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Ozu’s Anti-Cinema
by Yoshida Kiju, translated by Daisuke Miyao, Columbia University & Kyoko Hirano, Japan Society

A rare opportunity to read a distinguished auteur discussing the work of a truly exceptional film artist with discerning eyes and feelings of affection. Yoshida Kiju’s book is permeated with a sense of sorrow, respect, and above all love for Ozu, who simultaneously believed in cinema’s possibility as an art form and revealed its fundamental fragility.
Mitushiro Yoshimoto, Associate Professor of East Asian Studies, New York University.

Yoshida starts this award-winning book with a story about his visit to Ozu’s deathbed. Yoshida writes that a dying Ozu whispered to him twice, as if speaking to himself, "Cinema is drama, not accident". These cryptic last words troubled Yoshida for decades, and throughout this book he examines Ozu’s films and tries to uncover what Ozu really meant. The book’s main discussion concerns Ozu’s films, but it is also Yoshida’s manifesto on films and film-making. Thus, this book is Yoshida’s personal journey into Ozu’s thoughts on filmmaking and, simultaneously, into his own thoughts on the nature of cinema. Every page displays the sensibility of one artist discussing another – a book that only a filmmaker could write. Within Yoshida’s luminous prose lies a finely tuned, rigorous analysis of Ozu’s films, which have rarely been engaged as closely and personally as here.

Published by Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Michigan Monographs in Japanese Studies No. 49
Published 2004, 198 pp., illustrated
ISBN 1 929280 26 2, hardback, £38.00
ISBN 1 929280 27 0, paperback £17.99