Saturday, 30 July 2011

Zindagi na milegi do bara

2011 by Zoya Akhtar

I would not have watched this movie if not for Abhay Deol. He impressed me a lot in Dev D and in a couple of other movies too he proved, he is a different person from the Bollywood family.

Three friends decides to go on a vacation trip to Spain, a kind of bachelors party as one of them is engaged and will get married very soon. The movie goes through their brief 'adventure' in Spain and how this trip changes their attitudes to life. 

Honestly, ZNMDobara is a good entertainer. There are some nice funny moments, some silly moments but all together it is a different kind of entertainment from Bollywood, without the horrible love songs or item numbers or action scenes. If we wont worry about any questions, we can just sit back and enjoy some good fun which pops out occassionally.

But I would say, this is yet another example that Bollywood cannot make Indian movies. ZNMD has a plot which can be pieced together from umpteen number of Hollywood romantic comedies. In fact, it really looks like a Bollywood attempt to make a Hollywood kind of romantic movie.

The characters are all from Elite India, as always, who could easily identify with this way of living which can match Hollywood movies. 99.99% of the movie is in the West, except for a few frames in London, all in Spain, there are only a few indoor shots which are supposed to be in India, so that the settings can be exactly like how it will be in a Hollywood comedy. And what else, even the plot development is exactly like how you would expect from a Hollywood comedy. The difference is just that, we have Indian names on the characters.

Performance wise, I thought it was good from both Farhan Akhtar and Hrithik Roshan. The first time I felt Mr. Roshan can really act and I would give the credit to the director here. My favourite, Abhay Deol, was ok but I thought he was a little bit feminine in many moments. Since the character didn't require it, may be I am wrong, I think that could have been avoided. So here, the director got it wrong.

I am wondering, when will Bollywood realise that they will not get any world wide acclaim, that they crave for, if they try to match western movies. Why cant they think Indian, develop Indian stories which Bollywood have not tried yet, and use their new found production values and technical abilities to make a technically brilliant movie which is genuinely Indian. 

Friday, 29 July 2011

Jisatsu Sakuru - Suicide Circle

2002 by Sion Sono - Japaneese

The synopsis of this movie was quite strange and unique that I didnt had to think twice before my decision to watch it. But there is a kind of scary feeling, an unbelievable shock which cannot be explained, as we watch this movie.

A large group of school girls, jump in front of an approaching train and commit suicide. More suicides occur and the detectives are clueless about what is happening. 

This movie is surealistic, spectacular, chilling but yet can leave us terribly confused. It does create lot of questions about the suicides around, but there are no answers at all. There are more suicides and again there are more, and there are some side stories as well, but at the end we do not have a clue about what and how. At least for me, that is the case. If anybody know otherwise, I would be really grateful to know the truth behind this plot.

Forget about the answers behind the suicides or the motivation behind some killer group and also ignore some really bloody gory scenes, this is still an excellent cinematic experience. There are wonderful moments, both terrifying and touching, in this movie which actually tells a lot about the director. For eg, there is a scene of a group of school students jumping out of their school building killing themselves. Three are left behind and they too follow in spite of requests by teachers and friends from the back. Then there is this scene of a girl friend lying down on the chalk marks (of the dead body of her killed boy friend) which was really touching and beautiful.

But I would still say at the end of the movie I was quite confused and was still trying to find out the truth. In that way it was a bit disappointing. But there is no question about the uniqueness of this movie. Of course, there was Fight Club, which was world famous, but this is quite in a different level than Fight Club. The only reason, why this movie is not famous around could be, that it is from Asia.

Suicidal rate in Japan was quite high actually. So there is definitely some reason behind this plot, though it might look exaggerated or fanatasical for an outsider. I would really like to talk with some Japaneese people about this movie. So I would rather not want to judge this movie as good or bad. There is definitely something cultural in this movie, the knowledge of which would help one understand it better. Let me just leave it as quite an intriguing experience, about which I would really like to know more.

Thursday, 28 July 2011


2009 by Mira Nair - English

A director who gave two brilliant movies, Salaam Bombay and Monsoon Wedding, joining Hilary Swank was enough to convince me for this movie. But, I am afraid, it does not look at all like a Mira Nair movie. It is more an average Hollywood effort on a biopic.

Amelia Earhart, first took to aviation at the age of 23 and then soon became the first woman to do a solo flight across the Atlantic. She then sets forth to fly around the world. 

The plot has everything to make it a really excellent biopic. But there is something seriously wrong with this movie, it ends up more like a pretty average attempt on a great subject. As we watch the movie there are many moments when we wonder if the script and director is serious at all about this project. The only plus could be the performance of Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo and was a major influence in American aviation history, who also inspired the rest of the world. But even with Hilary, there are moments when we wonder if all these people are serious at all. Still, I must say, she has put in a good effort, especially in perfecting the body language of Amelia, who represented a typical girl in the 30's.

I would say Mira Nair got a golden opportunity and she didn't take it seriously enough and just disappointed. We feel nil emotion all throughout the movie, passing through the most important moments of the world's first (brave) women pilot.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


2011 by Anil C Menon - Malayalam

Sometime in 90's, Ranji Panicker with his fire sprouting scripts, set the trend in Malayalam for a kind of political movies in which a police officer or a district collector would play the angry man for the common man. In fact, for about a decade we had so many of these films, all the super stars playing this kind of a cop or bureaucrat in their own and many of these films meant guaranteed success at least in the first half of the decade, as they managed to mix contemporary politics with a dream hero. For the last couple of years, there were only a few of these kind of movies and now there is yet again one of this genre.

A district collector goes out of the way to fight the real estate mafia in Kochi city, who are backed by strong political personalities. 

Somebody who is not from Kochi, if they see 10 contemporary Malayalam movies, might easily consider Kochi as a very dangerous city where every second person might be from some mafia. It is strange how our cinema picked up Kochi for this. True, 4/5 years back there were many incidents with the mafia world in the city, which made life look dangerous. But then there was a period of strong Police petrols and Kochi city looks quite safe for me. There is lot of Police presence even in the middle of night, at least in the heart of city as this is where I am around with my life, and I find it quite allright. Just wish, if Kochi was clean like it used to be in the 80's and beginning of 90's.

So, this movie makes Kochi look like another dreadful mafia city and as a movie it is quite difficult to complete. The acting of most supporting staff, especially the actress who played Revathy, Assistant Commissioner of Police, was horrible that it gave chances for the crowd to laugh out loud at times. And almost all characters are very similar to the ones from the past movies that we know exactly how all of them would be as the movie goes on.

Sure, it does have some messages here and there about protecting the city and its dependants from the land mafia and construction spree and all, but it is a terrible effort as a movie. At many parts it looked like the print was resting in its box, without any silica gel to fight humidity, for long time. I am not really sure if it is a new movie. At the same time it has scenes which tells the viewer that it was shot only in the recent past.

Forgettable in all ways.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Bus 174

2002 by Jose Padilha & Felipe Lacerda - Documentary in Portugeese

There are so many new diplomatic associations between Brazil and India, like BRIC. In fact, these are two countries which have a lot of similarities. And the most sad similarity is the indifference to the poor.

On 12 June, 2000, a young guy armed with a pistol held a bus and its passengers, about a dozen, hostage for about 4 hours in a rich region of Rio de Janeiro. Within few minutes the whole media was around and the whole drama was telecast live in Brazil. It ended up in the death of one girl and the guy. 

Since TV cameras were omni present, there is no dearth of footage here and it is almost like the whole drama is happening right in front of us. But more than that this movie takes us to many other important aspects. Poverty in Brazil, the life of street children, how they become criminals, how the police treat them making them even worse criminals and the utter incompetency of Police themselves.

The young man here, Sandro was witness to his mother being killed and soon ended up in the streets. He was arrested and send to the correction system, but the way the correction worked the poor kids would only turn up as better criminals. Sandro some how wanted to get a job and change his life. Imagine a man taking hostages, asking for just 300 dollars and a grenade. Here is a guy who didnt know what he was doing at all and he proved many times he was unable to kill anybody. He let most passengers walk out and had asked those inside to pretend as if he was really bad and was going to kill them. After many hours, without anything happening this guy walks out with one of the passenger and if not for the stupidity of the police, a girl would not have lost her life, nor will have Sandro's. It is striking that some of the hostages even felt for Sandro and was sure he was never able to kill anybody.

But what makes this documentary extremely brilliant is that, it gives us excellent reasons why there would be more criminals like Sandro in Brazil. It tells us that Sandro was witness to the infamous Candelaria child massacre, when a group of police man just decided to shoot and kill a large group of street children and nothing happened. In fact many rich in Brazil was supporting the act and said that is exactly the way to deal with street children. The documentary talks to many street children, some who are really into criminal activities now, psychologists and social workers and we really understand how an indifferent system can make criminals out of its poor people. Still, the docu never tries to make a saint out of Sandro. His crime is there for us to see. But it just takes us to the root cause of how Sandro's are made in Brazil.

It is difficult to complete this movie, without feeling for the poor and being terrified by the treatment meted out to them by the system. It is unbelievable that we feel for the hostages and the gunman alike and we feel for the  many possible gunmen's of future.

I can only say the situation is exactly similar in India. We do not care for our poor and we do everything for the rich.

We have thousands of innocents in our jails, both sentenced and awaiting trials, but there doesn't seem to be anybody who care for them. I cant recall even reading about such a documentary from India.

A Psychologist says, in the docu, these children, all they want is visibility. Because for the system and for general public, they dont exist and they are not visible. So nothing is done for them. These children goes into violence, hoping to get some attention as media loves violence. 

This is a terrific, sad and heartbreaking movie. Must watch.

Batista Out!!! Hope for Argentina

The words that I was dreaming a lot, since I watched Argentina playing against Bolivia in the inaugural match of Copa America '11 is out.

AFA has decided to not continue with Batista as the Albiceleste coach.

