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* Drafting of numerous speculation scripts covering all genres of cinema.
* Mr.Lalit Rao is a member of FIPRESCI
(The International Federation of Film Critics)
* Interested in World cinema, Philosophy and Linguistics.
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Russian director Pavel Lungin presents the life affirming aspects of Russian Orthodox church in 'Ostrov'/'The Island'.
At a time when catholic church is involved in numerous controversies which have distanced followers from this religion, the success of the Russian film 'Ostrov'/'The Island' should be heralded as the breath of fresh air. It brings home the message that it is only a religion which can bring spiritual succor to human beings. The involvement of its leading player Pyotr Mamonov is nothing short of a miracle. Initially, he was reluctant to act in this film. However, at a later date he was convinced by a religious authority that such a role would bring him closer to religion. It is with great poise that he played the role of a holy monk who is afflicted by guilt as something unpleasant happened to him during second world war. In Russia, there is hardly anybody from the old generation who has not heard his rock songs which spoke about freedom. Apart from the rich message about man's need to embrace spirituality, Ostrov succeeds as the locations where it was shot are simply extraordinary. Filmed in the province of Karelia, Ostrov boasts of some of the finest locations ever filmed to portray an orthodox monastery. Past experience has shown that religion and cinema haven't been good mates. Russian film 'Ostrov' is an absolute exception to this rule. It is solely for this reason that it must be watched by all and sundry.
Traitement de choc (1973)
This Alain Jessua film enables viewers to have a tiny glimpse of their favorite stars in the buff.
It is not possible for anybody to prevent films from getting negative publicity or becoming famous for 'wrong reasons'. French director Alain Jessua directed one important film in his long career which could easily belong to the above mentioned category. It is called 'Traitement De Choc'/Shock Treatment.For absolute puritans, the appearance of French actors Alain Delon and Annie Girardot in some nude scenes might be a cause of concern but for average viewers they provide a healthy dose of voyeurism which is something that is craved by all people. However, the true essence of a film cannot simply rest on the presence of just few sex scenes. This is precisely why a film like Shock Treatment is revolutionary as it was the first film in the history of cinema which heralded the use of human beings as guinea pigs for sadistic pleasures of a few denizens of a selfish capitalist society. Director Alain Jessua chose to highlight the sad plight of impoverished Portuguese boys who were deceived into selling their own bodies when they came to France in search of a better living. Shock treatment is not a horror film but some scenes are not for viewers with a weak heart. Lastly, if you have been enjoying actor Alain Delon's performances as a leading man then 'Shock Treatment' has an element of surprise in it. Watch it in order to explore it with your own eyes.
Hélas pour moi (1993)
This Jean-Luc Godard film would not be an easy affair for all viewers to understand his vision, if there is any !!
Franco-Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard continues to be an enigma.It is not only the choice of the topics of his films but also the way he films them makes him a puzzling director.'Hélas,Pour Moi'/'Oh,woe is me' is one such film which brings forth the enigmatic as well as recondite nature of his film making techniques.In terms of conventional customs prevalent in the world of cinema,this film makes very little or no sense at all despite having taken the services of some good actors including French super star Gérard Depardieu.The entire film is imbued with a plethora of words which transport viewers to a world of poetry.However,this verbosity becomes an impediment to the film's narrative flow as there is an evident lack of story.It is not so long ago that this same director favored a beginning,a middle and an end in the same film.However, Oh,woe is me suffers enormously from the lack of these elements. This is a big price for a film to pay as despite beautiful locations including trains and ships,this very film has failed to communicate any message to viewers.This is something which every viewer would take with oneself when this film is watched.
Italian director Gianni Amelio creates a humane story by depicting the fall of communist party ruled nation called Albania.
