Although the great Japanese filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu (1903-1963) now enjoys a kind of central position in the mainstream canon of film history, his work was not seen in its totality in the United States until the 1970s – and at that time, his work was subjected to some of the most inept and derogatory criticism ever leveraged in the guise of praise for an artist. Ozu’s highly idiosyncratic formalism immediately made him something of a legend within film communities, but it’s clear that early western commentators often confused his stylistic rigor with their own wrong-headed notions about Japanese culture. Ozu’s work was initially known for being slow and highly austere in manner, and because almost all of his work deals with familial life, he was simplistically regarded by some critics as “the most Japanese of Japanese filmmakers.” This reductive portrait of Ozu’s art as being a kind of filmic sedative becomes problematic in that it ignores the most exciting aspect of his style: those moments in his films which burst with graceful motion and performative energy, and which seem to form a kind of rhythmic dialectic against the stillness of other dramatic scenes. Ozu is actually a very expressive filmmaker in this regard, and he is similar to Howard Hawks in that his direction of actors seems to convey meaning in dissonant relation to other aspects of the material. (more…)
Guest post by Alexander Landerman.
Pressing On: The Letterpress Film is a documentary-based film, beautifully shot and produced by Bayonet Media located just north of us in lovely Indianapolis, Indiana. However, the connections to the state of Indiana and Indiana University don’t stop there. The film contains interviews with Indiana University faculty emeritus Paul Brown and alumni Stephanie Carpenter who now works as the Assistant Director at the Hamilton Woodtype and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. In the film, there are even scenes shot in our very own letterpress studio, located in the Fine Arts building part of the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design. (more…)
Guest post by Kristen Muenz.
On Monday, April 22, IU Cinema will screen the 1973 film Year of the Woman. Directed by poet, activist, and journalist Sandra Hochman, this experimental documentary explores the radical interventions and interviews made by activists in the Women’s Movement during the 1972 Democratic National Convention, and features appearances by Gloria Steinem, Liz Renay, Betty Friedan, Nora Ephron, Art Buchwald, Coretta Scott King, Shirley MacLaine, and Warren Beatty, and many others. One person central to this film and the Women’s Movement at large is Florynce “Flo” Kennedy. (more…)
As Robert Preston cuts her hair, Julie Andrews tries to clarify the charade that they are going to perpetuate: “A woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman?” Preston gleefully responds, “It’s so preposterous, no one would ever believe it!” This is the simplified foundation of Blake Edwards’s Victor/Victoria (1982), a comedy about a starving soprano in 1930s Paris who finds success portraying a gay man who performs as a female impersonator. The film sparks important dialogues in regards to queerness, sexuality, and agency, discussions that are strengthened by the centrality of the film’s friendship between Preston’s Carroll “Toddy” Todd and Andrews’s Victoria Grant. (more…)
IU Cinema celebrates IU Day 2019 by highlighting the transformative experiences of its patrons over the years, including Indiana University students who have helped make IU Cinema one of the best university cinemas in the country. Below is senior Olivia’s Seyerle’s essay on how IU Cinema has transformed her experience as an Indiana University student.
The Indiana University Cinema: A Place for Film. This is obvious once you walk through the doors into the lobby, with the poster vestibule shining at the entrance to the theatre. There the Cinema has film posters advertising individual films of all kinds, as well as house-made posters for the curated film series. There is always a new poster to see and gawk at. Film is definitely on our minds. But the IU Cinema is more than just a Place for Film. It is a place for friends; a place for learning; a place for exposure to new cultures, new people, and new ideas. It’s a place for art, a place for music, a place where you can have your beliefs challenged in ninety minutes. It is a place for community, both local and global. The IU Cinema is a place unlike any other. (more…)
Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971) opens on a street race. Engines roar prominently on the soundtrack, and we get a montage of tarmac, cars, and a few close-ups of The Driver (James Taylor) that will become one of our main characters. No one speaks.
When The Driver finally does speak – after the opening credits and several minutes into the film – it’s a comment on the auto race. In general, the dialogue from the leading male characters is very utilitarian, or else focused on automobiles. (more…)