March 21, 2011

Light Thickens

Yasujiro Ozu
The Only Son

Tacita Dean
Disappearance at Sea

- For many, Donald Crowhurst is just a cheat who abused the sacred unwrittens of good sportsmanship. But for some, it is more complicated than this and he is seen as much a victim of the Golden Globe as the pursuer of it. His story is about human failing, about pitching his sanity against the sea, where there is no human presence or support system on which to hang a tortured psychological state. His was a world of acute solitude, filled with the ramblings of a troubled mind.
Tacita Dean, 1997

The film Disappearance at Sea is part of a series of Tacita Dean's works under the same name focusing on Donald Crowhurst and the Teignmouth Electron, and the effect the sea had upon his mind.

The Only Son was Ozu's first talkie - exploring the mother/son relationship, and perhaps also the idea of 'big fish in a small pond' and vice versa. Ryosuke moves from a small town to Tokyo with his tutor,  to continue his education, but both are small pebbles cast into the swelling sea of people in Tokyo, and their efforts result in little success, Ryosuke teaching in a unremarkable night school, and renting cheap shabby rooms for his wife and child, and his tutor now running a tonkatsu restaurant in the lonely outskirts of the city.

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