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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Austen, Chekhov, Ozu, Hopper, Chardin

Chardin, The Silver Beaker
oil on canvas, c. 1750
Musée du Louvre
(source: wikiart)
no copyright infringement intended

An English novelist from the Regency times, a Russian playwright and short-stories author living at the end of the 19th century, a Japanese director of the 1930s/40s/50s, and an American painter contemporary with the Japanese. Do they have something in common? Is it for them a proximate genus? Then what are their specific differences? The universe they are dealing with in their works is up to a point similar: a thin section sliced with peculiar attention in the medium to lower level of gentility or bourgeoisie/intelligentsia, mixed with all kind of picturesque guys, like perpetual students aspiring sometimes to the status of small clerics or clergymen (it depends on the epoch), plus one or more wise and rather skeptical doctors or professors, or other enigmatic individuals (sometimes on the brink of failure). And this universe is explored with great empathy and nobility, and with tireless dedication. Their approach is not demiurgical, like at so many other creators; they let their personages to play by themselves, the situations to evolve freely; and they, the creators, are just there, on the side, enjoying the uniqueness of some moments, all other times just admiring the holiness of the mundane, and meditating maybe, at the ways life goes on.

And maybe the French rococo painter is not too far (if not for the universe, at least for the approach).

(Jane Austen)


(Yasujiro Ozu and Setsuko Hara)



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