Nathalie Pascaud on the set of Jacques Tati’s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1953).

"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." — Yasujiro Ozu on Kogo Noda

Lifelong friends and collaborators, Ozu wrote more than half of his films with Noda, including every picture from Late Spring in 1949 to his final film, An Autumn Afternoon, in 1962. Donald Richie detailed their working relationship in his book on Ozu:

Their method of work was always the same: to go someplace and stay up late drinking until the ideas began to come. Noda later remembered the various places they worked: “We used to sometimes work in a bar named Fledermaus in Nishi-Ginza, or we’d go down to an inn called Nakanishi in Yugawara. We locked ourselves in an inn in Chigasaki and wrote Late Spring.” Later Ozu bought a mountain house in Tateshina, and there they wrote all the films from Early Spring on. According to Noda:

One scenario usually took us from three to four months, that is, if we weren’t adapting something [as they did in the case of The Munekata Sisters, Floating Weeds, and others] but were working from scratch. That’s how long Tokyo Story took. We did it at this inn in Chigasaki. It was more a boarding house [yadoya] than an inn [ryokan]. We had this eight-tatami room which looked out on the east and south to a long garden and had good sunshine. The buds came out, then the flowers, then the fruit, and we still weren’t finished. Whenever we went for a walk we’d do the shopping. Ozu used to buy meat and make hamburgers. And we drank a lot, too. By the time we’d finish a script we’d sometimes have over a hundred big empty sake bottles—though our guests would help drink them up, too. Ozu used to number all the bottles. Then he’d count them and say: “Here we are up to number eighty already and we haven’t finished the script yet.”

There is a note of triumph in the diary at the conclusion of Tokyo Story: “Finished. 103 days; 43 bottles of sake.” Ozu not only drank more than perhaps any other major film director, he saw in this habit a source of his artistic strength. Usually Ozu’s comments in the diary that he and Noda (and anyone else who happened to be there) kept were confined to poetical remarks about the weather (in the most arcane of kanji) and an accounting of how much of which kind of alcohol he had drunk that day (he preferred scotch, but he also drank sake and relatively inexpensive Japanese whiskeys). In an entry of July 7, 1959, however, written in elegant imitation of classical forms, he observed, “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.” He descends from these heights in the following line: “It’s no coincidence that this film [Floating Weeds] is a masterpiece—just look in the kitchen at the row of empty bottles.”

(Source: strangewood)

Fixed. theme by Andrew McCarthy