Best of Asian Cinema@SineKultura this February

SineKultura features the finest of contemporary and classic Asian Cinema through three full-length features from China, India and Japan, showcasing characters living in interesting times in history.

The free movie showings start at 530 PM at University of San Carlos CAFA Theater and  are free to the general public. Just please present and leave a valid ID at the Campus Portal.

Houzhe (Lifetimes, To Live) by Zhang Yimou – MONDAY, February 6

Starring Ge You and Gong Li, Lifetimes is based on the novel of the same name by Yu Hua.

“To Live” is the first Chinese film that had its foreign distribution rights pre-sold. This is because of director Zhang Yimou achieving international success with his previous films “Ju Dou” and “Raise the Red Lantern”.

“To Live” was screened at the 1994 New York Film Festival before eventually receiving a limited release in the United States on November 1994.

This movie was banned in mainland China by the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television due to its critical portrayal of various policies and campaigns of the Communist government. The director Zhang Yimou was also banned from filmmaking for two years.

SYNOPSIS: Addicted to gambling, wealthy landowner Fugui loses everything. He and his wife Fugui and Jiazhen carry on as their personal fortunes fall from wealthy landownership to peasantry through chaotic events in China.

The husband is pressed to serve both the nationalist and communist armies, while Jiazhen is forced into menial work. The couple raise a family and survive, managing “to live” in this epic, but personal, story of life in China through 1940’s to the 1970’s.

Aparajito (Ôporajito; “The Unvanquished”) by Satyajit Ray -WEDNESDAY, February 8

This 1956 Bengali film is the second part of director Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy. Adapted from the last one-fifth of Bibhutibhushan Bannerjee’s novel Pather Panchali and the first one-third of its sequel Aparajito. The film focuses on the life of Apu from childhood to college.

Aparajito won 11 international awards in 1957, including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Elia Kazan and Wes Anderson have been influenced by The Apu Trilogy, with many others such as Akira Kurosawa praising the work. The technique of bounce lighting developed by the cinematographer Subrata Mitra for Aparajito has also had a profound influence on the development of cinematography.

The first ten minutes of the movie (http://youtu.be/JhUboWLb6wU)

SYNOPSIS: Apu leaves home to study college in Calcutta, while his mother must face a life alone.

Sansho Dayo (Sansho the Bailiff) by Kenji Mizogachi – FRIDAY, February 10

A 1954 film by Japanese film director Kenji Mizoguchi, adapted by on a short story of the same name by Mori Ogai. It is often considered one of Mizoguchi’s finest films, along with Ugetsu and The Life of Oharu.

The film bears Ogai’s trademark interest in freedom, poverty and woman’s place in society, and features beautiful images and long and complicated shots. The director of photography was Mizoguchi’s regular collaborator Kazuo Miyagawa.

Sansho was the last of Mizoguchi’s films to win an award at the Venice Film Festival, which brought him to the attention of Western critics and film-makers. It is greatly revered by many critics.

SYNOPSIS This historical film, set in the Heian period of feudal Japan is about the children of a virtuous governor who is banished by a feudal lord to a far-off province. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children are sold into slavery, growing up amid suffering and oppression.

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