Ozu Grammar (1) - Conversation

  • 2020.03.21 Saturday
  • 18:46







Two grammar violations


 Ozu argues that generally accepted grammar in movies, such as close-ups to emphasize a person's emotions and FI, FO, over time, is not essential. In particular, he emphasizes the validity of his own theory by focusing on how to photograph people in conversations. For example, in a roundtable after the completion of "Late Autumn", he stated as follows.



"What I'm doing isn't really cinematic. I can't do that I can only draw if it's a movie. My movie is made while getting lost in various things"......


"It is said that a movie has grammar, but it is not. A long time ago, director Thomas Kurihara came back from the United States, and when taking a close-up of a discussion between A and B, the camera must not cross this line by drawing a line connecting A and B. He said that unless you take A and B from one side, you will not have a conversation. This was the most important piece of film grammar at that time. But I don't do that. Just cross that line and take a picture from just the symmetrical point. So if A points to the left, B also points to the left. I think that's better because these lines of sight match and the directivity does not collapse. Probably only me around the world is doing that. I've pushed through this. It's strange from a peer's point of view, but you get used to it right away. After all, human comprehension is several steps higher, so I think that's fine" ((2) Movies, literature and paintings '60)


 Ozu cites the difficulties and limitations of expressing conversations between Japan in the traditional grammar of Thomas Kurihara's movies as the cause of this unique method.



"The position where a person sits between Japan is almost fixed, and if it is at most about 10 tatami mats, the range of movement of the camera is very cramped. If you do, one person's background will only be between the floors, and the other person's background will be determined by the sliding door or the edge. Then the atmosphere of the scene that I am aiming for cannot be expressed at all. I tried out of that and it was an illegal thing, but when I tried it, I knew that it was not grammar"((2) Film grammar '47)



The year before the round-table talk mentioned above, when he won the Academy of Fine Arts Awards, he states:



"I've been doing this for 30 years now. ...If you clarify only the positional relationship between A and B in a long shot, you can take pictures from any angle. It doesn't seem that important, like crossing the gaze on the audience. Apparently, such a "grammar" theory feels awkward, and it's too stiff to be tied to it. Shouldn't movies be more relaxed and directing?" ((2) Film has no "grammar" '59)



 There is some confusion in these remarks, but if you sort them out, you can see that Ozu had committed two grammatical violations. One is "If A points to the left, then B also points to the left. That way, the line of sight is better, and the directivity does not collapse" at the beginning and the other is "If you clarify only the positional relationship between A and B, you can take pictures from any angle".


It can be said that the latter sentence is an extension of the previous sentence, but it is not actually taken like the previous sentence from the beginning. As he himself said, "While getting lost in various things" it is probably through trial and error that the type of the previous sentence was formed, and after that the Ozu style was established that exceeded the previous sentence. And the policy for realizing them was "it doesn't matter from which angle I shoot" in the latter part.



Cut back and directivity


 We will look at the above details in detail. Ozu says in 1959, "Movies don't have grammar", they said that they started grammar violations 30 years ago, so that's around 29. Among the surviving films, there are four films produced during the year: "Days of Youth", "Fighting Friends Japanese Style", "I Graduated, But ..." and "A Straightforward Boy".


If you look at their first work, "Days of Youth", the whole thing is still boring grammar breaks. However, in the scene where two students, Watanabe (Ichiro Tsumejo) and Yamamoto (Tatsuo Saito), had a conversation at the boarding house, a 180-degree shot at a slightly distant position, or a crossing shot over a line connecting the people There is (25:50). And there is a similar conversation with them at the ski slopes (52:14). However, the latter two are far apart, and one has to turn around. In any case, when both scenes are turned back, the background changes greatly, as in later years, and the position, size, and face direction of the person are unified.


 These two conversations were taken because the two actors were so far apart that the camera and their position did not need to be changed for each shot and could have taken place naturally. Therefore, Ozu was gradually reducing the distance from here, creating his own cutback shot.


From now on, we will look at the distance of the person who talks in three categories: long distance(A conversation in which a camera can enter and switch back), intermediate distance(Conversation as usual, such as when sandwiching a table), and short distance(Get closer enough to touch your shoulders). For the sake of convenience, turning back the camera at 180 degrees is simply referred to as “cut back”, and turning back over lines connecting people is referred to as "crossing a gaze" .


 The following year, "Walk Cheerfully" there is "crossing a gaze" which shows the opponent's back view at an intermediate distance that is quite close in a conversation between him and Hisao Yoshitani in the apartment of Minoru Takada ( 42:50). At the same intermediate distance, "I Flunked, But ..." is a conversation between Takahashi (Tatuo Saito) and Sayoko (Kinuyo Tanaka) over a table at a coffee shop. Ozu's pointed out, "Directivity where the two are in the same direction and their gazes match," appears quickly here(Fig. 1, 2 33:30). However, here the body is still oblique.


