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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 591 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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Title: University of Laughs (2004)

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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

 
highly political film cleverly disguised in comedy
3 August 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

It is amazing and rare when a film manages to reach us and surprise us by succeeding our expectations. In my personal experience, THE UNIVERSITY OF LAUGHS is one of such films. What I loved the most about this particular film is how complex issues which throughout history have affected cultural expression can be represented and illustrated in such a fine and simple fashion.

Sakisaka, a government official entrusted with creating favorable conditions for the maximum expansion of the ruling ideology, through the censorship and manipulation of messages in popular culture meets his counterpart in a humble theater script writer seeking approval for his latest project. The movie evolves and progresses as both, censor and writer work together, with and against each other to achieve their individual interests.

My favorite moment is that in which Hajime Tsubaki becomes aware that his interest and passion for comedy writing, transcends the personal and collective interests of his boss, his colleagues and even his nation. He can live with the criticism and punishment offered to him by friends, peers and society at large but he cannot live without being true to himself, therefore, he is left with no option but to follow his comic nature through his gift of writing. This is the most purely political phase in the film, and it marks the decisive passage of struggle from the individual structure, to the sphere of the complex superstructures.

In all, this is a beautiful and clever display of Japanese culture and worldwide struggle for freedom of speech, and a subtle reminder of how far we have come to reach the stage of cultural freedom that many of us enjoy today.


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