Italian director Gianni Amelio is a true filmmaker who is absolutely committed to his art.It is this serious as well as loyal commitment to the real cause of cinema which has led him to make a unique place for himself as a filmmaker whose stories are rooted in culture and civilizations in which they take place.Whether it is Albania or China,films by director Gianni Amelio always make a lot of sense as they never neglect the local stories for reaching the global audiences.The scale on which Gianni Amelio shoots his films is grand.'Lamerica' is an enduring proof of the grandeur of his vision.In this film,he depicts the mean nature of some human beings for whom the other persons'sufferings are a source of personal aggrandizement.There is also a lot of authenticity as Lamerica is based on the real story about the collapse of Albania after the end of a very long communist rule.How an affluent culture is blindly followed by a less fortunate culture has also been vividly described in Lamerica. This is exactly an element which makes the whole story palatable to audiences' tastes.
This made for television film by Roberto Rossellini is a good introduction to Greek philosopher Socrates.
Apart from his feature films,Italian director Roberto Rossellini was famous for some of his films which were made for television.It was in these films that he told the stories of some of the greatest philosophers who took birth on earth. Among these films one can mention the names of films about Blaise Pascal,Saint Augustine,René Descartes and Socrates.The film 'Socrates' is not a biography per se.It does not show all the important events which took place in the life of Socrates.It is an important film not only for viewers of cinema and television but also for admirers of philosophy.As a filmmaker,apart from 'Socrates', Rossellini reveals a lot about the times in which the great philosopher flourished.One gets to see the state of Athens when Socrates was condemned.The film 'Socrates' was not shot in Greece but most viewers wouldn't be able to recognize that the locations used in the film are in Spain.Locations are of less importance if the cast is good.This is one reason why actor Jean Sylvère has done a great job.He is perfect in his role as 'Socrates'.He looks so convincing as if the real Greek philosopher is in our midst.This is one of the main points of this film.
Ludzie z pociagu (1961)
In 'People on a train',Polish director Kazimierz Kutz films a small yet highly significant act of heroism.
One has to just think of a great film featuring a war and a train would automatically come to mind. While Czech cinema gave its immortal classic, 'Closely watched trains' directed by the legendary director Jiri Menzel to the admirers of cinema, Polish cinema also had its fair share of films depicting war where trains have played a major role. 'Ludzie Z Pociagu'/'People on a train' is one brilliant example of a war film featuring innocent people whose lives depended a lot on the running of a train. In this film, director Kazimierz Kutz depicts how an act of heroism involving the seizure of a gun is responsible in allowing the viewers to get a better idea of the microcosm of Polish society. A motley group of ordinary polish citizens is depicted which include smugglers, a widow, a pair of young lovers, a young boy who has lost two brothers in war etc. The film begins with a senior rail employee explaining the importance of trains which stop even in a remote station in Poland to his female assistant. Although it has a lot of suspense, 'People on a train' doesn't ignore to highlight its humanist concern as it shows how people of different beliefs and values can team up to defeat their common enemy. Actor Jerzy Blok who plays the role of station master Kalinski emerges as a clear winner as it is solely through his sheer genius and patience, innocent lives are saved. 'People on a train' has been shot entirely on location in Kuriany, a remote village in Bialystok province.
Eroica-A masterpiece by Polish director Andrzej Munk which shows that heroism is not a virtue for some people in times of war.
Most people associate war with suffering as no war is devoid of untold misery.It is for this reason most works of art are created with a serious approach in order to understand human suffering which has taken place during the times of war. However, there are some exceptions too. These works have approached war in a lighter vein as the idea in these works has been to reveal the strange mechanisms of human mind. Polish director Andrzej Munk's classic film 'Eroica' is one such work of art wherein war is treated from a comical point of view. His film does its best to provide good laughter through its two sketches which depict Polish people who were caught in war when Nazi Germany attacked Poland. In the first sketch, 'Scherzo Alla Polacca', heroism is completely avoided by an innocent army man who decides that he would like to live at all costs. This episode is funny as it shows how a common man is ready to pay any price in order to stay alive including pardoning his wife who was involved in an affair with an army general. The second sketch, "Ostinato Lugubre" doesn't have any trace of slapstick humor but is able to garner some laughter by depicting amusing antics of a group of captured Polish army officers who hanker continually after cigarettes and food. This episode is more serious in nature due to its depiction of two deaths. However, some viewers might have a good laugh at the vain efforts made by these officers to get hold of glory when there is nothing to be had. Eroica seems to suggest that heroism might be a virtue for many but there are many who don't want to make a mess of their lives by pursuing it in vain. However, the danger is that the voices of this silent majority is not heard. It is hoped that after watching 'Eroica', viewers would change their perceptions about this silent minority.
