Browsing All Posts filed under »Firstpost Column«

The aesthetics of Pedro Costa, whose ‘Vitalina Varela’ will be screened at the Sundance Film Festival

January 23, 2020


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: “I finally watched a Pedro Costa on the big screen” is a real thing for some film lovers. This happened to me last year at the Dharamsala International Film Festival, where I saw the Portuguese auteur’s latest film, Vitalina Varela. (It was also screened at the JIO […]

Almodóvar’s Oscar-nominated ‘Pain and Glory’ looks a lot like autobiography, but then, so does ‘Bad Education’

January 16, 2020


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: In the face of the Parasite juggernaut, no one, realistically, gives Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory a chance at winning the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. But I’m glad it’s up there in the list, and I’m glad Antonio Banderas has also been nominated for his […]

Revisiting ‘Memories of Murder’, which put the Golden Globe-winning ‘Parasite’ director, Bong Joon-ho, on the map

January 9, 2020


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: It’s practically a crime to have to choose one of the following films as the Best Foreign Film of the year: Parasite, Les Misérables, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and Pain and Glory. I’m talking about the Golden Globes, of course, where the fifth nominee was […]

Lulu Wang’s Golden Globe-nominated ‘The Farewell’ will ring many bells for those of us trapped between two cultures

January 4, 2020


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: In Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet, a Caucasian/Chinese gay couple in Manhattan pretends to be straight for the benefit of the parents of the Chinese man, who are visiting. Lulu Wang’s The Farewell is a sort of spiritual successor, and it travels in the other direction of […]

The rousing ‘1987: When the Day Comes’ is the perfect political mirror for this season of activism and protest

December 26, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: As I write this, a German student has been asked to leave India after attending a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He’d carried a poster that made a reference to the Nazi rule in his own country: “1933 to […]

Remembering Anna Karina in one of her most notable non-Godard films, Jacques Rivette’s ‘The Nun’

December 19, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Anna Karina died last Saturday. That the star was most famous for her work with one particular French New Wave filmmaker was evident from the obituaries. Here’s Agence France-Presse: “Karina was best known for the string of films she made with Jean-Luc Godard, including A Woman Is […]

Arturo Ripstein’s ‘Devil Between the Legs’, screened at IFFI, deals subversively with sex and jealously and aging

December 12, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: In 1975, when Chantal Akerman came out with Jeanne Dielman 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, some viewers were perplexed. Why was the filmmaker devoting so much time to the protagonist cleaning the kitchen or peeling potatoes, when there is more sensational stuff to show – like […]

‘Queen of Hearts’, Denmark’s Oscar submission that played at IFFI, is a cold take on incest and shattered lives

December 5, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Like Section 375, Queen of Hearts – which played at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), and is the Danish submission for the Best Foreign Film Oscar – toys with a provocative question: What if a man is the victim? Anne (Trine Dyrholm) is the most […]

‘Head Burst’, which had its Asian premiere at IFFI, is a sympathetic look at the plight of a paedophile

November 28, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Looking at Markus — the protagonist of Savas Ceviz’s Head Burst (Kopfplatzen in German) — you’d think he’s a nice, normal guy. One day, entering the building he lives in, he sees a woman, Jessica, struggling with some boxes. She’s moving into an apartment near his, and he […]

‘The Piano Teacher’ may be the definitive movie of Isabelle Huppert, recipient of IFFI’s Lifetime Achievement Award

November 21, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: At Cannes, this year, I caught the new Ira Sachs film, Frankie. It has Isabelle Huppert in the titular role, and she opens the movie by taking her swimsuit top off at the pool of a resort and diving in. Her disapproving step-granddaughter (it’s  a complicated family […]

Kazuhiro Soda and his Ten Commandments of documentary-making, at Dharamsala International Film Festival

November 14, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: One of the masterclasses at this year’s Dharamsala International Film Festival was by the Japanese documentary filmmaker and author, Kazuhiro Soda. He broke through on the international festival circuit with his debut, Campaign (2007), which followed the election campaign — in Kawasaki, Japan — of a candidate […]

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

November 7, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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, […]