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University of Laughs (2004)
"Warai no daigaku" (original title)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  30 October 2004 (Japan)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 583 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 6 critic

In pre-war Japan, a government censor tries to make the writer for a theater troupe alter his comedic script. As they work with and against each other, the script ends up developing in unexpected ways.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Mutsuo Sakisaka
Gorô Inagaki ...
Hajime Tsubaki
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tae Kimura
Masao Komatsu ...
Kanta Aozora
Masaya Takahashi ...
Police Officer in the Corridor
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Storyline

In pre-war Japan, a government censor tries to make the writer for a theater troupe alter his comedic script. As they work with and against each other, the script ends up developing in unexpected ways.

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Comedy | Drama

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30 October 2004 (Japan)  »

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University of Laughs  »

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Based on the stage play of the same name by the same writer. See more »

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User Reviews

 
University of waging laughs
16 July 2005 | by (Oriental State of Mind) – See all my reviews

This is one of the few films which prior to its viewing I knew extremely little about, due to the lack of buzz and reviews it had acquired on the net, but knowing Koji Yakusho through various Kiyoshi Kurosawa films and such I gave it a try.

The film is set in 1940, at a time when humor was greatly overshadowed with tragedy all over the world, but still piercing through the hardship and censorship to give people a chance and a reason to laugh. Right from the start we hear grandiosely orchestrated big band music that immediately assists the film in creating an atmosphere of that particular era and even creates a pleasant sound of classic comedy satires that now rarely see the light of day.

Yakusho convincingly plays Sakisaka, a gloomy reviser who has been able to live through life without much comedy and Inagaki plays Hajime Tsubaki, a scrawny writer who's in dire need of getting his script approved by any means possibly, which includes not only in removal of certain context but also daily convincing Sakisaka of its intent, logic and essentially its power of being humorous or not. In the midst of all the quarreling and brainstorming, it gives a new life to the repressionist of joy and pushes another visionary to the limits of perfection.

At one point it did came close to overdoing Sakisaka'a final transformation, but never to the point of frustration or redundancy. I also thought that the comical subplot of the film could have been a little more humorous. Nonetheless it was an interesting little film that for the most part hit the right spots and moved me along the way with its simplistic approaches and solitary scenery that included some touching moments and harmless jests.


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