Saturday, August 08, 2015


No Effort, No Communication

Donald Richie (1924-2013), Journals (May 23, 1978):
Autograph signing for the Japanese translation of the [Yasujiro] Ozu book. I gave an introduction to Tokyo Story, recounting how Ozu hated just this kind of introduction. Explanation is always unnecessary. If you use your eyes and your ears properly you will understand; if you do not, no amount of explanation will inform you. The reason is that Ozu is interested in showing, not explaining. He implies; you infer. He builds his half of the bridge; you build yours. Each having made some effort, a real communication becomes possible. No effort, no communication.

This, I realize, is the only kind of art I admire. Jane Austen, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Henry Green. In the movies Ozu, Bresson, sometimes Tarkovsky, and less often Antonioni; lots of examples from painting because pictures cannot explain, and from music—in this sense the most mute of all the arts.

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