SILENT FILMS AT THE CALIFORNIA THEATRE - Cinequest Film Festival 2008
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 29 at 7:00pm: I WAS BORN, BUT… (UMARETE WA MITA KEREDO) (silent, 1932) Japan
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu. Written by Akira Fushimi, after an original story by “James Maki” (Ozu). Photographed by Hideo Shigehara. With Tatsuo Saito, Mitsuko Yoshikawa, Hideo Sugawara, Tokkan Kozo. With Jim Riggs at the Wurlitzer organ.
Yasujiro Ozu’s quiet, minimalist style looks deceptively simple, but his films contain an exquisite grace and emotional power that belie this deceptive simplicity. His first masterpiece was this charming, boisterous and ultimately quite moving film, with its keen observations on family relationships and Japanese middle class society (Ozu’s favorite subjects). Two young boys and their parents move to the Tokyo suburbs after their father receives a promotion. The boys overcome the neighborhood bullies and immerse themselves in the childhood rituals of their new little world. Meanwhile, their father is immersed in the adult rituals of his job, including being obsequious and subservient to his boss. When the boys witness this behavior, they are appalled and disgusted, but eventually come to realize that this will likely become their future role in society, too. This story of the loss of childhood innocence with the realization of adult hypocrisy is simple yet stunning, funny and sad, and not to be missed.
FRIDAY MARCH 7 at 7:00pm: OCTOBER (OCTYABR) (silent, 1927/8) U.S.S.R.
Directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein. Written by Eisenstein. Assisted by Grigori Alexandrov. Photographed by Edouard Tisse. With Vasily Nikandrov, N. Popov, Boris Livanov, Tisse. With Dennis James at the Wurlitzer organ.
After achieving great artistic success with his first two films (Strike and Potemkin), Russian director Sergei Eisenstein was commissioned by Sovkino, the Soviet film agency, to make a film commemorating the ten year anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The result was October, arguably his most bold and innovative film. Eisenstein’s innovative, radical use of intellectual montage and imagery (to stimulate the thoughts and emotions of the audience) creates an almost overwhelming cinematic experience. The film bursts with a kaleidoscope of images: audacious, outrageous, breathtaking and unforgettable, with a literal cast of thousands recreating scenes from the revolution in their actual locations (the storming of the Winter Palace reportedly required 11,000 extras). With Strike, Potemkin and October, Eisenstein showed that film could be a powerful tool for propaganda (and was a clear influence on Leni Riefenstahl for Triumph of the Will), but he also inspired future filmmakers, who use his methods to entertain, move and astound us today.
Cynthia Mortensen, Stanford Theatre Foundation
|I Was Born, But?||2/29/2008||7:00 PM||California Theatre|
|October||3/7/2008||7:00 PM||California Theatre|
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