Lights, Camera, Conversation… “All the right moves”

Inside a documentary about blind chess. Yes, that’s chess played by those who cannot see. The British filmmaker Ian McDonald was in Chennai a few weeks ago to present his film, Algorithms – “the first ever feature documentary on blind chess.” It lasts 96 minutes and it’s a revelation. It doesn’t quite tell you the story you […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A separation of audiences?”

Movies for everyone versus movies for a few. Notes from the recently concluded Mumbai International Film Festival. Why do people laugh in the movies? The obvious answer is that they find something funny,  and mainstream cinema – even given that rarely do two people respond to a movie the same way – sometimes manages to […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “And the Oscar doesn’t go to…”

Some thoughts on cricket and baseball and the movies we send out for Best Foreign Film consideration. So the powers that be chose The Good Road over The Lunchbox, and Twitter exploded. I thought, first, that this was an overreaction. (Then again, what’s Twitter for if not overreacting?) After all, isn’t this the same system […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Pictures for posterity”

A fascinating new documentary throws the spotlight on an indefatigable preserver of Indian cinema. Who is PK Nair? The release of Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s Celluloid Man should answer this question for a general audience – at least, the audience that gets around to watching two-and-a-half hour documentaries. A word about the form, first. Thanks to […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The amour for art cinema”

Why define “great movies” based on a cold and clinical foreign ideal of greatness, especially when so many foreign filmmakers are already making those kinds of great movies? One question I’m routinely asked when interviewed or at a casual dinner discussion is when our cinema will grow up, become more like “foreign cinema.” And by […]

Showcase: Cannes job

Isn’t it strange that the directors competing for the Palme d’Or are always those of entrenched repute? Who makes the world’s best films, at least the ones fit enough to fight it out in the competition section of film festivals? If this year’s Cannes lineup is to be believed, it’s the same contenders. The festival […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A lavish spread of cinema”

In the jam-packed schedules of film festivals, is it possible to savour the films you see? To some extent, yes. To some people in Chennai, this weekend portends nothing but sleep, blissful sleep that will not be interrupted by an alarm meant to drive them to a morning screening, followed by others in the afternoon […]

A world of cinema

133 films from 53 countries. Plus, the Indian Panorama. Plus, Tamil films in competition. The 9th Chennai International Film Festival has it all. Long before a film festival prints its official bulletin – that thumb-thick catalogue with glossy pictures and synopses to help you decide which 11 a.m. screening is likely to prove most rewarding […]