In the ongoing series of Fog drawings, Meiro Koizumi reproduces stills from various movies by renowned Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu.
During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) Ozu was sent to China to fight in the war. According to his diary, at the beginning of the war, he was making plans to make war films once he goes back to his homeland Japan. His diary was filled with ideas of scenes that depict the daily lives of soldiers in a foreign country. But at some point during the war, he stopped making such notes. As a soldier, he was the unit leader for a unit that spread chemical gas against the Chinese army. He saw and experienced the worst of the war. After Ozu came back to Japan, he never made a single war film nor a single scene involving war battles. All the scars of the war are erased, and repressed under the surface of beautiful daily lives of the people on screen.
The cinematography of Ozu is known for his painstaking method that involved carefully arranging props and actors to create tableau-like scenes, using his actors almost as puppets. As such, Ozu's films play very much within the context of traditional Japanese theatre, with actors not acting freely or naturalistically. The actors' faces thus are mere masks, the actors mere forms, devoid of emotion or interiority.
Koizumi observes how important it is, in Ozu's film, that the camera almost never moves, and the filmmaker tries to construct the perfect image by looking through the lens within the frame. The space outside of the frame doesn't exist. Everything is on the surface and within the frames.
By the gesture of erasing through a heavy mist that pervades the drawings, Koizumi discovers (or invents) a new dimension, beyond the existing frame and under the surface. Pursuing his investigation into Japan’s ritualistic culture and past events, the fog becomes an element for revealing, rather than concealing, the painful reality hidden behind the serene facades, searching for new ways of resolving the past in a way that can be understood on a global scale.