I’ve always wanted to spend a month renting and watching the movies of a single filmmaker, immersing myself in him or her so that I get a full sense of the director’s aesthetics, moral vision, and aberrations. I’ve never done so, and I’m not sure I’d choose Yasujiro Ozu as my filmmaker to follow, but Five Branch Tree shows how useful such a study can be:
Interesting that on the special features for his 1951 Early Summer the commentary indicates that Ozu always shot with a 50mm lens, which provides a picture dimension equal to a traditional TV screen. Purpose was to provide a replication of what equates most naturally to the eye as well as providing focus upon the scene’s composition over spaciousness. At first thought a person might question whether the exclusion of peripheral vision properly represents the way in which we see the world, but our conscious focus generally is much more limited than the entirety of our perception. So it does make sense, but, it’s also a trick (or technique) Ozu employs to draw attention to the visual aesthetics, lending the screen towards an easier appreciation of the colors, shapes, distances in the shot when confined to a more traditional square picture as opposed to a panorama, which involves the eye moving across the screen as opposed to resting in a single position. Likely one of the artistic reasons Ozu can be so calming to watch.
There’s more. Hop to it, folks.