Browsing All Posts filed under »Firstpost Column«

The non-dramatic drama in Pawel Pawlikowski’s ‘Ida’ and what it means for a film style to be “transcendent”

November 7, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/pawel-pawlikowskis-ida-and-its-non-dramatic-drama-what-it-means-for-a-film-style-to-be-transcendental-7615861.html In last week’s column about Robert Bresson, I referred to Paul Schrader’s 1971 book, Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer. It was republished in 2018, with a new introduction titled “Rethinking Transcendental Style”. A lot of what I quote here is from this introduction, and we […]

Getting into Robert Bresson through ‘Lancelot du Lac’, aka making it easier to enter art cinema

October 31, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/getting-into-robert-bresson-through-lancelot-du-lac-aka-making-it-easier-to-enter-art-cinema-7580311.html For three years now, I have been conducting the Young Critics Lab for the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, with Star, and one of the questions that comes from every batch is how to get into foreign cinema, especially the really arty kind. It’s not easy, because […]

Knowing the plot can help you enjoy and experience a movie in a far richer way

October 24, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/how-a-viewer-benefits-from-knowing-the-plot-of-a-film-through-the-lens-of-two-titles-at-mami-2019-7546731.html Oliver Laxe is at the Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star, with O Que Arde (Fire Will Come). The Spanish drama premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes this year, and it won the Jury Prize. This is exactly how the film was […]

Ingmar Bergman, Ang Lee, Hany Abu-Assad and the challenges of working in languages other than your own

October 17, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/hany-abu-assad-asghar-farhadi-ingmar-bergmans-films-expose-challenges-of-working-in-languages-other-than-your-own-7506451.html The last film by the Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad — Head of the Jury, International Competition at Jio MAMI 21st Film Festival with Star — was The Mountain Between Us, where a surgeon and a journalist battle it out in the wilderness after a plane crash. Despite […]

John Woo’s ‘The Killer’, ‘War’ and why ‘masala’ cinema can be taken as seriously as any other ‘genre’

October 10, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/war-john-woos-the-killer-and-why-masala-cinema-can-be-taken-as-seriously-as-any-other-genre-7476851.html War is turning out to be a huge hit. Given the stars – Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff – and the popcorn-friendly genre, it’s probably not that unexpected a phenomenon. But this also happens to be a very well-written film (the screenplay is by Siddharth Anand, the director, […]

Park Chan-wook’s ‘The Handmaiden’, and how we react differently to physical and emotional violence

October 3, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/park-chan-wooks-2016-korean-thriller-the-handmaiden-shows-how-we-react-differently-to-physical-and-emotional-violence-7444131.html Park Chan-wook likes his violence. In one of the most memorable scenes in Oldboy, a man cuts off his tongue. He’s asking another man for forgiveness. “I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll do anything. I beg you… If you want me to be your dog, I will.” […]

Why Gully Boy is the right choice for Oscars: Visibility, international buzz gives the film a real shot

September 26, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/why-gully-boy-is-the-right-choice-for-oscars-visibility-international-buzz-gives-the-film-a-real-shot-at-winning-7406641.html Of late, we’ve been hearing a lot about Anurag Kashyap. His Gangs of Wasseypur, which was screened at the 2012 Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, was the only Indian entry in The 100 Best Films of the 21st Century, compiled by The Guardian. (“Stylish, visceral […]

On the parents and children in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘Like Father, Like Son’

September 19, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/hirokazu-kore-edas-like-father-like-son-and-its-nature-vs-nurture-examination-7370971.html This week, we’re going to discuss a film about fathers and sons, but what birthed it was director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s relationship with his daughter. He said, in a Screen Anarchy interview, that he actually didn’t have very much time to spend with her, probably due to the […]

The sexually explicit ‘Extase’, starring Hedy Lamarr, and its continuing connection with the Venice Film Festival

September 12, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/why-czech-film-extase-by-gustav-machaty-is-important-for-the-history-of-the-venice-film-festival-7328681.html Extase (Ecstasy), the 1933 Czech film by Gustav Machatý, made news at the Venice Film Festival for many reasons. One, the film was the pre-opening night event of the festival. It was part of the Classics section, and was screened a day before the festival officially began, […]

Restored films by Luis Buñuel, Dennis Hopper and Jacques Tourneur in Venice Classics

September 5, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/venice-2019-thoughts-on-restored-classics-by-luis-bunuel-dennis-hopper-and-jacques-tourneur-7289201.html/ The Classics section at the Venice Film Festival aims to present “a selection of the finest recent restorations of classic films, and documentaries about cinema or individual authors of yesteryear or today.” One of the first films I caught in this section was a restored version of […]

Tsai Ming-Liang’s enigmatic ‘Vive L’Amour’, which won the Golden Lion at the 1994 Venice Film Festival, turns 25

