Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Foreign«

Readers Write In #243: Rashomon and Rashomon Effect

August 15, 2020


(by Radhakrishnan Mahalikudi) “Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing.”   — Akira Kurosawa Official Trailer: In the words of Richard Feynman: “From a long view of the history of mankind – seen from, say, ten thousand years from now – there can be little […]

Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Rhapsody in August’ is a shrine to Nagasaki, whose bombing ended World War II 75 years ago

August 15, 2020


Kurosawa questioned the American decision to drop the weapon on a city inhabited only by civilians who had nothing to do with the war, who lived far, far away from the military concentrations. Seventy-five years ago, on August 6 and 9, 1945, the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan surrendered on August 15 (the actual […]

Cannes Classics 2020: Bertrand Blier’s ‘Get Out Your Handkerchiefs’ is anchored by a woman who isn’t easy to read

August 9, 2020


Bertrand Blier might be another of those lionised male artistes whose art is ‘problematic’… I am reminded of Márquez’s ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’, where a woman wants to ‘die of love’ in her rapist’s arms Bertrand Blier knows luck had a part to play in fetching him the Academy Award for Best International […]

Cannes Classics 2020: Martin Scorsese has restored ‘The Hourglass Sanatorium’, by Polish filmmaker Wojciech Jerzy Has, to its hallucinatory glory

August 1, 2020


All this hallucinatory imagery is rooted in tragedy. The book’s author was shot dead by a Gestapo officer in 1942, for venturing outside the Jewish ghetto and into the Aryan quarter. A bird flies towards the gnarled branches of a leafless tree. It appears oddly lifeless. It doesn’t seem to be flying so much as […]

Readers Write In #231: Memory is stronger than physical presence in Portrait of a Lady on Fire

July 27, 2020


(by Shri Swaminathan) It’s quite obvious now, more than ever that the certainty of people around us, the need for physical connection, all our extroversive activities, feel more significant than ever. As to why, well they’re all a memory of the past. Back in the days of accessibility, hanging out with a bunch of people […]

Cannes Classics 2020: Federico Fellini’s ‘La strada’, The Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and the concept of “existential time”

July 25, 2020


If you wanted to break the film down along the lines of motive and meaning, then you could say that the title (Italian for “the road”) refers to the road of life. We are all wanderers, and the point is to have some purpose… This is the centenary year of Federico Fellini’s birth, and film […]

Diao Yinan’s Berlinale Golden Bear winner, ‘Black Coal, Thin Ice’, smuggles fascinating layers into a genre film

July 18, 2020


Genre films can express an attitude towards society, towards reality. In other words, instead of expressing his views on society through a “social” drama, the director is opting to say what he wants to say through stories of crime. The plot of Black Coal, Thin Ice (in Mandarin, and released in 2014) is the stuff […]

Jean Eustache’s ‘The Mother and the Whore’ is a time capsule of French youth post the civil unrest of May 1968

July 11, 2020


Veronika’s sexual attitudes seem liberated, even though she doesn’t appear to have heard of “Women’s Lib” when Alexandre brings the topic up. When he explains what it is, she doesn’t seem impressed. “I like bringing a man I love breakfast in bed,” she says. When the French filmmaker Olivier Assayas made a Top 10 list […]

Ennio Morricone (1928 – 2020)

July 6, 2020


Whistling + solo trumpet + guitar + snare drums + chorus + dialogue from pulp heaven = wowza! The great arena scene from Sergio Corbucci’s THE MERCENARY (score by #EnnioMoricone and Bruno Nicolai). From when movies were not apologetic about swagger. Watching the opening scene of Roland Joffe’s THE MISSION on Devi theatre’s 70mm screen […]

In these COVID times, the mind has begun to seek lighter fare over heavy-duty, “difficult” cinema

July 4, 2020


The pandemic has made us seek optimism and joy, which is not usually a quality you find with “difficult” films. When life has become The Seventh Seal, with many of us playing games with Death each time we step out, the last thing we may want is more gloom and doom on screen. Sight & […]

