Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Berlinale came and went; i mostly avoided the event, but i got enough out of it to make it worthwhile. Not in terms of movies (i didn't actually see that many) but simply in terms of running into friends, etc.

The effect was to make Berlin seem like an inhabitable city, rather than an impregnable fortress. Also: it was nice to encounter sanity.

One of the highlights of the festival turned out to be the screenings of three films from the 1930s by Yasujiro Shimazu, a contemporary of Ozu and Naruse at Shochiku. As a director, Shimazu is rather more relaxed than either Ozu or Naruse, though the territory of the shomin-geki is the same. I was able to see two of the three films, "The Trio's Engagements" and "The Lights of Asakusa", both from 1937. "The Trio's Engagements" was really charming, a comedy about three young men who get jobs in a store that sells fabric (mostly rayon, and one of their tasks is to convince the customers that rayon is just as good as silk). "The Lights of Asakusa" was fascinating because it involved the interactions among a theatrical troupe. But if, in the 1920s and 1930s, "orientalism" was a rage amongst the cosmopolitan set in London and New York City, so "The Lights of Asakusa" shows the reverse: what might be called "occidentalism" among the Japanese, as the troupe is an operetta troupe, performing Western style musical theater.

Anyway, seeing more films. I'm anxious to see the new Tim Burton "Alice in Wonderland", not necessarily because i'm the biggest Tim Burton fan (he lost me a while ago, around the time of "Planet of the Apes", though i must admit to liking his adaptation of "Sweeney Todd"), but because i can't wait to see another movie in 3D!

Michael O'Sullivan has been having fun with his blog, talking about movies from the 1950s. I think it's now possible to have fun....

Of course, more cooperation from the weather would help: today, woke up to find that it was snowing again! And this, after four days of weather that was clear and partly sunny and abiove freezing! But it's supposed to get back to inching towards 10 degrees Celsius, so finally, it seems as if not just morning but spring has broken.


Blogger Michael O'Sullivan said...

Thanks for that - one has to have fun with those '50s movies!

5:28 AM


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