We are pleased to share Mamoun’s masterclass on Ozu’s masterpiece, Tokyo Story. Mamoun has revisited this film several times, but this most recent visit at the European Film College in Ebeltoft allowed him to discuss the film with the students in detail.
Tag Archives: Film School
Mamoun is looking forward to his yearly visit to the European Film College to give two masterclasses on De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves and Ozu’s Tokyo Story However there will be a twist. His discussion will also refer to De Sica’s pre-neorealist film The Children are watching Us (1944). He will explore how De Sica’s craft developed but also how certain inspirations persisted.
Under principal Nadia Kloverdahl Reich the College is developing physically and educationally – with a new building and a new faculty amongst many changes. A happy combination of the old and the new. Mamoun looks forward to working with Micah Magee, the new Directing Fiction teacher.
Mamoun gave an introduction to ‘Rome Open City’ at BFI Southbank in February. We’re presenting this introduction in a new format – one that we feel is more informative and entertaining.
This introduction was part of the NFTS/BFI Passport to Cinema series, and we would like to thank both Dominic Power, Head of Screen Arts and the NFTS, and David Somerset and the staff of BFI Southbank for their support on this and other events.
The great Alexander Mackendrick said that drama is about life ‘with the boring bits left out’. Yasujiro Ozu saw it differently. He embraced the ‘boring bits’, the everyday. Ozu weans us, for a while anyway, from the need for action and spectacle. He enhances the ordinary to the level of both entertainment and poetry.
At a superficial level Ozu’s films are not about very much. Many scenes comprise housework (the sequence in TOKYO STORY is simply thrilling), leaving and entering the house, making tea, drinking tea, preparing the bath, sitting quietly, drinking sake (a great deal of that) – and a lot of walking. There are shots of empty rooms and corridors, and abstract exteriors that are often just part of something. For instance, Tokyo in TOKYO STORY is first symbolised by a shot of three industrial chimneys – Tokyo is outside the frame. Ozu invites one to contemplate, think, consider and interpret. It sounds like Art House cinema at its nadir. It is the opposite.
Ozu made more than fifty films and they were regularly in the top five at Japan’s box office. His popularity is puzzling considering that the stories are remarkably similar – but then so are Jane Austen’s, Dostoevsky’s, Chekhov’s. It is almost an aspect of greatness. But one has also to look at the style; Ozu’s is like no other. The narrative is precise and plot is minimal, often perversely so; the mise-en-scène guides us to what is directly important; the editing is spare, creating a sense of real time; characterisation leaves out much, leading us to put in much; performance is almost free of ‘acting’. Ozu pares away everything and what is left is essence and engagement with the audience.
After seeing a couple of Ozu’s films, the rest of cinema and television seems overworked and loud, serving entertainment to a supposedly febrile audience. One goes back to Ozu and the everyday domestic world, where happiness and pain begin for most of us. Despite, or because of, his stylisation, he creates the real world, the inner spiritual world.
Hollywood, Aristotle’s town, admired Ozu but could not follow. For the rest of us Ozu is a miracle.
Mamoun made one of his regular visits to the European Film College in Ebeltoft, Denmark, to deliver masterclasses and his now well known movie introductions. One of the introductions was to Antonioni’s classic L’Avventura.
Many thanks to Georgi Yordanov who filmed the event, and the staff and students of the European Film College.
Mamoun is providing editing consultancy to the graduating students at the European Film College, Ebeltoft, Denmark, from April 18 – 23. The students present final projects at the end of the 8 ½ month course.
He is also doing a masterclass on Carol Reed‘s Third Man on the 19th, and another masterclass on composer Fumio Hayazaka, one of Cinema’s most original and influential figures and close collaborator with Akira Kurosawa. This is the first masterclass that focusses on a composer – a new direction for masterclasses.
Mamoun has returned to the International Film school in Cuba as the visiting lecturer in Editing for four weeks. As well as his regular one-to-one sessions with the students, he will also be running his Movie Masterclasses.
For the first time, Mamoun will be running a Masterclass on the British Classic ‘The Third Man‘ on Wednesday 6th February. Mamoun has always considered this film to be one of the world greats, and is looking forward with excitement to exploring it with the students in Cuba. Mamoun would like to acknowledge the support from Studio Canal for this Masterclass.
As much of his work in Cuba is done in conjunction with a translator, it may be difficult for us to present any of the Masterclass here, but we hope to show a taster if the technical challenges do not preclude it.
Mamoun has written a piece about The Battle of Algiers for The Times Higher Education Supplement, which can be read on the THES website.
Mamoun will be at The European Film College, Ebeltoft, Denmark to give Masterclasses – 1oth & 11th October.
13–17 July, Mamoun will be a script consultant at the Wajda Studio and School in Warsaw under the aegis of EKRAN (a collaborative project between the Wajda Studio and School, FOCAL (Switzerland), Austrian Film Institute (Austria), Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung GmbH (Germany), with support of Polish Film Institute and MEDIA EU Programme.)