My second encounter with Mr. Hasumi -- actually that's professor, and not only professor, but dean of Tokyo University; indeed, a number of his students have gone on to become great directors such as Kiyoshi Kurosawa -- was for a panel discussion on the art of Yasujiro Ozu for the director's centenary in 2003. At this event, which also featured Robin Wood, Tom Gunning and a number of other film studies big shots, Hasumi gave one of the most compelling and off-beat presentations as he examined Ozu's women through the gesture of tossing down articles of clothing (and particularly their husband's). In so doing, he revisited the opinion that his was a socially conservative cinema, while delving into a concern central to the medium's particularity: namely, the gesture.
Interestingly enough, Prof. Hasumi returns to the throwing gesture in his latest Rouge essay "John Ford, or The Eloquence of Gesture". Here, he supposes that the essence of that master can be found in that same gesture, while again enlivening his auteur study with a deeper theoretical inquiry into the essence of the art. This is the best film essay that I've read in a very long time; it is indeed the sort of prose and analysis that should serve as a model for all aspiring film scholars and critics -- I know it will for me. In simply reading it, I found my own avocation elevated to a level which it rarely attains.