Born On This Day — December 12, 1903

Chishu Ryu & Chieko Higashiyama receive direction from Ozu "Tokyo Story" (1953)
Chishu Ryu and Chieko Higashiyama receive direction from Ozu Tokyo Story (1953)

I follow the general fashion in ordinary manners and moral laws in serious matters, but in art I follow myself. Therefore I won’t do anything I don’t want to do. Even if something is unnatural and I like it, I’ll do it. I don’t particularly approve of myself for this, and I know it isn’t reasonable; nonetheless, there it is. From this comes my individuality—and this is most important to me… Although I may seem the same to other people, to me each thing I produce is a new expression, and I always make each work from a new interest. It’s like a painter who always paints the same rose… Rather than tell a superficial story, I wanted to go deeper, to show the hidden undercurrents, the ever-changing uncertainties of life. So instead of constantly pushing dramatic action to the fore, I left empty spaces, so viewers could have a pleasant aftertaste to savor.

Yasujiro Ozu and writing partner, Kogo Noda
Ozu and writing partner, Kogo Noda

When a director works with a scriptwriter they must have some habits in common. Otherwise they wouldn’t get along at all. With Noda and me, we see alike about staying up late and drinking, and things like that. That is the most important thing.

Ozu & Noda
Ozu and Noda

If the number of cups you drink be small, there can be no masterpiece; the masterpiece arises from the number of brimming cups you quaff. It’s no coincidence that this film [Floating Weeds] is a masterpiece—just look in the kitchen at the row of empty bottles.

Yasujirō Ozu