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Film Forum rewinds the camera

January 26, 2010

The ASU Herberger Institute School of Theatre and Film


The Film Forum series rewinds high-profile Hollywood remakes this spring, looking at the less popular films that inspired them. Sponsored by the ASU Herberger Institute School of Theatre and Film, the Film Forum highlights independent cinema, and offers a free alternative to big-budget movie palace fare. Titled Lost in Translation, the spring 2010 series explores earlier versions of four films that probably are known more in the U.S. for their Hollywood remakes.

“These original versions will likely please fans of the remakes while also revealing nuances and surprises that provide for interesting points of comparison,” says Jason Davids Scott, School of Theatre and Film lecturer and curator of the Film Forum. “The School of Theatre and Film is home to more than 400 film and media production and filmmaking practices majors; the Film Forum serves them as well as members of the greater public.”

Screenings are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month at Neeb Hall room 105, 920 S. Forest Mall, on the ASU Tempe campus. For additional venue information, visit:

Spring 2010 Film Forum screenings

Descriptions and commentary are provided by Jason Davids Scott:

Feb. 3
Ringu (Japan, 1998)
Ringu is a nightmarishly modern and stylish Japanese horror film that was remade in the U.S. as the box-office hit, The Ring. Based on an old Japanese folk tale and a popular series of novels by Koji Suzuki, the 1998 version is still Japan’s highest-grossing horror film ever, and spawned a series of sequels. The American version released in 2002 also was a hit, but the Japanese version, 20 minutes shorter and with less of an emphasis on visual wizardry, perhaps is even more disturbing and powerful. The film focuses on a bizarre videotape that kills viewers within a week after watching it. (Editor’s note: This film was released without a rating in the U.S., and contains adult content.)

March 3
Infernal Affairs (Hong Kong, 2002) 
Many American moviegoers might not realize that Martin Scorsese’s Oscar®-winning film The Departed actually was based on a 2002 Hong Kong production called Mou gaan dou – translated as “Infernal Affairs.” Starring some of the biggest names in Cantonese-language cinema, including Tony Leung (a six-time winner at the Hong Kong Film Awards) and former pop star turned movie star Andy Lau, this film about police corruption and urban gangsters captured dozens of accolades from around the world. It was released in the U.S. by Miramax, where its success in limited release in 2004 prompted the all-star Scorsese production, which in many ways proves slavishly devoted to the style and suspense generated in the original.

April 7
La Cage aux Folles (France, 1978)
Circling the globe and going in for lighter fare, the third film in the series is La Cage aux Folles, the 1978 French film that became an international sensation and was nominated for three Academy Awards®. Better known to American audiences as the basis for the Mike Nichols’ film The BirdcageLa Cage aux Folles also spawned two sequels in French, and was the basis for a Broadway musical. Even though it was made over 30 years ago, this farcical tale of acceptance and understanding still resonates today.

May 5
Hairspray (USA 1988)
The final film in the series was made in America – but John Waters’ America is bound to be a little bit skewed. Hairspray (1988) was a low-budget cult hit when it first was released, launching the career of Ricki Lake and featuring the last (and perhaps greatest) performance by Waters’ longtime star Divine, who died shortly after completing this film. A surprisingly clean-cut and good-natured tale of teenage angst and racial strife in 1960s Baltimore, Hairspray became a Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical before being remade (again) as a full-blown musical film two years ago. The original, though lacking the musical flair of the remake, is just as enjoyable, with numerous songs from the era (as well as a few originals) dotting the lively soundtrack and providing danceable beats for Tracy Turnblad and her friends on the Corny Collins show.

NEEB Hall room 105, 920 S. Forest Mall on the ASU Tempe campus

7:30 p.m., the first Wednesday of every month: Feb. 3, March 3, April 7, and May 5

The Film Forum is free and open to the public.

Public Contact
The School of Theatre and Film, 480.965.5337

The School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University provides a comprehensive range of courses in performance and directing; design and production; new work development; theatre and performance studies; film; and theatre for youth. Its Theatre for Youth program is nationally ranked in the top three and the dramatic writing/playwriting program is ranked 15th among public institutions by U.S.News & World Report. To learn more about the School of Theatre and Film, visit

Media Contact:
Laurie A. Trotta 
ASU Herberger Institute 
School of Theatre and Film