Ozu in Plain English


Watch a recording of the event in the player above.

Join Dr Jasper Sharp, author and curator specializing in Japanese film, as he discusses the works of one of the most cherished directors in the history of Japanese cinema.

Ozu Yasujirō (1903-1963) is regularly cited as being “the most Japanese of all directors” – so Japanese in fact, that while he was alive, his studio Shōchiku initially refused to allow overseas retrospectives of his work for fear that foreign audiences wouldn’t understand them. And yet nowadays his films such as Late Spring (1949) and Tokyo Story (1953) regularly feature in critics’ ‘Best of’ lists, while much has been written about his unique and idiosyncratic approach to the visual composition and aesthetic of the family dramas, which he is described as having elevated to the state of high art.

In this illustrated talk, Dr Jasper Sharp attempts to cut through mystique that has been built up around the director over the decades since his death, arguing that his films retain their universal power to move and entrance viewers of whatever age and cultural background.

About the Speaker

Dr Jasper Sharp is an author, filmmaker and curator known for his work on Japanese cinema and the co-founder of the film website ‘Midnight Eye’. His books include The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film (2004), jointly written with Tom Mes, Behind the Pink Curtain (2008) and The Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema (2011). His work has appeared in publications including Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Japan Times, and Film International, and on numerous home video releases. Between 2010 and 2014 he was the director of ‘Zipangu Fest’, a London-based festival dedicated to showcasing Japanese independent cinema, and was the Artistic Director of the ‘Asia House Film Festival’ between 2014 and 2016. He is the co-director with Tim Grabham of The Creeping Garden (2014), an award-winning documentary about plasmodial slime moulds, and currently works as a disc producer for Arrow Films.