Chinese films from the past 30 years or so. If we broaden the scope past the People’s Republic of China to include filmmakers from Taiwan (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Edward Yang), Hong Kong (Wong Kar Wai, Ann Hui), and diasporic filmmakers like Ang Lee, the list grows exponentially.

We have many of these titles here at Media Services. Come check one out! AL

Anni Liu is a graduate student in Creative Writing at IU and a published poet and essayist. 

Wilfred: An Unorthodox TV Treatment of Mental Illness

Mental illness is not something to be taken lightly, although Wilfred, an American remake of the original Australian series, manages to bring in dark comedic themes while still taking it seriously. The main character Ryan (Elijah Wood) bonds with his neighbor Jenna’s dog named Wilfred. Oddly enough, he is the only one that can see that the dog is a talking human in a dog costume. Wilfred puts Ryan through all sorts of antics and grows on Ryan and also the audience. Although it is never clear why he sees Wilfred the way he does, all that is for certain is that Ryan is deeply depressed and likely to have other mental issues that are not completely spelled out throughout the series.

The show tackles some philosophical themes that leave the viewer with open-ended questions: Why is Ryan the only person that can hear Wilfred talking? Is he actually the only person? Is it a delusion or is it real? Does Wilfred ever have Ryan’s best interests in mind? What even is Wilfred, exactly? It constantly leaves the viewer questioning what is going on, as some episodes in the series are very surreal.

Since it is a comedy, there are a few light-hearted and uplifting episodes to offset the heavy and morbid ones from time to time. For example, the first few minutes of the first episode start out with Ryan typing out a suicide note and attempting suicide. This show does not romanticize suicide or depression by any means, but provides insight on how it can impact its victims and odd ways they can often cope without anyone really noticing the signs and symptoms.

Wilfred aired from 2011-2014 on FX. David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle thought the show was quirky but worth the effort. In a 2011 review, he noted that Wilfred was “perhaps an acquired taste for some viewers, but if the sheer absurdity of the show doesn’t get you, the rather sweet undercurrent just may do the trick.” (full review: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/wilfred/s01/reviews/). If you’re intrigued, come check out seasons 1 and 2, available in the Browsing section of Media Services! FC

Fatima Coulibaly is a junior at IUB with an eclectic taste in film who enjoys playing the piano. Except Jingle Bells.

All images courtesy Google Images.

Fun, features, and sun all summer long at Media Services!

Media Services likes to keep our readers and patrons updated with monthly celebrations happening in the U.S and around the world. If you have been to Media Services before and have had the opportunity to look around, you have probably noticed our Staff Picks shelf where we highlight films that tie in with the special holidays and observances that happen each month. For the month of June, we have picked some films for you to watch! So whether you’re in a film rut and don’t know what to watch for your next movie night, or you want to branch out and watch films about different topics, or you’re sick of not having a favorite movie to list for those let’s-get-to-know-each-other games, Media Services is here for you.

African-American Music Appreciation Month

The widespread influence African-American artists and music have had on our culture today is a no-brainer. It was probably for this reason that, in 1979, President Jimmy Carter mandated that the month of June should be Black Music Month, spurring the celebration of the contributions Black artists have made in all different genres of music. If you want to join in on the celebrations, feel free to come to Media Services and grab a copy of Ray, a biopic on the life of Ray Charles, or Bessie, a story about the legendary and groundbreaking blues performer Bessie Smith, and much more!


Pride Month

In celebration and observance of the history of the LGBT community around the world, we have selected films such as Paris is Burning, which explores the queer community in New York City, focusing on drag queens and their lives, and Milk, which tells the story of Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist as well as the first openly gay person to be elected into public office. Sean Penn’s portrayal of Milk earned him an Oscar win for Best Actor, 2009.

Fun fact: This month was chosen to commemorate LGBT pride in honor of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 which happened at the end of June, marking it as one of the most important events that spurred the fight for LGBT rights in the U.S.


Father’s Day

Fresh out of Mother’s Day month, it’s now time to give the fathers out there some love. With picks such as Finding Nemo and the Pursuit of Happyness—both films about how far fathers are willing go to for their kids—we have something for everyone!