Prestuplenie i nakazanie (1970)
This Lev Kulidjanov film is the best 'Crime and Punishment' adaptation for cinema.
Russian literature continues to be celebrated as well as read in large numbers as it has always provided a fertile ground as well as ample opportunities to different filmmakers in order to make serious films which reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the human mind. There is hardly any educated person who has not books by great Russian writers such as Chekov, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, Tolstoy and Turgenev. Most talented directors working in the field of cinema have also adapted Russian novels for their films. The continual filming of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's classic novel 'Crime and Punishment' by directors from major film making nations is a proof of this trend. According to a rough estimate more than 40 film adaptations of 'Crime and Punishment' have been made since 1909. However, this particular film is considered the best rendition of Dostoyevsky's existential ideas due to its professional filmmaking techniques coupled with humane as well as sensible assimilation of all of this novel's major ideas in an ingenious screenplay for which director Lev Kulidzhanov collaborated with Nikolai Figurosky. Both as a film as well as a novel 'Crime and punishment' is extremely relevant to the humanity in the troubled times in which we are living especially if one were to consider 'money' as the root cause of all human suffering. Human suffering has not changed at all as even in the times depicted in the film innocent souls like Raskolnikov and Sonia had to suffer immensely as they lead lives of poverty. The eccentricities of human nature have also been vividly portrayed in this film as each character exhibits a peculiar form of behavior which might not be compatible with that of another character. Apart from being a virulent critique of money, 'crime and punishment' strongly presents the idea that for every crime there is bound to be a punishment. There is hardly any crime for which no punishment is given. All crimes carry punishments with them. This is the message which viewers of this film have to take regardless of their liking for it or not.
Zaklete rewiry (1975)
Polish director Janusz Majewski shows the tough lives of hotel workers in 'Zaklete Rewiry'.
Polish film 'Zaklete Rewiry' was produced in 1975 by the famous film studio TOR. This Janusz Majewski film is also known as 'Hotel Excelsior'. It chronicles the professional as well as emotional life of a young boy Roman Boryczko who is able to make a formidable standing in hotel business through hard work. However, adverse circumstances at work force him to realize that hard work is simply not enough to reach on the top in the 'dog eat dog' world of a service oriented hotel industry. The unique thing about 'Zaklete Rewiry' is the filming of a large chunk of its major portions in the restaurant of a grand hotel where some eccentric characters come to eat food and make merry. Many of these figures help viewers to understand the mysteries of human nature at a close distance as their eccentricities throw light about the vagaries of human nature. One needs to watch how a baron comes in search of sexual adventures by targeting the young Boryszko. With actor Marek Kondrat giving one of his best performances as a young hotel industry professional, this Czech-Polish co production has been brilliantly shot by DOP Miroslav Ondricek.
Veteran South Korean director Lee Jang Ho depicts some serious themes in one of his best films.
'The man with three coffins' is considered to be an important film in the history of South Korean cinema. It is for the first time that a film shows its maturity by nicely depicting serious themes of alienation, death and isolation. Its director Lee Jang Ho is a veteran of South Korean cinema who received formal training in film making by working with another maverick director Shin Shan OK. The film has also its covert political aspect which was not highlighted to a large extent. However, it would be easy for viewers familiar with DMZ to recognize its presence. The portrayal of sexual encounters has always been a main ingredient of many a South Korean films and this film doesn't attempt to be an exception to that rule. However, it makes a separate identity for itself by allowing its hero to refuse sexual overtures. Lastly, filmed as a meditative road movie which takes its protagonist to different regions of South Korea, 'The man with three coffins' is filmed in red which provides a timeless quality to the film.
The Tenants is a completely different film directed by Iranian cinema author Dariush Mehrjui.
