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February 1996, Week 4


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Ron Hoffman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 23 Feb 1996 11:22:48 -0400
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On Thu, 22 Feb 1996, Matt McAllister wrote:
> BUT, I'm getting bored with these scenes.  Can anyone suggest movie clips
> that are rich in nonverbal complexity, and illustrate some concept about
> nonverbal symbols?  I'd appreciate not just suggesting a scene, but also
> pointing out what you think the scene does nonverbally.  Things like
> posture, eye contact, body language, spacial relations, paralanguage (the
> way words are said) would be great!
> Thanks in advance for the suggestion
I don't know if you only want scenes that deal with nonverbal
communication via human gestures, facial expressions, etc.  If so this
example may not be relevant.  There is a scene in Ozu's "Early Spring (I
think I have the title right) where the mother has been talking to her
husband on the phone.  She learns that he is traveling in the vicinity of
where his daughter and her new husband are living.  He intends to visit
them. This is a huge turning point in the film, since it means that he
now accepts the fact that his daughter's choice of a husband is valid, in
contrast to his former beliefs in tradtional arranged marriages.  When the
mother hangs up, she goes to the window and looks out.  You see a medium
shot (or medium closeup) of her as she looks out the window.  An almost
beatific expression is on her face.  Then you get a SPV of what she
sees--some wash on the line!  Ozu holds on to this shot for a
considerable amount of film time.  Somehow you know that this is what the
whole movie is about.  I still don't quite know why this is the case.  It
is absolutely right.  If anything has convinced me of Ozu's genius, this
scene is certainly one of the most persuasive.  Hope this helps.
Ron Hoffman
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