National Candy Month

Last but definitely not least, for my fellow sweet-toothed people, June is National Candy Month. That’s right I said month, so in honor of this, we have chosen some classics such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, among other films, to indulge the inner child in all of us!

During the month of June, let’s not forget that films not only entertain, but they also have the power to educate and celebrate, so if any of these topics interest you, treat yourself and stop by Media Services to grab a copy of your next favorite film! RE

Robi Endashaw

Robiati Endashaw will be a junior in the Fall and is studying public policy analysis in KSB with a minor in Economics. In her spare time, she enjoys reading non-fiction and watching crime documentaries.

All pictures courtesy Google images.

 

The (Wo)man, The Myth, The Legend: Katharine Hepburn

Alfred Eisenstaedt more Agency Prints (Katharine Hepburn) http://time.com/3842230/katharine-hepburn/

When you hear the phrase “classic Hollywood”, what do you tend to think of? The black & white images, used before color film was invented? Steamy romances? Pre-CGI special effects? For me, when I think of classic Hollywood, my mind jumps to Katharine Hepburn, an exceptional actress and an outspoken character.

I was first introduced to Hepburn’s work when watching one of her films Summertime (1955) in Media Services, on the ground floor of the Herman B Wells Library. The story follows a single American woman named Jane, who spends her entire life savings on a solo trip to Venice, Italy. I remember being struck immediately by the amount of courage Jane had to have had to take on Italy herself, especially considering the times. Jane is also a lover of film and photography, taking out her camera wherever she finds herself. She eventually meets an Italian man, and the two have an affair that spans her entire trip.


https://medium.com/@JoeSommerlad/katharine-hepburn-the-monster-and-the-making-of-the-african-queen-f685af78c05c

Hepburn has starred in countless Hollywood classics, such as Adam’s Rib, The African Queen, and even Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Whether she was actively defying her husband’s wishes or challenging the country’s oldest of prejudices, each of Hepburn’s characters embody the bold conviction that first drew me to the actress.

With all of these inimitable performances, it is no wonder that Hepburn was named “the greatest female star” of Classic Hollywood Cinema by the American Film Institute. However, even when out of character, she was anything but “classic”. Hepburn consistently rejected the status quo for the female actress by leading an extremely private life, maintaining a casual style in the age of Hollywood glamour, and being extremely active. She openly advocated for women’s rights, specifically for birth control and abortion access, which remain taboo subjects.


Actress in Wardrobe for "Philadelphia Story" Theater-Legit-Philadelphia Story, The Vintage Print Hepburn http://time.com/3842230/katharine-hepburn/

Admittedly, my admiration for Katharine is quite new. I still have a lengthy list of her films that have yet to be watched and curiosities about her personal life. Suffice to say, however, that there is a lot to learn about, and from, this icon. LA

Leah Ashebir is a business major at the Kelley School and will spend the summer gaining valuable business experience through an internship at a firm in New York City.

 

Thelma and Louise – a Timeless Roadtrip

As summertime dawns on us, many of us are left with much more free time and carefree living thanks to the end of yet another academic year. It brings on a time of self-exploration and perhaps an exploration of entertainment past and present.

Taking a look back on films from the past, we see May 24th marks the 17th anniversary since the release date of Thelma and Louise, a film about two best friends that set out on an adventure to escape the mundane which quickly turns into an actual escape from the police for the crimes that they have committed. It stars Susan Sarandon (Louise) and Geena Davis (Thelma) and has received 21 awards. Among the awards include the Academy award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. As these awards suggest, this screenplay has been artfully written and have often been used as examples for screenwriters to use in their own writing. If this is not enough to convince you of what great writing this is, the screenplay is also mentioned extensively and analyzed in what writers in the industry would call their bibles: Screenplay by Syd Field and Save the Cat by Blake Snyder.

Delving into the screenplay, we can take a quick look at the synopsis of the film – with no spoilers of course. At the beginning of the film we meet Louise, a headstrong and independent woman, and her best friend Thelma, a passive and naive woman that is married to a moronic hothead. They set out for a weekend getaway in a 1966 Thunderbird convertible. In tow: a gun. While on the road they decide to stop for drinks where a man takes a liking to Thelma. He attempts to sneak her away and rape her when Louise shows up brandishing the gun. The man’s body is soon discovered and it doesn’t take long before the authorities connect his death with Thelma and Louise. Thus begins a chase.

