Browsing All Posts filed under »Firstpost Column«

Cannes 2018, Netflix, Orson Welles, Nandita Das’s Manto and #MeToo

April 16, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Does the distribution model determine what cinema is? The ongoing war between Netflix and the Cannes film festival – which recently announced its line-up for the coming edition (more on that later) – has brought this question to the forefront. Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux said, “Any […]

Remembering Stéphane Audran’s La Femme Infidèle, and its tamer American counterpart, Unfaithful

April 9, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: There’s always a general sadness when someone from the cinema passes away, but with the French actress, Stéphane Audran, it was a little personal. The VCR era had just given way to the DVD era. Libraries with extensive foreign-film collections began to sprout in Chennai, and whenever […]

Bergman’s ‘Hour of the Wolf,’ Darren Aronofsky’s ‘mother!,’ and the myth of the ‘tortured artist’

April 2, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: In a paper titled Bereavement and Creativity, published in October 2017 in Management Science, economists Kathryn Graddy (Brandeis University) and Carl Lieberman ( Princeton University) studied the effect of a loved one’s death on the creativity of 48 artists, ranging from Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Picasso […]

Gal Gadot’s Stephen Hawking tweet, and the unsentimental handling of disability in ‘Rust and Bone’

March 26, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Ableist (i.e. someone who discriminates against people with disabilities). That’s a new word I learnt after the passing of Stephen Hawking, when Gal ‘Wonder Woman’ Gadot put out this tweet: “Rest in peace Dr. Hawking. Now you’re free of any physical constraints. Your brilliance and wisdom will […]

Remembering René Clément’s take on ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’, and his documentarian eye for detail

March 19, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: You sometimes peg these columns on the day someone was born, or the day they died. With the French filmmaker René Clément, it’s both. He was born on March 18, 1913, and he died on March 17, 1996, three years before the release of Anthony Minghella’s The […]

Louis Malle’s incest-tinged ‘Murmur of the Heart’ is a gentle blow against political correctness

March 12, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: There’s nothing quite like the Oscars to put you off political correctness for a while. There’s definitely the need to say these things – about gender equality, about racial discrimination, and a huge shout-out to Frances McDormand for making us aware of what an “inclusion rider” is […]

Erik Poppe’s Berlin Competition entry, U – July 22, recreates a horrifying event with stunning exactitude, but also raises questions

March 6, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Utøya 22.juli (U – July 22), directed by Erik Poppe, depicts a terrible chapter in Norway’s history. On the day the film is named after, a right-wing extremist named Anders Behring Breivik set off bombs in the government offices in Oslo, then travelled to Utøya island, the […]

The Prayer, Best Actor winner at Berlinale, is a worthy addition to the list of films about faith

February 26, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Winter Light (1963), directed by Ingmar Bergman, is one of the most wrenching depictions of faith on film — rather, the lack of faith, given that the person in crisis is a pastor named Tomas. Like Jesus, Tomas murmurs to himself: “God, why have you forsaken me?” […]

‘A Fantastic Woman’, and a fantastic close-up of the trans experience

February 19, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The Berlin Film Festival is underway and the Academy Awards are on March 4, so it’s a good time to talk about Una Mujer Fantástica (A Fantastic Woman), which won Best Screenplay at last year’s Berlinale and has been nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. The […]

A hat-tip to love that cuts deeper than a Valentine’s Day card

February 14, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Every year, on February 14, we get lists. Ten Most Romantic Films of All Time. And so forth. But love isn’t always roses. In many films, affairs of the heart are closer to cacti, and the people aren’t always destined for a happily-ever-after. I’m thinking of François […]

Tarkovsky’s list, and Fellini’s humanity

February 5, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: I’m fascinated by other people’s lists, especially if they’re important people – and what could be more important than Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky drawing up a list of great directors? (See clip below, from Voyage in Time, the 1983 documentary that tracked Tarkvosky while he was working […]

Call Me by Your Name, Lolita and taming discomfiting desires on the big screen

January 29, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name has been in the news for a while, most recently because it was nominated for four Academy Awards (including Best Picture). And it is a very good film, a textbook example for what a director does – that is, orchestrating […]

Woody Allen, Aziz Ansari and the crucible of public judgement

January 22, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Ever since stories about sexual harassment and abuse of power/privilege began to tumble out of Hollywood’s closets, some of us have begun to wonder if we have any business commenting at all. It’s vital to come out against systematic predators like Harvey Weinstein, but what about some […]

From Ang Lee’s ‘Eat Drink Man Woman’ to ‘Amelie’: The pleasures of a well-crafted credits sequence

January 15, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: When we think of title sequences, we recall the ones Saul Bass made for Hitchcock, or the ones in the Bond films, which I never tire of watching (the credits stretch of Skyfall is a favourite). But the opening isn’t just about fun or glamour. If done […]

‘Goodfellas’, Béla Tarr, long takes and book adaptations

January 8, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Before the release of Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (1962), author-turned-screenwriter Vladimir Nabokov said, “I have not yet seen the picture. It may turn out to be a lovely morning mist as perceived through mosquito netting, or it may turn out to be the swerves of a scenic drive […]

‘The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg’, and the strangeness of subtitled songs

January 2, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Among the great pleasures of a musical are the lyrics, especially when styled in the old-school Broadway mould. Take C’est moi from Camelot, the magnificent adaptation of the Arthurian legends by Alan Jay Lerner (book and lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music). The song is sung by Lancelot, […]

Quixote, Werner Herzog and impossible dreams

December 25, 2017


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: I’m the kind of person who waits for TV series to run their course over seasons and then binge-watch them, so don’t ask me why I’m talking about The Newsroom now. I just got done, and am still basking in that warm, soapboxy glow that you get […]

The curious case of Kurosawa vs. Leone

December 18, 2017


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (Bodyguard), set in the nineteenth century, opens with a shot of mountains looming in the distance. A man (Toshiro Mifune) enters from the right end of the frame. He takes a few steps till we see him clearly – only from the back, though, […]

The bare essentials of world cinema

December 12, 2017


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Since the purpose of this series is to show world cinema can be fun – or to put it differently, to sex up world cinema – we’ll begin with a couple of nude scenes. The most stunning nude scene of all, in my book (or should I […]