Colors of Ozu
“The unexpected humanity of the Ozu film is made possible by the rigor of its construction. In an Ozu film…one sees all the supports, and all of them are equally essential”
- Donald Richie, Ozu: His Life and Films (1974, University of California Press)
“No longer should we be bound to cinema as truth that exists only in a fleeting 24 frames-per-second. We instead should make as many frames as we like, and hold them in our hands for as long as we want”
- Kevin L. Ferguson, Volumetric Cinema (2015)
Begun as a research project in March of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Colors of Ozu is an on-going film analysis project that leverages digital tools and technologies to novelly and creatively examine the final six films of Japanese filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu (1903-1963). These works—which include Equinox Flower (1958), Good Morning (1959), Floating Weeds (1959), Late Autumn (1960), The End of Summer (1961), and An Autumn Afternoon (1962)—are also unique in their oeuvre for being the only films the prolific director and screenwriter even produced in color. While nearly all of Ozu’s films have been widely regarded and studied for their distinctive visual style, relationship to Japanese society and culture, and other aesthetic and narrative qualities, little critical attention has been given to investigating Ozu’s use of color at the end of their career. Colors of Ozu seeks a dual purpose in adding this element to the existing, broad field of criticism around Ozu’s work and applying the tools and methods of digital humanities (DH) research to strengthen the bond between DH and film/media studies.
The hope of this project is to inspire media scholars to explore research methods beyond traditional audio-visual analysis and DH practitioners to expand their purview into new cultural heritage domains by applying digital scholarship methods to the study of filmic texts. Further, the collection and scholarship presented on this website will reflect both the outputs of the investigation into Ozu’s color films and provide guidance and instructions for those wishing to create their own digital scholarship project using the open-source tools leveraged here.
Next: Critical Contexts
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