◆小津の文法(1)−会話1 ◆小津の文法(1)−会話2
 Figure 1  Figure 2













This conversation has the following three other features. First of all, this seems to be the prototype of the divided shot as seen in "Composition Supremeism (5) - Divided and Dazzling Shot". The triangular small bottle near Takahashi is not reflected on Sayoko's side. And conversations that are held diagonally across a dining table or table like this are often seen in later works.


 Looking further at the positional relationship with the glass bowl containing the bread, you can see that the two eyes are not aligned. In the first pull shot of Sayoko behind Sayoko, she faces a vessel with Takahashi in the back, but looking forward, she is looking to the left. However, the relationship between the table and the wall behind seems to be correct, so your body position and orientation will be correct. It seems that this is not a shift of the line of sight, as in the case later, but the vessel in front of Sayoko was moved to the right for composition.


"Cut back" (30:36) in a conversation between a detective (Togo Yamamoto) and his wife (Emiko Yagumo) through the door in the next work, "That Night's Wife". A little further down, "The Lady and the Beard" has a conversation with him and a moga (Satoko Date) helping him change clothes in an apartment in Okajima (Tokihiko Okada). This is a "crossing a gaze" at close range (1:03:58). Returning to the middle distance, "Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth?" Is a bakery surrounded by several students, "crossing a gaze" showing the opponent's figure (05:28), and the drawing room of Horino's residence In a conversation between Tetsuo (Ureo Egawa) and Mother of Saiki (Choko Iida), there is a "crossing a gaze" in which the other person's figure is off the screen (1:04:17).



Gaze shift before and after


 The following year's "Dragnet Girl" is elaborately made, with gimmicks everywhere. In the conversation, first, Tokiko (Kinuyo Tanaka) at the beginning receives a ring from President Okazaki (Yasuo Nanjo), and sees a "crossing a gaze" at a short distance from the well-formed opponent's shoulder (03:40).


And noteworthy is the next intermediate distance, "crossing a gaze". Here, only one person is beautifully depicted in composition, which is typologically equivalent to a conversation with a disoriented gaze, which is characteristic of later Ozu movies.


Joji (Joji Oka), who was at the boxing club, and Kazuko (Sumiko Mizubo), who called him out on the phone, approached the position where they would normally talk (Fig. 3 34:18). However, the subsequent approach is not a close-up, so she is not visible even though the other party should be near the edge of the screen (Fig. 4). And the person being shown is looking at the other person who should be off the screen. In other words, the line of sight is farther away than when two people appear. However, Kazuko's shadow on Jyoji's court in a long shot is not visible when he is alone, so it can be seen that there is no opponent even in the line of sight. If Kazuko stands out of the screen and casts a shadow, it will look down and look dirty.


◆小津の文法(1)−会話3 ◆小津の文法(1)−会話4
 Figure 3  Figure 4













However, because it is silent, after Kazuko bows in Figure 3 above and the caption "I am Hiro's older sister ..." appears, even if the camera is close as shown in Figure 4 I do not feel excessive unnaturalness. When you become a talkie, you do not approach directly, switch the camera once, and the approaching of the other party (in this case, Kazuko) will be captured first.


 Later, in a conversation between Tokiko and President Okazaki in a hotel room, the grammar was right, left, right at first. But from Tokiko's "I'm so stupid" (1:01:38), it's the same as Jyoji and Kazuko. Sho Kida points out that the opponent has disappeared here ((15) Portrait and gaze), but in fact, you should see that the gaze shifts out of the screen in close-up.


The older "Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth?" Had two shots: One is a shot in which the person in front is shifted from the center and the back of the opponent is projected on the opposite end of the screen. The other is a shot that removes the opponent from the screen, centering on the person in front. Both are photographed realistically, the former is not very beautiful composition, and the latter is not as close as the other party can see on the screen. Therefore, in terms of gaze, it can be said that Ozu came to give priority to composition over realism from the "Dragnet Girl".


 According to Shigehiko Hasumi, Sayoko (Kinuyo Tanaka), who appeared outside the coffee shop three years before "Dragnet Girl", and students at the window on the second floor of the boarding house. He said that it was unnatural for his gaze to be horizontal ( see - window of boarding room). However, the script says, "5 coffee shop Open the window on the second floor, the daughter of the shop, Sayoko comes out," and the actual video showed her on the window, and the signboard beside the window It is quite low, indicating that it is upstairs (11:52).


The shot doesn't look like a second floor because the dark night background is barely visible, so the eaves that extend under the window sill are unclear and seem to be grounded from here. Still, the shot before Sayoko's face appeared slightly brighter, and the camera receded a little further so I could see the eaves (11:37).


