Films that deal with a society in a state of profound change

One of the most interesting – at least to me – ‘thematic explorations’ in film is seeing works that depict a society in a state of profound, often radical change. Ozu was perhaps the very best at doing this. As Wim Wenders said:

"Ozu’s films again and again tell the same simple story, always of the same people and the same city: Tokyo. This chronicle, spanning nearly 40 years, depicts the transformaton of life in Japan. Ozu’s films deal with the slow deterioration of the Japanese family, and thereby with the deterioration of a national identity."

I can’t think of any other Japanese director that examined the disintegration of the postwar family, and the country’s sense of national identity with more profundity, depth and attention than Ozu.

Werner Herzog’s Heart of Glass (Herz aus Glas (1976)) is also a fantastic film that looks into a small, isolated village being impacted by the effects of industrialisation.

Further, many Italian neorealist films did a remarkable job at looking into a society completely brutalised by war, and the consequences of a collapsed fascist regime.

  • I personally love this topic, but it needs to be clearer on its goals. The article could be a reflection of films that either help us cope, or reflect how we cope, in times of change. I like idea of using Ozu as an example. Japanese cinema was founded on this change. An analysis of that might be really fitting, since most people are only familiar with Kurosawa (or samurai stuff in general). Another great director from this time is Hiroshi Shimizu. Not much of his stuff is left, but Criterion Collection put out a four-pack pretty recently. – Travis Cohen 6 years ago

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