Argentina has been the best under achieving team in world football since 1993. Since 93 they could not win a single major tournament, inspite of playing good. This culminated in 2006 World cup when they were out in the quarters after losing to Germany in penalties and were rated as one of the best teams in the world that did not win a world cup. Argentina was playing mesmerising possession football till then. There after, in 2007 they reached Copa America finals, playing the best football they have played in the last decade, but choked to Brazil in the finals. After that finals, Argentina has never gone back to its best, inspite of having some of the world's best talents.

In 2010 World cup, they took a gamble by giving the coaching job to Deigo Maradona who lacked any coaching experience. With his charm to keep the whole team as a single unit, Deigo managed to make Argentina play the best attacking football till the pre quarters. However, he was a disaster tactically and when faced against an astute tactician like Geochim Leow of Germany Argentina had to pack its bag.

And then came Batista, the defensive mid fielder who held the fort when Deigo was the best attacking midfielder in  '86. Batista announced his desire to play like Barcelona and proved it by keeping Tevez out of the team for long. It was quite clear that Tevez could never play together with players like Messi as he was too individualistic. Well he was forced by public opinion and just before the Copa America, Batista made a topsy turvy and took Tevez in the team. It was quite sure then that Argentina will not last long in the tournament.

I still had my hopes as Maradona had managed to keep down the ego of Tevez in the world cup. Then came the inaugural match of Copa and it proved what a poor tactician Batista was. He decided to give Leo Messi the same role as in Barca, the false 9, but kept absolutely wrong players around him. Tevez and Lavezzi at the wings and the 3 defensive midfielders behind. Messi has revolutionised the idea of False 9, ever since he first played that role against Manchester United in the Champions League final in Rome '09. But for this to succeed, he needed players with lot of mobility by his sides, making lot of movements and off the ball runs. But it turned out that most Argentine players wanted to prove they were better than Messi and Argentina failed as a team. After one more horrible display against Columbia, Batista kept out Tevez and Lavezzi against Cota rica and also introduced more mobile players. Even if the tactics was not much better, for eg. he used De Maria in the centre of the field, there was some difference to the play. And then came Uruguay lead by a master tactitician, Tabarez, and Batista didnt know how to make use of the man advantage, when Uruguay were playing with 10 men. He infact was really poor and showed that he was absolutely 0, when he bought back Tevez and made him play even behind Messi. Till that match Argentine media was happy to put all the blame on Messi, yes the poor maestro, and ignore all other problems. But this match opened the eyes of many. And here is the result. Batista is out.

Nobody knows who the next person will be. I simply wish it will be a person with real experience. There are news that Sabella, who took an Argentine team with ordinary players all the way up to the club world cup final and gave Barcelona a real scare in the 2009 final, could be the new man. That was one of the toughest matches for Barcelona in the recent times I have seen, and if it is that coach, he might turn out good.

I really wish, Argentina finds a good coach who is tactically as astute as Tabarez or Guardiola. It will be such a pity if a country with so much of bloody talent (Messi, Aguero, Higuain, Pastore, Mascherrano, Banega all should be around 25 - 29 years for next world cup, at their primes) will not at least reach the finals of the Brazil world cup. 

Monday, 25 July 2011

100% Love

2011 by Sukumar - Telugu dubbed in Malayalam

The first Telugu movie I watched was Shankarabharanam. As a child I really did not understand the strong emotional background in that story except for enjoying the great songs. But from the terrific crowds, this movie was a super duper hit in Kerala in the beginning of 80's even in the village theatres, I knew then that the movie was special. Then, when Doordarshan came in, occassionally there were good Telugu movies in their mattinee spot on Sundays. Except for the face of one prominent actor who was there in all these art house movies, I don't remember anything at all from those movies. After a long, Arya was dubbed and released in Kerala, marking the advent of Allu Arjun movies and I really found it a nice entertainer. Since then I have seen more than a few Telugu movies, with 50% turning really bad entertainers, a 40% turning out as average entertainers and the rest turning out as exceptional entertainers, like Pokkiri, Bommarallu, Magadheera, Leader etc. So when you know that there is a new Telugu movie from the director of Arya, it sounds interesting.

A really stupid love story between 2 cousins.

I am not sure, if I must put this movie into the above 50 or 40% category. It definitely does not fit into the 40% category of average entertainers. Because there are many moments when we find it really absurd and difficult to bear. At the same time, there are some real good fun here and there which doesnt make it a cent percent poor entertainer. It is just above a poor entertainer for bits and a poor entertainer for most parts. The acting of the lead pair is really terrible.

Nagarjuna impressed Kerala with 2 flicks towards the end of 80's. One was Geetanjali, with Maniratnam and the other was Shiva,with Ram Gopal Varma, which was about a hero rising out of a college, which had some excellent action. And recently, he was very good in Payanam. Whatever, he is an established and adored super star in Andhra Pradesh. So when his son is casted as a love hero, there will be expectations and honestly, I was quite disappointed. Naga Chaitanya doesn't seem to have any charm and I think most people in the theatre didn't like him too.

A movie to forget. 

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Choyonghan Kajok - Quiet Family

1998 by Jee-Woon Kim - Korean

Film makers, across the world, tends to give so much importance for Luck. Irrespective of how good or bad the movie is, they think luck is really important for the movie to get public recognition, awards, festival screenings or even critic ratings, at least some critics should get to see it, right? So there are so many under rated movies across the world, which inspite of being much better than the most average movies from their region or even better than the acclaimed classics, tend to end up as an unsuccessful movie. I have seen some of these under rated movies and sometimes wondered what the hell is wrong with the world that this movie had this kind of a fate. A love song for Bobby Leong, from Hollywood is one such movie, which will always be one of my favourite from Hollywood. I just came across one such hugely under rated movie from Korea.

A family, father mother uncle son and two teenage daughters, buys a lodge by a prominent hiking trail, they did not have any experience with hospitality though. They wait eagerly for their first client, but there isn't any. Finally after a few weeks, a man check in and kills himself on the very first night. Afraid of bad publicity, they decide to bury the body in the woods. Well, that was just the beginning of a series of burials for the poor family. 

A wonderful movie which is hilarious through out. It has a treatment which is followed by art house movies, but there is incredible fun, in spite of the slow place, awaiting us at each and every turn making it a wonderful entertainer actually. Except the teenage daughters, all the rest have some inborn subtle stupidity around them. Who else will go and invest money on a lodge, without knowing anything about that industry or the client prospects. So it is fine with the characterisation, but as you laugh with them you cant help feeling sympathy for them. The script lose some charm towards the end and leaves some pot holes, but I would gladly ignore them and am really glad I saw this ridiculously funny movie. For some people can call it as a kind of horror or black comedy movie, because of all the dead bodies and the blood dripping injuries and for the kind of lighting used. But it is not intended to scare the viewer, I would say, and actually only give us more chances to laugh out.

One particular scene, when the hapless couple has to use their fingers to count, as they are not sure about the number of corpses around, is ridiculously brilliant. And even if it is nearly a fantasy topic, it is told very realistically that I was wondering how in the world did this writer imagined this theme. Brilliant.

The whole family, the father, the mother, the son, the 2 daughters and the uncle all were very fresh in my mind, even when I woke up today morning. I couldn't help laughing on my walk to the gym and saw people looking at me like a weird. An excellent comedy. Such a pity that very few people have rated this movie outside Korea. 

Friday, 22 July 2011

Man on Wire

2008 by James Marsh - British Documentary

I first heard about Philippe Petit, I think, during a school quiz competition. I was supposed to answer what that photograph - a man walking on a rope between two towers - was about and I didnt know. But later I was horrified to know about the passion of these world famous French man, walk on a wire between any tall structures. This is something which is scaringly beautiful, but impossible, for ordinary humans. I would not do that even in my dreams as I have a problem with heights, depending on who I am with. If the person who is near me is really afraid at that height, I will look brave probably, but alone I am scared of heights. Well, not for Petit, the man who doesnt just walk on wires, but dance on wires.

Philippe was quite into wire walking, but he stunned France when he walked the towers of the Notradame church, one fine morning. Then he did the same at Sydney, walking between the two pylons of the Sydney Harbour bridge. But Philippe's dream was to walk the Twin Towers of the WTC, which was then the tallest in the world. 

Man on Wire is a documentary, but for me it felt nearly like a movie. A beautiful experience. We hear directly from Philippe and his close friends, who all had to take so much of effort to sneak into the two towers, rigging the wire between and then finally walk, a walk of 61 metres at a height of 417 metres. Philippe was nervous about the walk in the beginning but soon his friends saw him smiling and he did all on the wire, for what he is famous for, sitting, lying down, saluting everything in a spell binding performance of about 45 minutes and then was arrested by the Police, like always.

But it was his walk (on 7 Aug, '74), according to many, which brought world wide fame to the WTC. Till then they were finding it difficult to even rent out office spaces in the building, which many in America thought were ugly. It is interesting and gives a lot of insight to American thoughts, when Philippe says after such an incredible feat, the only question the American system/people/media had to ask him was Why - why did you do this. And the police took him to a Psychiatrist after the arrest - this was the most funny part of this movie.

While there were breath taking videos of Philippe's walks at the Notredame and Sydney, only photographs were available for his twin tower walk, is the only negative for this stunning documentary. Not the fault of the movie actually. The person who was supposed to shoot, had completely forgotten his job as he was exhausted already.

The sad part of the movie was that immediately after the walk Annie, his girl friend, who had a real passion in following and supporting Philippe from his teenage days, walked out of his life. Out of the police station, on that day, Philippe chose to seek some pleasure with a female fan who was waiting for him to get out of the police station. When Annie talks about Philippe, through out this movie, I always felt she must be with him even now as we could see her love and affection for the man. Well it is not and we realise this only towards the end.

