Browsing All Posts filed under »Firstpost Column«

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

July 18, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: 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


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

On World Music Day, a salute to Jacques Demy, who made two of the greatest musicals outside the Hollywood system

June 20, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: In 1964, the French filmmaker Jacques Demy (aka Agnès Varda’s husband) made one of the most original musicals of all time: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. The film was top-lined by Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo, who — along with the other characters — sang not just the […]

In Pride Month, a look at ‘Kanarie’, a South African coming-of-age (and coming-out) drama

June 13, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Among other things, Christiaan Olwagen’s South African drama Kanarie is about the importance of role models. The people around us — family, friends, teachers — they’re all good. But it’s something else when a public figure, especially one you adore, legitimises what you are. Johan adores Boy […]

‘Ode to My Father’ is an important reminder that sentimental, manipulative mainstream cinema isn’t just our thing

June 7, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: You should watch Ode to My Father, the 2014 South Korean melodrama which is the basis of the Salman Khan-starrer, Bharat. When we talk about films from other countries, there’s usually a strain of “Look, even <insert name of country> makes such great films. But we keep […]

With the end of Cannes 2019, here’s looking back at Palme d’Or winners down the years

May 30, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Now that Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite has won the Palme d’Or, let’s look back down the years and see if we can settle on the one Palme d’Or winner to beat all others. Let’s exclude the most recent winners like Shoplifters, The Square and I, Daniel Blake. They’re […]

Abdellatif Kechiche’s unique achievement, with Part One in Venice, Part Two at Cannes

May 23, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: In terms of pedigree, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Mektoub, My Love series may be unprecedented. The first part (subtitled Canto Uno), adapted from François Bégaudeau’s French novel La Blessure, la vraie (The Real Wound), was screened in the main competition section of the 2017 Venice International Film Festival. And […]

Remembering a classic film with Alain Delon, recipient of the honorary Palme d’Or at Cannes 2019

May 16, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: For a brief while, it appeared that Alain Delon might not receive the honorary Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Melissa Silverstein, the founder of the American organisation Women and Hollywood, tweeted that Delon “has publicly admitted to slapping women. He has aligned himself with […]

The Cannes classics line-up includes a tribute to Lina Wertmüller’s Oscar-nominated ‘Seven Beauties’

May 9, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The biggest ticket at Cannes Classics 2019 is undoubtedly  the midnight screening of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, remastered in 4K and presented by Alfonso Cuarón. It’s the film you want to brag about, with a tweet like “Braved the mad rush and got a seat for The […]

Notes on cinematography and the ‘Amélie ’ cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, who will be honoured at Cannes

May 2, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The focus at film festivals is typically so director- and actor-centric that technicians almost become an afterthought. That’s why it’s important to highlight the Pierre Angénieux ExcelLens in Cinematography honour at the Cannes Film Festival, named after the French engineer and innovator. (Today’s zoom lenses use the […]

‘Touki Bouki’, hailed by Scorsese and appropriated by Beyoncé, is a highlight among African films at Cannes

April 25, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: This week, let’s talk about films from Africa. How many are you able to name, off the top of your head? I plead guilty, too. I’ve heard of the names — say, Ousmane Sembène (“the father of African cinema”) — but the films themselves are hard to […]

The only major award Bibi Andersson won for her indelible work with Ingmar Bergman was at Cannes

April 18, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: When news came of Bibi Andersson’s passing, I Googled up the celebrated actress to see how many acting awards she’d won in her career. I expected to find a host of nominations and wins for her collaborations with Ingmar Bergman alone (Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, The […]

‘Capharnaüm’, directed by Un Certain Regard jury president Nadine Labaki, questions the ethics of having children

April 11, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival, second in importance only to the Competition, was created in 1978 by Gilles Jacob, former (and long-time) President of the festival. The aim was to showcase and reward more offbeat fare, or as the festival puts it: […]

Agnès Varda passes away: Cléo from 5 to 7 is one of the most famous films of veteran French filmmaker

April 4, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: In the September/October issue of Film Comment, Agnès Varda said, “There is only one old friend left now, Jean-Luc Godard.” As a reader, I felt sad, but Varda was probably being very matter-of-fact about it. She said, “Although I’m quite happy to be old, my whole body […]

On Jafar Panahi’s ‘The Circle’, which, in a small way, sparked the creation of ‘Super Deluxe’

March 28, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Super Deluxe opens this Friday, and in a long-ago interview, the director Thiagarajan Kumararaja told me about watching The Circle, the 2000 Iranian film by Jafar Panahi, where the narrative is handed over from one character to the next – a number of independent-yet-interconnected stories adding up […]

On World Poetry Day, remembering the friendship between Pablo Neruda and a postman

March 21, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: Ardiente paciencia (Burning Patience), by the Chilean writer Antonio Skármeta, was published in 1985. The story, set in Chile, imagined a fictional friendship between Pablo Neruda and a shy postman named Mario. The #poetryRocks conceit was as Romantic as it gets. The entire village (fisherfolk, mostly) is […]

As Xavier Dolan completes 10 years in cinema, a look at ‘Tom at the Farm’

March 15, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: In 2009, I Killed My Mother, a Canadian drama by a first-time filmmaker, premiered in the Director’s Fortnight programme of the Cannes Film Festival. It won three awards. Typically, this wouldn’t be major news — first films win awards all the time. But the director, Xavier Dolan, […]

For Women’s Day, an obvious “women’s film” versus a not-so-obvious one

March 7, 2019


Read the full article on Firstpost, here: The very term “women’s film” is a problematic one, though it has its uses. American film critic Molly Haskell wrote in her classic book From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies, “A film that focuses on male relationships is not pejoratively dubbed a […]