Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: English«

Vittorio De Sica’s Italian classic Shoeshine shows rare instance when children slip into adulthood too soon

March 26, 2020


Though there is a “story” and a “screenplay” that’s been worked out, these scaffoldings of “narrative cinema” are near-invisible. The protagonists don’t seem guided by a screenwriter so much as destiny. I’ve always wondered about the title of Vittorio De Sica’s Shoeshine (1946). Yes, it is about two boys who earn a living by shining […]

Kim Ki-duk’s animal (and human) torture in provocative films like ‘Moebius’ and ‘Pietà”

March 20, 2020


Why does Medea kill her children? Why does the mother in ‘Moebius’ castrate her son? It is fascinating to ponder on these situations through the medium of cinema, which offers us the safety of distance… In the small pool of filmmakers known for being provocative, Kim Ki-duk is the oddest of ducks. I first encountered […]

The fascinating ‘Stella Dallas’ was screened as part of the King Vidor retrospective at the Berlinale

March 12, 2020


The beauty of this film lies in how marvellously grey Stella is. Just as you pin her down as one thing, she shows another (unexpected) side. In Stella Dallas (1937), Barbra Stanwyck plays the titular character, the daughter of a millworker who wants more from life. As the film opens — the year is 1919 […]

Tsai Ming-Liang’s ‘Days’, ‘Dry Wind’, and Mohammad Rasoulof’s ‘There Is No Evil’

February 29, 2020


An entrancing slow-burn drama about loneliness, a provocative gay triangle, a rock-solid update on the executioner’s dilemma… Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: What does “slow cinema” — a term often associated with Tsai Ming-Liang — give you that a 3x speeded-up version doesn’t? Take the opening scene […]

Hong Sangsoo’s ‘The Woman Who Ran’, old gay love in ‘Suk Suk’, and Javier Bardem in ‘The Roads Not Taken’

February 28, 2020


A trascendental talkathon, a senior-citizen take on ‘Brokeback Mountain’, the festival’s biggest bummer… Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: Hong Sangsoo’s new film opens with the image of chicken pecking at grains. A little later, we get a snatch of conversation between two women, neither of whom has […]

Willem Dafoe’s ‘Siberia’, gay-cleansing in ‘Welcome to Chechnya’, and ‘My Little Sister’

February 27, 2020


The festival’s WTF-iest drama, a classy weepie about a woman on the verge, and a wrenching documentary about Chechnya’s anti-gay situation. Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: One talking fish per film festival, you’d think, would be plenty — and I got one in Matteo Garrone’s Pinochhio. Imagine […]

Kelly Reichardt’s ‘First Cow’, Jia Zhang-ke’s ‘Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue’, and ‘The Salt of Tears’

February 26, 2020


A Coen Brothers’ film with heart, and without the snark. A touching literary documentary. And a badly behaved man. Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: In Meek’s Cutoff (2010), Kelly Reichardt told a nineteenth-century story about people crossing the Oregon High Desert. Old Joy (2006) was about two […]

Pixar’s middling but fun ‘Onward’, plus Matteo Garrone’s take on ‘Pinocchio’

February 25, 2020


Proof that even a not-great Pixar movie has traces of genius, proof that not every fairy tale lends itself to earthy remakes… Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: “Long ago, the world was full of wonder.” These are the opening words of Onward, the new Pixar feature, directed […]

Johnny Depp in ‘Minamata’, the engaging ‘Persian Lessons’, and ‘The Intruder’

February 25, 2020


A war against mercury contamination, a WWII survival story, and a woman’s worst nightmares… Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: The middlebrow is the most perplexing of brows. Call something “highbrow”, and you gold-plate it. You elevate it to the realm of scholars and connoisseurs. The “lowbrow” may […]

“My Salinger Year”… Margaret Qualley and Sigourney Weaver star in a fairy-tale drama set in the publishing world

February 21, 2020


The film — centered on the literary agency that represents JD Salinger — is catnip to anyone who’s a writer, anyone who romanticises the “writing life”. Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: Despite his bum/dropout air, Holden Caulfield is quite the reader. He says, “What really knocks me […]

‘Distant Journey’, part of Berlinale Classics, is one of the first films to depict the horrors of the Holocaust

February 14, 2020


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: A couple of weeks ago, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I wrote about Claude Lanzmann’s marathon French documentary, Shoah (1985). A few days from now, at the Berlin Film Festival, a different kind of Holocaust film will be featured: Distant Journey, by Alfréd Radok. This one’s in […]

Readers Write In #143: Why ‘Parasite’ doesn’t deserve the best picture Oscar despite being really good

February 12, 2020


(by Alex John) Nobody can argue against the fact that Parasite is an enthralling movie. I don’t either. But is it worthy of the most celebrated film award in the world? A lot of people would say yes, but I beg to differ. This probably is the most difficult piece I have written because I […]

The 2020 Oscars

February 11, 2020


With so many psychos in theatres, a look at Fatih Akin’s ‘The Golden Glove’, which premiered at Berlinale 2019

February 6, 2020


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: This is the season of serial killers. In Tamil, we have Mysskin’s Psycho, where women are beheaded and their headless corpses – clad only in underwear – are put out on display for the public. In Malayalam, we have Midhun Manuel Thomas’ Anjaam Pathiraa, where cops are […]

Readers Write In #141: Indian historical pieces and why they suck- a rant

February 5, 2020


(by Sudharshan Garg) A Rani of Jhansi jumps almost what seems to be a 100 feet from the rampart of a castle on a horse, the horse must be “Superhorse” as it lands without injury and she rides away, to fight another day. Tanaji Malsure (I refuse to use that numerology derived Tanjhaji) must have […]

Readers Write In #140: Comparing Time-Travel: X-Men vs Avengers

February 1, 2020


(by Barry) Over the years, Time Travel in films has been implemented in a variety of entertaining ways. Both the X-Men Cinematic Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe have had a critical movie that saw the characters use Time Travel as a device to solve a problem. This element of science-fiction has always been a […]

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, looking back at Claude Lanzmann’s ‘Shoah’

January 27, 2020


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Have you heard the term “death panic”? Try Googling it up. You’ll get sites that describe it as a pathological fear of death. You’ll get a link to a game called Darkest Dungeon – something about killed by monsters in a dingy crypt. There’s even a link […]

Sam Mendes’s ‘1917’, Hitchcock, long takes and why a technical achievement isn’t the same as a truly immersive movie

January 22, 2020


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: The more you try to convince me that something is really happening on screen – through, say, the single take – the more I am convinced that it is “unreal”. Because the craft is too obvious. Spoilers ahead… I mean no disrespect to Sam Mendes when […]

Readers Write In #132: Why I believe Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker is better than Heath Ledger’s

January 19, 2020


(by Alex John) This has been one of the closest contests in the history of cinema on who played the same character better than the other. I mean, there have been countless remakes of different films in world cinema, and several takes on the dreaded comic villain Joker himself, but Heath Ledger raised the bar […]

Readers Write In #131: A fun premise and great songs hold up a predictable romance in ‘Yesterday’

January 15, 2020


(by Aparna Namboodiripad (who writes here as tonks) When I was thirteen years old, a friend handed me a cassette that belonged to her older sister. It was the Sergeant Pepper album by the Beatles. That was my first introduction to the band. When I went home and listened to the album, song after mesmerising […]