Browsing All Posts filed under »Firstpost Column«

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 […]

The Taviani brothers, Pauline Kael, Mouna Raagam, and the persistence of movie memories

April 30, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: When Vittorio Taviani died, on April 15, there was no great swell of sorrow beyond the usual obituaries – and perhaps this isn’t much of a surprise. Some art film makers become brand names. I recall how the Internet exploded with tributes when Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo […]

Shoojit Sircar’s October and Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk to Her, and the mystery of pure romanticism

April 23, 2018


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: When a rapturously received film doesn’t quite incite the same kind of rapture in you, it can make you feel somewhat guilty – especially if you are a critic. I felt this guilt, recently, while watching (and later, reviewing) Shoojit Sircar’s October. It’s such a different film, […]

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 […]