A beautiful documentary for sure. All the more because of the charming talks by Phillippe himself with all his French accents and mannerisms. The man who says, 'if I fail, what a beautiful death it would be, dying while trying my passion'. Beautiful. Actually it is more of a heist movie than a documentary. 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Mesrine:2 L'ennemi public n1 - Mesrine part 2 - Public enemy no. 1

2008 by Jean Francois Richet - French

When looking for this movie I read some comments by critics who claimed part no. 1 as more of a classic than part 2. I was still eager to watch it but to be frank I do not understand those critics. May be part 1 is still a cinematic classic. But part 2, for me, is a brilliant movie. It is outrageously brilliant and I dont understand why some critics dont find so. May be for a layman like me, this is a more classic entertainer than the first part. But for sure, Mesrine - Public enemy no. 1 is not an ordinary entertainer or a typical gangster movie. It is fu***ng brilliant, in the white's own language, and could be placed with the best 5 gangster movies from the whole world.

By end of 1972, Mesrine is back to France from Canada and continues his robberies, jail breaks until one day, 1979, he is executed by a special squad of French Police, in the outskirts of Paris. 

I am not into gangster lives or anything like that, am glad to lead the life of a normal tax paying citizen. However, I have never felt so much adoration for a gangster, thanks to this bloody brilliant movie. It is simply thrilling, thrilling to the hilt, but still proceeds like a classic movie. From the very beginning, incidents follow one after another, proving how a dare devil man he was, may it be his escape from the court room (where he is on trial) taking the judge as a hostage or his escape from the jail. There are only few moments in this movie, when we can actually really sit back without anticipating the unknown. Really thrilling.

But in between there is this brilliant and touching scene of Mesrine, disguised as a doctor, visiting his sick father. The movie had a really different look immediately. That scene was so touching and beautifully done. And it is in this second part, the many different emotions and aspects of Mesrine as an individual comes out. When he is in jail and since there isn't any news about him in the papers, Mesrine just writes a book about his past crimes (when he is awaiting trial !!!), how he killed more than 40 people and all. And then there is this wonderful scene when the special squad rounds him out and knocks at his door. Mesrine takes his time in destroying some documents and welcomes the officer with a champagne. He also tells the officer why he didnt resist the arrest, due to the presence of a lady in his room as he was concerned about her safety. There is also this beautiful scene where his teenage daughter visits him in the jail. Likewise, there are some incidents which places him as a man with lot of kindness and gratitude, an extra ordinarily brilliant guy who just enjoyed being in the other side of the system, robbing banks as they were robbing people. But he was no Robbin Hood, he just spend all what he robbed, mostly for women and luxury.

Vincent Cassel, what do I say, bloody bloody brilliant. With his 70's style hair style, I thought he was even more charming. One of the best performances I have ever seen. He seemed to have put up lot of weight for this movie, not as much as De Nero did for Raging Bull, and had given his heart out. There were moments when I felt like rewinding the scene to watch it once again. Well, my dvd player didn't like it, so I had to stop that after couple of times.

And my sincere most salutes to the director and his team. I must especially talk about the final scene when the police special team is waiting for Mesrine to come out and follow him all the way, before they kill him on the road, without any warning at all. Even before Mesrine realise anything, he is shot. By the present Indian system, this is a perfect encounter. But this whole part was superbly executed. The fear of a hiding squad member, when Mesrine is really close to him, is both hilarious and makes the moment really thrilling. This scene and the one at the hospital are the ones I felt, were the best. Doesn't mean the others were not up to it. As I said, it is a great success as a thriller biopic, but these two scenes would stand out for me.

I am really really glad I saw Mesrine. I really wish, this is released in India for my fellow Indians. Most Indians seem to have a lot of misconceptions about movies from other lands than Hollywood.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Mesrine: L'instinct de mort - Mesrine - Killer Instinct

2008 by Jean Francois Richet - French

There are so many gangster movies. But to know that a movie was made on a particular gangster, who during the 60/70's was declared Public Enemy no. 1 in two countries, France and Canada, like a biopic of this maestro gangster, it is more than interesting. To know that, it had 2 parts, like how Soderberg did with Che, I was sure it will not be an ordinary movie. And then there is Vincent Cassel, who is an extra ordinary actor for me. I will never forget his acrobatics in the Oceans 11 movies.

Mesrine served the French army during its war against the Algerian independance war. Back to his family, he joined a friend in petty robbery and soon joins a big gang. At one point he tries to quit everything to be a family man, but soon rejoins his gang and grows into the most noted gangster of his times, infamous for his killings and prison escapes. 

This is a biopic of a gangster. It is not fair to look into the moral side of all, than to just watch and be amused about this intelligent man, just on the other side of the system though. He robs, he kills and he breaks prison as in child's play. What a life actually. I will be lying if I dont admit that at some point this character even provoked me to lead a gangster life. Who else gets so many opportunities to display ones inborn reflexes of bravery and macho-ism.

The movie, actually is told quite fast to begin with. A short stint in the army, petty robberies, meeting his life partner et all. Here all its quite fast. But then, when he is jailed finally for a 10 year term, that is where the movie turns into the typical French style of detailing. We could feel a change of pace here with the movie, but it is still gripping. (I now know that the creators of the movie were not sure what to show about this man, as most things he did in real life can carry a quote of 'unbelievable' around it, that his acts in a movie might attract a sense of unrealistic or exaggerated among the viewers who haven't heard about him). May be a reason why there is only a single prison break incident in this first part.

Vincent Cassel as Mesrine is more than brilliant. I wonder how he prepared for this movie. He seems to live a gangster. And then there is my favourite actor Gerard Depardieu, as Guido the Paris gangster boss who breeds Mesrine under his wings. Depardieu has only few scenes, but he leaves his mark easily and made Guido very prominent in the movie.

The movie has stylishly recreated the settings for the 60's and I must admit that we would hardly notice such things. So strong is the impact of the leading characters in this movie. Brilliant. It is really sad French movies are not released in India. Such a pity.

I already had the second part and wanted to carry on watching but then found the subtitles werent that good. So should have them ready for tonight. Cant wait for the show actually.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Le Mepris - Contempt

1963 by Jean-Luc Godard - French

Considered one of the best from the maestro by many movie lovers, I sat down for this movie with lots of expectations. But the two sleep less football nights (Sat and Sun - Copa semis) had taken a real toll that soon I was feeling sleepy. I managed to complete the movie, but to be frank was not really impressed, may be because of my sleep.

An American producer hires Paul, a young playwright, to make a movie script more entertaining. The producer Prokosch is also a gameboy and starts seriously wooing Paul's beautiful wife Camille. Got in between his new job, Paul intentionally (I thought so) leaves Camille estranged, who has to bear the presence of Prokosch, which makes her aloof and slowly creates a contempt towards Paul. 

I really felt Paul had left his wife to be alone with Prokosch, quite intentionally. He seems to have understood the nature of Prokosch by then and wanted this job, with a hefty cheque, desperately may be. So with his trust on wife, if she spends just a few minutes with Prokosch in his car, a lift to his place with Paul to follow in a taxi, doesnt look harmful. However, it looked like Camille was quite shocked by this single gesture of her husband and may be she felt exactly what I thought. By the time Paul arrives at Prokosch's home, Camille looks indifferent to her. Of course nothing has happened in this short time, but it is quite evident that any ordinary woman would easily recognise the jackal behind Prokosch. So hereafter, it is all about Paul wondering what has happened to his wife, her indifference towards him and Camille slightly playing her life, may be wondering whether she should continue with him or not, acting nice at times, but with contempt mostly. And Paul's treatment of Camille never helps the situation too.

A second watch of this movie, I believe will help me appreciate its naunces much more. But I loved how Brigitte Bardot played the role of Camille. It was brilliantly realistic. Every husband might find moments in their life, when they do not understand the expression or indifference of their wife. She lived these moments.

If at all I had recollected some of my memories with the Greek epics, whatever I knew before watching this movie, may be it would have helped me better. The script Paul is working is 'The Odyssey', and definitely it looks like the three main characters here, Camille, Paul and Prokovich, is in some way reflective of the epic characters as there was lots of references to the epic here. Even otherwise it depicts how small incidents can grow and estrange the relationship between a couple.  But I really did not understand why the story had to end the way it did, Camille and Prokovich dies in a car accident. Is it to suggest, by Godard, that Camille should not have walked out? A second watch is required anyways.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Chaappa Kurishu

2011 by Sameer Tahir

Some people seem to come to movies to talk with their friends. Something which is getting to an abyssmal state now that it is almost impossible to concentrate while watching a movie. People talking between themselves, answering mobile phones and people who make comments on what is on the screen, there are too much of distractions these days, while in a movie hall. Really difficult. Well, for this movie, it was interesting because the two guys behind me were talking about their film review website. For every 10 minutes of the movie, they were making a comment about the movie, as if they were typing it down on a notepad or memorizing it. Anyways, I got to listen to something, which I was afraid for long about many movie reviewers. Most Malayalam movie reviewers always keep saying the Cinematography was perfect for the movie and wonderful when there are lot of shakes or steady cam movements or even a lot of panoramic shots of Keralan green. The guys at my back kept on saying the photography was only ordinary and disappointing. So what I wondered is almost right. Because one department in which this movie excelled, for me, was its camera work. Of course, there are no shaky cameras or any gimmicks with the camera, nor are there any greenery or sunset shots, which will make anybody rave about the cameraman. But it is an excellent camera work which is supposed to give the script, director and the other crew just the required support. And if I am not wrong (read this somewhere), the movie was shot in a Canon EOS 7D dslr. It should be termed brilliant then.

Arjun represents a strata of Indian society who forms an ultra small percentage of our population, a real estate whiz man, and Ansari, working in a super market, the other majority spectrum of the Indian population. Arjun shoots some intimate moments of his with his Office assistant, who had mistaken his interest as love, using his iphone, but then lose the phone. Ansari gets this phone and for weird and unknown reasons play some pranks with Arjun. Like always, in between, this video clip is leaked and is posted on the net and Arjun seeks revenge. 

