Thursday, 28 January 2010

Late Spring - Filmhouse - 28/1/10

Lot's of "things" happen in James Camerons "Avatar".

Big, blue aliens run around a lot.

Spaceships fire missiles.

Stuff blows up.

There are lots of films where really BIG things happen.

In reality that is usually because nothing of any importance is happening.

Nobody really cares about the characters that are running, jumping, shouting or exploding and in a few years time it won't feature on a list of films that matter to anyone other than the sort of people who get excited by BIG things happening in a really BIG way to a cast of people they don't care about.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no cinema love of Hugh Grant has already been documented on this blog and I like Star Wars as well as all sorts of other blockbuster movies. But I don't care about them.

As with all of his other work "Late Spring" is a film that you have to care about. It is tender and delicate like a flower about to bloom. Everything about it whispers quietly about things that really have to listen to hear though. It is a film about what it means to really love someone, to care more for another than for yourself, about sacrifice, about family and about the true nature of happiness.

Each shot is deliberate, nothing is left to chance. The image of the sea crashing against the shore at the films end is one of the most simple and beautiful I have seen. The long passage of Noh theatre is hypnotic, mesmerising and beguiling. The subtle looks cast between the players. This is a film that has been made with love and demands the same of its audience.

"The Guardian" referred to Ozu as the "slow master" this week and they are right...his films are not fast or loose, they are measured. Ozu is a master of his art. A film-maker who cared more about beauty and Art than he did anything else.

What has impressed and touched me most about this season of Ozu films has been the honesty of what is being presented on the screen. It can feel, at least at times, as if one is being granted a window onto the lives of others in another time. Of course we are watching actors and the image is that of Ozus creation but nonetheless I feel that I am being left alone to watch and judge without influence or interference from anyone else.


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