Ozuesque: Ozu and His Influence
Edited by Jinhee Choi (King’s College London)
Japanese director Ozu Yasujiro has become a cultural icon whose influence is now apparent beyond the medium of film: One of the main characters in the French novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Muriel Barbery, 2009) is appropriately or inappropriately named after Ozu. With an increasing awareness of Ozu in the cultural as well as cinematic scenes, the presence of Ozu needs to be revisited within a broader context than that of Japan. Scholarship on Ozu in film studies has focused on his film style, which attempts to locate the source of his unique aesthetics—that is, whether Ozu’s distinctive aesthetics may or may not originate from his Japaneseness.
Ozuesque: Ozu and His Influence, an anthology proposed, reorients the existing scholarship from Ozu the auteur to the ozuesque—that is, how the individual sensibility of Ozu can be articulated, and further, how his aesthetic sensibility has transmitted to and shared by, directors of successive generations and/or differing nationalities. Films screened at “Ozu and His Influence,” which was part of the Ozu retrospective organized and hosted by the British Film Institute in 2010, provide a good starting point. These include the work of directors who are “inspired” by, and/or pay homage to, Ozu: A Portuguese Goodbye (Joãr Botelho, 1985), Tokyo-Ga (Wim Wenders, 1985, USA/Germany), Mishima: A Life of Four Chapters (Paul Shrader, 1986, USA/Japan), Mystery Train (Jim Jarmusch, 1989, USA), Eat Drink Man Woman (Ang Lee, 1994, Taiwan), 35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis, 2008, France/Germany), and Still Walking (Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2008, Japan). To this list one could add Archipelago (Joanna Hogg, 2010, UK) and Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami, 2012, France/Japan) that were more recently released.
If sensibility is defined as a disposition that can be shared and manifest in different historical and cultural contexts, it allows us to articulate not only Ozu’s own distinctive aesthetics, but more importantly consider the relationship between (or the sensibility shared by) Ozu and the mentioned directors as operative rather than mimetic. With the release of Ozu’s early and late work on DVDs as of late, which had not been widely available, this anthology provides an opportunity to re-examine not only Ozu’s sensibility (or sensibilities) across his oeuvre but also the relationship—both cultural and aesthetic—that is forged among directors across the world.
Films and topics may include but are not limited to:
-Ozu and modernity
-Ozu and the Hollywood sensibility
-Ozu’s early crime films
-Ozu’s college comedy
-Ozu and Hasumi
-Ozu and Naruse
-Ozu and the Japanese New Wave
-Ozu and women’s rights
-Ozu and the Okinawan popular film movement in the 1980s
-Children in Ozu’s (and Kore-eda’s) films
-35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis, 2008, France/Germany)
-The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch, 2009, USA/Japan)
-Still Walking (Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2008, Japan)
-Like Father Like Son (Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2013, Japan)
-Archpellago (Joanna Hogg, 2010, UK)
-Café Luimere (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2003 Japan/Taiwan)
-Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami, 2012, France/Japan)
Please submit an abstract (350 words) and a short bio to the following email address by Tuesday 15 April.
Dr. Jinhee Choi
Senior Lecturer in Film Studies
King’s College London
455 Norfolk Building
London WC2R 2LS