Cafe Lumiere

Cafe Lumiere Cafe Lumiere
Homage to Yasujiro Ozu, Hou Hsiao Hsien project

Finally got to see Cafe Lumiere last night thanks to my local library.
Great timing, this film was a perfect antidote to Oscar’s nonsensical and embarrassing selection of “Crash” as the best film of the year 2005. (More on this from filmbrain ,Pigs & Battleship and Joseph.)

Future shock from Spike magazine – Chris Hall finds out why J.G. Ballard thinks Crash is the first film of the 21st century.

Have we forgotten the original ‘Crash” by Cronnenberg which is not about racial tension? Here the automobile serves as the central focus for fetishes and sex and where auto crashes which killed our favorite film icons are reenacted as rituals of worship. Or how about Godard’s “Weekend” where cars are burning everywhere against a wartime background in the peaceful bourgeois French countryside. Andy Warhol had Car crashes too in his silkscreens. Godard may have been inspired by Warhol’s prints.

Instead of a Los Angeles filled with burning cars, phony cliche racial stereotypes and unbelievable dialog, Cafe Lumiere takes us to a Tokyo filled with trains and trams where a girl falls asleep on the train and her close friend (played by Tadanobu Asano) is a train buff collecting recorded subway sounds when he spots her; or a scene where a family sit and eat in silence, the drama of the daughter’s pregnancy played out without a word.

“If Café Lumière celebrates Ozu, it does so in a curious fashion. The film is a reversal, in nearly every way, of the trajectories and sympathies described in Ozu’s masterwork Tokyo Story” (From here Reverseshot)

Cafe Lumiere is showcasing at San Francisco Int’l Asian American Film festival. (March 16 to 26).
See still photos from this film captured by a blogger.

How nice it must be to live with a transit system that works. Many poor folks in this country (disUnited States under W) do not have cars. Imagine trying to commute to work by bus.

Rally for the recall (Rally Meredith Monk airwave) of your automotive lemon or the recall of a bad film honored by the Oscars. There are many worthier films this year. (You can sign the petition here.)