Event Watch: 3 Idiots (2009)

The South Asian Film Society and the South Asian Studies Council will be screening the film, 3 Idiots this Thursday, September 22 @ 8 pm  on Old Campus  (rain location: LC 102)!

I haven’t seen too many Bollywood films, so I don’t know if I’m qualified to judge or make comparisons, but 3 Idiots is definitely one of the most entertaining (if not best in general) movies I’ve ever seen. Sometimes I wonder if this is how movies were meant to be — an unpretentious, fun adventure with all the right highs and lows and leaves the audience with a warm, satisfied feeling when it’s all over. Full of tongue-in-cheek clichés, heart-wrenching and -warming scenes, and of course, song and dance, the movie is hilarious and very well-crafted (how many hyphenated words can I use in this sentence) — if you haven’t seen it already, I strongly recommend that you do. Go for the popcorn and chai, if nothing else.

Here’s a brief synopsis from the event listing:

Farhan Qureshi and Raju Rastogi want to re-unite with their fellow collegian, Rancho, after falling out of touch several years beforehand. En route, they encounter another student, Chatur Ramalingam, now a successful businessman, who reminds them of a bet they had undertaken 10 years ago. The trio, while recollecting hilarious antics, including their run-ins with the Dean of Delhi’s Imperial College of Engineering, Viru Sahastrabudhe, race to locate Rancho, at his last known address — little knowing the secret that was kept from them all this time. Currently the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time.

iheart(asian)cinema

Aside from the Oscars, co-hosted by James Franco (wouldn’t you hate to be working with that guy on a big project due on Monday?) and “that annoying girl” Anne Hathaway (my mother’s words; I’m rather fond of her), Yale also had the honor of playing host to renowned Japanese filmmaker Koreeda Hirokazu. I had been a fan of his ever since I saw the critically acclaimed 誰も知らない or Nobody Knows (2004), which a friend had recommended to me as being the most depressing movie she’s ever seen. And indeed, it was heartbreaking, but it was also a beautiful piece of work, subtle and poignant as a lot of the best in Japanese cinema can be.

I wasn’t able to attend the two workshops that were held over the weekend, but I did manage to catch a screening of Koreeda’s latest? work, Still Walking (2008). A narration over the course of roughly a day, the film is an in-depth portrait of a middle-class Japanese family, coming together in a clash of personalities while sharing an in an important common bond. Through the voice of older son, Koreeda tries to convey that family life is to be cherished and nourished. Beautiful and moving, the film certainly succeeded in invoking these sentiments.* I don’t think anything that I can write could do it justice, so maybe you should just check it out for yourself.

I could go on and on about East Asian/Southeast Asian cinema (Bollywood is a different genre altogether), but perhaps I’ll just leave you with this: Yes, there’s been a lot of film screenings this year—I don’t know when all the organizations started popping up/why they all decided to let us watch free movies—but I’m certainly not complaining. They’re really worth checking out if you can spare 2 hours of your regularly scheduled Hulu-watching. And I’m always open to movie (and drama!) recommendations, so drop a line if you’ve got something that everyone needs to see.**

* Actually, I was reminded of Tokyo Sonata (2008), another Japanese film that I had watched recently that also explores the Japanese family but with a slightly higher focus on the struggle of individual personalities to shine through in Japan’s familial structure and roles. It actually made me really angry for a good three-quarters of the film, but the mood it manages evokes modern-day Japanese society so poignantly that it’s hard not to look back on it fondly. Also worth a watch.

** Despite the content of this post humor is actually preferred! Not that I really understand absurdist Japanese humor (but so many puns ♥)…

200 Pounds Beauty: Plastic Surgery in the Name of Love

“I’m not cut out for love and diet.”

That’s just one of the gems I found in the Korean romantic comedy 200 Pounds Beauty, the first of three films in AASA’s Freshman Movie Series.

The film, which was screened in JE theater on Thursday January 28, centers around an morbidly overweight girl named Hanna whose problems in life, as the quote alludes to, are seriously hampered by her image, especially her self-image. She has a beautiful voice that she allows a record company to use to promote a more attractive girl’s singing career.  Her love life consists of phone sex with married men and dating men who merely use her to sell diet pills. When she is unsuccessful in losing weight, they dump her.  To complicate matters, Hanna is secretly in love with Sang-Jun, the handsome man whose family heads the record company.  One day, she cannot stand the ridicule anymore and decides to completely transform herself with plastic surgery.

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