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In This Corner of the World is a Simple, Perfect Exhibit of Life

On my five-hour bus ride home, I watched Sunao Katabuchi’s latest animated film, In This Corner of the World (Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni), which had been recommended by my Japanese language professor. Captivated by the candor of Katabuchi’s resonant storytelling, everything around me melted away, and the world was reduced to my phone’s six-by-three-inch screen. The wistful soundtrack and clean animation throughout instantly swept me away to simpler times. Set during World War II, this award-winning film is an expressive story about Suzu, a woman who leaves her family in Hiroshima to join her husband in Kure, a naval port city. A daydreamer and storyteller, Suzu has a bashful disposition and inclination to capture the changing world through illustration.

Cornell Cinema has in the past year attracted more than 18,000 attendees, 10,000 of whom were undergraduates, at 300 different film screenings and other events and seen an increase in attendance.

Guest Room | Defending Our Cinema

A few semesters ago, when I was a more active staff writer in this section, I reviewed the 1971 film Walkabout before it screened at the Cornell Cinema. When the opportunity arose to review one of the greatest Australian films ever made, I obviously seized it without hesitation, thankful there exists an institution right here at Cornell that is devoted to showcasing profound examples of world cinema, like Ran and Koyaanisqatsi, alongside more contemporary works like Moonlight and Baby Driver. I didn’t expect much to come of that review — after all, who actually reads this section, if not this paper, right? — but at the bottom of the online article, I found a comment by an alumnus named David Moriah ’72, whose response is tangible evidence of the enduring relevance of institutions like the Cornell Cinema. It has been nearly half a century since David graduated, yet he has “returned to [Walkabout] several times over the years and continue[s] to drink in the deep well of its wisdom and beauty.”

Recently, we were all rudely awakened to discover the Cornell Cinema has been threatened by not just a reduction to existing funding, but a complete withdrawal of financial support.

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Citizen Jane: Battle for the City at Cornell Cinema

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City relayed a narrative of civil disobedience, the destructive uprooting and displacement of black communities, and a constant fight to bring the city back to its people. The 2016 documentary, directed by Matt Tyrnauer and featuring Prof. Thomas Campanella, premiered in Ithaca at Willard Straight Theater this past Wednesday. The documentary delves into the life of Jane Jacobs’, recounting her fervent campaign to save New York City from attempts to pave over its existing social fabric. Author of the influential book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, grassroots activist Jacobs advocated for “eyes on the street” as a force for safety, providing for vital and prosperous city streets. In an hour and a half the film provided a critique of urban renewal and the ideals of modernism driving New York City’s planning commissioner Robert Moses to clear out the suffering cities through demolition and the complete remodeling of its infrastructure.

Holly Hunter in Strange Weather (2016).

Strange Weather Characters Shine, but Plot Falters

“There are 50-something women everywhere! Why do we only see them in the world but never on the screen?”

This was the question that prompted Katherine Dieckmann to set out and make Strange Weather. Following the screening on Thursday night at Cornell Cinema, writer-director Dieckmann joined the audience for a conversation about the making of her most recent film. I find her initial question striking because the only reason I wanted to see this film in the first place was Holly Hunter. I’m a fan of hers; I don’t care if she’s pushing sixty or most of her recent roles are mothers or kind-hearted neighbors, because she shines in major and minor parts alike.

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Coming Soon to Cornell Cinema: Bronx Gothic

How does a “little brown girl” feel power in a nation plagued by discrimination, privilege and bias? Bronx Gothic, which plays Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at Cornell Cinema, follows Okwui Okpokwasili as she passionately examines this topic through drama, comedy and dance. Okpokwasili’s one-woman show follows the narrative of two young, black girls growing up in the Bronx, one innocent and the other’s life marked by sexual violence and abuse, who communicate on a deeply personal level through the passing of notes. For the first thirty minutes of the stage version of Bronx Gothic, Okpokwasili simply vibrates in the corner of the stage with the hope that people will be forced to stop asking what is going on and tune in to the frequency that she is emitting. The remainder of her narrative is laid out as a crude series of letters depicting a friendship’s rise and fall, sex, and bias, paired with movements that, at times, bring Okpokwasili to the stage floor.