In the case of the "Dragnet Girl", the case is resolved, and when a police officer on the ground sends a signal to a friend, the gaze to the same outdoor person or those on the indoor floor is distinguished by the difference in angle (1:38:39). Of course, the person on the floor has the opposite gaze. As if Ozu ignores the difference between the heights of the first and second floors, it is unlikely that inconsistencies can be found in matching eyes. Funny images, such as gaze shifts, appear when you prioritize composition over realism.


 After that, even a person projected at a close distance will shift his or her line of sight by looking around the camera. After that, even conversations projected at short distances will shift their eyes forward and backward by looking around the camera. However, it can be seen in two scenes of the later work "Late Spring", Noriko (Setsuko Hara) and Onodera (Masao Mishima) of small restaurant "Takigawa" (16:24), and Shichirigahama Probably from Noriko's conversation with Hattori (Jun Usami) (23:30). In this way, when the two people are close to each other, when taking a close-up shot, Ozu's camera does not approach the position where the other party should be, so the gaze near the camera shows the two people They are farther apart than time.


In a normal production, only the face is enlarged to emphasize the person's facial expression, but if you want to emphasize it further, it will approach the eyes and finally only the eyes. However, with this, if the eyes have the same color, it will not change even if anyone is projected. Ozu always shows his shoulders even in close-ups, because he expresses his character, not his expression. This is the same logic as taking a photo ID. However, whether Ozu himself had resistance or not, such a shift in gaze does not appear until "Late Spring". However, after that, it will appear frequently in Ozu style.


Although it is an exceptional shot, sometimes "gaze shift" is not enough. In "Tokyo Twilight", the conversation between Akiko (Ineko Arima) and Kenji Kimura (Masami Taura) at the bank of Hamarikyu is too far away when photographing one person (46:43). This shot seems to indicate that they are separated. At the Odenya, Kikuko Mom (Isuzu Yamada) and her new husband Aijima (Nobuo Nakamura) are sitting side by side. However, even after he stopped by Kikuko, the distance from Aijima to her as shown in close-ups remained the same. Further conversation disappears, so I feel like Aijima is suddenly gone (2:05:28). This is the effect of the spotlight on the play, and may be a reflection of her loneliness. However, a shadow is cast down from her elbow so that the difference is not noticeable, what is this reflected?



Directional evolution


 The scene of eating ramen in the family of the first talkie "The Only Son" (43:10) is not a close-up like in later years, but the three people are also facing the left and the gaze is on the left. Furthermore, since it is a form that expresses directivity, it has a simple and unified feeling. Shortly before the previous sentence "(2) Movie Grammar", Ozu used this scene as an example to explain a directional conversation, and "The Only Son" established the form of this conversation. You should look at it.


Even though not as extreme as "The Only Son", a similar conversation between the three will be common in subsequent works. For example, "Tokyo Story" has a conversation between her and her stepmother (Chisyu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama) in an apartment in Noriko (Setsuko Hara) (43:11). "What Did the Lady Forget?", The next work of "The Only Son", also has conversations by three mad Madams (Sumiko Kurishima, Choko Iida, Mitsuko Yoshikawa) at the Komiya family at the beginning and a coffee shop near the end (04:16, 1:04:36). Next, "Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family" includes a second son (Shin Saburi) and two bad friends at a restaurant (34:33), and Toda's mother (Fumiko Katsuragi) and third daughter Setuko (Mieko Takamine), and a friend Tokiko (Michiko Kuwano) There is a conversation (1:43:17).


 However, in the latter two works, only one will be close-up, and the other two will appear side by side. In "Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family," it was pointed out by Tomu Uchida that there was little close-up on the whole, and Ozu acknowledged that ((1) Consideration of "Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family"). In addition, there are some confident remarks as a creator here, but it can be said that this is also reflected in the production of the conversation.



"If I always work, I'm tired of my work for the time being, but this time I've been working and when I got to know my condition, I ended my work, so I want to get to the next job sooner. I want to shoot something soon. This is something never before."



In "There Was a Father", the conversation between the father (Chisyu Ryu) and two former students (Shin Saburi, Shinichi Himori) is the same as "Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family" It has become a directing. As is often pointed out, in this work, in the scene of a meal in a hot spring inn in Shiobara, there is a unique production that shifts the two sets right and left and talks diagonally (46:28). Since the conversation between the father and the son occupies the majority of the story, was there a purpose to supplement the monotony?



Changes in body and face orientation


 In addition to gaze shifts, the direction of the body and face may change when the camera approaches or recedes. "Late Autumn" A conversation between Ayako (Yoko Tukasa) and Yuriko (Mariko Okada) at the rooftop of her workplace shows that her back is facing the railing on the roof that is obliquely reflected in a long shot. However, when the camera approaches, the body opens and lies sideways (51:27). The other side will be outside because the elbow on the screen is hung on the handrail. The face then faces the camera in front, rather than diagonally back along the railing with the opponent. Bodewell merely points out the shift of the line of sight that occurs at this time (㉔Freedom and Order p.202). However, as we will see, these images are close-ups and assume that the person's body is facing the camera(Here, it changes from diagonally to the side).


