“I have a way of filming things and staging them and designing sets. There were times when I thought I should change my approach, but in fact, this is what I like to do. It's sort of like my handwriting as a movie director. And somewhere along the way, I think I've made the decision: I'm going to write in my own handwriting. That's just sort of my way.” – Wes Anderson
Of all the recurring signatures of Malick, his use of fire and water might be the most telling, in part because there’s a significant shift between early Malick (Badlands & Days of Heaven) and later Malick (The Thin Red Line, The New World, The Tree of Life & To the Wonder). Early Malick favors fire. Later Malick favors water. In To the Wonder, Malick forgoes fire altogether for the first time in his career. Water reigns.
The films of Ozu are filled with people walking through alleys and hallways: the in-between spaces of modern life. This is where Ozu resides. In the transitory. It’s what he values as a filmmaker. Alleys are not an opportunity for suspense but for passage.