Saturday, 21 November 2015


Love by Gaspar Noe  English film from France - 2015

Gasper Noe broke my heart with his classic Irreversible, when he let 'my' beautiful Monica Bellucci to be violently raped for more than 15 minutes on screen. Irreversible was brilliant cinema from this Argentinian director, and it was path breaking in its cinematic language and technique and what not. Ever since Love released, I wanted to watch it and this has been a long long wait to get a copy, while I had to listen to all sorts of reviews and comments about it. Most in the English world called it porn cinema or artistic porn or pretentious cinema and so on, but elsewhere the world looked at it differently. Finally, my lady too talked about it as beautiful cinema, and I couldn't wait any more. I got the copy yesterday and to be very frank, I was a little bit disappointed. This could be because my expectations were so high or because of the director himself and the so many varied opinions including my wife's. 

Like in En La Cama, the Chilean movie, Love starts with sex. For most of the first half of the cinema, I was kind of disappointed and had so many questions. Is this really Gaspar Noe. Why did he have to make this movie in English, why did this hero had to be American. What is wrong with the love making scenes, which for some reason lacked genuine passion and so on.

Love is about an American man falling in love with a French girl, in Paris, but has to live with another girl because he got her pregnant. 

Mr. Noe hasn't forgotten his Irreversible style yet, the flashbacks works backwards in Love. I found the second half excellent and looking back, I must say, this cinema is another path breaker from Noe about relationship and love.

During the second half of the movie, a policeman is talking to the American and he says something in these lines -" You are in France now. Forget about your American feelings. Enjoy it, there are so many beautiful woman out there, go and enjoy with them and forget your possessive nature about your girlfriend, let her enjoy too. There are so many desires of hers which you may not be able to fulfill and vice versa. So trust each other and go out to a night club or sex club and enjoy your sexuality calmly with others as well. There is nothing wrong about it, feel your sexuality and fulfill your desires. As long as your girlfriend know that you are going to get back to her after (just) a sexual adventure, she will be fine and you should do the same to her too. Relax, dont be possessive".

For me, the whole essence of Love, is in these lines. I felt, Gaspar Noe wants to tell the conservative English world to not be possessive about sexuality and relationship. To look at the French and get inspired. To forget their orthodox views about sex and relationships and look at it with a more open mind. By all this he wants them to enjoy their love, sex and life even more.

Looking at it that way, I would say, Love is excellent. But I would also say, the scenes of sex lacked a kind of passion which I could feel, say in La Vie d' Adele. The raw sex scenes, all of them, in LVA looked like love making, while in Love, it looked simply like sex. I hope you get the difference. Love is not exceptionally great cinema, but it is definitely bold (even shows a nude trans gender!), non conformist, treats sex as normality, and have wonderful music and visuals which include raw sex. Acting, mostly, was average though and none of the actors had any kind of charm. I got answers to all my questions by the end of the movie, which is good.

I must say, it is possible that people who are not aware about the French ways, of openness to sexuality and relationships, might easily misunderstand this movie as porn cinema.

Finally, it is such a pity that most of my fellow Indians would never get to watch this movie. Indians need to watch it more than those in the conservative English world. Even if they lack the openness or passion for sex like the French, many in the West do not consider sex only as a means for child production. In India, vast majority strongly do believe in this medieval English rhetoric. This movie is intended for our (Indian) kind of population, where a couple in wedlock is taken for granted as enjoying healthy love life, irrespective of how much love and love-making remains in their relationship. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Best movies from Oct '15

Man Som Hatar Kvinnor - Men Who Hate Women - 2009 by Niels Arden Oplev - Swedish
aka The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
A journalist is assisted by a young hacker, who herselves has a troubled past and present, in solving a 40 year old murder mystery.
This is like a cinematic classic amongst all the Nordic Noir masterpieces (TV serials). If you like investigative cinema, then this is a must watch. Please just do not expect the Hollywood style of fantasy investigation and you will be in for a treat of cinematic brilliance.

