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Shochiku plans Ozu 110th anniversary project

Following its success with the Kinoshita centennial initiative, Japanese studio Shochiku is planning a major restoration and screening project to market the 110th anniversary of the birth of Yasujiro Ozu.

The project kicks off with the screening of a restored version of Ozu’s Tokyo Story at the Berlinale (February 14), the first in a series of restorations of Ozu classics, with titles to be announced at a later date. Yoji Yamada’ Tokyo Family, also screening in Berlinale, is a homage to the film.

Shochiku is also planning a series of screenings of Ozu titles in Japan in December and a travelling retrospective, as it has done with the films of Keisuke Kinoshita over the past year. The Kinoshita classics have screened at Cannes, Venice and Berlin, along with many smaller festivals.

Ozu was born on December 12, 1903 and died exactly 60 years later on December 12, 1963. Although he is revered among international cineastes, Shochiku recently conducted a survey that revealed low awareness of Ozu amongst the Japanese population.

“Only 42% have awareness of him as he’s not known among young people; he is better known overseas. Our goal is to raise that percentage over the course of 2013 and 2014,” said Shochiku general manager of licensing Kaz Moriguchi.

Shochiku is also planning to publish a book in April explaining Ozu’s filmmaking philosophy and a series of Blu-ray releases later in the year.

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