Curry and rice—catalyst for his directorial debut
One day while working as a film assistant at Kamata Studio, Ozu was waiting in the studio’s cafeteria for their curry and rice to be served. When a dish was first served to the director who came in after him, Ozu found himself yelling, “I was here first!” Ozu later recounted that the studio head caught wind of this incident and impressed him Ozu was an interesting guy. It was the catalyst for his being promoted the following month to direct the period drama Sword of Penitence (Zange no yaiba, 1927).
Insistence on a low position
“Low position,” which is where Ozu would hold his camera, became synonymous to Ozu’s filmmaking style. He also preferred to have the stories play out in indoor sets rather than in outdoor locations. To accommodate the compositions viewed from a low position, he used every possible types of ingenuity. For example, he was extremely particular about the positions of props, and built a set with a long hallway in order to emphasize depth. On the other hand, when it came to music, he showed that he was not very picky.
Inclination for authenticity and art
Regarding art pieces that appeared in the films, they were mere props, he still insisted on authenticity. A film in which the largest number of paintings appears is Late Autumn (Akibiyori, 1960), which is about a daughter who is of a marrying age. In addition to the painting Asama-yama (Mt. Asama) by Ryuzaburo Umehara hung on the wall of a restaurant, works by Kaii Higashiyama, Meiji Hashimoto, and Gyoshu Hayami enliven the various scenes. The film is a masterpiece that have continued to be adored by Japanese as well as overseas viewers to this day. <End>