Arjun is everything about the modern day Indian who represents the Indian super nation. He is to get married soon, but carries on his affair with his office assistant, not even mentioning to her about the probable marriage, and is always on the look out for flesh and money. But the way he treats the situation, when he lose the phone, and also his affair is quite pathetic and takes away a lot of sheen of his character. Likewise, Ansari is quite poor, but when he gets this new phone his character acts strange, by either not selling for money or use it for himself, but by playing pranks with Arjun, in the name of giving the phone back. There is no credible explanation of Ansari's behaviour here and all looks quite strange. He seem to like a colleague in the super market, but gets weird even with her after receiving the phone. He gives a stupid reason to her for not giving the phone back, but acts opposite through out. Sonia, Arjun's affair girl, looks quite modern until she comes to know about the marriage of Arjun. Had she slapped him on the face and boldly walked out it would have been better. Instead she falls into the cliche of how exactly our females are to behave when being deceived.

I thought, there was a good plot here (there are blames that this plot is from some Korean movie), and the treatment is also almost good. But the script falters in how it treats the characters and also in its length. Had this been told in an hour, this movie would have been very different. But there are some very good points too. The final action between Arjun and Ansari was quite good. Performances of almost all actors were good, even though I found Vineeth Srinivasan, as Ansari, quite a mis cast for the role. We are yet to learn from Tamil movie makers in this. Anyways, Fahad Fazil, as Arjun, has given his best performance to date. So did Ramya Nambeesan as Sonia. The girl who played Nafeeza, the friend of Ansari at the super market, also has some good charm. It is funny that all characters in our movies will always have a love interest. When will we see an ordinary character, like Ansari, without a girl friend. In real life, most ordinary boys and men are craving for some kind of a girl friend, but they cant.

Scene by scene, the director does shows promise. I couldnt help thinking that he might be influenced by the style of Kim Ki Duk, the way he used his characters, especially Ansari. And with a better script, he must be able to give a better show, I hope. I am just worried if Malayalam too is going the path of Bollywood, where we are looking at too many English dialogues and terms in a Malayalam movie. Of course, there is a strata of society in India, who are ultra rich and is more western looking than Indian, talking in English even with a new born baby, and will use all the terms from a Hollywood movie. But, to my experience, these people might be only like less than 0.01 % of Indian population. Some body from this spectrum, always prominently occupying our movie scripts, is quite weird.

Another thought too, because of the movie. There are so many bad news these days because of mobile phone videos. People are free to decide their sex partners or affairs or whatever, as long as there is a consent from both the man and the girl. Fine, but then why do they have to shoot their intimate moments on video? And sadly, why do our girls always permit their partner to shoot these moments? And why the hell do these male cameraman 'bastards' dont keep these videos for their private viewing only rather than sending it to their friends and friends friends? Why are these 'ultra bastard' friends, so intent on forwarding such videos over the internet and phone messages, what hell of a pleasure are they getting  through this? Actually it is these friends, who keeps forwarding such mails and messages, who should be bought to law. Even if this might sound draconian, I think the penis of all such bastards, who shoot their own partner and then leak it and the friends who keep forwarding it, should be severed.

Saturday, 16 July 2011


2010 by Tony Goldwyn

One more true story. But I picked up this movie for two reasons, for having Sam Rockwell who is such an underrated actor. He impressed me a lot with just two movies, The Green Mile and Welcome to Collinwood. And the second for Hilary Swanton who was brilliant in Million Dollar Baby.

Bette Anne is a high school drop out, but when her brother Kenny is convicted for murder, a life term without parole, and later tries suicide in the jail, she decides to appear for exams and attend the law school. All this, after having to take care of her two boys as her husband left her complaining about her extra concerns for the brother. It took her 18 long years to achieve her goal. 

Bette Anne and Kenny have such a close relation as siblings. And their love and trust, which is amazingly strong, only grows further as they grow up. So strong that Bette Anne is convinced about the innocense of her brother and is even ready to sacrifice her own life, as recognised by her boys, for the brother. This is a wonderful love and plot for a movie and let me tell you the story as such is really wonderful and also are the performances. But it falls short of being a wonderful movie, sometime after the beginning. It could have been better as a TV show may be, just my thoughts.

For me, I found the movie is quite in lines with Erin Brokovich, where Julia Roberts does nearly the same things as Ms. Swanton in this movie, except for not going to law school. Sure, the background of the subject is quite different, but the line of progression of the plot is almost the same. Both the movies also have only one or two court room scenes even. EB, I found as a wonderful biopic, another true story, but Conviction falls short as a movie. But we will be still quite convinced about the story, the love between the brother and sister and the performance. Let me repeat, this is a touching story. To know that it happened for real, that a man spend 18 years in jail, without parole, inspite of being innocent and his sister went through all the process of being an advocate just to prove his innocense is really a wonderful story. It lost its charm somewhere in the script to be a touching movie and nor did the director could make it up.

As I expected, its the performance that makes this movie special. Hilary Swanton was really good. Even Melissa Leo as the crooked cop and Juliette Lewis as the girl friend of Kenny, who gave false testimony resulting in his conviction, were brilliant. Two characters who had only few scenes, but really made an impression. But the man of the show is definitely Sam Rockwell as Kenny. Brilliant performance. He was brilliant in The Green Mile and wonderful in Welcome to Collinwood too. But this is quite a different character and he had to perform an array of different emotions in all his meetings with Ms. Swanton in the jail and he simply excelled in all of them. Truly brilliant show. It is a pity Hollywood doesn't offer him good opportunities.

The final frame of the movie, Kenny and Bette Anne having coffee by the lake, was really beautiful.

In the real life, Kenny died of an accident just after 6 months of his release, as a free man

Friday, 15 July 2011

Mar Adentro - The Sea Inside / Out at the Sea

2004 by Alejandro Amenabar - Spanish with Catalan in between

There are times when I have wondered, what would it be if at all one fine morning I find myselves with some disabilities, may be seriously disabled to not even move out of the bed or not even move the whole body other than being able to just see, talk and eat. I wondered how my world would react to me and how I would react to the world. Would I be looking at people coming in and crying or would I receive them with a smile or tears. Would I still want to watch movies or Messi dribbling the Football or wonder about the effects of day light in the room I am in or worry about not being able to have sex and all. I don't have any idea and often such thoughts have ended with a decision that if at all something like that occurs, its better to die than giving a terrific trouble to my loved ones around. It was quite easy for me to fall for this movie and I must say it is a heart touching movie.

The true story of Ramon Sampedro, a fisherman at the Galician cost of Spain, who met with a diving accident and got his whole body paralyzed, except for his head and neck. He spend 27 years on the bed, in his brothers home, being taken care of by his sister in law and his nephew. They loved him and did all what they could but Ramon didnt want a life without dignity and he sought to kill himself. But the Spanish courts and Church was against the idea of Euthanasia. A lady lawyer, herself suffering from illness, joins his fight. 

Ramon is not against life actually, he just doesnt want a life without dignity, being not able to move out of his bed and not being able to even touch the attractive female who is sitting next to his bed. He keeps on smiling always and answers Julia, the lawyer, that he smiles as he doesn't want to cry. In fact he cries through his laughs. A really wonderful and touching character he is. There are three women around him. Gene, a local activist who brings in Julia the lawyer, Manuela, his sister in law, who is taking care of Ramon for all this 27 years just like her son and Rosa, a young mother of two boys who finds out that Roman is the only kind man she has ever met and finally agrees to help him die, just to prove her love to him, ie to do what will please him. She gets him cyanide actually. The way Ramon treats all this women, and how they treat him is really wonderful and actually forms a major part of the movie, keeping their struggle for his death wish aside. Julia, when she suffers another stroke, even agrees to help Ramon to die, before she will do the same to her. We also see Ramon's brother who is quite a rustic man, but seems to be the only person around who doesnt want to fulfill Ramon's wish. All these characters, except Julia,  will touch us, as much as Ramon himself. Julia's is one character which wasn't really successful, for me. I do not know how to present it here, but I thought she doesn't really seems to invoke the kind of feeling, probably because the script failed to place more impetus on her.

A brilliant movie, which is handling such a serious theme, but still makes it look like it is going through the life of a nice man, a biopic, and the people around him. It never gets very emotional, except for a couple of scenes. And a couple of scenes, like the debate of Ramon with the Bishop, similarly paralyzed but against Euthanasia, are quite funny and thought provoking too. I wonder how the Spanish Church must have reacted to the whole criticism towards the Church's hypocrisy here. Ramon's points about the church burning to death almost every free thinkers in historic Europe, but not letting him die is clearly sharp and focused. It was even more apt how Manuela brilliantly treated the priest, calling him a big mouth.

I first watched Javier Bardem in Vicky Christine Barcelona. I was really impressed then. Slowly with other movies I was convinced that he is one of the best actors in the world. Well, with Mar Adentro, I can only say he must be treated among those actors in the highest level, if at all there is any such level. Truly brilliant performance, may it be his crying smiles, or his seductive chats. But the highlight was his fear, when he knows something has happened to Julia, next door. That scary face of Javier is etched in my eyes. So is the tear filled face of Manuela, brilliantly played by Mabel Rivera, during Ramon's good bye scene from his home to Rosa's. (This was one of the best scene's in this movie) For most parts of movie, she is just a care taker, but she gets as much prominence as Javier in some very important scenes. Everybody did a great job, may be except the actress who played Julia. At least in the beginning Julia looked like somebody who is walking out of Hollywood. May be I am wrong, I seem to find fault with both her character and the performance. The make up on Javier was brilliant too.

