Tutor name Date Tatami Shots in the Progress of Scenes and the Emotions of the Characters in the Films of Yasujiro Ozu Yasujiro Ozu is among the greatest directors in the history of silent films in Japan and in the world of cinematography (Bordwell & Kristin 388)…
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In these films, Ozu engaged tatami shots style of cinematography in which he shoot his movies from the position below the eye level of the characters (Wood 122). This technique sensationalized his films and drew the audience to the closest engagement with the characters’ sensibilities by bringing the viewer to the nearest vicinity of the character’s emotions. In this essay, the use of the tatami shots technique will be evaluated by drawing examples from three Ozu films namely: Late Spring (1949), Early Summer (1951), and Tokyo Story (1953). Late Spring (1949) Late Spring (1949) is a drama film directed by Yasujiro Ozu and is based on the short story novella Father and Daughter by Kazuo Hirotsu (Bordwell & Kristin 394). The film is starring Chishu Ryu, an actress who features in almost all Ozu’s films, and Setsuko Hara, another frequent character in Ozu’s films (Wood 119). The most frequently notable aspect of the Late Spring film is the use of tatami shots; a camera technique where the director shoots his actors from an extremely low position. The adoption of tatami shots in the Late Spring film enables the audience to engage with the emotions of the characters throughout the film. For example, the scene in which Noriko visits her friend Aya in her home. In this scene, Noriko is seen in a sitting position and the camera shoots Aya at a slightly elevated position, from which the audience can see Aya looking down towards her friend. The scene is shot in a way that the camera in both pictures is low, but the degrees are different. The shot controls the way the audience should follow and analyze the events in the narrative. Moreover, when Noriko is sitting, she does so looking up at Aya who is standing, but the camera shoots in the reverse order and concentrates on Noriko and, this way, the audience is forced to reject Aya’s point of view. Consequently, the tatami shots in this particular scene deny the viewer a chance of identifying with Aya but with Noriko’s inhuman perspective. These shots, which are all over the film, are a reflection of a view from an individual sitting on a tatami mat (Wood 120). Interestingly, he shoots the same even when the scenes shots are taken from outside. The positioning of the camera, therefore, carries a sense of balance and order and enables the viewers to establish an emotional engagement with the characters. Early summer (1951), Another film in which Ozu used the tatami shots is Early Summer (1951); a post war film that recounts the problems of communication between generations and the emerging women role in post war Japan (Bordwell & Kristin 397). In this film, Noriko lives happily in an extended family, but this balance is threatened by her uncle’s visits and insistence that she should get married. Ozu uses the tatami shots in this film frequently. For example, there is a scene where Koichi and two older women are having a conversation concerning Noriko’s marriage. The long shots in this scene show the three characters staring at diverse points as they talked to each other. The camera would then, at low angles, focus on one of the characters straight on the eyes different from the direction at the long shot. These tatami shots enable the viewer to read into the thoughts and emotions of the character. In yet another scene, where the mother, her daughter and her son are at the table, the characters are shot facing different
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