This scene is based on the handrails leaning on them, so you can clearly see it without looking at long shots, but it is like "The Munekata Sisters" that this shift appears for the first time. In a temple in Kyoto where Mariko (Hideko Takamine) and father Tadachika (Chisyu Ryu) imitate the singing of nightingale, both of them are facing forward with a long shot. However, at close-up, the body turns to another person (Fig. 5, 6 51:56). Therefore, the gaze direction is correct here. In the case of Mariko, the camera is approached directly, and since the body orientation does not change with respect to the outdoor camera from the front and the indoor camera from the rear, it seems as if the camera is approaching straight. Before this scene, the conversation between sisters (10:56) at Yakushi-ji Temple and the conversation between Setuko (Kinuyo Tanaka), knitting at the tavern "Acacia", and Mariko (23:40), reading a fashion magazine, started from the beginning. The body is pointed slightly toward the opponent, and it cannot be determined even if it is moving close-up.


◆小津の文法(1)−会話5 ◆小津の文法(1)−会話6
 Figure 5  Figure 6













At the small restaurant and Shichirigahama where the line of sight was shifted from the previous work "Late Spring", the body and face directions were correctly taken. The small restaurant Noriko pokes both elbows forward in the first middle shot (16:23), but in a close-up after photographing Onodera, she has already removed her right elbow and turned to him (16:23). : 29). The next time the middle shot from the close-up shows the opponent, her elbows are slightly resting on the table, from which the elbows are again brought forward and the body is turned there (16:41 ). Noriko of Shichirigahama is moving in the same shot (23:38, 23:50).


 In other words, the body changes direction during the close-up of the opponent or within the same shot in which the person is shown. The former does not seem unnatural, and the latter clearly shows the movement. The posture does not change suddenly when approaching. If there is a central person in this way, the close-up of the opponent who is turning his back on a long shot or the movement to the original long shot will greatly change the camera direction even if it is done directly, so this switching There is no unnaturalness in itself and it is often used elsewhere. On the other hand, the useless movement that is merely explained, as in a small restaurant, will not be seen in later works, but it seems that this is a carefully shot of Ozu's favorite Setsuko Hara.


In addition, his wife, Tokiko (Kinuyo Tanaka) and friend Akiko (Tomoko Murata), on the bank of the previous work, "A Hen in the Wind", also prioritized composition. The position changes between the shot from the top and the shot from below(From above, the body faces Akiko so that Tokiko's face can be seen, and from below, their bodies are almost parallel) . However, when the conversation starts, they stop moving. Tokiko's face in the close-up is slightly closer to the front, but here it is more unnatural to stretch his arms than to face or body (32:45). In this work, the author's attention seems to be focused only on the composition that captures the person as a form.


As you saw in "Composition Supremeism (4) - Moving Props", Noriko (Setsuko Hara) and Aya Tamura (Chikage Awashima) have a conversation in "Early Summer", the next work of "The Munekata Sisters". Noriko faces the left Aya in a long shot, but after turning back to Aya, when close up to her, she ignores Aya and approaches the camera and faces the front.


So why does the camera approach directly to Mariko in "The Munekata Sisters" after "Late Spring"? This is probably because the camera is initially located far away outdoors, so the person is part of the background, and even if you approach it directly with the camera, the effect is not apparent. Exceptions to this extreme camera approach and even retreat are caused by the father of The Munekata Sisters, Tadachika and Setsuko, even when done against a single person(see "Weird Ozu Movie (2) - Weird "Early Spring"). I think it can be said that one end of this work that seems to be a unique work has appeared here.


"Tokyo Story" On the morning of Noriko returning to Tokyo from the Hirayama family, there is a conversation between her and Kyoko (Kagawa Kyoko). Here, in a long shot, Noriko points her body in front of the camera and her face faces Kyoko on the left, but in a close-up from Kyoko's side, her body also faces there and the whole body is in front of the camera (2:04:41). Therefore, the orientation of the body with respect to the screen hardly changes.


 There is a scene telling his father Shukichi (Chisyu Ryu) that Takako (Setsuko Hara), the eldest daughter of "Tokyo Twilight", will return to her husband's house, Numata (Shinkinzo). Here, when taking a long shot of two people, she turns her face to her shoulder and turns her gaze to the other party, and in the close-up from Shukichi's side, the body orientation approaches that, and the angle between the face and the body becomes It narrows (2:14:00). Therefore, the orientation of the body with respect to the screen hardly changes (Seriously, it looks like an "exorcist").


