Kurosawa and Ozu: The Two faces of Japanese cinema Rashomon and Tokyo story
When looking at Japanese cinema we have to look at the two faces of Japanese cinema that are seen time and time again while talking about this subject, Kurosawa and Ozu. Japan has a rich cinematic history so it is impossible to deny the impact these two filmmakers had on the national cinema of japan. Although they both affected the way the world views Japanese cinema they have little to do with one another.Their films have different styles themes and tempos, and performances. In the essay we will discuss ‘’what is Japanese about Kurosawa and Ozu. Although they are very different they represent Japanese cinema to the rest of the world. We will be looking at the cinematic styles of both filmmakers,
First of all the cinematic style are more accurately defined by period and movement than by country. Even Hollywood cinema changed dramatically from the 50s to the 70s. This applies for most countries, including japan. By analysing movements in periods of cinema, we can find some common ground. Italian directors in the neo-realisms era shared themes, subjects and even styles in some instances. However when we look at Kurasawa and Ozu’s films we see less of what we saw in 70s American cinema and directors such as Coppola and Scorsese. Their films relate to the working class people in big cities, but id we look at these Japanese filmmakers that were producing films at the very same time the similarities are almost non existent. To understand this topic better we will analyse a film from both directors.
We will first look at Rashomon(1950) from Kurosawa. Released in 1950, Rashomon propelled Kurosawa into popularity in the Western world. Beneath the heavy rain a priest, a woodcutter and a commoner take cover under the Rashomon gate. The begin discussing a horrific murder that took place, where a vicious killer murdered a samurai and raped his wife.The film then goes into detail of the crime through multiple perspectives. Including the priest who met the samurai and his wife moments before the murder. The woodcutter, who found the body of the samurai. The killer,Tajomaru. The samurai’s wife and the samurai himself through a medium. All these stories have similarities, yet the change drastically depending of the point of view. Showing the peoples egoism force them to bend the truth, for their own vanities.
Kurosawa, was seen by Japan to be the least Japanese filmmaker of his time. Kurosawa once said in his autobiography ‘’No where i go in the world, although I can’t speak any other language. I don't feel out of place. I think of the earth as my home. I make films from the viewpoint of an individual who happens to live in Japan, but I don’t believe society is structured al that differently from country to country. So what I see from my experiences in Japan should be understandable to people of other countries, I think it is important to establish a kind of global film culture’...