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Megane (Glasses)

Megane (Glasses)

Wearing man-tailored shirts and designer glasses, Taeko (Satomi Kobayashi) drags an armored suitcase down the beach, toward an inn that might be called the Hotel Indifference: Run by Yuji (Ken Mitsuishi), frequented by Haruna (Mikako Ichikawa) and spiritually inspired by the cryptic Sakura (Masako Motai), the place operates like a family home, where Taeko can either enlist or resist.

Awakening to Sakura's smiling face at her bedside each morning, Taeko grows bemused and vaguely irritated by Yuji's unorthodox approach to guest relations. But when she leaves for another hotel -- where the patrons are expected to hoe the vegetable gardens in the morning, and take classes in the evening -- she realizes a kind of homesickness: There's something weird but embracing about a place with nothing to see, and where "twilighting" (evening rumination) is the most exciting entry on the activities menu.

"Glasses" possesses the same clean visuals of Takeshi Kitano ("Hana-Bi"), and the buoyant melancholia of Hirokazu Kore-eda ("After-Life"). It also has the unhurried-bordering-on-static rhythms of Taiwan's Tsai Ming-liang -- which may drive certain caffeine-inspired audiences to rebel. But the point of "Glasses," as embodied by Taeko and the hotel's lack of cell-phone reception, is that slower may be better, and Ogigami infuses her film with so much droll humor and precise observations that the film attains its own particular form of propulsion.

Ogigami, a real find for American auds not familiar with her work, knows that people don't usually change in dramatic, explosive, cinematic ways but in subtle gradations. Via her direction and Kobayashi's finely calibrated performance, there's an intimacy achieved with Taeko's metamorphosis that is rare and exhilarating. Sakura-san, the older lady whose arrival at the inn is anticipated each year like spring -- and whose elaborate shaved-ice creations are a kind of divine nectar -- is a great character, mysterious, benevolent and wise. Her serenity infects those around her, and as she mellows, she actually grows more self-possessed.

While the open beaches of "Glasses," its wild fields of green and uncluttered sky, offer a tangible sense of peace and wry reflection, the acting and extraordinarily confident direction give the film tremendous soul.

— J. Anderson, Variety

Megane (Glasses)

Free show!

Sponsored by The Japan Foundation and The Consulate-General of Japan at Denver

Tue September 25, 2012, 7:00 only, Muenzinger Auditorium

Japan, 2007, in Japanese • official site

recommend

Tickets

10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.

Parking

Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.

RTD Bus

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Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

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Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

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First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

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Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

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