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Hollywood Film Forum rewinds the camera

February 01, 2010

The Film Forum series rewinds high-profile Hollywood remakes this spring, looking at the less popular films that inspired them. Sponsored by 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 United States 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:

Remaining Film Forum Screenings (Descriptions and commentary provided by Jason Davids Scott:):

March 3:

"Infernal Affairs" (Hong Kong, 2002) - Many may be unaware that Martin Scorcese's award-winning film "The Departed" was actually 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 this country 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 Birdcage, La 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" 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.