Now we’ve seen many “best buddy” type films such as 48 Hours, Wayne’s World, and Dumb and Dumber, but this film is set apart from the others because the heroes in this film are women, making it ahead of its time. The two women are strong, quick-witted, and full of compassion. As the film progresses, these women grow into characters that we, the audience, might identify with. They become role models for female empowerment, and perhaps empowerment to all genders.

If you would like to experience this film this summer, be sure to stop by Media Services and check it out. SM

Sami Masaki is a sophomore studying Cinema Production. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and watching movies. This summer, she will be interning with Heydey Films in Los Angeles.

The Strange Thing About The Johnsons

This short film (available on Vimeo) by director Ari Aster offers a spectacular take on a taboo subject with a twist. It instantly hooks the viewer; and while it is disturbing, it is nearly impossible to look away the entire 30 minutes. It leaves you a sickening feeling that you can never wash away and content that is unforgettable. This is intentional as its theme, long considered the ultimate family taboo, warrants discussion, and this film has already provoked a considerable amount of it.

An important element of the film is one of the main characters feeling helpless and alone. With no one to turn to about the trauma they are dealing with, the viewer can feel the pain of the character. Despite finally having a loved one in on the filthy secret, they turn a blind eye to it rendering the character with truly no one to help. The desperation for escape towards the end leaves the viewer rooting for the character’s freedom.

Aster’s artistic take on a very real and grim subject is meant to make the audience uncomfortable as it is a way to force people to think about an issue that hardly ever is mentioned but happens more than anyone would like to admit. Just like real-life victims, the audience must endure high levels of unease; but ultimately those watching the film get to escape after the 30-minute run time, and are left to ponder what they have experienced. There are so many different layers and elements to take in from such a short film that it’s extraordinary it isn’t more popular. This is likely due to its controversial subject matter.

The extent to which some people deal with the topic at hand is also addressed. One of the other characters literally destroys evidence of the secret after it has already destroyed their family. One thing to remember after watching it is that, while you can move on from this 30-minute film, people that face situations like those in the film live with the weight and have it impact them their entire life. If for no other reason than to support and validate those who have this experience, this film provides a valuable, if controversial, contribution to the film canon.

Few films take on such uncomfortable material. Family Affair, one of few documentaries on the subject, grapples with the highly complex emotions of an entire family that endure decades after the events transpired. This title is one of the many housed in Media Services’ Teaching and Research collection, home to a remarkable array of films that are sometimes challenging, sometimes provocative, and always thought-provoking. FC

Fatima Coulibaly is a sophomore at IUB with an eclectic taste in film who enjoys playing the piano. Except Jingle Bells.

Why Miyazaki’s Works are so Internationally Renowned

When Miyazaki’s name is mentioned, I am sure certain film titles come to mind. As a child growing up in a Japanese family, Miyazaki’s films were some of my favorite apart from the Lindsey Lohan remake of The Parent Trap. This may come as no shocker but what always surprised me was the number of my peers that also knew of his films. Miyazaki and his company Studio Gibli are often compared to Walt Disney. As a Japanese animation filmmaker, what makes Miyazaki’s works do so well internationally?

People around the world are moved by his various works that tackle themes and characters of great depth. They were first introduced to his films in 2003 when his film Spirited Away (2001) took home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film, opening the gates to all other Studio Gibli films. Although Miyazaki’s films are considered children’s movies, they explore themes such as war, man vs. nature, and identity, making them relevant to people of all ages.

Yet he does this in such an honest way. He captures the true emotions of life: joy, bewilderment, empathy. And he delivers them to us in the character’s actions that are so real.  Take, for example, Spirited Away. The protagonist, Chihiro, is a 10-year-old girl who is moving to a new town and leaving everything and everyone she knows behind. Her friends give her a bouquet and she says, “The only time I got a bouquet and it’s a goodbye present. How depressing.” Her mother tries to console her but she remains sullen and shrugs it off. These are actions that any little girl would take. Miyazaki even mentioned that he based this film off of a 10-year-old girl that he knew very well.

