Ozu-level shot composition, and not that far off the Japanese master in its insight into daily life -- the banal, the extraordinary, and how we are constantly concerned with both. For example: the master painter is working on a large-scale monochrome piece requiring hundreds of tiny, hand-made flags, and as he does so, he is frequently interrupted by the caterwauling of hungry cats. For example: the students are sketching an oxen-and-plough scene that will become a series of vibrant, painstakingly rendered scenes, and as they do so, two of their number squabble pettily about minor criticism and major sensitivity. I thought the square frame would put me off but with the camera placed so perfectly (it moves twice in the entire film, by the way), I quickly embraced it. Great characters, great dialogue, great images, and all of it real -- or mostly real, anyway. A marvel.