I must say this is a kind of master piece on Euthanasia. When watching Million Dollar Baby, we are grief struck by the end of the movie, and it is not the same with Mar Adentro. But the grief is actually subtly spread out through the whole movie, in a gripping way that we forget about the whole sentiments in  a way. I must say its a brilliant piece of treating a very touching and serious theme. The cinematography is really brilliant too. The movie shows couple of times how Ramon's neck hits the sea bed during his dive and that shot was a master piece. The first time we see it we have a shock, but even later when it is repeated the effect is only more actually. And so was it during Ramon's dream flight scenes and how Ramon saw the outside world after 27 years, when he was taken to the court. The latter was simply too good.

My salutes to the whole team, for making such a gripping story of life and death. Life is a right, not an obligation

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Lat den ratte komma in - Let the right one in

2008 by Tomas Alfredson

I am not fond of horror movies actually, especially the modern ones and the hollywood owned studio&CG movies. In most of the modern horror movies, there is very little of cinematic art than trying to do any gimmicks to generate stupid fear. But reading the synopsis for Lat den ratte komma in, there was a kind of spark immediately. This isnt a horror movie, there is something more and it was. What a brilliant movie. It is neither horror nor romantic. It is more like a realistic adolescent romance which has some brilliant fantasy woven into it. Similar to El Laberinto de Fauno, there is a brilliant mix of fantasy and reality, just that the fantasy element here is an adolescent vampire who is friend with an adolescent boy.

Oskar, lives with his single mother and is often bullied by some boys at the school. He dreams revenge on the boys often. He meets Eli (both should be around 12 years), who starts living in the next apartment with an elderly looking man. They become friends slowly and soon Oskar realise that Eli is a Vampire, who is ready to help him have his revenge. 

I would not call this movie as horror movie, never. However there might be people who still want to call it so, because of the presence of the Vampire. In that case I hope they understand that this is a classic make of that genre of cinema compared to the immature popular ones.

The movie has a brilliant script, which is shot brilliantly too. There are only few characters and the most interesting is the elderly man with Eli, who is looking to collect human blood for Eli. Couple of his attempts fail and he offers his own blood for Eli, in a truly brilliant scene. There are also other similar scenes like the one in a secret place, when Oskar wants to join his blood with Eli, and then sees for himself the change on her etc.. But what do I say, all these scenes are shot, as if it is something normal, emotions are still kept subtle even as a natural is in love with an unnatural. From the beginning Eli keeps telling Oskar that she isnt a girl but he is still happy to be her friend, as he doesnt have a real friend. There is only a slight perplexed expression, when for once he get to have a peak at Eli and in a split second realises that she is not completely a girl. It is almost like the case of people who have been living an out of the ordinary life can easily accept the most unnatural things in life.

The climax when Oskar is seen to travel in a train, with Eli inside a small box, was so beautiful, but will keep us wondering what will happen to them. One of those endings, which will make us crave for a second part, curious about the future of these two innocent souls. I will say even Eli is an innocent soul here as she seems to be sad always and how and when she became a vampire is never explained in the movie, nor are we worried about it while we watch. At the same time, there is no tone of sentimentality at all in the whole movie.

To make this kind of movie, without any gory scenes or CG (may be only in one frame of the fire), but still making a profound impact on our souls, is brilliant. I am not a  believer of all this super naturals, but the movie is so brilliant that I kept thinking about Eli for long.  The makers of Twilight, would be embarassed by this movie, I am sure.

The cinematography is superbly brilliant. There are so many ultra close up shots, which makes wonderful portraits of Eli and Oskar. The snowbound setting adds a lot to the mood of the movie.

I would rate this as one of the best movies I have seen so far. Absolutely brilliant piece of imagination.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Apres Vous - After You

2003 by Pierre Salvadori

This movie from Salvadori was done a few years before Hors de Prix, which is one of my all time favourite romantic comedy. So, it is like a learning curve for a director. Still, we can see that this man has a special talent for treating people and their relations.

Antoine, manager at an elite Paris restaurant, saves Louis from a suicide attempt. Louis is depressed as his girl friend Blanche walked out and the man cannot see any way out. Antoine tries to help him out, gets him a job in his restaurant as the Sommelier, and even tries to find out Blanche. Unknowingly, he too gets attracted to Blanche and smelling something wrong, Christine, Antoine's fiancee walks out. Split between Blanche and Louis Antoine is now falling into depression. 

This movie is not meant to be a comedy at all, but there are incredibly brilliant moments of fun. And in some of them, we are really not sure if we should be laughing or crying actually. Because the pain of Louis is so seviour, which we could feel, but the efforts of Antoine to help and bring him out of it, and the situations offer hilarious moments, like Antoine trying to make the suicidal note of Louis like a normal travel letter to his grand mother, the interview of Louis and so on. In fact, by the time Antoine is after Blanche, trying to create a way out for her to meet Louis, we do know that something will go wrong with this guy and in all this parts, the movie is simply brilliant.

I thought it faltered lightly at the latter half, with the change in the relationship between Antoine and Blanche. Antoine falling for Blanche could be allright, but how he got into depression was pushing the script a little too fast. And the same with the walking out of Christine, change of Louis's nature and the final climax too. Till the last 1/3rd, the movie was detailing everything and thereafter when everything was rushing out, it took some sheen of the script and a little bit of the movie too.

But apart from that, it is a wonderful watch and what a performance by the lead characters. Daniel Auteuil as Antoine can never fail and he once again proves me that he needs to be put up there with the best actors in the pantheon of amazing actors of the world. But it is Jose Garcia as Louis who infact steels the show, if I must pick somebody out.

A wonderful movie offering excellent moments, which falters slightly towards the end. But I am sure I would not mind watching it a few more times.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Un air de famille - Family Resemblances

1996 by Cedric Klapisch  - watching 3rd time.

Some movies just grow as we repeat them. Un air de famille is one such movie and it just gets more and more as my favourite, each time the show is over.

A middle class family, a mother, 2 sons and a daughter, gathers in the restaurant of one son to celebrate the birthday of the other son's wife. The restaurant owner is afraid, his wife getting late is a sign of her walking out of the marriage. The other son, who is most well off of all, is obsessed with his brief show in a tv news. There is also a worker from the restaurant who have had some dates with the daughter. 

It is a pure family affair actually, just the worker as an outsider, but who is so close to his boss, trying to support him in his bad times. In fact the gathering soon takes its turn and everybody is poking at the others. Past history, grudges, accolades, soar spots all turn into the whole dialogues here. The movie begins with the arrival of the family, separately of course, and ends with the departure of all. Its only a matter of few hours. But within this few hours, all the discussions takes us deep into the life of this family and gives a clear idea about all these characters. We finally know that the mother actually only cared for his well to do son and the restaurant owner guy is actually the scapegoat at everything. He has a difficult nature, obviously also because of all this poking at him from the childhood, and he must have been not that considerate with his wife should be the reason why she wants to walk out. But it is quite clear that under the mask of a happy couple, it is actually the well off son who treats his wife really badly, though his wife suffers a lot and still acts like a perfect wife. The daughter is yet to find a life partner and is not sure about her brothers worker, she has gone out with him in the past though. But the final effect of this whole gathering just reveals to her that there is more to this man than she thought. He is more kind, generous and seems to understand women better than both her brothers.

The movie is brilliant as it draws out a family in front of us through a family meeting. No actions or anything, just some inter action between the family members. More dialogues and expressions actually, not exactly like how a Mike Leigh movie would turn out, but this is a real close call, just in the French way. Everything is actually very serious, but we cant help smiling while watching it.

Brillaint setting, script and performances by all the actors. And a very special mention to Catherine Frot, who played the wife of the well to do son. That was an incredibly brilliant performance. Her last scene, in which she laughs about the worker going to be a new family member was ridiculously brilliant.

My appreciation for this movie has grown three folds, since I first watched it some years back. And I am sure that French are maestros of movie making.

Monday, 11 July 2011


2011 by Hari

Typical Popular entertainment stuff from Tamil industry.

Boy and girl, their friends
Father of boy and mother of girl
Father's friend turning into villain
Songs, fights, parallel tracks of comedy

I dont think this director has made even a single movie which was a great entertainer. The one that came close was Saami which was a good entertainer then. Singham, which was a big hit recently, was good in parts only. Actually I am surprised that now Bollywood is remaking that movie.

Dhanush decides to go for the popular stuff again. Actually I understand why all actors, its only few months back Dhanush gave Aadukalam a master piece actually, goes for some stupid entertainers. The Shenoys theatre was full and it was mostly Tamil people who do hard labour in Kochi city. They were enjoying the movie to the hilt, I must say. Songs, fun, fights it had everything they wanted and it is important for a movie star to please these fans too.

However, I thought Dhanush was a mis-cast for this movie. Here  is a real super hero, with both the brains and the power and had it been done by Ajith, Vijay or Surya, this movie would have been more impressive, may be.

It is still an ok entertainer, with some thrilling moments. One of the songs were also good.

Salt and Pepper

2011 by Ashiq Abu

I cant think about watching any food based movies from India. But there are few excellent ones in the west, of which Chocolate, Julie and Julia and L'aile ou la Cuisse, the famous Louis de Funes comedy,  are my favourites. Salt and Pepper is promoted as the first food movie in Malayalam and it definitely starts so. But by the second half, food is not anymore an important factor, only love is.

Kalidasan, a 40 something guy - an archaeologist, loves food. He has an adorable and servile cook too. His nephew Manu joins him, looking for a job in the city. Maya, nearing 40, works as a dubbing artist and is living in a paying guest accommodation. Meenakshi is her friend at the home. A wrong phone call, for food order, gets Kalidasan and Maya into telephone friends. They like to meet, but both are not confident to impress the other, so Kalidasan sends in Manu and Maya sends Meenakshi for the meeting. 

And then of course, it is routine story, how things are sorted out. But the excellent work here is that an ordinary romance story is made to look special with its simplicity. Food plays an important part in the first half, detailing the characters but as love gets prominence food factor disappears, even without the viewer noticing this. Here it is nearly like that famous Hollywood movie No Reservations. But still, like No Reservations, Salt and Pepper ends up as a very good romantic comedy.