 From these facts, it can be seen that there is a difference between the approaching and retreating of Ozu's figures in later years. In long shots, the person fits in the overall composition and does not assert himself, but when close-up, the body and face are turned towards the camera and the character is emphasized. Of course, the composition there is also important.


Such changes in the orientation of the body and face caused by the approaching and retreating of the camera will appear everywhere in subsequent color works. There is a scene where Eyoun's husband Syou Hirayama (Shin Saburi) and wife Kiyoko (Kinuyo Tanaka) of "Equinox Flower" attend or refuse to attend their daughter's wedding. Here, the camera's approach to Kiyoko does not move her gaze, but her body and face turn slightly to the left of the screen to avoid the camera (1:22:20). However, this is not the purpose of character description because it is the opposite movement. After that, when she turned aside, her body and face were turned in advance so that she could maintain her beautiful posture.



The meaning of directivity


 By the way, what exactly does Ozu's statement, "If A points to the left, then B also points to the left. That line of sight matches and the directivity does not collapse"? If you look at it normally, it will mean that the shape of the person will be the same when you switch, so it is beautifully composed. But if you take a deep look at directivity, it can be said that they have the same thoughts and the same feelings. In Ozu, "Early Summer" expresses the reincarnation, and "Tokyo Story" often expands the words, such as the best melodrama ((2) The taste of movies and the taste of life). This extension is also conceivable.


The latter has no romance, so even if it's a comedy, it seems less melodramatic than "Good Morning" with it. To begin with, melodrama should be a popular romance, but Ozu says that melodrama is what makes the audience cry, including his own work ((1) see “Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family”). There, Hideo Tsumura pointed out that this word should not be used in that sense, but he has not changed his mind.


 A directional shape will inevitably face each other and see each other. However, if the two are bothersome or confronted, they will either lose their gaze or turn around, and the form will not appear. In "Late Spring", when father Shukichi (Chisyu Ryu) and daughter Noriko commute in harmony, they look in the same direction and have the same gaze(Composition supreme principle (1) - “Late Spring” commuter train Fig. 2, 3). However, if they later become uncomfortable in marriage talks, their bodies will be reversed (1:06:05). Noriko's father tells her to marry a matchmaking partner, but her feelings still go away and her form remains the same (1:31:40). On the day she marries, she can finally dissolve each other's moods and become equal in direction and gaze (Fig. 7, 8 1:39:48).


◆小津の文法(1)−会話7 ◆小津の文法(1)−会話8
 Figure 7  Figure 8













Moreover, the composition of the two scenes of commuting and this wedding are almost the same. The heights of the father and the daughter are opposite, but this is probably because the person who looks high is more caring about the other person than the difference in height in the actual posture. In addition, placing them at the beginning and end of the story highlights the effect. There are many similar scenes at the beginning and end, and this is where Ozu excels, and "Late Spring" is held in small restaurants. This is something that the audience is conscious of, but the scene of the wedding is watched unconsciously. And when you look at this scene while thinking of the commuter train again, a strong impression remains.


In the conversation between my husband Syuichi (Syuji Sano) and Fusako Onoda (Chiyoko Fumitani) at the previous work "A Hen in the Wind" Sakurai's house, Fusako, which is closer to the camera, is photographed higher (1:02:32) . Here you can see Syuich gazing at Fusako looking down and assaulting questions.



Line of sight and mold simplification


 Scenes of two men and women sitting by the wall of a ramen shop are in the three works "The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice"(Composition supreme principle (6) - Cezanne of the movie world Fig. 16), "Early Spring" and "Late Autumn". Initially, all are shot from the right rear, but the other directings have their own characteristics. In "The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice", Okada (Koji Tsuruta) peeks from the front and opens his body, looks backwards (1:01:02), and Setsuko (Keiko Tsushima) looks ahead (1: 01:05). As a result, both eyes look left toward the screen, but Okada's body is too open, so the left and right are off. In "Early Spring", Chiyo (Keiko Kishi) faces sideways (30:40), Syoji Sugiyama (Ryo Ikebe) looks diagonally and crosses (30:44), and both of them look forward.


"Late Autumn" Goto (Keiji Sada) and Ayako's eyes are both on the front. Just as she and Yuriko were on the roof railing, their eyes would be far away from the wall, so their left and right would not match. And the later the work, the greater the gap between the front and back because the approach of the camera becomes weaker.


 Looking at the productions other than the gaze, "The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice" first shows the back of two people over the goodwill from outside the store. There is also a shot of two people from the front of him approaching the wall to emphasize Okada's peeping (1:01:12). When projecting two people in "Early Spring", first pull in instead of the exterior of the store and take a wide view of the store (29:44), and there are shots not only from the right but also from the rear left (30:22).