August 29, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/venice-film-festival-tsai-ming-liangs-enigmatic-vive-lamour-which-won-the-golden-lion-in-1994-turns-25-7240691.html/ Tsai Ming-Liang likes watermelons. In The Wayward Cloud (2005), which won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, the fruit is used in a sex scene. In Vive L’Amour (1994), its appearance is far more benign, at least at first. A young salesman named Hsiao-kang buys […]

The 50th anniversary of Z, by Costa-Gavras, who receives the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker award at Venice

August 22, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/50th-anniversary-of-z-by-costa-gavras-who-receives-the-jaeger-lecoultre-glory-to-the-filmmaker-award-at-venice-7204751.html Z, directed by Costa-Gavras, is a French procedural-thriller based on Greek events – but let’s first look at the American connection. When the film was released in 1969, President Nixon’s resignation was still a few years away – but what Federal Times Editor Jill Aitoro wrote, after […]

The reverse chronology in Gaspar Noé’s ‘Irreversible’, which gets an Out of Competition screening at Venice 2019

August 16, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/venice-film-festival-2019-the-reverse-chronology-in-gaspar-noes-irreversible-which-gets-an-out-of-competition-screening-7172071.html Talking about Memento (2000) in a Creative Screenwriting interview, Christopher Nolan said that he and his brother Jonathan (who came up with the story) felt that the most interesting approach was to tell the story from the first person point of view, putting the audience right in […]

Bernardo Bertolucci’s ‘The Spider’s Stratagem’ will be screened as part of Venice Classics

August 8, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/revisiting-bernardo-bertoluccis-the-spiders-stratagem-which-will-be-screened-as-part-of-venice-classics-7132711.html In 1944, the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges published a short story titled Theme of the Traitor and the Hero (original Spanish title: Tema del traidor y del héroe). The protagonist, Ryan, sets out to write a biography about his great-grandfather, a nationalist hero who was killed […]

Greater transparency in the process may help address the gender parity issue at Venice and other film festivals

August 1, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/venice-2019-greater-transparency-in-selection-process-may-help-address-gender-parity-at-film-festivals-7095451.html The issue of gender parity has come up again after the Venice Film Festival announced its line-up, with only two Competition titles from women filmmakers: Haifaa Al-Mansour’s The Candidate and Shannon Murphy’s Babyteeth. (If you want to make a grim joke, you could say it’s a full […]

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ‘Micmacs’ and the problems when a director has too distinct a signature

July 25, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/amelie-director-jean-pierre-jeunets-micmacs-shows-us-that-a-very-distinct-style-can-sometimes-be-a-problem-7056821.html Micmacs (2009) is directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director best known for Delicatessen and Amélie – and if you didn’t know, going in, that this was his work, you’d know in the first five minutes. Look at the shot where a woman receives news that her husband […]

Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s ‘Salaam Cinema’ is not just an ode to the medium but also a reflection of it

July 18, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/mohsen-makhmalbafs-salaam-cinema-is-not-just-an-ode-to-the-medium-but-also-a-reflection-of-it-7015861.html In 1895, the Lumière brothers, in Paris, held the first paid public screening of 10 short films, including the now-famous Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory. A hundred years later, Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf dreamed up a novel way to celebrate the centenary of this new medium. Salaam […]

Forty years on, Tarkovsky’s ‘Stalker’ remains a great example of movie-poetry, easier to experience than explain

July 11, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/forty-years-on-tarkovskys-stalker-remains-a-great-example-of-movie-poetry-easier-to-experience-than-explain-6973641.html In 1972, the brothers Boris and Arkady Strugatsky published a Russian sci-fi novel titled Roadside Picnic, which centres on an extraterrestrial event called Visitation. This event results in “Zones”, mysterious (possibly supernatural) areas that have been cordoned off by the respective Governments. Instead of a single exposition […]

Luchino Visconti’s ‘Senso’, which heralded the slow opening-up of Italian neorealism

July 4, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/how-luchino-viscontis-senso-heralded-the-slow-opening-up-of-italian-neorealism-6935251.html When we think of Italian neorealism, the films that spring to mind are all of a certain kind. We think of films about the poor or the working class. We think of non-professional actors and shooting on location. The movement shot to fame when Rome, Open City […]

On Carlos Reygadas’s ‘Japón’, and unilateral vs. bilateral cinema

June 27, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/on-carlos-reygadas-japon-and-the-concept-of-unilateral-vs-bilateral-cinema-6890371.html This June, Film Comment published an interview with Carlos Reygadas, the Mexican filmmaker widely regarded as one of the leading proponents of Slow Cinema. (The term means exactly what you think it does. Think, for instance, of the cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Albert Serra, Lav Diaz and […]