Although Miyazaki’s films dig into complex themes, they have many layers, making them multifaceted and the right fit for children as well. Through the younger characters portrayed in his films, he allows children to identify with the films. In this way, he is extremely respectful to the younger audience.

Miyazaki once said, “”I believe that children’s souls are the inheritors of historical memory from previous generations. It’s just that as they grow older and experience the everyday world that memory sinks lower and lower. I feel I need to make a film that reaches down to that level.”

The quiet innocence of his films are the reason I started watching his films in the first place. That is why I consider My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Ponyo as some of my favorite films of his. There is something so special about the pureness of these films which have had the ability to impact my life so strongly.

It is quite an understatement to say that Miyazaki’s films are beautiful. His stills are some of the most stunning in art, let alone in animation. Sprinkled through his films are lush landscapes that capture the beauty of the countryside.  His great attention to detail brings the fantastic elements of his stories to life and suck the viewer in. His films are the perfect blend of realistic, supernatural, and the fantastic.

The moving stories combined with his beautiful artwork are what make his films timeless masterpieces for all people of all ages. If you have not had the chance to see any of his films, I encourage you to do so. The ones that I would start with are Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle. I hope that the journey through his films captivates you as much as they did to me. All three movies are available at Media Services! SM

Sami Masaki is a sophomore studying Cinema Production. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and watching movies. This summer, she will be interning with Heydey Films in Los Angeles.

All photos taken from: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jasminnahar/the-most-beautiful-shots-in-studio-ghibli-history?utm_term=.wdg87eRZy#.knKkv5QLe

 

Ozu’s Pictures: Changing Seasons, Changing Lives

As the plane of the Earth’s equator glides across the center of the Sun’s disk for the first time this year, we mark the beginning of a new season. The vernal equinox brings us into spring, a time of revitalizing energy and growth. And while the weather here in Bloomington seems insistent on continuing winter’s themes, the passing of seasons reminds us of the change inherent in our lives. The Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu saw better than most how the passing of time through the seasons served as allegory for the changing lives of people, particularly within his own Japan. Ultimately, Ozu knew undoubtedly that people and places change.

In his 1956 film Early Spring, Ozu sought “to portray what you might call the pathos of the white-collar life”. Like most of his films, Early Spring is a meticulously constructed picture of individual lives. It tells in detail the story of a man trapped in a life that is dulled by the daily routines of work and marriage. Looking for a break from the soul-crushing tedium, he begins an affair with a co-worker. While it seems an ordinary enough story, this is where Ozu excels. The director captures incredible drama within a careful examination of simple lives. In Early Spring, Ozu conveys the depressive feelings of routine and shows us how it can be difficult to escape, to change.

Like Early Spring, Ozu’s earlier 1949 feature Late Spring focuses on change within a family context. Late Spring is sometimes called the director’s finest film and it is a prime example of Ozu’s later style, both cinematically and thematically. Throughout the film’s 108 minutes Ozu uses still camera shots to frame scenes of family, exploring the dynamic between a young woman and her widowed father. When her father decides it is time for her to get married conflict ensues as she fears marriage would mean leaving her father alone and without help. As the film progresses, the pressure to marry increases higher and higher, leading to an eventual capitulation. Again, Ozu captures the difficulty of change, here choosing to focus on what makes us afraid of transformation in our lives.

In his later years Ozu chose to focus his work on the changing culture of post-WWII. Ozu’s home was undergoing intense and dramatic political transitions after the war. The daily lives and traditions of the Japanese were being restructured. Ozu felt this and saw this, and his films show us this in exquisite detail. Just like the seasons, our world and our lives change across time.  This spring, consider exploring his filmography here at Media Services.

-John A.

John Arbuckle is a senior finishing up his last semester in Environmental Science. In his free time he makes a weak attempt at reading philosophy and fantasizes about bicycles that he cannot afford. While he has no idea what he is doing with his life post-graduation, he enjoys the sun and dirt and hopes to find work that will provide both in ample quantity.