Monday, 21 December 2015

Films, Winter 2015, Kolkata

La Strada [The Road] : Federico Fellini

If you want to use music the easiest thing you can do is to give one tune to a character. Even if the character dies you can use it.
What acting. Felt the girl was like me.
The last shot moving away from the character when they are in pain.

This is an interesting read on how the process of making a film is for directors. It sounds very honest and exciting to me. Note: Book to read: Federico Fellini: Interviews (Conversations With Filmmakers Series) Edited by Bert Cardullo

Fellini's creative process for La Strada started with vague feelings, "a kind of tone", he said, "that lurked, which made me melancholy and gave me a diffused sense of guilt, like a shadow hanging over me. This feeling suggested two people who stay together, although it will be fatal, and they don't know why". These feelings evolved into certain images: snow silently falling on the ocean, various compositions of clouds, and a singing nightingale. At that point, Fellini started to draw and sketch these images, a habitual tendency that he claimed he had learned early in his career when he had worked in various provincial music halls and had to sketch out the various characters and sets. Finally, he reported that the idea first "became real" to him when he drew a circle on a piece of paper to depict Gelsomina's head, and he decided to base the character on the actual character of Giulietta Masina, his wife of five years at the time: "I utilized the real Giulietta, but as I saw her. I was influenced by her childhood photographs, so elements of Gelsomina reflect a ten-year-old Giulietta."

Blissfully Yours: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Fraudulent women (2) and a man. Begins with them at a doctor trying to say that he has rashes etc and get an okay for job certificate. All of them go to some jungle and have sex. The POV of the moving car from the rear window.
The elder woman crying in the end
The motorbike chasing the car to give vegetables.
Didn't like the content at all. Looked all sex tome. It's as if i have to watch all that sex if i have to experience this form. But till the blow job it was really good. I don't know why i am made to see the penis. I don't like seeing anyone's penis and erection. Erection actually. The major difference between sex in art and porn is that in the former as a rule or something erect penis is avoided. I don't know if that was what the director was trying to break, but why? I don't want to see any actor's erection. Why would anyone want to!

Computer Chess: Andrew Bujalski (2013)

Funny film.
Man Vs. Machine idea.
The prostitute in the end opens her head and it's a machine sort of a thing.
Cats everywhere
The man who gets thrown out of the hotel. His mother.
Looking for money
Cinematography and cuts
Really go with the film. (Shot in black and white)
Casting too. The woman
But it is racist and sexist.

composition reference from the film

Pyaasa (1957): Guru Dutt

Dramatic: About poet whose work is not acknowledged till he is found dead [It was a beggar wearing his coat]. He is sent to mental hospital. Friends etc refuse to identify him. Ex love married rich man publisher. Now love a prostitute [Waheeda Rehman]. Divine love of sorts. The conversation you had with D Jeet after that. Characters leaving light completely in between. It's again becoming interesting in our generation because it's new to us.
The image in which the poet appears as silhouette in a cinema hall of sorts. Paper flying everywhere and all that. [A bit repetetive and overdone] but very powerful and emphatic image.
Women more beautiful in black and white and old sort of lighting.

The stage image reference for self

Bandini(1963): Bimal Roy

What a beauty that actress was. Nutan.
Liked the director's style. Stingy in using shots. Tries to tell as much as possible in one shot. The treatment. The woman is always behind bars and such. The title card image of her sitting alone in a bed in the jail dormitory is repeated later also. It works. Got butterflies seeing Dharmendra Nutan relationship (I am what is called painkili/cheesy). The whole film has been shot keeping the fact that it's name is bandini in mind. Such is the concentration and planning in shot taking. Kind of early feminism i think. In the end also she remains bandini is implied. Revolutionary is no choice of freedom. She is a captive there too.

Note; Watch 'Do Bigha Zameen' and 'Devdas'

Bhuvan Shome(1969): Mrinal Sen

Gret film. Use of animation.
Path breaking. But i feel in the end Bhuvan Shome shouldn't have changed at all. All right the girl moved him and all that. But i feel after coming back he shouldn't have torn up the report of the junior officor.
What a beautiful girl she was! What casting.
The bhoot bangalow she takes him to saying what rajas and ranis used to do there. The frame of the girl against the window frame looking like a queen.
Buvan Shome sad after knowing that the bird which fell was scared and not hit by him while shooting. In the end he says you keep thebird. Everyone and everything gets scared of me anyway. Good.
Indian railways. Rails rails rails. With music music music. Amitabh Bachchan's voice debuted in this film. Mrinal Sen said in that documentary called 'A Documentary Proposal' by Ramani. Must be there in the book he was reading from as well.

Ankur(1974): (Debut of) Shyam Benegal

Cinematography. Colours
Land. Land becoming a character.
Shabana Azmi is so damn beeautiful. The colours of her saree itself is adding something to the film. The well place is great location. Caste system. Vai Vow was talking of the Ankur se Fandry tak discourse (From Ankur to Fandry). In my opinion Ankur is much more safe than Fandry. May be not during its time. Don't know. The similarity of the last shot. But Fandry is towards the audience. Which is exactly the change which has happened. Even now when caste continues to be a reality the stone should be thrown to the audience because all of us are guilty.

Swayamvaram(1972): (Debut of) Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Crap film by Adoor. His craft is intact everything is intact. But what the hell does he mean by that story! Love marriage- disaster. Used to think that Elippathaayam was Adoor's debut. Glad that it was Swayamvaram. It was a sad knowledge to me that that director's films started getting worse and worse after his masterpiece debut. So now i know that he made a horrible debut and then moved on to make his masterpiece. Relief!