Its story is routine romance between two elderly (by Keralan standards) guys, but by the way of treatment it is made to look quite fresh and different.

Thus, the script and director deserves kudos, also to bring in food as a subject at least during the beginning. This is excellent considering the fact that the previous attempt by Ashiq Abu was a routine, bohring, commerical entertainer.

Simplicity is everywhere and even the humour that is present, for a good part of the movie is quite simple and genuinely nice.

Good performance by all these 5 characters, especially Baburaj as the servile cook of Kalidasan. What a break for this guy, who was just used to getting beaten by the heroes so far.

The title song, which explored some of the most famous restaurants and dishes in Kerala, was brilliant. I was immediately thinking that Kerala tourism department could use it as a promotion material. Sure it will be a success. I have to say that, in all my life as a movie goer, I have never seen Malayaalee crowd applauding a title song. This song, for me, will be the hall mark of this movie.


The pace of the movie could have been better, slightly inconsistent now.

Some of the characters and the issues around them, does it really serve any purpose. For eg. the issue with the tribal chief man, could it not have made the movie more sleek without this, concentrating more on the 5 characters. The presence of the chief does offer some funny moments, but at the same time I felt the movie was looking down upon a person, by the way he is placed and treated at times, who back in his community is an important person.

Inspite of all the freshness, some of the typical Malayalam movie cliches are yet there. And how the love between Manu and Meenakshi happens is too ordinary, bohringly, for this kind of a movie.

Two songs, the one between Manu and Meenakshi and the Pop song at the end, could have been avoided. Especially the song at the end, that was really unnecessary. It doesnt seem to serve any purpose and is completely against everything the movie built up so far. It was like a very poor anti climax to a movie with a good climax.

I am not nit picking, but there is a scene in the beginning when two archaeologists are discussing about their exacavation project. Understandably important objects, beyound any value, are placed in a stupid iron box and how one of the archaeologist drops one of these objects, back into the iron box, clearly shows the importance the director has given for those moments. I am sure some characters and scenes were inlcuded just to make the script more lengthy.

Anyways, I am still very glad about this movie. It is more like a romantic comedy in the genre of No Reservations, than a classic food movie like L'aile ou la cuisse or Julie and Julia. And it is a really good watch.

However, I feel really bad that like many other Malayalam moviemakers, here again Ashiq Abu and his team has gone for an English title. I simply dont understand this. In fact thinking about some possible titles, Thattil kutti dosha - തട്ടില്‍ കുട്ടി ദോശ , Uppum mulakum ഉപ്പും മുളകും, Injiyum Pachamulakum ഇഞ്ചിയും പച്ചമുളകും
Ariyum Uzhunnum അരിയും ഉഴുന്നും and there are so many Malayalam titles possible, but they went for English, is quite strange for me. I can only see this as yet another West Looking attitude of our society. 

There was a particular shot of Shweta Menon, in a black sari (I think the only one time she was in Sari), walking through a tree laden road. That was a wonderful frame and I was thinking, does she realise how beautiful she looks in that dress. My friend in Padma theatre had told me that some of the movie crew was watching the same show. So after the show, just waited a couple of minutes outside, on the bike, and there was Shweta Menon with her husband. Watching her, I was able to appreciate that particular frame from the movie even more. She is actually really beautiful in that frame. In the jeans and kurta she was looking quite ordinary.

Saturday, 9 July 2011


2011 by L Suresh

A debutant director joins a producer, whose previous production was the brilliant and hilarious Kalavani, for a movie with Vimal as the hero, is quite attractive. In fact, Vimal is a different kind of hero in Indian movies. He does have a nice face, but his physique is actually only good enough to play the friend of a typical Indian hero or somebody like a servant in the home or office. But this young man can act and hence he finds place as hero in Tamil movies. He is lucky that he came into the industry at the right time when Tamil industry seems to be the only prominent movie industry (Marathi too I think) which is consistently churning out some off beat movies with the real flavour of Tamil mixed all over. But...

A young man tries all sorts of business in his small town, with borrowed money, and fails always. He has a special talent in talking and convinces people to still loan him. He meets a girl, who is into a forced marriage with a bad guy, plays all sorts of mischief's with her and finally ends up saving her from the bad guy. 

The producer, it seems, wanted to follow some points which were behind the success of Kalavni in this movie too, is quite evident. Still the movie as a whole is different from the run of the mill entertainers, yet ends up as an ordinary movie. A very simple movie, with lots of good fun, not much action scenes, and the love between the boy and girl doesn't happen till the climax, saving us some songs, are some good points. Unfortunately, the movie is inconsistent with its pace, especially in the second half and drags out really.

Vimal looks like a natural choice for this character but I am afraid he would end up as an actor who only plays these kind of talkative young man from the village or small town, not a super man, but one with intelligence. It was nice to see Sanusha playing the young girl.

I don't think anybody will think about this movie by the end of this year, inspite of lots of comic moments.

Friday, 8 July 2011

La Pere Noel est Une Ordure - Santaclaus is a stinker/bastard

1982 by Jean-Marie Poire

In French Cinema we always can see certain teams. I mean, the same group of actors and technicians behind many movies, which is mainly because of their association with some theatre groups. Splendid used to be one such group and we can find these same actors behind many movies. LPNUO was a famous play by this group, which they made into a movie. And what a movie, this could clearly be a bench mark for anybody wanting to make comedies.

Its Xmas eve night. 
Pierre and Therese works as telephone counsellors for those who are on the verge of committing suicide. 
Their owner/colleague Madame Musquin wants to attend the dinner with family, but is having a horrible day, getting stuck inside the lift and later stuck with her car
Josette and Felix are a poor couple. Josette is the sister of Therese, so when she walks out from Felix(she is pregnant), she goes straight to Therese for a nights shelter. Felix is machoistic, loves Josette but cannot help man handling her. He follows Josette to get her back, in anyways he can so has a gun
Katia, a depressed transvestite, who telephones Pierre and Therese and then insists on meeting Pierre to not to commit suicide. 
There is also a Belgian national, who is after Therese with all the weird dishes, to impress her

These are all the main characters in this movie, all of them weird in some ways than the other. 99% of the movie happens over the Xmas eve night with only the final few scenes happening on the early morning of Xmas day.

And what a comedy it is? Brilliant laugh after laugh follows all the way through the end. Comedy is created out of weird characters, brilliant dialogues, bloody brilliant expressions and even some very simple slapstick. But overall, it is brilliant brilliant comedy.

There is not a single performance by any actor, which is anything but brilliant.

I dont have anything more to say. This is one movie, which we can watch a 100 times and still laugh it out. I am sure, this movie must have been remade by Hollywood. If not, it is quite surprising.

The French are maestros of Comedy, it seems.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Trois Couleurs: Rouge - Three Colours: Red

1994 by Krzysztof Keislowsky

The last movie in the Trois Couleurs trilogy, based on Red, the colour depicting Fraternity on French tri colour. And the last movie of Keislowsky is a philosophical master piece.

Valentine, a swiss model, saves a dog and thus meets Kern, a retired judge who is actually listening to phone calls of his neighbours. A frienship emanates between these two people who represents two opposite poles in many ways. 

To be very frank, I will have to watch this movie once again to make my comments. The movie is so complex and philosophical that it can confuse us in many ways. Everything is in place actually. Initially, as Kern comes into the movie we feel quite curious about his acts. Let me repeat, a kind of curiosity that we would expect only from real suspense thrillers. But slowly this curiosity dies out without us even noticing it. And the curiosity turns to a kind of confusion, making us think hard, as Kern explains about his past. There is yet another character called Auguste, who is a neighbour of Valentine, but like a mirror image of Kern. Valentine and Kern never meets in the movie. Nor do we see Valentine's possessive boy friend ever, for whom she takes the ferry to England at the end. The Boat capsize and only 7 people are saved. And in the most brilliant part or turn, 6 people happens to be Julie and Olivier from Blue, Karol and Dominique from White and Valentine and Auguste from Red. That was a bloody brilliant idea. At the same time, it confused me further about the order or period of happenings for this movie. The last movie happens to be the beginning of all. ???

One of the thoughts by the judge, about what would be happening with all those people whom he acquitted or found guilty, had he done otherwise, was quite a new kind of thought from any character ever in movies I have seen. Brilliant.

As an ordinary movie goer, I would enjoy White the most. But as somebody who like to watch extra ordinary stories, ideas or presentation et all, I would say Red would be the best, out of the triology. This is a movie you can enjoy only if your brain is present, cent percent. And this movie might grow as I see it more. I am damn sure about this.

I am still on the hang over of Argentina's horrible display, so....

Argentina - Columbia 0- 0; Messi please dont play for Argentina

Today was a very sad day. Argentina drew Columbia and it is really disappointing. I did not have anyways to finish off my concerns, my football friends are only interested in goal scoring, nobody cares for tactics. I need to get rid of this somehow, so thought I will just write it off.

My dish connection doesn't have Neo Sports, the channel which telecasts Copa America in India. I actually watch it in a friends shop, Rajab - my dvd guy, after taking lot of pains like waking up very early in the morning and so on. To watch football, and especially Messi, I dont care going to any limits. But today, I felt sad, terribly sad. Even when Argentina lost to Germany in the WC quarters, I wasn't this sad. I knew it was going to happen any time, with Deigo as their coach, as the previous match against Mexico was a prelude to it. But Batista, the current Argentine coach is making Deigo look like a wizard on tactics, like a Guardiola or a Del Bosque.

