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Monday, January 18, 2016

Ozu, Mu and Music

I’m reading, better: sipping and digesting, Wim Wenders/Mary Zournazi’s book “Inventing Peace: a dialogue on Perception” (2013).

It’s a great, little book, unassuming and very human, I’d say… Wim Wenders is a director – i.e. a visual artist, of course, and not by chance it’s also very fond of music; remember the Ry Cooder’s "Paris, Texas" OST or his seminal  "Wings of Desire" (Der Himmel uber Berlin)’s OST or "Buena Vista Social Club"?

… but all Wim’s movies have very nice and well chosen music commentaries.

The book, now…

It’s well written in a conversation-like form and it’s a sort-of mosaic about perception - as title suggests - and very inspirational at hinting at its several declinations.

A chapter – i.e.  “Lasting images” – is really moving, enriching and illuminating: it’s devoted to Ozu’s “Journey to Tokyo” B/W movie…  about how Yasujirō Ozu built his peaceful screen family scenes and the like.

Reading Wim Wenders’ descriptions, I strongly felt a communion with what I’ve been doing for the last thirty-something years… visual or aural, it’s perception and as Gertrude Stein once wrote, nothing's better than using our own ears as our eyes… an always wise suggestion.

Judge by yourself…

The Author so describe himself during the vision of “Journey to Tokyo” in an essai cinema in NYC's Upper East Side: “The story was slowly and peacefully rolling on the screen, surprising and shocking me; I was more and more quieter, breathing slower, I opened myself and felt like part of the family shown in the movie.”


“There was a rhythm on the screen nicely blending with my attention and heartbeat: there was a clarity and a simpleness which also gave clarity to my feelings. The beauty and economy of every frame made me to forget about NYC noises, outside. Time was flowing in such a way to make thinking about beauty of life and its hidden secrets in every aspect, if only we would be able to enter in that flow”.


“It was cinema heaven: pure being and essence. No difference among role & actor and character & spectator: all parties were part of same story, all together going to Tokyo on same journey, sharing same existence moved by same forces ” 


“There is no mistery: no filigree, cinical or just hinting-images or scenes, irony - better an ironic distance between the movie itself and everyday life - exists, anymore. 

Ozu’s movies aren’t hinting to the conventional “filmic distance” – i.e. hey, let’s do not worry, it’s a movie, isn’t real.

It’s ingenuity, a childish approach where real and unreal are without boundaries and blending randomly together; like when we were younger, the movies were an experience, dragons, monsters, flying super heroes and giants were real and scaring for real!

I still remember Jules Verne’s Journey at the Centre of the Earth and its giant crabs… it was feverishly dangerous and shocking to a younger me… and going to be, in the dark was painful, as I was fearful to find them in the corridors.

Silly me… and lucky me.

It’s the lacking, the absence of defense which gives a pure approach… no pre-concepts, no cinism or irony… just naked truth remains.

Like Ozu’s camera was placing two characters during a conversation in a seldom seen, different perspective vs. modern aka Western, Hollywood or European, approach – i.e. when each character talks to the other, both… no back, torso views: BOTH look at the camera – i.e. at the Director’s eye – i.e. at the spectator eye.

You feel part of the scene and of the movie, to some extent!

Why all the above?

I feel that Ozu’s visual Mu - the void emptiness which can be filled - which permeates things and life as they are,  in their no-frills nudity and trueness - and my own (humbly said) Music and the related listening pleasure are connected, bonded… I mean that when listening to my system I sort-of made a layout which makes me both the listener, the artist, the microphone and sound engineer and the orchestra director.

I'm into the music, not simply listening to it!

That’s why the involvement I so strongly feel - something which is also shared with friends or occasional visiting people in my studio -  it’s unique and very, very, very seldom heard somewhere else…

I made my system to perform in such a way, where no boundaries exist, anymore: the large auditorium or studio, the blasting, roaring thunders and the whispers, the emotion and the almost visual holograms so beautifully and truly reach a me in awe.

It’s like if I learned by scratch to bring  the essence of music to my ears in my room… and everything is so true to life.

Hearing a timpani thundering in the orchestra I truly see the percussionist.

I’m not so clever to do so knowingly… it just happened, day after day after day… layers by layers of truth and self-knowledge blossomed in a very humble and natural way.

Ingenuity was, and still is, in the recipe.

Like when meditating, it’s something – listening in such a deep and involving way – related to reaching an inner silence, stopping thinking and speculating about lesser life-facts.

Yet, Wim Wenders and Mary Zournazi, much more skilled thinkers and higher-minded, so cleverly pointed it out in the above mentioned pages.

Childish… being pure, illuminated children in our truest, inner soul: this brings a light which outlasts our mortal body and makes living worthwhile, as this is purest nectar for our truest being. 

... ahhh, forgetting: what about the a.m. peace? 

You're right!

Peace to me (and Wim and Mary, as well, so I'm in good company, indeed;-)) isn't the absence of war - i .e. a rare evenience...

Peace means beauty and well being, enjoying life... a time which flows smooth and satisfying, unboring and always various... and Music is a BIG part of this condition.

More music should and could means more peace... let's think about it!  

Thanking Wim Wenders and Mary Zournazi... and to Alex de Grassi, who made a very nice musical commentary to an Ozu's movie, which refreshed my interest for  these b/w masterpieces.

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