One of the scenes in this movie is definitely among the best ever revenge scene by a female character in the history of cinema, I believe. This is not a revenge movie, the scene just falls in to the life of the hacker, the girl with the dragon tattoo.

The movie was followed up by two more releases.
Flickan Som Lekte - The Girl who played with Fire and

Luftslottet som Sprangdes - The Girl who kicked the Hornets Nest

Once you watch the first, you would not want to miss the rest of the trilogy and you wont be disappointed.

PU -239 by Scott Z Burns - English/British - 2006
A nuclear plant technician is exposed to radiation, losing his job, has to ensure a good future for his wife and kid. 
In many ways, this is a kind of thriller without pretending to be one whilst telling us how dangerous the nuclear world is. Brilliant movie with just one fault - why the hell did they decide to shoot it in English, I wonder. Russian language and actors would have made it much better.

Well, I spend many days watching, Engrenages and I have to say I have become a huge huge fan. Can celluloid ever create something more realistic and more cinematic than this brilliant adaptation of police life.

Engrenages (Spiral) season 2 - 5

Only for the second time, after Sarah Lund from Forbrydelsen, am in love with a character. A simple difference is that I have become a huge fan of the actress too, who played Laure Berthaud. Laure is just one of the many hero cum anti heroes of Engrenages, but she is absolutely brilliant. Laure has many different faces and aspects unlike Sarah immersed in the work fetish  Lund. And Laure make us fall in love with her even during her negative moments. She is adorable and charming and thrilling and what not.

Somebody said, France is not rich like Hollywood or HBO as far as production values are concerned. True, its riches lie in its acting and creative talents. There is not a single actor in this series who is not about quality. Am talking about a quality which is above the international standards we are used to. The series itself is co-written - by a Police officer using a pseudonym - that the whole series is unbelievably realistic. It is a continuously evolving web of games between the magistrates, police, lawyers and criminals. There is nothing which looks out of reality. It looks like we are watching some CCTV cameras placed within the system.

This is exactly how Justice system or police must be doing things in their real life. I have never seen or read about a police officer who attested for a police (or system) movie, which he felt is close to reality. Well, there are now police stations in France who keep posters of Engrenages on their walls. That speaks a lot for the authenticity of this show. And the group of actors, all of them picked from French theatre, took the quality to a level above.

France was always about theatre and cinema. They were not that popular for TV serials. Engrenages has changed it and have become its biggest TV export, having already sold to 70 countries. No, I dont think it will ever come to India, as we are obsessed with stupid Hollywood products. Like always, Engrenages too will be remade in the US and it is for sure they will kill it like they did with Forbrydelsen. I dont have any idea how they will recreate the examining judge or the investigating judge of French justice system in the US.

And I should mention about a Hindi cinema too.

Margarita with a straw by Shonali Bose & Nilesh Maniyar - 2015 - Hindi

This was not brilliant cinema for me, just a cute good watch. However, I would always applaud the courage shown by the makers. They have dared to show a female Indian protagonist  masturbating on screen, should be a first for Indian cinema. And goes even further, makes the character a bisexual, all that requires huge balls.

Unfortunately, the character is differently abled, which means most of the viewers, including our Censor board, would look at it with lots of pity. I wonder, how would the 'Moral Indians' react to a normal character doing the above on screen.

Its also interesting that whenever our cinema has a differently abled person - as a major character - sh/e is always from a wealthy background. Why dont we dare to pick up such a character from our majority, our poor. All the shining Indians would then accuse the movie for poverty porn, I guess. 

The Malayalam movie Pathemmari was a good watch too. It is sad that an actor like Mammooty dont get  challenging roles anymore.

The Tamil movie Naanum Rowdi Thaan too was a good watch. An entertainer with lots of well taken funny moments. Vijay Sethupathi, once again, at his best.