By Prof. Ryan Izay
For the last three years, the Department of Cinematic Arts and the Azusa Film Society have held a biannual 'Century of Cinema' film festival. In watching ten films, each from a different decade, we have been able to see the progression of film, and how the times in which they were made affects their style and content. Veering away from our usual theme, this semester we are trying something new. With ten films from ten different countries over the course of one day, we will have a ‘World Tour of Cinema.’ Each of the films will belong to the action genre, so that we have direct comparison of cultural similarities and differences within an internationally popular medium. From Japanese samurai films to French parkour to Chinese kung fu, each film will take the audiences to a different part of the globe. This spring's World Tour of Cinema: Action Edition will take place on Saturday, February 22, beginning at 9:00 a.m. RSVP to the event here!
Sanjuro (1962) 9:00 a.m.
From master Akira Kurosawa, this slyly comedic Japanese film stars Toshirô Mifune, and is notable for being the first samurai film to feature a ‘fountain of blood.’
Enter the Dragon (1973) 10:35 a.m.
Despite his impressive martial arts abilities, Bruce Lee was unable to break into Hollywood, even after a successful role as superhero sidekick Kato on The Green Lantern TV show. The show was known as “The Kato Show” in Hong Kong, and that is where Bruce was able to build a film career. Hollywood finally took notice and co-financed the Hong Kong kung fu film, Enter the Dragon, which would be his last finished film before his tragic death at the young age of 32.
El Mariachi (1992) 12:25 p.m.
Director Robert Rodriguez made his debut film in Mexico for a mere $7,000, nearly half of which he made volunteering for pharmaceutical drug testing. In order to save on cost, Rodriguez also served as producer, writer, camera operator and special effects artist.
Run Lola Run (1998) 1:45 p.m.
Taking place over 20-minutes, this time-bending German thriller contains a remarkable 1,581 transitions, making the average shot length less than 3 seconds.
A Fistful of Dollars (1964) 3:05 p.m.
Sergio Leone’s Italian western is actually based on Yojimbo, the film Kurosawa made right before Sanjuro. It is also the film that made Clint Eastwood a movie star, and his decision to go to Italy to make movies was part of the inspiration for Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood.
Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003) 4:50 p.m.
Tony Jaa burst into the international scene with this Muay Thai martial arts film, utilizing absolutely no wires, stuntmen, or CGI. Thailand’s film industry exploded with the success of this film.
The Road Warrior (1981) 6:45 p.m.
The first sequel in the Mad Max original trilogy, this Australian apocalyptic action film by George Miller has plenty of car chase carnage. This is also the role that made Mel Gibson a star.
District B13 (2004) 8:20 p.m.
Set in the near future, this vision of a post-apocalyptic Paris features impressive Parkour skills, and stars David Belle, the man credited with inventing this activity.
Free Fire (2016) 9:45 p.m.
This British crime/comedy is set in 1978 with an international cast of talented stars, including Brie Larson, fresh from her Best Actress Oscar win.
The Raid 2 (2014) 11:20 p.m.
Easily the most impressive martial arts film since Ong-Bak, and one of the most influential action franchises of the last two decades. 18 months were spent choreographing the action scenes alone, and the final fight took six weeks of planning and eight days to shoot. Real punches and kicks to the body were used for realism, and the cast spent six months training together in order to gain trust and control with each other. The first film in The Raid series is currently being remade by Joe Carnahan, and will be the first Indonesian film to be adapted by Hollywood.