Archive | September, 2010

“The Fort of Death” Nov 1st

29 Sep

Please join us Monday, November 1 at 7pm in Meacham Auditorium for the third in a series of five films presented by the Japan Foundation: The Fort of Death.  These films, screened in 35 mm, are all classics of 1960s cinema.  The series is co-sponsored by SIAS, the Film and Video Studies Program, The OU Union Programing Board and the Oklahoma City Musuem of Art.

All films in the series are screened in Japanese with English subtitles.  All are free and open to the public.

Yearning (Midareru) 乱れる
B&W / 1964 / 100min
Director: Naruse Mikio

Widowed during the war after only six months of marriage, Reiko almost single-handedly rebuilds her husband’s family’s liquor store after it was bombed.  Eighteen years later, however, it and the other small shops are losing business to a new supermarket down the street.  To make matters worse, Reiko must both fend off of her sisters-in-law who want to get rid of her by marrying her off and also handle her rambunctious younger brother-in-law, Koji.

A college graduate, Koji soon quits his job and now spends his time gambling, drinking, and getting into fights. Still, he has deep respect for Reiko, so when he suggests to the family they use their land to build their own supermarket, he insists Reiko be made one of the directors. His sister Hisako’s husband objects, however, so the plan goes nowhere.

When Reiko finds out about an affair Koji has been having with a less than exemplary woman, she confronts him about it. To her shock, Koji responds by saying that the only woman he really loves is Reiko. Worried about what others would think, Reiko rejects Koji, who is 12 years her junior. As if to prove himself to her, Koji begins working diligently at the shop. Reiko, however, finds the situation stifling, so she suddenly declares to the family that she is leaving for home, lying that she has a lover there. Disbelieving her story, Koji accompanies her on the trip home against her will. Touched by his sincerity, Reiko admits she is happy he loves her, but when Koji tries to kiss her in their room at an inn, she violently pushes him away. Koji storms out and gets roaring drunk. Reiko rises in the morning and is set to leave when she hears a commotion in the street: someone had fallen off a cliff during the night. Rushing outside, Reiko is stunned by the sight of Koji’s body being carried away on a stretcher.

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“Age of Assassins” — Japanese Films of the 1960s in Meacham Auditorium

27 Sep

Please join us Monday, September 27 at 7pm in Meacham Auditorium for the first in a series of five films presented by the Japan Foundation: Age of Assassins.  These films, screened in 35 mm, are all classics of 1960s cinema.  The series is co-sponsored by SIAS, the Film and Video Studies Program, and the Oklahoma City Musuem of Art.

All films in the series are screened in Japanese with English subtitles.  All are free and open to the public.

Age of Assassins (Satsujinkyo jidai) 殺人狂時代
B & W/ 1967 / 99min
Director: Okamoto Kihachi

Dr. Mizorogi, director of an insane asylum, has formed a secret organization called the Great Japanese Population Regulation Council in league with former Nazis. He uses his own patients, insane paranoiacs, and trains them to kill the “useless” of society. Mizorogi selects three names from the phone book and assigns his assassins to quickly kill two of them.

The third target, however, is Kikyo Shinji, a near-sighted, bumbling criminal psychologist more concerned with his athlete’s foot than his personal appearance. Mizorogi’s killer tries to murder Shinji with a deadly playing card but Shinji miraculously escapes when a statue falls on the assassin’s head. Shinji, figuring someone is after him, tries to find help but only ends up gaining the assistance of Keiko, a tabloid reporter, and Bill, a petty crook. After receiving a fashion make-over from Tetsuko, Shinji is again targeted by several of Mizorogi’s assassins but manages to miraculously survive each time.

Keiko and Bill, however, are captured by Mizorogi’s accomplices with only Bill managing to escape with Shinji’s help. In the meantime, Mizorogi, fascinated with Shinji, meets with him at a bar and explains his philosophy: everyone is a killer and there is nothing more enjoyable than murder. Shinji learns from one of the assassins that Keiko is being held at the foot of Mt. Fuji. He and Bill go there only to find themselves in the middle of a Self-Defense Force firing range, another of Mizorogi traps. Thanks to Shinji’s ingenuity and a bit of pure luck, the two again miraculously escape.