After the world cup defeat, Grondona the man who leads Argentine football since '79, had some good options but chose Batista to be the new coach, as he won the Olympic gold at Beijing. Grondona ignored that Batista had taken Argentina to a 6th position amongst 10 qualifiers for the U-20 WC in Latin America. Anyways, here comes the new coach, announces his love for Barcelona football and wants to play the team around Messi. (These days every coach in the world dreams to play like Barcelona, but nobody tries that system in a tournament with only 20 days of preparation). Good. He wins few meaningless friendlies and recently played 3 friendly match with Argentina C team, the result Argentina went down to no.10, from 5 in the FIFA rankings. Anyways, all what matters is the Copa America, which is like a prelude to the next WC in Brazil.

From team selection to on field tactics, he has been horrible, exactly following the path of Deigo, that Deigo the worst coach in the last WC is looking better actually now.

He chose Gabi Milito for the centre back, who hasnt started even 10 matches for Barca this season. Whenever Milito played at the CB, Barca always conceded a goal actually. He completely ignores Otamandi, who won everything with FC Porto last season, ignores Ansaldi a decent full back. He plays Zanetti, 38 now, and Rojo who is yet to understand that a full back has to perform some attacking duties. Result: Argentina's backline is a shame, neither can they defend decently, nor can the full backs be of any assistance in attack.

In the midfield, he has 3 defensive midfielders, Mascherrano and Cambiasso who at Barcelona and Inter are considered among the best D M's in the world. In fact Masche was playing Centre back for most of the last games in Barca and he excelled there. He would be a better Centre back than Milito actually. Plus there is Banega, who too is a defensive mid fielder, who actually doesnt start all the games at Valencia. Result: There is no centre midfielder, a creative player like Xavi or Requelme or an attacking midfielder like Iniesta. The space between midfield and the attacking line is too huge that balls will not reach the forward line easily.  His substitute today, for Banega, was Gago, who started less than 5 games for Real Madrid last season.

In the attack, he prefers Tevez and Lavezzi to partner Messi. Both these players are extremely individualistic players. Along with Aguero and D.Milito, all these 4 players looks better when they play as lone strikers. Out of the lot, it might be Aguero and De Maria who could make a better partnership with Messi. Result: The forward line is in shambles. Tevez and Lavezzi's sole aim looks like proving they are even better than Messi.

Because there is no offensive midfielder, Messi has to come deep down for the ball. In the Bolivia match, we could see Messi picking up the ball even from Argentine penalty box. Messi is a team player. We can see him changing a game all by himself many times, but he believes in team play. Some Barca player mentioned that Messi is neither a striker, nor a winger nor an attacking midfield player. He is all in one. He likes and excels playing in all these parts in the same game and he excells there. In a Barca game Messi actively participate in the passing game between Xavi and Iniesta in the midfield and creates goals as much as he scores. He had 25 assists last season (some of them can even embarass Xavi), a huge number for a forward who scored 53 goals in a season. But it looks like none of the Barca attack lines, Tevez, Lavezzi and Banega who is asked to play the offensive MF role here, seems to understand the passing game of Messi. In the Bolivia match, we saw even Zanetti trying to dribble, taking things to own hands. Except for Messi, nobody in that match wanted to pass, making Argentine attack very direct. And Messi was often seen in the centre of the pitch, even Cambiasso playing ahead of him. Messi created at least 4 passes in that match, which Tevez and Lavezzi wasted. Batista, at the end had to say, he did not want to see Messi in the midfield. Messi is a player, who even without the ball, can create spaces for his team mates with his positioning and runs. None of Messi's Argentine mates are interested in using these spaces or they are not instructed to do so.

Against Columbia, it seemed Messi was strictly asked to be on the penalty box. And we could see the best player in the world, the 24 year old player who is on the edge of being crowned, the only  FIFA Balon d'Or winner, consecutively for 3 years in December 2011, waiting in the opposition box, with the ball never reaching him. And even if it did, it was easy for Columbia to crowd him out. Once again, two brilliant passes by Messi was wasted by Lavezzi and Aguero. (In the last two games, I havent seen one single time when Tevez or Lavezzi making a good pass around the box).

As the game progressed, it was for sure that there is something seriously wrong with Argentina. They were all some individuals, no team. Towards 83-84 minutes, the TV camera was on Messi and you could see he is just about to burst in tears. We saw the same face during the Germany match, when Deigo Maradona said, Messi cried like a child in the dressing room. I am sure Messi cried today as well.

It requires enormous effort to play like this with some of the best footballers in the world. In the Castrol rankings (however stupid it may be) Argentina is only behind Spain in the no. of players it have in the first 100. And to make the No.1 look so ordinary is a sin, a grave sin committed by the coach. Batista before the Copa had announced that he didnt want Tevez in the team as he was sure he will not be good together with Messi. It is surprising that he made a u turn and took Tevez in and has started both the matches.

At least, why doesn't he use Pastore as offensive midfielder, who started 80% of Palermo games in Serie A and is now valued above 50 Million by most clubs. May be Pastore is too young to play such an important role. Considering that he has so many players like Tevez, Higuain, Aguero, Milito who can be sole strikers, why cant he ask Messi to play in the mid field. Messi is a brilliant creator of goals.

I dont understand this coach. After the disappointing Bolivia match his words were, Lets see after the next match. Argentina has only one more match now, against Costa Rica, and what is he waiting for. His after the match comments only ensures that he is the only person who is not seeing what football fans and writers from around the world see. Most probably he will play the same failed system against Costa Rica too. He cannot play Barca football with players who are ultra individualistic. Except Messi and Masche nobody in Argentine team seems to put team above self.

For the first time in my life, I am following Argentina since 1982 - even before I was 10 years, I wish Argentina go out of this tournament. That would be the only way to get Batista's bags packed. Hopefully, Grondona then will not go back to Deigo and get some good coach, so that Argentina can have some hope for the next World Cup.

Having some of the world's best footballers at disposal, if one doesn't know how to use the worlds most amazing player ever, it is a grave sin. He makes Messi look like a national player coming back to play with his school team. This is a disgrace for the beautiful game. Batista, please leave.

Or dear Leo, please do not play for Argentina, until they find a good coach. You are solely responsible for Argentina earning millions from the unnecessary friendly matches, so you could take a stand here. For Argentine people seems to cherish you, when you do wonders at Barcelona. But when you play for an Argentina elleven, surrounded by 10 other stars, they blame you for everything, making you just a Catalan.

Knowing how much you want to win something with the Albiceleste, it is terrible that the majority Argentine public and some stupid journalists make you the scapegoat that you did not dribble out the fifth defender and score.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


2006 by Sean Ellis

Some people would say, when they go for a movie with the least expectations, it turns out really good. This wasn't the case exactly yesterday. From the synopsis, I thought I was going to watch a kind of very serious movie, which sounded different. But it turned out as one of the most funny and sweet romantic comedy of a college student - a small master piece. Youngsters I know, always talk about American Pie and those kinds of movie as the most hilarious ones, which spoke about young minds. I simply wish, they watch Cashback. Since its British, they might not. What a miss for them actually.

Ben broke up with his girl friend and develops insomnia. To manage the extra 8 hours, he starts working in super market at night. As he is also an artist, finding beauty in still life, he imagines freezing time and observes the frozen world, him being the only mobile person. He is also attracted to Sharon a coworker in the store. 

Ben narrates the whole movie and the narration, I found, quite nice. Ben has inborn talent as a painter and from a very young age he found the female form charming. He was shocked and desperate about his break up and takes up his new job. Every worker in the store had their own ways of killing time and its natural Ben chose his own way of killing time, but pausing the time. This enables him to undress the females present and sketch them. He sketch Sharon even otherwise. I loved the character of Ben so much. In fact all his past is shown through some carefully placed flash backs and to be honest and frank, it was very nostalgic. How every boy has a crush on some girl in the neighborhood or in the class and even to a teacher and imagines wonders with them and cravings of a young boy to imagine and find what is beautifully covered up by the females, all , is so wonderfully told. Of course, in India, there will never be a girl in the neighborhood who would give a sneak peak for a 50 pence, but I would be lying if I said I had never wished for somebody like that.

The movie has many hilarious moments and it can make even a very serious person to laugh like an idiot, when one least expects it. May it be the two guys at the store, their store supervisor, that bloody funny football match or the strip teaser at the supervisors birth day party who actually turned out to be the Natalie from their child hood, Cashback is brilliant fun. Simply brilliant.

A brilliant director is the major reason why Cashback ends up as no ordinary romantic comedy. It has lots of fun, but it is not just an ordinary comedy too.The scenes involving Ben's walk through the frozen characters, sketching them were extra ordinarily brilliant. I would consider it as a more serious movie about a budding artists imagination and fascination for the female form and curiosity for love, which is told in a brilliant but funny way. It has elements of fantasy in it, but is really realistic. It is not filled with any formulae (from both enterntainment or artistic scales) but still turns out seriously entertaining. There is some nudity here, but what a nice way to capture it. It is not explicit or over done, its very subtle with some simple exotic touches. May be after La Belle Noiseuse, this is that one out of the ordinary movie, which has nude female forms but doesnt invoke any sexual feelings around. Salutes to the director for making it into a different movie, than ending it as another college romance and sex movie.  

Wonderful Cinematography too. And Sean Biggerstaff as Ben really impressed. He has a great charm. 

Sean Ellis, had actually made a short movie by the same name in 2004, which was much acclaimed, he just pre and post fixed some scenes to make it a full length film. I can only appreciate the movie even more, knowing this. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Carne Tremula - Live Flesh

1997 by Pedro Almodovar

Quite a different kind of movie from Almodovar, from all what I have seen so far. Its brilliant.

Victor ends up in  jail, after tussle at Elena's apartment involving two copes Sancho and David. A bullet made David to go on a wheel chair permanently, but he gains the love of Elena. When Victor is back,he  follows Elena and when David tries to confront him, reveals the truth that it was Sancho who shot David. David was having an affair with Clara, Sanchos wife, back then. And here on the movie takes a different turn with both Clara and Elena falling for Victor. And that is not the end yet. 

