• Tunneling through Tradition

    Life is never easy for a Japanese filmmaker interested in making small, quiet movies. Whether you are Juzo Itami, Naomi Kawase, or Shunji Iwai, any success leads, invariably, to comparisons with the great man himself. The shadow of Japan’s greatest director, and perhaps the most Japanese of Japanese directors, Yasujiro Ozu, looms large over the country’s cinematic landscape and cultural aesthetic. Unlike Kurosawa (too Western in his influences, too taken with himself), Ozu was a gentler, quieter filmmaker. His movies were warm and circumscribed and full of affection. His shadow now looms large, but it grew slowly, methodically, incrementally –