Mizorogi, suspicious of both his Nazi colleagues and Shinji, invites Shinji to the asylum to confront him with the truth. The Nazi’s were after Shinji because of the diamond, Cleopatra’s Tears, implanted in his body during WW II. Shinji admits he is not who he seems: his bumbling guise has been a ruse designed to lure the Nazi’s into action. The two fight a “Spanish” duel in front of the patients and the Doctor is killed and Keiko saved. On the way back, however, Keiko unsuccessfully tries to kill Shinji. She reveals that she is Mizorogi’s daughter and, ashamed at her failure, she kills herself.
Afterwards, Bill looks for Shinji but only finds a man who does not recognize him. The man Bill knew, it turns out, was Shinji’s identical twin brother, a trained killer.

“Hollywood as Site and Symbol in American Culture”

20 Sep

John Parris Springer, Department of English and Film Studies University of Central Oklahoma will present a lecuture entitled, “Hollywood as Site and Symbol in American Culture”  at 3:30pm in Sarkeys Energy Center A235 on Friday, September 24.

Hollywood, and its larger urban context, Los Angeles, has been a central component of our national mythology; a complex, multivalent cultural symbol. Hollywood has been a site, both real and symbolic, for the collision of contradictory energies and agendas: commerce and art, work and leisure, success and failure, sex and death. Hollywood has long possessed a Janus-faced identity as both the “promised land” and the “wasteland,” as an idyllic community of luxurious homes, swimming pools, and verdant lawns yet also the epicenter of cultural crisis and moral disintegration; as a city that kindles dreams of opportunity, wealth, and fame yet most often produces disappointment, disillusionment, and despair. This presentation attempts to recover and explore Hollywood’s symbolic role in national life during the 1920s and 1930s—that is, to trace the various ways in which Hollywood was constructed and understood, examining conflicting ideas concerning its identity and significance, and positioning these competing views within the social and cultural arguments that surrounded the “film capital” in this period. Hollywood, both as an idea and as an actual social space, could be best understood through a series of narratives, stories that often articulated larger ideological and cultural concerns. In this presentation I examine a popular literary genre that took Hollywood and the film industry as its principal subject. But I am also interested in looking at a larger cultural discourse about movies and mass culture that informed popular attitudes toward Hollywood and shaped its literary representations.

“The Institution” with Marynell Maloney

20 Sep

Japanese Films of the 1960s

20 Sep

NORMAN – Five films celebrating 1960s Japanese cinema will be presented in Oklahoma in a unique partnership between the Japan Foundation and the University of Oklahoma.

The five films that make up the series are part of the Japan Foundation’s extensive collection of 35 mm prints.  Each is considered a classic, by a recognized master of Japanese cinema.  Four of the films will be screened in Meacham Auditorium, located in Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave., on the OU Norman campus.  A fifth film will be screened at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

Associate Professor of Japanese History Elyssa Faison was contacted by the Japan Foundation early in the summer and was invited to submit an application to participate in the film series.

“I quickly gained support from the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, OU School of International and Area Studies and OU College of Arts and Sciences Film and Video Studies.  I submitted an application, and we were accepted,” Faison said.  “OU was chosen along with Clemson University, the University of Virginia, University of Kentucky and University of Mississippi to host this film series.  The theme, Japanese film of the 1960s, and the five film titles were determined by the Japan Foundation, which donates use of its 35 mm film prints.  This is the sixth year they have held the series, and the first time OU has participated.”

The five films and their show dates and times are:

Age of Assassins, directed by Okamoto Kihachi, 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, Meacham Auditorium, Oklahoma Memorial Union

Kwaidan, directed by Kobayashi Masaki, 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10, Oklahoma City Museum of Art

The Fort of Death, directed by Kudo Eiichi, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, Meacham Auditorium, Oklahoma Memorial Union

The Face of Another, directed by Teshigahara Hiroshi, 7 p.m. Monday Nov. 8, Meacham Auditorium, Oklahoma Memorial Union

Yearning, directed by Naruse Mikio, 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, Meacham Auditorium, Oklahoma Memorial Union

For more information on the film series, contact Faison at efaison@ou.edu.  For accommodations on the basis of disability at OU, call (405) 325-3020.