In "Late Autumn", two people are photographed at the same time only once, and then close-ups of one person continue to appear alternately. At the beginning of this scene, instead of the exterior of the store, the back where the two should be sitting is reflected (1:32:56), but no one is sitting on the chair yet, and in the next long shot , Suddenly two people appear. The two chairs at the front seem to be behind Goto, but his back should be visible if he is sitting in front of them.


But this isn't time rushing. This is indicated by the clerk passing right at the turn of the shot. Ozu makes heavy use of the connection of shots with such movements, and usually leads to the next shot. However, when the camera approaches or retreats, if the composition of each shot is prioritized, the connection will be jerky and unreasonable. Therefore, it seems that the purpose was to deceive it. Here the audience is distracted by moving things. Also, in the case of the movement of the central person, it is ambiguous whether the posture has changed or it is really out of alignment.


 From the above, it can be seen that, in general, the later the work, the higher the Ozu tone, and the directing becomes simpler. The following is Ozu's words when "Late Autumn" was created.



"Even if you don't move anything, the character's emotions should be able to reach the audience if you draw your personality clearly. I couldn't do it while trying to skip the movement. You think, "I have to explain something. ""Late Autumn" skips all explanations" ((2) I don't want to make a movie with bad guys)



Looking at the camera


 The most notable change in the Ozu film conversation may be more meaningless than hard to define, but if I dare to say it would be "The Hen in the Wind". This is because the gaze of the person turns to the camera from this work. And the body at that time is also facing the front.


Before her husband Syuich returns home, in a conversation between his wife Tokiko and his friend Akiko at home, Akiko looks at the camera from the front (27:32). Although it is not a conversation, Tokiko's gaze from the front looking at the mirror just before is also facing the camera (21:44). In the conversation between Tokiko and Akiko after her husband came home, Tokiko is looking at the camera, although he has lost his posture (Figure 9, 10 45:55).


◆小津の文法(1)−会話9 ◆小津の文法(1)−会話10
 Figure 9  Figure 10













 The first conversation started a little while ago, but Akiko's body and gaze are still slightly to the left (25:38). Next, the shot is taken from the side with a long shot, and after approaching the opponent, it becomes a shot from the front, so you can see that this front is particularly emphasized. Pointing the gaze at the camera produces the strongest gaze effect because the audience is staring at the person.


Of course, a similar rendition can be seen by other directors, but for Ozu, who had already realized the original directional shot 18 years ago, this should have been very important is. The audience will be identified with the person being seen (or herself in the case of Tokiko looking in the mirror). This is because the character of the person is represented there (see "Universality (2) - Nostalgic Landscape"). In such a case, the director other than Ozu is likely to make an overly close-up and rather reduce the effect.


 In the conversation between the two, Tokiko also looks almost in front, but is slightly out of alignment. This is because she emphasizes the feelings of telling a secret to her later husband, rather than the embarrassment of betrayal of her husband here. But for some reason, the more important couple's conversation does not show this effect. This may be Ozu's upside-down production method, which we will see later (see "Ozu's production (3) - Parents' sadness").


Similar eyes often appear in subsequent works, but if you look at them, you can see that Ozu distinguished the slight difference.


 The next work in which the eyes of the two talking people point to the camera is "The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice" (1:52:29). Here, Taeko Satake (Michiyo Kogure) tells her niece Setsuko (Keiko Tsushima) the theme of her work. In the next work, "Tokyo Story", you can also see the conversation leading to the theme (2:07:13). There are a few from the beginning in this work, which may represent a connection of feelings as a relative. Nevertheless, the last conversation between Shukichi and Noriko is impressive, not to mention its content, but the fact that the two people directly look at the camera is also a major factor. And, in both works, one person does not face the front ("The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice" Taeko, "Tokyo Story" Shukichi). It shows that these works have no tension like "A Hen in the Wind". In the "Tokyo Story", Shukichi turns to the front when she passes the watch of Tomi (Chieko Higashiyama) to Noriko, but she looks down (2:10:45).


In the next work "Early Spring", the oblique line of sight of his wife Masako (Chikage Awashima) facing the front and the oblique line of sight of her husband Shoji are the most complicated combinations in the boarding house of Mitsuishi (2:21:11). However, even in the important situation of reconciliation, only one of them looks at the camera, so the viewers feel as if they are shaken. As we saw earlier, Shoji and Chiyo look directly in front of the camera at the ramen shop, where the secret meeting took place, but he is a disgusting glance showing his feelings (30:44). On the other hand, Chiyo has a look that is not guilty (30:40).