Iranian film 'Ejareh-Nesheenha' is one of those rare films which gives viewers an idea about the rapid urbanization of Iranian capital Tehran and its socioeconomic impact on its ordinary citizens. Most of the film is set in a house needing immediate repairs which is believed to be the prized possession of not only two brothers who are constantly bickering but also of some dispossessed tenants who do not seem to have means to afford any other kind of housing. As a film making nation which takes pride in taking good care of its censorship authorities, Iranian cinema has been successful in learning the art of avoiding controversial topics in order to displease its censors. This might be one of the plausible reasons for the dearth of comedy films in the annals of Iranian cinema. However, it is solely through its ingenuity that 'The Tenants' has been hailed by both critics as well as viewers as one of Iranian cinema's best box office success for a comedy film. Featuring an excellent comedy of observation, in many ways 'The Tenants' marked the departure of artistic sensibilities for Iranian director Dariush Mehrjui as almost all his previous films dealt with serious topics. However, it is sad to note that the success of a comedy film like 'The Tenants' has not been favorably received by other Iranian cineastes as after its shooting, not many comedy films were made or are being made in Iran.
Angae maeul (1983)
Village of haze is one of the early films which bears the mark of Im Kwon Taek's directorial style.
South Korean film Angaemaeul gives an honest albeit veiled account of sexual hypocrisy practiced by villagers of an ordinary village. It is through the arrival of a lady school teacher and her subsequent stay in the village that a lot of hidden secrets are revealed. This film is also known to erudite viewers as 'Village of Haze". It is one of the early films on which South Korean auteur director Im Kwon Taek left his artistic impressions especially in the manner he has handled the portrayal of a controversial topic on screen. With the story moving at a relatively slow pace, 'village of haze' keeps its viewers glued to their seats through its meticulous depiction of the ordinary lives of villagers who always find an outlet to release their frustrations by tormenting a hapless vagabond. Although the film is set in a remote village in South Korea, the universal connotations of its story cannot be undermined at all as similar behavioral patterns can also be found in countless other countries. Based on a short story called "The Island of Anonymity" written by Lee Mun Yeol, Village of Haze features excellent acting performances by veteran actor Ahn Sung Ki as the vagabond who silently suffers all atrocities heaped on him by dishonest villagers. Despite its risqué theme of sexual hypocrisy in a small village, Angaemaeul is not at all an explicit film. In essence, it is a perfect film for admirers of South Korean cinema especially those viewers who have necessary knowledge about director Im Kwon Taek and his films.
301, 302 (1995)
Director Park Cheol Soo shows that the consumption of gourmet food cannot make everybody happy.
South Korean film '301/302' describes the effect food has on two women who live difficult lives in their individual apartments. Both of them don't have anything in common but it is food which is able to bring them closer albeit with disastrous results. Director Park Cheol Su has made numerous films which have depicted the world from the point of view of women. This feminine touch is also evident in 301/302 which goes beyond the realms of being a simple film about food. The film features a very stark portrayal of serious problems faced by its female protagonists which include both emotional as well as sexual exploitation at the hands of family members. For a film with a lot of drama, the pace of 301/302 is fast as various stories are merged together to advance the overall pace of the film. The sight of gourmet food in this film might induce some viewers to value food as the most important pleasure in life. However, after a careful examination of the lives led by two leading ladies there would be viewers who might be forced to change their overall perspective about food and life in general. One should be careful to recognize this strong aspect of the film.
Ucieczka z kina 'Wolnosc' (1990)
An absolutely difficult albeit thoroughly accessible film by one of Polish cinema's most intellectual directors Mr. Wojciech Marczewski.
