Browsing All Posts filed under »Firstpost Column«

‘My Life with James Dean’, ‘gay cinema’, and whether cinema should be classified as ‘gay’

September 20, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ In the June 25 column, written on the occasion of Pride month, I wrote, “There are, of course, many filmmakers who are homosexual, but it’s interesting to explore whether this ‘gayness’ manifests itself in the films they make, and what really makes for a ‘gay film’. Is […]

Running between films at Venice, Cannes, Berlin… Why put yourself through the festival grind?

September 13, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ At the Venice Film Festival, this year, I ran into Peter Bradshaw, chief film critic at The Guardian. We were in line for a press screening, and we were generally chatting about the films we liked and disliked. The topic shifted to the nature of film festivals, […]

On the 20th death anniversary of Kurosawa, remembering his Golden Lion winner ‘Rashōmon’, and his only female-centric film

September 6, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ You’re lucky if you get one solid peg for an article. This one, about Akira Kurosawa, has two. First, it’s the 20th death anniversary of the great filmmaker – he died on September 6, 1998. Second, the Venice film festival is underway, and it’s a good time […]

Recalling ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ by Zhang Yimou, this year’s recipient of the Jaeger-LeCoultre award at Venice

September 3, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: This year, Chinese director Zhang Yimou will receive the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker award of the Venice Film Festival. This is the recognition (dedicated to personalities who have made a significant contribution to contemporary cinema) that went to Mani Ratnam in 2010, and other recipients include […]

With the flooding in Kerala, let’s ask why we readily watch disaster movies even as real-life disasters leave us reeling

August 23, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ I was working in the US when 9/11 happened. “Wow, this is just like a movie,” was something I heard over and over. Translation: the visual of a plane slicing through a building was so out-there, so unimaginable, so fantastic, that it took a while to […]

Oscars are more populist than festivals like Cannes, Venice — hence the Best Popular Film category

August 16, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ T he latest in the “Oscar institutes a Best Popular Film category” row is that the film technicians have weighed in, dismayed that the presentation of some of their categories will not be aired live. The Academy, in its wisdom, has apparently decided that the audience knows […]

A flashback to giallo and Dario Argento’s ‘Suspiria’, a remake of which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival

August 9, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ With the dawn of the millennium, Village Voice – the famous New York-based newspaper, and America’s first alternative newsweekly – felt it was time to come to a consensus on the 100 best films of the 20th century. Distinguished film critics were invited to participate in […]

As Hollywood films keep invading Venice and Cannes and Toronto, spare a thought for the artier indies

August 2, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The line-ups for the Venice and Toronto film festivals have been announced, and we’re seeing a lot of the same big names, on and behind the screen – big names from art cinema (say, Doubles Vies, by Olivier Assayas) and big names from mainstream cinema (A Star […]

A look at neo-realism, and Vittorio De Sica’s ‘Bicycle Thieves,’ which turns 70 this year

July 26, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Bicycle Thieves, the Vittorio De Sica film that’s become a byword for neo-realism, turns 70 this year. The critic Megan Ratner (a contributing editor at Film Quarterly) wrote a terrific primer on the movement, explaining it from both a social and an aesthetic perspective – and it’s […]

On the 25th death anniversary of Kōbō Abe, a look at his most famous book-to-film, ‘Woman in the Dunes’

July 19, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: From the opening shot of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Woman in the Dunes (1964), we know we’re in for something unusual, something special. Over the credits, we have already sensed some of this strangeness – atonal music, with percussion that sounds like knocks on a door (or the noise […]

On ‘King of Peking’, now on Netflix, and its director’s decision to find his audience online

July 12, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: A few readers asked if I could – at times – write about foreign films that are more easily available than something that plays at film festivals. One obvious solution is to look at streaming platforms, but the foreign films there are hard to find. Take Netflix. […]

With the ultra-success of ‘Sanju’, a look at biopics that were off the mainstream

July 4, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: With Sanju proving to be a monster crowd-pleaser, I thought I’d write about more eccentric biopics this week. Biography in cinema isn’t easy. A biographical book, like Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy, chronicling the life of Michelangelo, lets us know how the protagonist really feels […]

In the last week of Pride month, a look at what defines gay cinema

June 25, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: On June 29, 1969, the New York Daily News, like many other newspapers, wrote about a “predawn police raid on a reputed Greenwich Village homosexual hangout, the second raid within a week, [which] touched off a two-hour melee yesterday as customers and villagers swarmed over the plainclothes […]

It’s not just ‘Race 3’, even the films of Renoir, Bergman, Fellini, et al have been thoroughly trashed

June 18, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The release of Race 3 has unleashed a series of savage reviews – and deservedly so. There’s always the criticism that filmmaking is such a complex effort, involving so much Hard Work, and it’s unfair to dismiss all this in a snarky summation. But when so many […]

With the release of ‘Kaala’, here’s a quick tour of political cinema from around the world

June 11, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The release of Pa Ranjith’s Kaala, starring Rajinikanth, has brought politics back into filmmaking. The film isn’t entirely successful, but its most incendiary passages made me wonder if there is another instance, anywhere in the world, of a famous star being used to convey the director’s ideology. […]

On mood-over-plot films like ‘The Wonders’ and female filmmakers like Alice Rohrwacher

June 4, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: <a href=” Alice Rohrwacher won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes, this year, for Lazzaro Felice (Happy as Lazaro). Her earlier feature, Le Meraviglie (The Wonders), won the Grand Prix at Cannes, in 2014. But she seems fairly unknown outside the hard-core cinephile crowd – which is what […]

Is the ‘golden age’ of international art-house cinema over?

May 29, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: I was watching a video on Facebook, about the arduous restoration of the Apu trilogy, and Peter Becker, President, The Criterion Collection, had this to say: “Ray is one of the essential figures in the golden age of international art-house cinema.” Is that right? Are we past […]

From Hitchcock to Michelangelo Antonioni to Asghar Farhadi, similar plots work in different ways

May 21, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: A great film essay can really change the way you look at a movie, and I experienced this recently when I read Geoffrey Nowell-Smith’s (editor of The Oxford History of World Cinema; a co-editor of The British Film Institute, the Government and Film Culture, 1933– 2000) thoughts […]

Truffaut/Hitchcock, and 50 years of ‘The Bride Wore Black’ (aka the ‘Kill Bill’ of its generation)

May 14, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: François Truffaut’s The Bride Wore Black, starring Jeanne Moreau, turned 50 this April. Today, the film better is known as the film Quentin Tarantino claimed not to have seen when he made his two Kill Bill movies, despite the absurd similarities in plot (a bride is widowed […]

A journalist’s view of the Cannes Film Festival and its touching commitment to cinema

May 7, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The Cannes Film Festival is a curious beast. There’s no doubt it’s more snobbish than, say, the Berlinale – but this aloofness is part of the attraction. The old Groucho Marx quip (later appropriated by Woody Allen in Annie Hall) comes to mind: “I don’t care to […]