Tropical Malady (2004): Apichatpong Weerasethakul

I am of the opinion that the film is a masterpiece. The way pictures from old storybooks is incorporated into it. The gay love story transforming into that. The topography. Intertextuality. Uncle Boonmee who can remember his past lives. The firefly tree. What you and D Jeet had seen and had thought of for playback project. The shot in which tiger and man are shown together first. First it is a silhouette and then he shines torch on the tiger. That image is later tracked in picture form also. YOU CAN DO THAT WITH STRONG IMAGES. REPEAT IT. (But would you prefer? Don't know.) Great film. Gay couple and normal fun together so refreshing and nice to see.

Haal E Kangaal (The Bankrupts) (2015): Ramachandra P.N

 Utter bullshit about some films chool graduates making a film narrating script etc. Cinematography- pathetic. Everything- pathetic.

The Sleuth (1972): Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Twist over twist over twist story. No use watching. The old way of building a great set and using it to the fullest. Don't see the point in all that now. Who's going to work in studios like that anyway. Convoluted plot which confused my mind which didn't want to invest much in all that. Can just take some methods of camera movement and lighting perhaps from all that. Nothing more. That familiar Prestige actor (Michael Caine).
Note: Check his filmography
[Jyuth, batchmate told me that it was later remade into Hindi under the name Race. While in English they had kept to just describing the two women and making it clear that they were sexy, why, they even described how they are in bed, so instead of that, as usual, in bollywood they had shown the two sexy women.

Syndromes and a Century (2006): Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Not a masterpiece. Diseases repeating or something in a century. Not very effective this time though. Relevant in censorship context. Refused to screen etc. This time he repeats the story etc in the second half. [Forgot the film in two days. Not a good one, i guess]

Uncle Boonmee Who Can recall His Past Lives (2010): Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Cool, i guess. Again can't make head or tail of his multiple narratives. The forest monkey who later turns out to be Boonmee's son. The joke. Why have you grown your hair so long? (I found that line very funny). Later that boy says when Boonmee introduces him as his son 'But he is a monkey' found that funny too. Hi swife ghost appearing at the table. Beautifully done. The monkey son's tale of how he saw a female monkey like that on the trees while trying to photograph. They mate and he turns into that. Your uncle Boonmee has gone mad. That ghost with him is also mad. Vai Vow found that funny.

Monk coming to the hotel room in the end. Taking bath etc and the aunt and him leaving while they themselves sit and watch tv in the same scene. Intertextuality. Same one leg short woman i remember seeing. The same girl in Blissfully Yours. Urine let to leave the tube in the cave. Cave scene, compare with Ship of Theseus one. Fish in the cave i liked. They were all catfish. Catfish penetrated an ugly princess. Ugly princess scene also i liked. The weight of her ornaments isfelt. [How? Find out]. Was the waterfall made to freeze within the scene/shot? Like snow.
The ghost wife doing dialysis while Boonmee's death is approaching.
Like the director's magical realism on the whole. Like how humans interact with animals and other beings. How they even turn into each other, mate etc. Going back to storytelling and folktales and myths. Local myths. USE LOCAL MYTHS. Possible in diploma?

Thelma and Louise (1991): Ridley Scott

FINALLY watched it. Good in content and abrupt and quick storytelling. Issues valid. Thelma and Louise is feminist but in the end they are killed just to please public. If they are left free from the hands of law it will be a thing against the law, living, society etc. That way i didn't like it. Brad Pitt remember Kunju Thalona talking about his role in the film when i was a child. She was so in love with him. So am i. But i hate his character in the film. In the end one line that Louise says. Oh Thelma if there is one thing that you should have learnt from all this is that 'It is not your fault'. When she says that she knows it's her fault that all of that happened when the police are just about to catch them. They are at the cliff, Grand Canyon.

Tamaasha (2015): Imtiaz Ali

Crap. Good to look at actors. They look good. The woman looks good. Liked their first kiss. No scene that i liked.

Youth (2015): Paolo Sorrentino

Liked in parts. The part i hated the most was that of all the heroines of the director coming alive in a valley before he commits suicide. The whole good in bed bad in bed discussion was so pathetic. It makes youth look stupid as if sex is the only major concern of their lives. But liked some cuts and some sound work. The abruptness of it adds a certain jerkiness which is good. It's like the humour employed in the film itself.

Cafe Lumiere (2003): Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Made commemorating the 100th birth anniversary of Ysujiro Ozu. Nothing happens in the film and i think that is the beauty of it. Liked the acting. The painting by the bookshop recordist guy too. The matter of fact way in which the girl speaks about her pregnancy is good. There is no solution and life just goes on. Life goes on part is even similar to Ozu. Really loved the part where the research scholar meets the composer's wife played by herself.

Phoenix (2014): Christian Pretzold

What i loved the best was the cuts. Too good. Acting too. Trying to be with the person who never loved her, believing it was love, making herself believe that, all this has been done well. The part where they kiss is what i found really bad. It all came down to a usual hollywood thing in that. Her singing in the end and walking out was good. The serial number from the concentration camp. Her looking at the gun in the bathroom when he asks her to fake the mark of having removed the tattoo gives away that she won't kill him or herself. Felt it was a flaw in the script. It could have been avoided. Liked the way how her friend's suicide was not shown. She just returned to the house to learn that she killed herself two days ago. Good. Music, good.

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