Friday, November 06, 2009

The old teacher gets drunk again

The old teacher gets drunk again

I really love Yasujiro Ozu films.

When things get too busy and business becomes nasty as usual, I turn to the Ozu treasure trove. There, I find life as a tranquil harmony, where everything is human size. By getting immersed in the motion picture flow, I literally seek the salvation of the soul.

The other day I was watching "An Autumn Afternoon"again, the last film by the great director. To be precise, I did not have time to watch it. I just let the film go while being busy at work, capturing in the subconscious background the flow of lively conversations that is so typical of Ozu's masterpieces.

In it, the old teacher gets drunk again, after complaining how he is lonely in the final years of his life. The two former pupils, who have become company executives, look after the old teacher. The teacher sleeps on the floor, and then suddenly gets up. Forgetting all that has been said already, he looks at one of his former pupils in the eye, and, as if he realized what kind of situation he is in for the first time, says, "you are mister Hirayama, aren't you?" ("Hirayama san ka?"), and sleeps on the floor again.

It is at such a moment of human stupidity and fragility that makes one convinced of the love with which Ozu depicted our earthly lives. It is so poignant that one wants to cry and laugh at the same time.

The old boys drinking and discussing the plights of the old teacher. From "An Autumn Afternoon" by Yazujiro Ozu

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love Ozu films, too.

Are you flying to Berlin?
Have a nice trip, and keep warm.