FLOATING WEEDS (UKIGUSA) (1959, Japan)
directed by: Yasujiro Ozu

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IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053390

Submitted by Matt Hauske on 2006-11-20

Matt Hauske's comment:
Ozu Yasujiro's color and sound version of A STORY OF FLOATING WEEDS (1934), from the Criterion Collection's double-disk set that includes both films. Bordwell's statistics in his Ozu book are 963 shots with an ASL of 7.5. I made several extra clicks, which may account for part of the disparity.

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Users' comments:

Author: Matt Hauske Date: 2006-11-20

The longest shot of the film is one of three that show the acting troupe's play. It is exceptionally long and the acting is purposefully bad. Though the minimum shot length listed above is 0.4 seconds, this is a mistake caused by human error. There were also 2 or 3 instances when I clicked in the middle of a 30-second shot, which really annoyed me because the 30-second shots were such noticeable punctuations. This film, and perhaps Ozu's entire oeuvre, might benefit from a segmented measurement like what I have done with CITIZEN KANE and what Yuri has done with RASHOMON. It might be interesting to see more closely what is happening in each scene individually, especially when the scene breaks from a two- or three-shot into the very quick shot/reverse shot dialogue that often feature just a few quick words per shot.

The 50-second shot at the end is when Sumiko patiently tries to light Komajuro's cigarette.

As with DRAGNET GIRL and A STORY OF FLOATING WEEDS, the trendline is remarkably smooth. Interestingly, both FLOATING WEEDS films, see at trendline 12, start off with a sharp dip in cutting speed (increased ASL), after which they quickly right themselves and remain smooth through much of the rest of the film, until the end, at which point they dip precipitously.

The trendline should be viewed at 9 or above for anything more than a flat line, and the Step should be at 1 to see the maximum number of shots.

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2006-11-22

... or, to put it in other terms, the ASL/StDev ratio in Ozu's films timed so far is always more that one. When it is less than one we may be dealing with a different type of editing strategy (more story-driven that style-driven, perhaps). And when it's 1, we may be at a useful borderline between the two. I think the Greek Cross point idea which I proposed last night in my comment under Der Kongress tanzt might work as a good reading point, something like 0 degree Celsius, which is (as Americans may not know) the temperature at which ice melts).


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