Great japanese directors are especially good at creating amazing visuals; you know, the way they use (Japanese) architecture as a narrative vehicle, reflecting the character’s mind or feelings.
Recently, american director David Fincher did more or less the same with The Social Network, using here architecture to reflect the social game – as implied by the title – the film could be seen as the digital era version of La Regle du jeu.
For example, Zuckerberg appears onscreen as a social-misfit, often separated from others by windows, invisible walls (depth of field) tables, doorways… It must be said that this kind of visual work directly affects your experience of the story (don’t take it only on the intellectual level).
And, as you can see on the following image, doorways can also define the level of importance (socially speaking) of characters, guess who’s in charge here? Who dominates the space?
Back to Japanese cinema now. Few examples. First with Kobayashi’s Harakiri where this small square of space symbolizes everything that will take down the entire Japanese feudal society. But for now, it’s just the space allocated to solve problems (and nobody cares about these human “problems”, ie the tragedy of the film).
At some point in Hideo Gosha’s Hitokiri, the main character runs in the rain and faces this giant roof. Which means that no matter how hard he tries to climb the social ladder, he keeps sliding down. Facing something he doesn’t understand/control. That’s why he’s in the corner bottom right. Like a nobody.
# (in french) To go further, check this must-read article (written by the always insightful Rafik Djoumi)