Polish film 'Ucieczka z Kina 'Wolnosc' is better known to a handful of erudite cinema viewers as 'Escape from liberty cinema'. It remains a veiled assault against the ills of censorship. Made in 1990, a time when most communist regimes collapsed in Eastern Europe, by Polish director Wojciech Marczewski, this film describes the damages which censorship can do in order to destroy a film as well as people associated with it and how these damages can be countered ? There is no biased stance in the film as even the hidden human side of a much hated censor official is depicted. However, it turns out to be ineffective as it comes at a wrong time when a lot of damage had already been done. 'Escape from liberty cinema' is a brave effort by acclaimed Polish director Wojciech Marczewski which needs to be applauded at all costs as during its actual shooting, there was always a hidden possibility to receiving plausible threats from Communist party as well as censors. In many ways, it reflects the dilemma in which many national cinemas of East Europe had put themselves after the collapse of communist regimes. Part comedy, part tragedy and part drama this film is a work of a genius as no easy answers are given in the film. The viewer is required to delve deeper into a character to find out more about the overall meaning of the film. Lastly cinema is a universal language is highlighted as it pays homage to American cinema especially to Woody Allen. It is nice to learn that even during communist times, some award winning American films were accessible to Polish people. Lastly, actors walking out of screens have become regular attractions in cinema. It was for the first time in the history of cinema that an actor walked on to the screen to solve artistic problems.
Jäniksen vuosi (1977)
The idea of human freedom has been discussed in great detail by Finnish director Risto Jarva in 'The Year of the hare'
Finnish film 'Jäniksen Vuosi' is based on a critically acclaimed book 'The year of the hare' written by famous journalist Arto Paasilinna. It has already achieved the status of a 'cult film' in Finland. However, it has a lot to offer to foreign viewers as its theme of man's closeness to nature as well as animals is dear to many people in the world. The notion of human freedom is very much evident throughout all scenes helmed by Finnish director Risto Jarva in 'The year of the hare'. While watching this film, a viewer is compelled to ask whether we are really free ? How and to what extent are we free ? What kind of freedom has been bestowed to us ? According to 'The year of the rabbit', a rabbit as a man's companion is an innocent idea which must not be confused with an American magazine for men ! It is not easy for anybody to simply leave the job to spend time with an animal. For this reason, director Risto Jarva has given a logical conclusion to an advertising executive's frustrations which compel him to leave his job and a nagging wife. As a family film which can be enjoyed by everybody, 'The year of the hare' informs everybody about the importance of wilderness as it is the only place where human beings can free themselves from the harmful influences of modern civilization.
Arlington Road (1999)
In 'Arlington Road',American director Mark Pellington invites viewers to reflect upon the role played by neighbors in uncertain times.
One often believes that good deeds done by a person are rewarded in some form or another. This belief becomes more strong when two people involved in an exchange of good deeds happen to be neighbors. This observation is the basis of 'Arlington Road', a thriller which has some nice moments of a strong beginning part, an average middle section and a weak ending. For a fast paced thriller, director Mark Pellington has extracted superb performances from all actors especially its lead stars Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins as neighbors who were beginning to become good friends until some sudden unexpected events impacted their friendship. 'Arlington Road' is also the perfect family film which gives viewers ample idea about the vulnerability of an ordinary man who is used as bait by people who claim to be friends. Apart from questioning the validity of friendship in a fast changing uncertain environment, this film also questions the reasons one might have behind trusting/mistrusting neighbors.
Dayereh mina (1977)
Iranian director Dariush Mehrjui shows how an innocent boy gets corrupted when he mixes with dishonest people.
Iranian film 'The Circle' concerns the loss of innocence experienced by a young boy when he comes to Iranian capital Tehran to get his ailing old father cured. The film raises pertinent questions about corruption as it depicts perversion of integrity and moral depravity in a government hospital where adulterated blood is sold to poor patients by organized gangs. Director Mehrjui raises a very relevant question about an innocent person who sees corruption everywhere. He asks viewers directly for how long can an innocent person continue to remain innocent when all social structures are supporting widespread corruption. In 'The Cycle', much of the action happens within the confines of a huge government hospital whose workers do not seem to have any moral scruples. It is not only nurses but doctors too who don't have the willingness to change. Due to its controversial subject matter including mild sexual currents, 'The Cycle' continues to be banned in Iran. It is an important film in the cinematographic oeuvre of Iranian director Dariush Mehrjui whose films have enjoyed considerable critical acclaim as well as substantial commercial success.
Classes differences and human weaknesses have been nicely portrayed by director Luis Buñuel in 'Diary of a Chambermaid'.
