|For half a century the Missouri Southern Film Society at Missouri Southern State University has programmed significant classic and world cinema. The Society’s first program, the British comedy The Belles of St. Trinian’s, was shown Oct. 15, 1962. Today, the Society continues to explore creative traditional and new wave movements. The free events take place beginning at 7 p.m. in Cornell Auditorium of Plaster Hall on campus in Joplin.
For the last nine years, films representing a specific country have been shown each fall as an activity of MSSU’s themed-semesters. This season the MSSU Institute of International Studies will present films of the Thai Film Festival during the fall 2012 semester. The Society’s continuing offerings of films from other countries, recently restored and transferred to DVD format, will be shown in the spring of 2013.
The schedule for the 2012 Thai Film Festival includes:
- Sept. 4: Iron Ladies (2000; 104 min.) An underdog Thai male volleyball team, made up mostly of gays, transvestites and transsexuals, overcomes all odds as they compete in the 1996 national championships. Based on a true story, this provocative and inspiring film was a mainstream hit in Thailand. The film contains pervasive themes of sexuality and strong sexual language but no sexual scenes.
- Sept. 18: The Overture (2004; 104 min.) Subtly, sensuously presented from its opening shot on, this film imaginatively recreates the life of one of Thailand’s greatest traditional musicians, a master of the ranad-ek, a type of wooden xylophone. Scenes from the musician’s maturity alternate with episodes from his struggle as a young man to learn his art, in an captivating story that probes music’s deep meanings for human life and culture. Directed by Itthisoontorn Vichailak. The film contains occasional strong language.
- Oct. 2: Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2007; 105 min.) Sensational Thai martial arts superstar, Tony Jaa, portrays Ting, a religious young warrior who has taken a vow of peace but is forced to use his powers to recover the priceless head of a sacred statue when it is stolen by a ruthless crime lord. In this relentlessly action-packed film Jaa performs truly incredible feats without stunt doubles or special effects. Rated R, for strong martial arts violence, strong language, some drug use and sexuality.
- Oct. 18: Wonderful Town (2008; 92 min.) A young architect from Bangkok, Ton, arrives in a seaside Thai resort to supervise the construction of a hotel, in the wake of the 2004 tsunami. He falls in love with a shy inn-keeper, Na, but their secret relationship is threatened by Na’s gangster brother and haunted by the disaster that swept away 8,000 people in one day. The film is subdued and introspective, with echoes of Kafka’s The Castle. The film contains brief nudity and one mild sex scene.
- Oct. 30: Nang Nak (1999; 100 min.) In this beautifully filmed and intensely performed version of a classic Thai ghost story, a soldier, Mak, returns home from war to resume life with his wife, Nak, and child, discovering only gradually that they died long ago. Directed by Nonzee Nimibutr and winner of four awards at the Pan Asia Film Festival. The film contains images of lifeless bodies.
- Nov.13: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010; 113 min.) A dying man, Boonmee, chooses to spend his last days on his country farm, surrounded by his family. His mystical journey to the next life blends reality with dreams, visions and visits from his deceased wife and son. This film, directed by the acclaimed Apichatpong Weerasethakul, won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival and has been called “mysterious and lovely” (New York Times) and “haunting and hypnotic” (Rolling Stone). The film contains a segment of implied mythic sex.
The schedule for the 2012 continuing International Film Festival includes:
- Feb. 26: Lemonade Joe (Limonadovy Joe) (Czechoslovakia, 1964). The director and comedy specialist Oldrich Lipsky, from Prague’s Satirical Theater, achieved great success with this very funny musical parody of early Hollywood westerns. Hard-drinking varmints hanging out at the Trigger Whisky Saloon threaten the town’s beautiful temperance crusader. Riding to her rescue is Lemonade Joe who drinks Kolaloca lemonade instead of “fire water.” As a hero, he believes that “Evil cannot stand against a clean-living man.” Labeled “…the most offbeat western since Terror of Tiny Town.” ( Los Angeles Times).
- March 12: Three Brothers (Tre Fratelli) (Italy, 1981) Francesco Rosi directed this moving portrait of three very different brothers who have been separated for years by work and life. When they return to the village of their youth following the death of their mother they share memories and must finally reconcile their conflicts. Labeled “ Full of startling clarity and beauty, of extraordinary sweetness, of the discovery of unexpected reserves of emotion.” ( New York Times). “ A film of quiet reflections and strengthening resolve… Rosi’s deep-focus camera work spins a vivid, lyrical drama of regret and rebirth, abstract ethics and pinpoint sensuality.” (Dave Kehr, "Chicago Reader"). Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.
- March 26: The Youth of Chopin (Mlodosc Chopina) (Poland, 1952) Aleksander Ford, master poet of the screen, directed this biographical film of Frederic Chopin which chronicles the great composer’s early study of music in 1825 through his first major accomplishments in 1831. At a time of social unrest throughout Europe, Ford depicts Chopin as not only an outstanding talent in music but also a young man inflamed with the revolutionary spirit of his native Poland. While on tour in Vienna, he gets word of the November Uprising in Warsaw and tries to return home only to fall ill. Chopin’s music is played by leading Polish pianists Halina Stefanska and Wladyslaw Kedra. Nominated for the Golden Lion at Venice.
- April 9: Yesterday Girl (Abschied von gestern) (Germany, 1966) Alexander Kluge, one of the founders of the “Young German Cinema” movement, wrote and directed this film about an unruly heroine who gets into conflict with West German society after her escape from East Germany. Trying to break away from the hostility and misunderstanding of her parent’s generation, she discovers that conservatism and scarred memories thrive on both sides of the wall. “…Yesterday Girl summed up the aspirations of a generation….” (Olaf Moller, "Sight and Sound"). A nominee for the Golden Lion and winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 1966 Venice Festival.
All films are presented on Tuesday evenings.