Tag Archive: Cinema 320

The organizers of the 15th annual Latino Film Festival in Worcester, MA, being held the week of March 22, are pleased to announce that ticket sales for the Chilean movie El Diario de Agustin (Agustin’s Newspaper) will be donated to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts in Chile following the recent 8.8-magnitude earthquake there. The film will be screened at Clark University’s Cinema 320 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23. It will be shown in Spanish, with English subtitles. Admission will be $5 ($3 for students, seniors, and WOO Card holders). All movies are in Spanish with English sub-titles.

The Latino Film Festival is presented by Centro Las Americas, Clark University, WPI, Assumption College, Quinsigamond Community College, and The College of the Holy Cross.

Cinema 320

Jefferson Academic Center, 3rd Floor

Clark University, 950 Main Street, Worcester, MA

Tuesday,         March 23 @ 7:30 PM  El diario de Agustín (Agustin’s newspaper) (Chile)

Thursday,         March 25 @ 7:30 PM  La mujer sin cabeza (Headless woman)(Argentina)

Saturday,         March 27 @ 7:30 PM Gigante (Uruguay)

Sunday,         March 28 @ 4:00 PM La mujer sin cabeza (Mexico)

Razzo Hall

Traina Center for the Arts

Clark University, 92 Downing St., Worcester, MA

Sunday,          March 28     @ 1:00 PM Cementerio de papel (Buried in paper) (Mexico)

guest-Fritz Glockner, author


Cinema 320 brings Me and Orson Welles to Worcester

Citizen McKay

By Jim Keogh

You’d never heard of Christian McKay. His acting resume is still in its infancy.

That’s what makes McKay’s performance in Me and Orson Welles more than just a nicely wrought turn in a movie. His portrayal of the great Welles is a piece of cinematic serendipity that sends you scrambling to imdb.com to learn what else he’s appeared in (again, not much) and to find the answer to that question nagging you the minute the house lights go up: “Who is this guy?”

Me and Orson Welles begins with a brash high school kid named Richard Samuels (Zac Ephron) who worms his way into a small role in Welles’ groundbreaking 1937 Broadway production of Julius Caesar, which is in rehearsals. The play gives Richard an insider’s view of the messy backstage workings at the Mercury Theatre under the imperious direction of Welles, whose substantial personal flaws — arrogance, self-absorption, predatory womanizing — are countered by his artistic brilliance. And he’d be the first to tell you so.

The film meshes a moderately interesting coming-of-age parable with that wonderful Wellesian performance. McKay, who played Welles in a one-man show called Rosebud, bears a decent physical resemblance to the famous man, including the blocky jawline that morphed into doughiness in later years. But it’s in the voice where McKay really captures his subject, delivering his lines in the same recognizable timber that gave enduring screen life to Charles Foster Kane and sold Paul Masson wine, though not before its time. McKay modulates The Voice as needed, employing it as a bludgeon to shock the audience all the way to the Mercury’s back row, or as a purring come-on to his newest romantic conquest.

Me and Orson Welles is directed by Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunset) as a love letter to Welles and the scene in which he thrived. This is fun stuff, as you find yourself checking off the list of notables who enter young Richard’s orbit: There’s the suave Joseph Cotton (James Tupper), the put-upon John Houseman (Eddie Marsan), and girl-hungry Norman Lloyd (Leo Bill), many decades before he would become familiar to a national audience as the chief medical officer on TV’s St. Elsewhere.

Ephron does a fine job pulling away from his High School Musical roots, and Claire Danes is affecting as the Mercury’s secretary and the object of Richard’s schoolboy crush.

But Christian McKay looms over them all, just as Orson Welles did in his time. It’s tough to outperform a force of nature.

Me and Orson Welles will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, and at 1 and 3:10 p.m. Sunday in the Jefferson Academic Center at Clark University as part of the Cinema 320 film series. cinema320.com

They’re playing Karim’s song

SongOfSparrows_KeyArt_MECHBy Jim Keogh

Les Miserables asked whether it is a crime for a good man to steal a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. You can be sympathetic to his hardscrabble life and the extenuating circumstances of the theft and give him a pass, or you can be an obsessed police officer and hunt him for the next twenty years.

In The Song of Sparrows we watch the character of Karim wrestle with similar questions of morality and relativism. A worker at an ostrich farm in the Iranian countryside, Karim is fired after one of the birds escapes. During a trip to Tehran where he hopes to have his daughter’s hearing aid repaired, Karim stumbles into a lucrative new profession as a taxi driver/deliveryman, depositing fares and packages throughout the city on the back of his motorcycle.

He’s a good man, a doting husband and father, but the city offers him frequent opportunities for personal compromise under the excuse of tending to his wife and children. Karim is a country boy — he works in the city, but he is not of it. As he learns to cope among the crowded streets, he’s faced with prospective choices that threaten to chip away at his integrity, for instance whether to pawn a refrigerator he’s supposed to deliver, or give money to a girl begging in the street (a girl who clearly reminds him of his younger daughter).

The film supplies no thunderous epiphanies or dramatic twists of narrative. Rather it is a collection of small moments, enchanting and thoughtful, that brings to sweet life the tale of Karim (played by Mohammed Amir Naji, alternating between gentle wit and over-the-top loopiness) as he weighs the temptations of materialism against the simple satisfaction of his country existence. A scene involving goldfish flopping about on dry pavement is about as obvious, and apt, a metaphor as you’ll need. Karim is a fish out of water, sucking for breath in an unnatural environment that will either bring him down, or provide him his greatest moment.

The Song of Sparrows will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, and 1 and 2:50 p.m. Sunday in the Jefferson Academic Center at Clark University as part of the Cinema 320 film series.

Cinema 320: Tokyo Sonata

The family guy

By Jim Keogh

protectedimageIn Tokyo Sonata the shame of unemployment for a laid-off Japanese executive is like a demon gnawing away at everything he values: his relationship with his wife and sons, his perception of himself as a man, his very sanity. The humiliation is so intense for Ryuhei Sasaki, that he pretends to head off to work each morning rather than reveal the truth to his family — subjecting himself to demeaning interviews (including one where he’s ordered to sing karaoke) and commiserating with other unemployed men who crowd the park benches wearing suits for show.

But this film is no easy parable about the terrors a weak economy wreaks on the white-collar populace (you need only read a newspaper for that story). Instead, Tokyo Sonata reveals how Ryuhei’s work situation is a symptom of deeper problems in the Sasaki household, where wife Megumi is evolving into a desperate housewife, disaffected by an existence of ceaseless service to her family, and younger son Kenji shows promise as a piano prodigy but can’t rally the support of his father, who regards music as a frivolous pursuit.

Tokyo Sonata asks whether it is possible to retrofit the mind of a man for whom centuries of acculturation have wired him to believe certain things, to act a certain way. We can all empathize with the indignity of Ryuhei having his professional status downgraded, but from this distant shore it’s impossible to fully comprehend the elaborate ruses that Ryuhei would rather implement than tell his family the truth as his vision of a patriarch-dominated homestead crumbles.

Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa takes narrative chances, especially toward the end when Megumi confronts a thief. Their interactions, played with a delicate mix of broad humor and painful self-revelation, could have derailed the film. But Kurosawa stays true to the characters, allowing them enough rope to decide whether they want to pull themselves back into the boat, or stay forever adrift.

Tokyo Sonata will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and at 1 and 3:20 p.m. Sunday in the Jefferson Academic Center at Clark University as part of the Cinema 320 film series.