A beautiful story, which begins during Franco's reign in Madrid, with a delivery in a bus and ends with another possible delivery in the Madrid street in the 90's. In between it is a beautiful story involving 5 characters, a young man who was wrongly sentenced to jail, and two couples. Only one man, Sancho isnt cheating his wife, but he is very macho with her. But Clara has gone for David and is now after Victor. David carried the secret that he was the reason why Victor ended in jail for long from Elena. And Elena lets Victor have a day of revenge by having sex with him whole night and promptly letting David know about that. David then plans another revenge, by informing Sancho about the new affair of his wife and leads to an exciting end to the whole story of infidelity. Many scenes are quite brilliant, especially how both Elena and Sancho was exposed to the photographs at the same time and the final shoot out at Victors place, between Clara and Sancho. Above all, the beginning of the movie was stunningly brilliant.

Penelope appears only for a short period as the mother giving birth to Victor, but I would say she ends up as the best actress, still. Javier Bardem,one of my favourite actor, as David has quite a different role, with a negative shade at the back, but he was brilliant. It might not appear clear, but I am sure he had taken great pains for this role, especially his sport scenes on the wheel chair.

Almodovar is a maestro with human situations. He has made this movie almost like a thriller cum revenge movie, cum drama cum black comedy and what not. And for sure he has some clear fascination for womanhood and feminity. Inspite of all what happens, his men has lot of respect for their women. Also, it is quite wonderful, how he treated the delivery scene and also the passion of the two men, Victor and David, for the female body. The sexual scenes are not explicit, but the passion is felt and is subtly exotic. That one shot of Victor and Clara, which is the major poster shot of Carne Tremula was simply brilliant.

Monday, 4 July 2011


2011 by Sibi Malayil

Till a decade before, the name Sibi Malayil used to give a minimum guarantee to Keralans that there should be something good. And two decades back, his name was enough to have an assurance that the movie would be excellent. Anybody who has watched his Thaniyaavarthanam, would not think twice to watch another movie of his. Like all other veteran directors of Malayalam cinema, he too is swimming in the lower tides of his career.

A girl and boy, with lots of problems behind them, meets and have problems and then fall in love. And there is a villain. 

Its the same old wine, in the old bottle, just with a new label sticked on. But even the wine isnt tasty, as if it was made from grapes collected from various wine yards. Violin ends up by and large a very ordinary of the ordinary movie. The same things that we have seen so many times, but with different actors.

Looking back, Sibi Malayil did well only when he had a good script. That is quite evident now. A director should be able to bring out something even from a poor script, just like Bala did with his Avan Ivan. That movie didnt had a good plot or script, but scene by scene, it was good. In fact many scenes would remain etched in the memory even many days after the show. That clearly proves Bala, is a great director. Even with that poor script, Bala managed to get brilliant performances out from his actors. Compare this with Sibi Malayil and he has really failed. There are only few scenes, very few, where he does good as a director. To repeatedly make his actors perform poorly, scene after scene, speaks very lowly about Sibi Malayil.

I am really falling for Nithya Menon. She is looking more and more gorgeous in each movie. But really wish, she hadnt done this movie at all. She will want to forget this movie very soon. Further evidence that the performance of an actor is at the hands of the director. There may not be anybody associated with this movie, who would want to project this movie at any point of their character, except the guy who played as a friend of the hero. He was excellent. 

Delhi Belly

2011 by Abhinay Deo

Since Lagaan happened, Amir Khan is always associated with good cinema, especially by the great Indian middle class. I think he called this production of his something like Adult Comedy. I was almost sure, this must be a desi remake or mixing up of many American Pie's, Loony Tunes, Euro trips or movies like that. Well, I was wrong and right also. Yet, another effort by Bollywood to make a hollywood movie in India. And this time, its in English too. So hopefully, he could try his luck at the Oscars, his dream forever.

Tashi and his two friends share a typical Indian Bachelor accommodation, somewhere in old Delhi. Tashi's airhostess girl friend, hands him a packet to be couriered to some address, which he further passes to his friends and finally this pack is mixed up with a pack of stool. Bad guys are after them for the packet. 

If one is in the right mood, you will laugh it out, during the whole movie. If at all you decide to think a little bit, you might find it , well a bit weird or strange or even ugly or like a hotch-spotch of many hollywood attempts. But let me admit, this is not a movie to think or wonder about some logics or anything like that. It is an out and out escapist fare, to just have some fun. And there is loads of fun, and to be frank, there are moments of brilliant fun. But mostly, I found it as desperate attempts to make a laugh. And here the desperate attempts are mostly around a bad stomache and frequent visits to the toilet, which lacks water and et all. Anyways the crowd was laughing it out.

But I found the movie ended up as neither Hollywood nor Indian. The characters sometimes behaves as if they are in America and sometimes as Indians. At times they spoke with an American accent and then real Indian English. So mostly it turns out as a Hollywoodish kind of comedy, meant not for children, but happening in India surrounded by Indian sensibilities. Or may be I am ignorant and there might be people in India who behaves as if they are neither American nor Indian. Possible. If at all, Indians used so much of 'fuck' in their talks and spoke out loud about 'blowjobs' and 'assholes', this movie is normal. May be there are and then I am wrong. When one character's girl friends walks out to another marriage, the guys thought is to appear at the wedding and scream - she has given me a blow job. Isnt all this taken directly out of hollywood scripts. May be the modern metro Indian youth, even the middle cass or lower middle class ones, might be dreaming America or Hollywood. If yes, then I am wrong for sure. Also, when lots of kissing happens in public and Indian public don't even care, then definitely India has changed and I am blind not to see the change.

Add to it the use of English and I wondered for how many Indians, is this movie made for. Even, small town educated Indians might not easily understand the English in many scenes. But there is some cheap fun and bit slap stick that all would understand. I really didnt understand why this movie was shot in English. The only point might be the need to reach a larger International audience. But I would say, they might not find it too much as an adult comedy. This might be adult comedy for Indians, but not for the west, I am afraid. Even if they did, they would only consider Bollywood has just joined the kinder garden for adult comedy.

I do not know the name of most actors in this movie, but the casting was brilliant and the performance of almost all of them too. Vijay Raaz as the gangster, was the best for me. Also that actress who played Maneka. Her expressions after the kissing in the car, were really brilliant. In spite of all this, I would still say the director deserves credit to make a sleek movie, with an excellent pace.

Should you want to just laugh, escape from stress then watch Delhi Belly. There is plenty of laugh and some are really brilliant.

But as an Indian, I feel really sad when we try to follow west to the hilt. 

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Trois Couleurs: Blanc - Three Colours: White

1994 by Krzysztov Keislowski

The second movie in the Trois couleurs trilogy, based on white, the colour of equality in French tri color. It is more of a Polish French movie, than Blue which was only French. But what a brilliant movie it is, I like it even more than the first. A very different kind of revenge movie.

Karol is objecting the divorce petition by his wife Dominique, in a Paris court. Karol is from Poland and he is made to be understood that Dominique does not love him anymore. The only reason being Karol fails to consummate their marriage. Karol is almost humiliated, and lose all his assets to his ex wife. Moreover, he feels nearly like a beggar in Paris city. He meets another Pol, Mikolaj, who helps him to go to Poland. Karol starts some stupid work, but beats his boss into buying a large plot and cleverly resells it to his boss, making some money. He starts a new business with Mikolaj. He makes a will declaring all his assets to Dominique and then fakes his death. Dominique is promptly found guilty. 

This is such a brilliant revenge movie. Karol lose everything, he was in Paris streets with just 2 francs, and above all lost his self esteem during the divorce case. The reason for his failure on bed, which was fine before the marriage, is not mentioned but its clear the consummation alone was the reason behind the divorce. He leaves the life of a beggar in the city, before agreeing for a weird way of transfer to Poland with Mikolaj. Again, it is not mentioned, from where Karol manages the money to buy the land. Except for these couple of hitches, the plot is brilliant, bloody brilliant. In fact, once Karol has decided for his revenge, we can watch the rest of the movie only with a smile. For, the director really made us feel for Karol, with his humiliation in Paris. So we too will feel for his revenge. The whole execution of the revenge, hence, is extremely brilliant.

The master stroke here is definitely, the appearance of Karol in front of Dominique, when she is back after her ex husbands funeral. Even before Dominique thinks twice, Karol wins her and enjoy sex with her, after a long time. Well, Dominique doesnt see him in the morning and instead only finds some police man. Her phone call to Mikolaj then, asking about Karol, is one of the funniest scenes, brilliantly funny. Dominique seems to have convinced herself that all was a dream.

The final scene, when Karol takes a look at Dominique in jail, is bloody brilliant. Dominique sees him and it is for us to interpret, if she thinks it is reality or a dream, but her reaction clearly indicates she loves Karol again. I would rather think, Dominique feels it only as Karol in her dream. But for sure, Karol realises that he is back in her heart and his three streams of tears, was one of the most brilliant climatic frame of any movie I have seen.

I feel so happy to have watched this movie. It is quite different from the first in the triology series. In Blue, Juliet Binoche accidentally gets to watch a court room scene. That scene is actually from this movie. This may be nothing, but I found it brilliant. It was also nice to see the use of white, in a subdued way through out, in the movie. Wonderful cinematography and music too. An excellent performance by all actors, especially Zbigniew Zamachowsky as Karol.

When Blue, was nearly an anti - tragedy, White is nearly an anti - comedy, I would say.

As a movie, I enjoyed it thuroughly. But about the story, I cant help thinking that final end of the movie was a bit too much for the female. Of course the wife here was really cruel on her part, but she had a reason to claim divorce. Sex is as important as air and food. May be she could have been more kind with Karol. The final scene in jail, when she tells something to Karol through actions, it is so brilliant, that we would really feel sorry for Dominique. Yes, she was bad, but did she deserve such a big punishment, I am not sure.