Only thing blogworthy I seem to be doing is watching good movies. Need to write on them lest I forget.
Most movies have a pattern. In few minutes, you know who the director is going to kill for the tears and who is going to live so that the audience goes home content. In so far I have seen, the movies that work, usually thrill, amuse or relate at a level. Its a director's skill to be able to mix ‘em just right, and yet, surprise.
As Vincent Canby says, "Through the magic of motion pictures, someone who's never left Peoria knows the softness of a Paris spring, the colour of a Nile sunset, the sorts of vegetation one will find along the upper Amazon and that Big Ben has not yet gone digital."
Munich. It’s Spielberg after all. What can I say? The right thrills (The killing of the athletes in flashback interspersed through the movie), the right actors (Eric Bana, the yummy Daniel Craig), the right emotions (Is all the killing worth it?). A long movie, yet I sat through its length and did not reach for the remote. Though the end disappointed a bit.
Cinema Paradiso. An old man and a little boy. And lo! A movie is made. Just put it now some tragedy (The death of the boy’s father, the fire at the Cinema), some love and loss (The parting of young lovers, the bringing down of Cinema Paradiso), the hero’s redemption(his success as the producer De vita) and love found again(short reunion with his ladylove). Against a backdrop of rustic Italy – and you have a masterpiece.
This story I have to mention from the movie –
Alfredo: Once upon a time, a king gave a feast. And there came the most beautiful princesses of the realm. Now, a soldier, who was standing guard, saw the king's daughter go by. She was the most beautiful one, and he immediately fell in love with her. But what could a poor soldier do when it came to the daughter of the king? Well, finally, one day, he managed to meet her, and he told her that he could no longer live without her. The princess was so impressed by his strong feelings that she said to the soldier: "If you can wait 100 days and 100 nights under my balcony, then at the end of it, I shall be yours." Damn! The soldier immediately went there and waited one day. And two days. And ten. And then twenty. And every evening, the princess looked out of her window, but he never moved. During rain, during wind, during snow, he was always there. The bird shat on his head, and the bees stung him, but he didn't budge. After ninety nights, he had become all dried up, all white, and the tears streamed from his eyes. He couldn't hold them back. He no longer had the strength to sleep. All that time, the princess watched him. And on the 99th night, the soldier stood up, took his chair, and went away.
Salvatore: [later in the film, Toto gives Alfredo his interpretation] In one more night, the princess would have been his. But she also could not possibly have kept her promise. And it would have been terrible. He would have died. This way, however, at least she would remember him forever.
The ending, where Salvatore discovers the reels and reels of edited ‘kissing' sequences Alfredo left him, was absolutely priceless. Such a small detail and so deftly woven into the movie. Fine.
Born into Brothels. Life imitates cinema or cinema imitates life? This movie picks up the naturally dramatic life events of children born into families of sex workers. It is naturally endearing, as accounts of and by children often are. Somewhat like a documentary – but with all the right elements there – joy (clicking photographs, getting recognized), sadness (well, what do you expect in Sonagachi), redemption (Tapan’s journey to Amsterdam), few laughs (when the kids tease each other, when Tapan, with his new found fame and attention, walks as if he owns the place in Amsterdam)
Gie. Indonesian. It is a story of any one of us – young, full of ideals, a burning desire to make a difference. Before age escapes to cynicism for comfort. You notice the starkness, the dedication of students who worry beyond their grades, taking to the streets to make a difference. How it gets possible for just one man to get to power and change a country’s future – for better or worse. Sukarno, Suharto (And what a surprise!). Hitler. Musharraf. The list hasn’t ended. Will never end.
'Happy are the people with no history'. Now you decide, what you want.
Ballygunge Court. You wouldn’t have heard of this one. But if you watch it, you can make out how good filmmaking differs from bad. It is not enough to put in a stalwart cast (Soumitro, Sabyasachi, Mamata Shankar) and a tearjerker theme (Age and negligence) to deliver good cinema. So, what are you trying to say? Old people are helpless people. That without their children, there is only sadness in their lives. The idea should be to empower. The movie is sad, sad, sad and only that. As a result, quite bad too.
There is a perceptible line between fine and not so fine film making. Fortunately, we have many who manage to breach it.
Long live good cinema.
I love doing this. So dear Backpakker (and u too!), this is my list of people who make my day, everyday - Anyesha, Archana, Dharma, James, Mridula, Shantanu, Solitaire, Vineeta . I'm passing the "You make my day" now to them. Shall keep adding to the list - there are so many!