Late Autumn 1960
I hope everyone realises that this film is a comedy. Ozu takes bits and pieces of his various stylistic moments and integrates them into a film which is funny, delightful, funny-sad, dramatic, and, in a way, also a little tragic. Why tragic? Because the character Ayako Miwa is happy with who she is and what she’s doing and the choices she has made and everyone around her wants to change her. I’ve read that Ozu never married. That’s surely had an influence on his treatment of character who are content to be single.
I don’t bandy the word masterpiece around much but I think this film is a masterpiece.
‘Oscars – 90th Annual Academy Awards – Goes to Plan but is Dull, Mixed with Conservative, Mixed with Safe’
I’m home from Grumlevel and Mavis’s place. I have watched the ceremony with them for the eleventh consecutive year (if my memory is accurate). It may only be the tenth year depending on whether I was close enough friends with Grum and his wife when Madge and I had only been going out for a bit over six months.
There were some very good results and some merely good results and no terrible results (except the song, arguably, but that’s always hard to predict).
Good results were that talented people won awards for doing their job – their profession – brilliantly. My only real concern was the fact that Hans Zimmer had even been nominated for Dunkirk, as a composer, when the score – in the way I see music working – was more a part of the sound design than featuring actual music compositions. When relentless notes are played very very loudly for a long time, undeniably heightening the tension in numerous sequences, that’s sound design, and the note that is produced doesn’t really need to even have a pitch to be able to produce that result as it bounces around anyone’s eardrums. That Dunkirk‘s (so-called) score was even nominated is a blasphemy when you consider the talent that went into producing the score for The Shape of Water (Desplat), The Last Jedi (Williams) and Phantom Thread (Greenwood).
Desplat is a composer who I have a lot of time for because he takes a slightly different approach to the conventional ways of scoring films – from Hans Zimmer to John Williams – and creates unusual moments where he does something original when nothing in the art of film scoring is original anymore. I was delighted when he won almost as much as I was relieved that Hans Zimmer didn’t. Hans Zimmer has as much talent as a composer as you could fit in the left nostril of a fly (if indeed flies have nostrils).
If I had the job of making the decision all by myself and handing out Oscars I would have changed four of the top six awards. Although worthy, Daniel Day Lewis’s performance was less of a performance and more a state of being than Gary Oldman (who nevertheless gave one of the best performances to ever win an Oscar). For the same reason I would have awarded Margot Robbie the Oscar for Best Actress instead of Francis McDormand. Watching really good actors eating scenery is not as good as watching great actors not acting. For the same reason I would have given Best Supporting Actress to Laurie Metcalfe instead of Allison Janney (who nonetheless gave one of the most rip-snorting performances in the history of history). Best Director I would leave as (IMNSHO) Guillermo del Toro because he took the best of his imagination and tempered it with a story I found beautiful in all its crazy ways. [What dreams that man must have when he sleeps!] Best Film was a hard one to choose but out of the nominated choices, despite the love-hate that went on with Christopher Nolan’s version of the events at Dunkirk, it would have been Dunkirk (2017) which I thought worked well in showing the other side of the coin of Darkest Hours (2017) which was another worthy option. To see those events in two different films in the same year was amazing. Dunkirk with it’s very personal insight into the experience of a handful of people at Dunkirk as a counterpart to Churchill’s very personal experience making decisions as Prime Minister of England. [WI personally thought the Best Film of the Year which had nominations elsewhere on Oscar night was I Tonya (2017). I don’t know how it was generally perceived by critics and the public, with its crazy mix of biopic styles, but it was astonishing despite the fact it was a derivative concoction: like how Tarantino uses a dozen genres and rehashes a dozen stories and makes them work together to create something that is often, arguably, astonishing. That Pulp Fiction (1994) is so highly regarding despite the fact that it is pulp fiction is what I’m getting at.]
I’m going to watch Late Spring (1949) now, again, because last night Late Autumn (1960) again proved to me the extraordinary powers of Yosujiro Ozu, of whom I already was in awe of because of Tokyo Story (1953).