Readers Write In #214: The haunting ‘Under the Shadow’ explores the female psyche in a war-torn Iran

July 2, 2020


(by Vivaciously Yours) I watched Bulbbul recently and that took me back to my experience with Under the Shadow directed by Babak Anvari. Set in the 1980’s in post-Revolution Tehran, the movie follows a mother Shideh, who is left alone to care for her daughter amidst the constant threats of bombings from Iraq. For the […]

Cannes Classics 2020: The ravishing poetry of Wong Kar-wai’s ‘In the Mood for Love’, which turns 20 this year

June 27, 2020


Part of this mood is created through Su’s wardrobe. Like unhappy, unfulfilled women in the movies — think of Sridevi in ‘English Vinglish’, in Sabyasachi saris — Su’s not-a-hair-out-of-place look is a facade for the turmoil inside. One of my favourite film anecdotes has Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich talking about Greta Garbo. The younger […]

Interview: A chat with fellow blog-era critic, Jai Arjun Singh

June 25, 2020


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Federico Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’ depicts the suicide of an intellectual and the death of everything he stands for

June 20, 2020


How prescient this film seems from today, from this world around us where sensationalism is everything. Fittingly, ‘La Dolce Vita’ also gave us the word “paparazzi” in the intrusive, invasive sense we recognise it today. … Ingmar Bergman died the best possible way, in 2007: peacefully, in his sleep. But seven years earlier, a report […]

Readers Write In #206: Miracle in Cell No 7, a movie that is the epitome of “cinema”

June 17, 2020


(by Meera Ramanathan) Ova, a little girl, is accompanied by her grandma and her elementary school teacher to visit her father in prison. Her father, Memo, is wrongly accused of murder and his brain, the size of a pea, is only as developed as Ova. Frustrated by the authorities denying them entry to visit her […]

JK Rowling’s tweets, and Polish filmmaker Małgorzata Szumowska’s ‘In the Name Of’, a gay drama on MUBI

June 13, 2020


He craves human contact. He asks his sister if she has someone to hug. She replies, “My children.” But that word reminds him of something that’s even more forbidden than his desires… As if to coincide with PRIDE month, June, a startling irony has been unfolding. You must have heard about JK Rowling’s “transphobic tweets”, […]

The question of race permeates every pore of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s magnificent German melodrama, ‘Ali: Fear Eats the Soul’

June 6, 2020


The older generation will slowly pass on and equality will (hopefully) simply be something we take for granted, not something to be “grappled with”. But then, Twitter and Whatsapp tell us otherwise. An inter-racial romance seems apt to talk about in these #GeorgeFloyd times, especially when race colours every aspect of the “romance” in question. […]

The Cannes 2020 lineup is here, and Wes Anderson is the sole“star director”

June 4, 2020


High-profile directors matter at film festivals, because here, they are the real stars. Because they have oeuvres we already know, and the excitement is about ‘what next’! The first foreign film I watched on a big screen — that is, apart from  the rare ones Doordarshan used to screen at night — is Federico Fellini’s […]

Santosh Sivan’s Masterclass, Journey Of Light: On Thuppakki, Iruvar, Dil Se, Roja

June 1, 2020


Ten takeaways from Canon India Digital’s webinar, where the cinematographer and filmmaker took questions and explained his art, his philosophy. 1. As a child, you remember photographs. In my case, it was a very scary photograph — a black-and-white picture in my ancestral home in Kerala. These structures are generally dark, with a shaft of […]

The late Michel Piccoli in the role of his lifetime, as an artist in Jacques Rivette’s ‘La Belle Noiseuse’

May 28, 2020


It’s not about the product. It’s about the process. If you romanticise art, this film is a kid-in-a-candy store experience. The French actor Michel Piccoli died on May 12, and when I looked at his filmography — filled with great works like Godard’s Contempt and Buñuel’s Belle de Jour — one film stood out. It’s […]