Browsing All Posts filed under »Firstpost Column«

The letter in ‘Casablanca’ versus the ones in Chantal Akerman’s ‘News from Home’

November 15, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: BBC Culture’s poll of the 100 best foreign films has given us fodder for many, many columns – so this week, let’s look at one of the female filmmakers on the list. Not that there’s much choice. There are only four women – three-and-a-half, in a sense, […]

‘Seven Samurai’ is certainly a great film, but is it the best foreign film of all time?

November 8, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Polls are fun. They’re imperfect. They’re maddening when they don’t match your tastes. But they get people talking about the subject, which is the whole point of the poll. For a while now, BBC Culture has been running polls on cinema. In 2015, the web site asked […]

‘And Breathe Normally’, and the interesting ways in which black and white critics write

November 1, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Ísold Uggadóttir’s Icelandic drama, And Breathe Normally, played at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival With Star, and the first scene shows you the reason behind that title. Lara (Kristín Thóra Haraldsdóttir), a single mother, is at the supermarket, realising how much she has to pay for […]

The long gaps between the films of David Lean, Terrence Malick and Ildikó Enyedi, whose ‘On Body and Soul’ is on Netflix

October 25, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi is part of a unique trivia list of filmmakers: the release dates of at least two of their films were separated by more than a decade. Stanley Kubrick belongs in this list, with a 12-year gap between Full Metal Jacket (1987) and […]

‘The Godfather’, ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘Son of Saul’, and the philosophy behind cinematography

October 18, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ One of my favourite anecdotes about cinematography comes from Francis Ford Coppola’s DVD commentary track of The Godfather. He says that they decided to be very “classical” about how the film was going to be shot, the camera always about four-and-a-half feet off the ground. “It never […]

Detective Dee and the Strange Case of the Non-Hollywood Franchise Film

October 11, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ On July 27, this year, Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings was released. It’s the third instalment in a supernaturally flavoured action franchise, which is a blockbuster everywhere except in the US. The first film (Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, 2011) made under […]

The Pingyao Film Festival and how the “boutique” model can help arthouse cinema in India

October 4, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ I’ve received an invitation to attend the 2nd Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival, in China. I know about the festival, of course. It was initiated by Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke (Pingyao is in the Shanxi province, which is his home, and where he shot […]

Kenji Mizoguchi’s ‘Street of Shame’, restored and shown at the Venice film festival, pits sex workers against an unforgiving society

September 27, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here:​ The Venezia Classici section of the Venice Film Festival features two kinds of films — documentaries about cinema (the prize, this year, went to Peter Bogdanovich’s documentary on Buster Keaton, titled The Great Buster) and the world premieres of classics restored by film libraries and cultural institutions. […]

‘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 […]