THE GRADUATE Reborn in 4K Format after Half Century, Let’s Embark on Journey of Memory
On December 21, 1967, the film THE GRADUATE directed by American director Mike NICHOLS was released in the United States. As a romantic comedy-drama film, THE GRADUATE has successfully captured the pulse of the 1960s and is acclaimed a legacy in the film history. It is through the film that the Chinese audience remember Dustin HOFFMAN’s name and his handsome face, as well as the popular songs The Sound of Silence and Scarborough Fair.
Fifty years later, the “Hollywood Enlightenment” for Chinese audience will show up in a 4K restored format at the 4K Restoration program of the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF). At that time, the viewers will have the opportunity to enjoy the almost perfect pictures of the film and embark on a journey of memory.
The film is a vivid and sharp analysis on the growth of the post-war baby boomers in the United States in the 1960s.
The protagonist Benjamin has just graduated from college and is trying to evade from thinking about his future. Then he meets Mrs. Robinson, a dissolute woman. After her repeated seduction, Benjamin organizes a tryst with her. While they are dating, Benjamin encounters Robinson’s daughter Elaine and is deeply attracted by her innocence. Benjamin confesses his love and starts a relationship with Elaine, which is strongly opposed by Mrs. Robinson.
The furious Mrs. Robinson repeatedly frustrates their relationship and threatens to expose Benjamin’s misdeeds. Benjamin does not want to hide it from his lover, so he tells Elaine the truth by himself. Elaine is distraught and agrees to marry her another pursuer. Benjamin rushes to the church and stops the ceremony. The pair are finally together.
To the character Benjamin and many of his peers, they have been on the path planned by their parents since birth. They have a worry-free childhood, and then go to college. Before graduation, their parents have prepared everything for their career as well.
In such kind of life, the “Benjamins” are puzzled by how to achieve their own values, and finally, to resist the authority of parents becomes the only way of unleashing their anguish. However, when everything is back to normal, the pair, who escape from the church and flag down a passing bus, become increasingly uncomfortable as they journey towards an uncertain future.
The director, Mike NICHOLS, started his career in stage play and then moved to film direction, having produced a number of successful works such as WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, WORKING GIRL and CLOSER. With talent continually shining from the 1960s to 21st century, he is especially good at adding realistic issues and irony to social phenomena in commercial films.
Similar to Benjamin’s rebelliousness, NICHOLS used a lot of techniques in the movie that were considered deviant at the time: jumping and illogical transitions, dazzling and contrasting tracking shots, and frequent use of shadows and backlighting constitute the pioneer character of THE GRADUATE and is later imitated by the filmmakers coming after as a classic.
Most Chinese movie lovers are quite familiar with the film THE GRADUATE. In the era when Hollywood blockbusters and internet culture have yet to become commonplace, Chinese fans were fascinated by the youth and energetic vibe in the film. The two film songs by Simon & Garfunkel have even surpassed the influence of the film itself and become household classics as well.
Five decades after its birth, Shanghai audience is able to revisit the work that made Dustin HOFFMAN’s name without going afar; that’s undoubtedly a huge benefit brought by SIFF.