Welcome back friends, foes, and film lovers! And so it begins, our weekly Wesleyan Film Series update with your favorite hosts Beatrix Herriott O’Gorman ’19 and Genyu Zhang ’20. We are thrilled to welcome the new academic year and spread the good news about the movie mayhem it promises. Although the U.S. film market just had one of the worst summers since 2000 in terms of box-office success—likely because fewer people tend to go out to theaters for timely entertainment—we’ve decided to bring the best in the past year, and beyond, right to your doorsteps. Be prepared to expect more quality-guaranteed films that will enthrall you with all kinds of thoughts and emotions. No, this is, of course, the second week of the Film Series, and we regret our absence from your laptop screens/paper Argus copies last week. The first week back, as you all know, is a hard grind, so we didn’t quite make it in time to proclaim the glories Goldsmith had to offer. If you are wondering, though, here’s a quick recap. On Wednesday we screened Best Picture Nominee “Beasts of the Southern Wild” by the University’s very own Benh Zeitlin (his non-profit arts organisation Court 13 is actually named after the Wesleyan squash court that Zeitlin and his friends frequented during their time here), which was met with raucous applause and plenty of tears. On Thursday “Your Name” hit the big screen, and a whole hoard of students showed up to watch Mitshua and Taki body swap and time travel. “Wonder Woman” on Friday night saw one of the summer’s favorite superheroes swoop into Goldsmith and take charge—in 3D no less! Closing the week, we welcomed Anne Baxtor and Bette Davis onto the silver screen and sat enthralled for the backstage drama and sweet showdown of Academy Award for Best Picture Winner “All About Eve.” Boy, what a strong start to the semester! And this week is guaranteed to keep the quality content coming.
Wednesday, Sept. 13. 8 p.m. Free.
Ten years since he left this world that he devotedly loved and cared, Edward Yang’s artwork remains one of the best things that has ever happened to Taiwanese cinema. In “Taipei Story,” precise like a surgeon, Yang pointed out the central conflict within the 1980s Taiwanese transformative society through the portrayal of a loving couple. Played by the equally legendary director Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Yang’s later wife Tsai Chin, they have to make life-defining choices as history pushes them to the point where the future and the past have no chance to compromise. From various perspectives, “Taipei Story” is not to be missed for any cinephile.
“My Life as a Zucchini”
Thursday, Sept. 14. 8 p.m. Free.
A charming, sad, direct little picture made with great artistic flair and attention to detail. Here at Cinefiles, we are massive fans of some good, old-fashioned stop-motion animation, and “My Life as a Zucchini” is no exception. Not only is this stop-motion animated film a treat for our eyes, but its script packs a punch too. A favorite of ours, French female writer and director Celine Sciamma is known primarily for her coming-of-age dramas. This script is a little different from her other works, but it carries the same sharpness. The film follows nine-year-old Zucchini as he navigates the trials and tribulations of living in a group home after being orphaned by the death of his mother. Although it is certainly not a joyful premise, it has captured the hearts of many. The words that pop up in review after review are “poignant” and “sincere.” Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post tells us that “Genuine sentiment is the guiding principle, not sentimentality,” which is reason enough to embrace this sweet, quirky animation.
Friday, Sept. 15. 8 p.m. $5.
Set in the San Fernando Valley starting in the late 1970s, the film by Paul Thomas Anderson gives us an unflinching look at a Californian subculture that we may be a little bit more curious about than we’d care to admit. This stellar second feature about adult entertainment officially put PTA on the map. His journey through the Golden Age of Porn, obligatorily featuring plentiful muscly men and women wearing blue eye shadow, received great critical and commercial success. Even today, “Boogie Nights” is a fresh, fun, and daring dramedy that demands our attention. Take a look at the original trailer for a peek at the hedonism, and try not to smile at the hook: “It was a time when disco was king, sex was safe, pleasure was a business and business was booming.” Don’t forget all the patterned shirts!
Saturday, Sept. 16. 8 p.m. Free.
You may know Victor Sjöström from the textbook of “History of World Cinema to the 1960s,” and you probably know Ingmar Bergman as the cinematic master who made Ang Lee cry over his shoulder when he finally got to meet him in 2007. Perhaps Bergman’s most emotionally nuanced film, “Wild Strawberries” depicts a grumpy, closed-off professor who returns to his birthplace to be awarded the degree of Jubilee Doctor. Triggered by a series of random events, his memories and dreams lead him to a journey of redemption and self-reflection near the end of his life. It is a reservedly touching motion picture about how an old man strives to make peace with his past doings, directed by the artist who also left us 10 years ago.
Beatrix Herriott O’Gorman and Genyu Zhang can be reached at bherriottogo