Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Power Cut in the Hostel.

Some maintenance work was going on in the substation resulting in power outage in the hostel from 10 am- 7 pm. April. Temperature around 40 degrees. Hardly anyone stayed in their rooms. At around 6 pm I reached my room on the second floor, the hottest in the hostel due to its height from the ground and the alignment by which it gets sun throughout the day. I stayed impatiently there as the sun set and the room was drained of the little light it had. Staying with nothing to do makes me go mad. So I shot this. Power came back in some minutes and we all went back to our boring lives with lots of crap to do.

The camera is stolen, Frida is a sort of stolen gift and the wind chime is rommate's. In short, i own nothing. I am however surprised at the amount of sound the camera picks up. I have a very poor opinion about sound in DSLRs, but i noticed in this that it has picked up even the ticking of my watch. Close-up factor did help, but still. Hmm. Sounds good.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Main Theatre

Main Theatre. I get goosebumps when I think of the place. In every campus you have been, there would be a place, a favourite abode, which you think is your private space of peace or something similar. Its a little odd that mine on campus is a movie theatre where everyone is welcome.

I started watching movies with some seriousness a couple of years ago. Yes, I began very late. Used to attend some film festivals etc but never thought I would one day be a student of cinema. The first movie watching experience that changed a lot of things in my take on cinema happened in Kozhikode, Kerala, my hometown. In Nalanda Auditorium. The movie was 'Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.' My mother and I had gone to attend the screening organized by a group called Curtain Media Gathering. The movie had a lot of explicit scenes and we were the only womenfolk in that place. During the screening we heard a bottle break behind a cloth partition behind the seats. Some were drinking during the show. My mother was very uncomfortable watching such content with me and a lot of men around. She was outraged by the irresponsible behaviour by the organizers. During the movie at some point I applauded and I remember her look of anger falling on me from the side. After the show she rebuked me for that. She did have a point like always, malayali men constantly judge you by your view on certain topics. If you smoke, drink, are okay with sex on screen, you are ready to go to bed with them. Well, mostly that's the way the thought process works. Hence the worry for a mother. She also called up one of the organizers and gave a piece of her mind about the drinking that happened there. For all that ruckus I still have fond memories about the movie. I never watched it again only because I didn't want to be corrected about my first opinion about it.
In SRFTI many a turning points happened through movie watching. The first was when I watched The Piano Teacher. Then came Passenger, Elippathaayam... Even when watching it with a lot of people, classmates or otherwise, movie watching is a very personal experience for me. I get irritated with the slightest of disruption from the audience. Consider it a violation upon my private space. Therefore I was very happy to read what Amit Datta, a director whose work I discovered recently and loved said about movie watching. Full story here.

'I am not very keen on this collective viewing experience. You only have that moment, the whole film you are building towards it, and then someone opens the door. It’s gone. It is very annoyingly disturbing. Theatres are not controlled conditions.
Watching a film on a laptop, on the other hand, is as controlled as you can make it. I’m getting very interested in that kind of viewing. This very intense, one-on-one viewing—that is my ideal viewer. It’s as personal as reading a book. You pick up a book and read and don’t attend a collective reading session.
I get very disturbed by the impatience of an audience.'

Main Theatre is what gave me those special moments which I will cherish for long. Main Theatre sometimes makes me think of my mother who pushed me into film festivals and movie screenings, who stood outside my classroom theatre and heard the track of some movie that was being shown to us and wept out of joy and pride, who got very, very angry with my applauding for a movie with nudity, who is perhaps the reason I even started thinking of film as a medium of expression. She is exuberant if I like a screening and discuss the movie with her. When the curtain is drawn and the lights go off a silence of anticipation sets in from within. In my usual seat I cry, laugh, live. I am alone. I am.

Here is my main theatre, everyone's. Screening of some projects of earlier batches.

Chronicling the Mise-en-scene exercise

Mise-en-scene is the first exercise in which we have to work with a crew. After a lot of running around I managed to form one with D.Jeet as the cameraperson, NN as the sound designer and Aalayam as the editor. Didn't get a producer, but it's okay. Hmm.
In the exercise we are expected to take a shot, a long take. No cuts are allowed, that is. It should be less than two minutes in length. Going to be shot on 35mm film. I hadn't attended the workshop before the exercise so had no clue how to go about it. This is an attempt to chronicle the making of an exercise project.
I got a vague idea, a germ from the walk I took around Shalimar railway station on my way to Hyderabad. The idea can be put in a picture. This picture continues to be our inspiration throughout the production process. 

Photo: kunjila mascillamani henry
I mailed the picture to D.Jeet and NN and asked them for images and sounds which came to their mind when they looked at it. An interesting lot came as reply. From these we filtered the ones we thought we will use.
D.Jeet supplied me with some images which gave rise to certain others. 

Photo: Debojeet Ray

Photo: Debojeet Ray
From these we further decided on the flow of action. Incorporated a taxi driver resting in his car, some children playing, some passers by, a tea shop owner sleeping and a woman who throws water to cool the ground. More sound elements were decided upon. Like the song the taxi driver is listening to etc.

On social networking sites I asked people for their thoughts on seeing the original image. It was interesting that one person came up with the exact shot order and angles we had decided. Its then that I decided to incorporate a child trying to steal some money out of the tea shop owner's lungi fold. I thought if one person came up with exactly so much, everyone would eventually do just that. Which meant I needed a separate element which is my own, in the narrative.

Wonder how it all turn out to look, eventually. Will soon get to see. Tense and restless as usual. 

Update: The exercise