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Best Japanese director? - Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizoguchi?

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 4:51 am
by bigpoppa_2059
They each have their champions, but which of the 3 masters do you consider the greatest Japanese filmmaker? For me, there's no question it's gotta be Mizoguchi. Story of the Late Crysantheum is the best Japanese film ever hands down. Everything about his direction makes me want to cry with envy (as a wannabe director) and also sit back in awe at amazing compositions and camera movement. Mizoguchi ranks with Welles, Renoir & Ophuls as one of the all-time greatest ever, Japanese or not.

Re: Best Japanese director? - Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizoguchi?

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 7:10 pm
by wvq
My vote goes to Mizoguchi as well.

Now, I passionately love Tokyo Story and Late Spring, and I've enjoyed just about all the Kurosawa I've seen (High and Low, Yojimbo, and The Bad Sleep Well are probably my favorites). But let's be honest: Ozu and Kurosawa, as great as they are, just aren't Mizoguchi.

Of the Mizoguchi films that I've seen, I consider Oharu, Sisters of the Gion, and Chikamatsu Monogatari the most impressive--and each, I think, is among the great masterpieces of world cinema. (I should probably see Sansho and Ugetsu again, though. It's been too long to trust my memory of them, and their critical standing makes me think that I'm probably underestimating them.)

Re: Best Japanese director? - Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizoguchi?

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 10:31 pm
by gratefultiger
they are all masters sansho,ikiru,tokyo story are among my faves,i love them all,but must confess over the last few years i've come to appreciate the zen like quality of ozu's films very moving and a serene calmness amidst all the turmoil(,gee i must be getting closer to god :-) cheers

Re: Best Japanese director? - Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizoguchi?

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 3:32 pm
by john-5
Of course, Mizoguchi is the director i revere most, so i'm delighted by the praise for him here. Yes, the spatial explorations (on different planes) in Story of the Late Chrysanthemums are astounding, and Alex Jacoby, who's done a brilliant article on him in Senses of Cinema, has just pointed out to me its aural originality, too. It is a work of genius from the supreme master of camerawork, composition and visual beauty. Sansho the Bailiff is exquisite and moving beyond words. Even Loyal 47 Ronin, which is rather less emotionally involving than most, slightly ponderous at times and overlong, is a monumental work of stupendous audacity. It goes beyond normal narrative conventions, indifferent to showing action in the Western manner. Kurosawa (who admired him above other Japanese directors) saw it a weakness on Mizoguchi's part in not showing the decisive revenge attack, but for me, it was only another sign of his wisdom and humanity to focus instead on the women's reaction to the news. I only regret i've not seen a weak film by him; a pity so many have been lost.

Ozu films like Late Spring and Tokyo Story are sublime masterpieces, too. Kurosawa is rightly famed for his action and editing, and to promote Mizoguchi's more subtle greatness is not to diminish his achievements, simply to rectify terrible neglect. Japanese cinema has something for all tastes; so homage to all three!

Re: Best Japanese director? - Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizoguchi?

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 2:28 am
by wpqx
I know that you are all skirting around Kurosawa because he is the most popular, but he is the best. Kurosawa was far too pessimistic, and unfortunately Ozu films have had horrible distribution in this country. Therefore I say Kurosawa.

Re: Best Japanese director? - Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizoguchi?

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 12:39 am
by bigpoppa_2059
Good point, but with Mizoguchi's films the case is even worse. Out of all his major, most "important" films only a handful are available ANYWHERE! At least Ozu's films get good treatment, while the Mizoguchi films get crappy packaging and bad transfers (i.e. the 47 Ronin DVD which is horrendous). But I wish that Ozu and Mizoguchi got the same respect and treatment of their films that Kurosawa gets. Even Hayao Miyazaki gets all his films released (and I consider Miyazaki a GOD)

Re: Best Japanese director? - Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizoguchi?

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 9:07 pm
by genjuro_xx
Kurosawa is a GOD! Hands down, he is the best. That guy's a genius!

Re: Best Japanese director? - Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizoguchi?

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2003 6:26 pm
by john-5
Yes, Kurosawa was a genius- who recognised Mizoguchi as the master! (though he did fairly claim to be better at Samurai and action scenes).

Having now seen Miss Oyu (not even listed here) i've still to see a weak Mizoguchi film; this is a lovely, special, beautiful, neglected little film, with the great Miyagawa as cinematographer.

Re: Best Japanese director? - Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizoguchi?

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 12:04 am
by groom_daniel
Ozu is the best, he had the most remarkable sensitivity. If anybody's familiar with the Japanese aesthetic of Mono No Aware, you'll understand how Ozu can tell sad stories with so much dignity. Even Mizoguchi, as great as he is, admired Ozu. He once said something to the effect of, "I make the impossible seem possible, Ozu makes the possible seem like it really is possible", which I naturally assume relates to the family dynamic. All three are worth watching for their different views of humanism, and Naruse should be added to the list, although I know prints are hard to come by, I've watched several Ozu, Mizoguchi, and Naruse films in Japanese, simply because that's the only way I can see them.

Re: Best Japanese director? - Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizoguchi?

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 10:36 pm
by gratefultiger
Daniel spot on,Dignity is the key word in Ozu films more than any other,and what about "Late Spring" isn't that a Zen film?