Late Spring

Singin in the Rain

What’s the best movie ever made? Would the person sitting next to you agree? Does the title really matter, or is the search a happy distraction meant to let the cream of the crop rise to the top? What happens when you watch a bunch of that cream? And why has “cream” become a metaphor for quality? The Sight & Sound Top 50 is a great place to start with all of those questions. For almost two years, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs have been watching the best movies of all time and discussing them with the aim of discovering and re-discovering important cinematic experiences. Now that their quest is over, here are their thoughts and conclusions on what it’s like to see that many treasured movies, followed with links to all 50 conversations for your perusal. Take a deep breath, grab a bowl of cream and dive in.

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yasujiro-ozu

In the 1993 documentary short Talking with Ozu, filmmakers from around the world including Wim Wenders, Claire Denis, and Paul Schrader attest to Yasujirō Ozu’s subtle yet resonant influence on their own filmmaking and their understanding of cinema as an art form. But rather than discuss how Ozu’s intricate and subtle shot compositions or elliptical depiction of consequential narrative events had a direct contribution on their own techniques, they each offer strictly personal tales, typically memories of the first time they saw one of Ozu’s films. Even though there is a lot of mastery in Ozu’s work to dissect and drool over, the real miracle of Ozu’s filmmaking is the personal connection that develops between the audience and the work. One does not have to be a filmmaker to understand how profoundly one can become tethered to deeply humanist character studies like Tokyo Story or Late Spring. There is something profoundly revelatory about Ozu’s work, something that speaks to the emotional and social undertaking of simply being a person in a world with other people. This is why his films have traveled with such potency across nations and history. Ozu’s influence can’t be measured in terms of references or innovations. His movies resonate in ways that a viewer might not initially realize. That’s incalculable. That, of course, doesn’t mean his specific techniques and contributions can’t be explored concretely. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from perhaps the one director whose incredible contributions to […]

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Late Spring

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they try to imagine how Yasujiro Ozu‘s Late Spring might have been different if the Allied Forces hadn’t censored it. In 1949, even Japanese cinema was expected to champion American values. Fortunately, Ozu had the last laugh (and it continues to echo throughout time and culture). In the #15 movie on the list, Noriko (Setsuko Hara) takes care of her widower father, Shukichi Somiya (Chishu Ryu), but her aunt is determined to set her up with a husband. On her long road to the aisle (by bicycle), the concept of marriage, love and sex are explored thoroughly through the lenses of tradition and modernity. But why is it one of the best movies ever?

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