In the conversation the next morning when the two friends stayed at home, the eyes of Shoji and his friend Hirayama (Koji Mitui) also turned to the front (1:12:22). However, their bodies are oblique, and this is not the main story. Is the irregularity of body and line of sight disturbed in this way, in addition to the upside-down production seen in "A Hen in the Wind" above, does this also have the effect that Ozu let actors freely play in this work?(see "Weird Ozu Movie (2) - Weird "Early Spring")


 Both the body and the gaze of the two conversants are facing forward from the conversation between the mother Kikuko (Isuzu Yamada) and her sister Akiko (Ineko Arima) in the back of the oden shop of the last monochrome work "Tokyo Twilight". (1:42:37), this scene established all Ozu-style "cut back" shots in the conversation. "A Hen in the Wind", where the gaze turned to the camera for the first time, handled the same serious content, but this was not accidental, and it can be said that both were adopted to show the importance of conversation .


At the beginning of "Tokyo Twilight", the eating out scene by Shukichi and Shigeko Takeuchi (Haruko Sugimura) at the eel restaurant (16:21) is also the beginning of that appearing in subsequent color works. . However, the line of sight is not facing the front yet. In such a scene, both the body and the gaze are in front because of the conversation between Soichi Mamiya (Shin Saburi) and Akiko Miwa (Setsuko Hara) at the Late Autumn eel shop (25:17). In the Chinese restaurant "Equinox Flower", the eyes of Wataru Hirayama (Shin Saburi) and Fumiko Mikami (Kumiko Miko) do not face the front (1:03:15).


 In this work, the eyes of the two people who talk regardless of their body orientation seem to be in front only in the last conversation (1:34:51) of the mother Kiyoko (Kinuyo Tanaka) and her sister Setuko (Ineko Arima). Here, her mother informs her of her father's forgiveness of Setsuko's marriage, which proves to be the best showcase of this work. In other scenes, one of them always keeps their gaze out of the camera, but in many cases it is very delicate compared to the previous work, and the production of "Composition Supremeism (4) - Moving props" As you can see, this work has a strong commitment to gaze. Therefore, "Equinox Flower", the first color work, has the taste of total financial results as an Ozu movie behind the new appearance. Ozu's directional conversation was also established in the first talkie, "The only son".



A lot of use of the camera direct vision and destruction of the style


 However, when it comes to "Late Autumn", even in scenes that do not seem so important, such as Mamiya and Miwa at the eel shop, the eyes often come to the front just because they are talking seriously. For example, a couple (Nobuo Nakamura, Kuniko Miyake) and daughter (Yuriko Tashiro) at the Taguchi family (18:36), Souichi and daughter Michiko of the Mamiya family (Miyuki Kuwano), he and his wife Fumiko (Sadako Sawamura) (28 : 20). Subsequent works are somewhat modest, but have been taken in the same way. "The End of Summer" Manbei (Nakamura Ganjiro) and Maruyama Rokutaro (Fujiki Yu) (24:12) at Hiya, "An Autumn Afternoon" Tonkatsuya Koichi Hirayama (Keiji Sada) and Miura (Teruo Yoshida) In the conversation (Composition Supremeism (5) - Divided and dizzy shots Fig. 3, 4), men stare at each other from beginning to end.


Such an expression weakens the effect from the front. In the grammar of the movie mentioned earlier, Ozu states that if you keep shooting close-ups, the effect of the close-up will be lost and the long that comes after will be emphasized. The wedding scene of "Late Spring" in a later year is a bit retreating here, taking a close-up of the two in a conversation (1:37:02) between my father Shukichi and Hattori, a little earlier. Obviously, this is more important, so you don't emphasize ups. Ozu, who stuck to the standard, said after "Late Autumn" that he increased close-ups and cut down to counter the cinemascope ((2) The taste of movies and the taste of life-Floating Weeds). In addition to that, I increased my gaze from the front, and it seems that this has become less important.


In "Late Autumn", Ayako is asked by Taguchi (Nobuo Nakamura) about a man's preference during a post-legal dinner. Ayako answers "I like" to Taguchi's question "For example, like me." At this time, Taguchi's line of sight is in front, but Ayako is slightly off to the left (10:44). This is because she avoids Taguchi's gaze. Ozu stated in the production of "Late Autumn" that "if the character is clearly depicted, the emotions of the characters will be understood by the audience" and "the explanation will be omitted altogether". From this work, he stopped the obvious production that each other's gaze turned to the front only in important scenes, and expressed a subtle psychology.


 Bodwell points out the two people's conversations in the Ozu film, which were unified with the same composition. It even overlaps the head and can be seen from the oldest surviving work, "Days of Youth" (㉔Toward the Intrinsic Norm, p.176). However, in Ozu's conversation, the heads often overlap even if the two people are opposite in direction, or have different shapes and sizes for viewing due to approaching and retreating cameras. This allows the audience to see without changing their point of view, which is an important attribute of conversations in Ozu cinema.


If the person is not in the center of the screen, it tends to shift to the left, and the early silent works are prominent. This can also be found in "Days of Youth" (24:35 and many more). The last work, "An Autumn Afternoon," also appears in the Hirayama Family's gossip about the landlady (Kyoko Kishida) of a bar. There, four family members, including the eldest son Koichi who came to debt to his father, are all overlapping heads, despite their different orientations and postures.


