Beach Smarty - "Five Dedicated to Ozu" Review

By Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid

Abbas Kiarostami and Yasujiro Ozu are two of my all time favorite directors, but after one viewing of Kiarostami's "Five Dedicated to Ozu," I'm not sure what one has to do with the other. Ozu famously broke up his dramas with "pillow shots," or shots of things like clotheslines or trains that had nothing to do with the plot, but gave the viewer a break and illustrated how life goes on. Kiarostami's film consists of five single, stationary shots, taken on a beach, and ranging from a few minutes long to 28 minutes long (74 minutes total) -- far longer than Ozu's "pillow shots."

The first shows a piece of wood being tossed around in the surf. The second shows several people walking by, and a group of men stop and discuss something. The third shows a group of dogs laying on the beach and occasionally moving around. The fourth shows a group of ducks parading in front of the camera, then turning and parading back. And the fifth -- taken over the course of several nights and edited together -- shows a reflection of the moonlight in the water, occasionally disturbed by leaping frogs, clouds, a rainstorm and finally the encroaching dawn. If one looks carefully enough, one can pick up little "stories" in the images, and there's a relaxing, meditative quality that also comes of Ozu's images.

Originally Published July 31, 2007

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