French writer Octave Mirbeau's novel 'The diary of a Chambermaid' had achieved immense success due to its association with Dreyfuss affair.It was director Luis Buñuel's natural choice for a film where he could talk in detail about sexual perversity,class differences and human weaknesses.It can be said with certainty that Buñuel has succeeded as his film gives viewers plenty of opportunities to learn more about rich as well as poor people and their idiosyncrasies especially strange circumstances which enable them to behave in given situations.From a cinematographic point of view,this film's fantastic cast has made a lot of difference in the way its message got conveyed.Actor Georges Géret is able to do enormous justice to his role of Joseph as he has villainous looks. As she was already hailed as a 'sex symbol', actress Jeanne Moreau did not have to work too hard to portray the role of Célestine,a woman who makes good use of her sexual charm to win men around her.Actor Michel Piccoli didn't waste any chances to excel himself as the sympathetic representative of a corrupt,bourgeois society.
Director Alexander Proshkin's film 'The cold summer of 1953' tackles the question of the enemies of the Russian state.
Generally, amnesty is provided to prisoners on humanitarian grounds in order to initiate reform process. However, there are instances when an offer of amnesty is misused by certain prisoners. Director Alexander Proshkin's Russian film "The cold summer of 1953" chronicles how some escaped convicts misuse amnesty provided to them to terrorize innocent villagers. Based on a series of true events which have a lot of historical significance for Russian people, Proshkin's film faithfully describes how the clash of ideologies continue to have a massive impact on the destinies of ordinary people. In the case of this film, Soviet leader Stalin's death enabled Beria to proclaim amnesty for hardened criminals, a group of people who were deemed as 'enemy of the state'. For a film which has a steady balance of action, drama and thriller, it is surprising to note that some space was also kept for portraying the innocence of ordinary people who were determined to continue with their ordinary lives. This quality would surely appeal to all viewers who might like to explore new facets of this film.
The Crow (1994)
American director Alex Proyas' film 'The Crow' continues to enjoy its cult film status.
'The Crow' was American actor Brandon Lee's last film where has left indelible marks on all scenes in which he has featured. There are numerous reasons which might have compelled director Alex Proyas to choose 'The Crow' as a bird who helps a man avenge senseless killings. One should note that the crow symbolizes the perfect harmony between a bird and a human to wage a war against injustices. A crow is the best spirit animal associated with life's mysteries and magic. Apart from beautifully choreographed action scenes, it has a strong revenge story with ample scope for drama. In one of the major subplots, viewers are able to watch how a neglected child is able to get happiness when her mother realizes the mistakes she made by ignoring her. The cult film status accorded to American director Alex Proyas' film 'The Crow' is justified by all means. In 1994, at the time of its release it was hailed as both box office success as well as many critics' favorite film.It is no wonder that there is hardly any director who has artistic abilities to direct a sensible remake of 'The Crow'.This information should be taken into account to measure the overall success of the film 'The Crow'
Post Tenebras Lux (2012)
Post Tenebras Lux or the amazing art of making a pretentious film by Mexican director Carlos Reygadas.
Mexican film 'Post Tenebras Lux' begins with an amazingly surreal opening sequence.It is a very crucial part of the film as it reveals the ways in which this film's young actors have been directed. Director Carlos Reygadas has not been able to capitalize a lot on the brilliant opening shots as much of the subsequent film is muddled and reeks of pretentiousness.Elements like literature and sex have been introduced by the filmmaker to convey hidden messages. In one instance there are people trying to outsmart each other by sharing their shallow knowledge of Russian literature by quoting some of its greatest authors namely Chekov,Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy. Reygadas also uses sex in order to delve deeper into pretentiousness as names of great philosophers such as Kant and Foucault are taken in order to portray a freaky encounter with strangers in a bathhouse.This film's biggest weakness is its complete absence of a clearly defined storyline which could accompany audiences in a meaningful cinematographic journey.Touted as a family film,'Post Tenebras Lux' gives the impression of merely being a convoluted personal vision of how a rich person behaves in a place surrounded by poor people with problems.The hapless audiences are puzzled as they have the right to know how the film is going to end. Hop la as it comes like a maddening shock.Watch and regret at your own perils.