 However, looking at the scene of the marriage, which is the mountain of this work, Michiko (Shima Iwashita) and Chisyu Ryu (Chisyu Ryu) are clearly off to the right and left from the center (Fig. 11, 12 1:38:40). In addition, Michiko is looking diagonally, with Syuhei almost facing the front. The camera is pointing straight into and out of the room, which should be close to the line of sight of the opponent. Before entering these shots, when Michiko walked in front of her father, she went diagonally backwards. However, Michiko turns slightly in front of him, but is still oblique. The previous shot (Figure 11) may have preserved her orientation with respect to this camera.


◆小津の文法(1)−会話11 ◆小津の文法(1)−会話12
 Figure 11  Figure 12













Even in the same marriage, the two in "Late Spring" had heads that overlap and match their gaze (Figs. 7, 8). In "An Autumn Afternoon", in contrast to the conversation in which the person turns to the front, the sense of unity has been lost, but by shifting the line of sight, the composition of each shot will be more important It has become.





 The following 15 items summarize the types of the distance of the person and the orientation of the body and the line of sight in the Ozu movie conversation (the title is shown in blue in the text). The bold characters are the first appearances, such as the directivity, the shift of the gaze before and after, the gaze of the camera, the change of the body and the face, and these can be said to be Ozu's four major techniques in conversation.



 1. "Cut back" at a long distance, the shape of the person and the face orientation are the same ("Days of Youth" '29)

 2. "Crossing a gaze" at intermediate distances ("Walk Cheerfully" '30)

 3. Directional "crossing a gaze" at intermediate distances ("I Flunked, But ..." '30)

 4. "Cut back" at intermediate distance ("That Night's Wife" '30)

 5. "Crossing a gaze" at close range ("The Lady and the Beard" '31)

 6. "Crossing a gaze" by many people at intermediate distance ("Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth?" '32)

 7. "Crossing a gaze" where the opponent's figure is off the screen at an intermediate distance (same as above)

 8. "Crossing a gaze" at close range, over the shoulder ("Dragnet Girl" '33)

 9. "Crossing a gaze" at intermediate distances, gaze shift (same as above)

10. "Crossing a gaze" at intermediate distances, directivity by three people ("The Only Son" '36)

11. Crossing a gaze at the middle distance, one person faces the front and both persons eyes are in front ("A Hen in the Wind" '48)

12. "Cut back" at short distance, gaze shift ("Late Spring" '49)

13. Forward and backward movement at intermediate distances, changes in body and face orientation ("The Munekata Sisters" '50)

14. "Crossing a gaze" at intermediate distances, body facing forward, oblique gaze, and body facing oblique, frontal gaze ("Early Spring" '56)

15. "Cut back" at an intermediate distance, both of them face forward and their eyes look forward ("Tokyo Twilight" '57)



Looking at these, the feature is that Ozu's original line of sight (ten cases) appears more than the reversal (four cases) found in other directors' works. This is because they often face diagonally rather than in front, which means that the conversation does not follow the grammar but is beyond the line of sight.


Of course, it is quite possible that the work with the lost film is the first, but the overall trend remains the same. For example, the line-of-sight shift that occurred in "Dragnet Girl" ('33) appears before Ozu's emphasized directivity ("I Flunked, But ..." '30). A head-to-head look like "A Hen in the Wind" ('48) appears in Silent ("College is a Nice Place"-until '36). There will be no such thing.


 François Truffaut describes Ozu's conversation as follows: "If you follow the line of sight of a single person, you're actually worried that you're not there." ((14) To stop-inconvenient with fixed shots). This depends on the perspective of those familiar with ordinary conversation. Conversely, once you get used to Ozu's conversation, ordinary conversation becomes very boring.


Still, if you are creative, you can take a close-up shot of the protagonist or change the angle upward or downward as the speaker changes. However, I can't watch it very calmly. A recent miniature camera swaying or scrambled, probably because the author is trying to get a sense of reality. This looks like a news program. Since a person's gaze keeps track of the subject even as his or her body moves, the image taken with the lens fixed to the camera body cannot look the same, which seems to be a vain effort.


Although Truffaut pointed out that his eyes were over his gaze, the reason why Ozu's conversation was unnatural even if he turned back at 180 degrees was because he thought that the viewer was shooting with the camera, and he was conscious of how to shoot. If not, it is good. It can be said that it is a special effect by "pull out inside" in the conversation of Ozu movie.


Written notice.

I translated from Japanese original in machine translation software on the Internet. I translated it into Japanese with the same software and confirmed it, but I think there are still imprecise and unclear places. 


The original text is below.



(The text ends here)



  • 2020.07.22 Wednesday
  • 18:46
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