Witty Comedies@SineKultura, 2/27

This week, the University of San Carlos SINEKULTURA presents three films, veritable comedies of wit from Asia, America and Europe: a Japanese, an American, and a Finnish directors at CAFA Theater, Talamban campus.

It even sounds like the set-up of a joke– Three directors are being featured in a cinephile week: A Japanese, an American and a Finn…

The Monday-Wednesday screenings start 530 PM, the Friday screening begin at 6 PM. These film showings are FREE and open to the general public to foster an educational and enjoyable cinema experience to Cebu’s cinephiles.

The movies this week and their schedules:

YASUJIRO OZU’S “OHAYO” (Good Morning, Japan, Color, 94 minutes), 27 February Monday

SYNOPSIS: The film takes place in suburban Tokyo where two brothers agree to take on a ‘silence strike against all adults’ to pressure their parents into buying them a TV set. There’s also a subplot regarding the local neighborhood women’s club monthly dues.

The film director Ozu is known for his distinctive technical style, which he developed during the silent era but became only more pronounced in his last works.

Other than his distinctive visual style, the director is well-known for his minimalist storytelling: many ‘major’ events are left out, never to occur on screen, giving emphasis on the character-driven scenes that occur in between these major off-screen events, through quiet and intelligent conversation.

His body of work features persistent themes about marriage and family, especially the relationships between parents and their children. Ozu’s films also featured more varied female roles, who exhibited  independence and assertiveness, veering away the traditional Japanese views of women.


JIM JARMUSCH’S DOWN BY LAW (United States, Color, 107 minutes) 29 February, Wednesday

SYNOPSIS: Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, Down by Law is a 1986 black-and-white independent film that features the arrest, incarceration, and escape from jail of three men.

Inspired by the minimalist style of Yasujiro Ozu’s on using elliptical scenes around a major, off-screen event, the film focuses on the interaction between the convicts rather than on the escape itself. This film is exemplerary for Jarmusch’s idiosyncratic, unhurried style where real time is approximated for the audience, to better convey mood and character development, without progression of plot only with sharp wit and dark humor.

A notable feature of the film is Robby Müller’s slow-moving camerawork, which captures the architecture of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou to which the cellmates escape.
Müller subsequently worked with Jarmusch on Mystery Train (1989), Dead Man (1995), and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999).

The film stars musician Tom Waits, along with Jarmusch regulars John Lurie and Roberto Benigni. Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi, whose characters fell in love in the movie, later got married in real life. The actor couple continued their on-screen/off-screen collaborations, including on Benigni’s award-winning “Life is Beautiful”.


Aki Kaurismäki’s  Mies vailla menneisyyttä (The Man without a Past, Finland, Color, 97 minutes) 1 March Friday.
SYNOPSIS: An unnamed man arrives by train to Helsinki. After falling asleep in a public park, he gets mugged and beaten by hoodlums and is severely injured in the head, losing consciousness. He awakes and finds that he has lost his memory. The starts his life from scratch, living off the street, with help from the Salvation Army and friends of the fellow destitutes.

The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2002 and won the Grand Prix at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.
The Man… is the second installment of the director’s Finland trilogy, the other two films being “Drifting Clouds” (1996) and “Lights in the Dusk” (2006).

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