It is sad to learn that 'Mathilukal' has remained just too regional in its approach.
Cinema is an absolutely fantastic medium to reveal a new literature,a new author or a new vision.It is from this point of view one must consider Malayalam language film 'Mathilukal'-A feature film directed by Kerala's most famous director Adoor Gopalakrishnan which had some success in the west especially in some big as well as small film festivals.There is also a book of the same name written by one of Kerala's acclaimed writers V.M.Basheer.It is nice to learn that the film is not a direct copy of the book.This has helped in retaining its original charm as director Adoor Gopalakrishnan chose to integrate his own personal vision to the project.In many ways,he has succeeded in deserving the success but there are many instances where this film lacks seriousness and fails to convey anything substantial.By casting Mammootty to play the role of Basheer,Adoor achieved an artistic coup of sorts as the actor has massive fan following.However,the presentation of the film leaves a lot to be desired especially in the manner comedy has been infused through the film.This is a big disappointment as it robs the film of conveying its message in a poetic manner.
Kishibe no tabi (2015)
Journey to the shore is not as powerful as other films by Kurosawa Kiyoshi.
After having watched the brilliant Japanese film 'Sakebi' (Retribution) directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, I was very much looking forward to watch the latest film by one of the most acclaimed masters of horror/thriller cinema in Japan. A prize at Cannes Film Festival 2015 in its prestigious 'Un certain regard' category is something which might induce viewers to choose this film at a film festival. I also thought along the same lines when I booked this film but in many ways, I was utterly disappointed with 'Journey to the shore'. It is a well made film which might induce viewers to travel within Japan especially to small, unknown places. However, as a film by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, one would surely miss the elements of suspense and thriller. They have been replaced with elements of drama and music. They remind astute viewers of the director's previous film 'Tokyo Sonata'. Acting performances by lead players are nice. It could be one of the reasons to watch this film. However, one would surely be disappointed if a viewer intends to explore new mechanisms of horror, thriller or suspense in this film.
The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)
'The Man who knew infinity' is not at all a reliable source of information about Ramanujan.
There is hardly an erudite scholar in India who has not heard of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. It is believed that even most young school children in India with some degree of interest in mathematics know all about his life as well as achievements. His stature as a national hero in India is unparalleled. These are some reasons which might induce viewers both young and old alike to watch this film about Ramanujan. However, major disappointment is one sentiment which would greet viewers when they finish watching this ambitious film which failed to deliver on many counts. Firstly, it is episodic in nature and fails to develop as a large cohesive entity. Secondly, watching 'The man who knew infinity', one might have the impression of watching several short films tied together as a finished product. Dev Patel is an absolute miscast as Ramanujan largely due to his inability to delve deeper into the great man's life. It is strange to note that Srinivasa Ramanujan's relationship with his wife when he was in UK has been presented as a love story ! If this was not enough to add insult to injury, an additional blunder was committed by portraying this famous mathematician's mother as a villain who did not care at all for his wife ! The true story of Ramanujan is missing from this film as it not at all about Ramanujan but everything which happened to him. By giving importance to secondary stories around Ramanujan, the real story of Ramanujam remained untold.
Polish director Andrzej Zulwaski challenges the notion of narrative cinema in his latest film 'Cosmos'.
Fifteen years is quite a long time for an acclaimed director to have his film shown to audiences.However,it is worth the wait as Polish director Andrzej Zulawski has chosen an appropriate film to astonish both his admirers as well as critics.In 'Cosmos' the entire notion of narration is challenged.There is no straight plot and some of the lines uttered by actors might not make much sense to casual viewers. However,there is something gripping in the way actors have performed in a scenario where a lot of strange things are happening.Director Zulawski also pays his tribute to great writers and filmmakers in the form of their names mentioned in dialogs.Cosmos is not a run of the mill film with a clearly defined beginning,middle and an end.This is one reason why it is not everybody's film.Cosmos would appeal to those viewers who want to delve deeper into the idiosyncratic world of Mr.Andrzej Zulawski who is one of the most innovative filmmakers working in the field of cinema.