FC @ Venice 6: Luca Guadagnino’s ‘Suspiria’ and Mike Leigh’s ‘Peterloo’

September 3, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/fc-at-venice-2018-luca-guadagninos-suspiria-and-mike-leighs-peterloo/ Luca Guadagnino’s reworking of Dario Argento’s most famous giallo work, Suspiria, is similarly set in West Germany, in the late 1970s. But unlike the earlier film, which blew off this time- and place-setting information with a bit of on-screen text, this version takes pains to situate […]

FC @ Venice 5: Yorgos Lanthimos’s ‘The Favourite’, plus Orson Welles’s last work

September 2, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/fc-at-venice-2018-yorgos-lanthimoss-the-favourite-plus-orson-welless-last-work/ Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving.” If you guessed these opening lines from the press notes are about the new Yorgos Lanthimos movie, it’s a testament to how bizarre, how surreal, how unique and […]

FC @ Venice 4: Alfonso Cuarón’s magnificent ‘Roma,’ plus the other awards at the festival

September 1, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/fc-at-venice-2018-alfonso-cuarons-magnificent-roma-plus-the-other-awards-at-the-festival/” With the premiere of Alfonso Cuarón’s Netflix-acquired Roma, the Venice film festival effectively told Cannes: “Stop fussing about the format. Focus on the film.” For if this isn’t CINEMA, then what is? The press booklet called Roma “[Cuarón’s] most personal project to date.” I don’t know […]

Tumbbad is a truly original “horror” movie that’s actually more of a ghoulish Panchatantra fable

August 31, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/tumbbad-review-horror-film-rahi-anil-barve-baradwaj-rangan-venice-film-festival-2018/ The Venice Critics’ Week was inaugurated with Rahi Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad’s non-Competition entry, Tumbbad — that’s the name of the very rainy village in which the story unfolds. Technically, though, the section was inaugurated with Toni D’Angelo’s 20-minute Italian short, Nobody’s Innocent, which played […]

FC @ Venice  3: Virtual Reality experiences of war and the cosmos, plus sci-fi based on Philip K Dick

August 30, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/venice-film-festival-2018-virtual-reality-first-man-ryan-gosling/ Okay, I most certainly did not expect to be reminded of Subhash Ghai while watching a VR film at the 75th Venice Film Festival. Eliza McNitt’s Spheres: Chorus of the Cosmos describes the birth (and possible death) of earth, starting from the Big Bang, and when […]

FC @ Venice 2: Thoughts on embargoes, and Daniel Chazelle’s awesome Neil Armstrong biopic, starring Ryan Gosling

August 30, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/fc-at-venice-2018-thoughts-on-damien-chazelles-awesome-neil-armstrong-biopic-starring-ryan-gosling/ I don’t understand embargoes at a film festival. I mean, I’ll respect them. I just don’t see the point. When a big movie opens on thousands of screens, you see why they don’t want reviews till a certain point. If the reviews are overwhelmingly negative, it […]

FC @ Venice 1: #MeToo makes it to the Lido, though there are compensations

August 29, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/fc-at-venice-2018-metoo-makes-it-to-the-lido-though-there-are-compensations/ I saw the strangest sight at the 75th Venice Film Festival. In front of the press room, photographers had formed a semi-circle around someone who was obviously a celebrity. (I later realised it was the Italian actor, Michele Riondino.) The lights kept flashing from cameras, but […]

“Gold”… A broad, rousing sports tale that’s a bad fit with the director’s refined sensibilities

August 26, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… It’s surprising to find Reema Kagti in masala mode. Gold stars Manoj Akshay Kumar as Tapan Das, the manager of the Indian hockey team — but the film opens in 1936, at the Berlin Olympics, when it’s still the British Indian hockey team. The team wins, but when the national anthem is played, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Lakshmi”… A surprisingly watchable update on the kids-want-to-dance template

August 25, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/lakshmi-prabhu-deva-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan/ When I began to warm up to AL Vijay’s Lakshmi, I wondered — at first — if it was a function of my expectations, which had been so low. There are so many things wrong with this kiddie dance-competition film, beginning with a ridiculously […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Readers Write In #47: When Left Met Right: Let’s talk about Communalizing Carnatic Music

August 24, 2018

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As the nation celebrates its 72nd Independence Day, we need to have a dialogue between those who read India right and left. Before I venture further, I must admit this. I have never been too fond of labels which are, more often, borrowed constructs placed out of context. So, I am going to use the […]

“Merku Thodarchi Malai”… A strong, stirring, beautifully shot portrayal of life in the Western Ghats

August 24, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/merku-thodarch-malai-tamil-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan/ Most films, in the early portions, build up to a hero-introduction shot. Merku Thodarchi Malai (Western Ghats) builds up to a landscape-introduction shot. At first, we get long stretches of people doing the most mundane things. Waking up. Bathing. Idle chatter while drinking tea. […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Echcharikkai”… A pretty decent kidnap drama that would have been better had it been less apologetic about its grindhouse roots

August 24, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/echcharikkai-movie-review-sarjun-km-baradwaj-rangan/ The trailer of Echcharikkai – Idhu Manidhargal Nadamaadum Idam (Warning — Beware of Humans) reveals what the plot is about: a kidnapping. You’d think the film, therefore, would set up this development quickly, so there’s more time to spend on the thrills associated with […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Mulk”… A smashingly effective return to Hindi cinema’s social-potboiler roots

August 24, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… There’s probably no other actor who could have played Murad Ali Mohammed in Mulk, written and directed by Anubhav Sinha. It isn’t just Rishi Kapoor’s performance — a solid, empathetic turn. He was always a good actor, but when he was younger, his line readings would burst out of him, as though he […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

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

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/with-kerala-floods-lets-ask-why-we-readily-watch-disaster-movies-even-as-real-life-disasters-leave-us-reeling-5019331.html​ https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/with-kerala-floods-lets-ask-why-we-readily-watch-disaster-movies-even-as-real-life-disasters-leave-us-reeling-5019331.html 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 […]

Not ‘Chennai’… these songs are about ‘Madras’

August 22, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/chennai-songs-about-madras-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan On Madras Day, a flashback to songs that celebrate the city. Azhagiya mithilai nagarinile (Annai, 1962): A two-toned convertible carrying a young couple cruises through near-empty roads. This was still the studio era, so it’s surprising to see actual outdoor shooting (instead of a car propped […]

10 memorable moments from Mani Ratnam’s ‘Dil Se’, which turns 20 today

August 21, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/10-memorable-moments-from-mani-ratnams-shah-rukh-khan-dil-se-which-turns-20-today/ On 21st August, 1998, we got the third (and best) instalment of Mani Ratnam’s “terror trilogy.” Where ‘Roja’ and ‘Bombay’ were more narrative-driven, ‘Dil Se’ came after ‘Iruvar’, which marked the birth of a very different filmmaker. ‘Dil Se’ is more abstract, filled with mood and […]

Readers Write In #46: Blood, Sweat and Grime: Thoughts on 20 years of Satya

August 18, 2018

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To really understand the significance of Satya for Bollywood, we have to revisit the Hindi movies of 90’s. They could be slotted into three broad categories ( I am simplifying, of course)  – Hollywood rip offs (e.g. Yarana, Agnisakshi), David Dhawan style (crass) comedies and the ubiquitous NRI friendly designer movies. What started as something sweet with […]

“Geetha Govindam”… Overlong and over-dramatic, but this entertaining romance more or less works

August 18, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/geetha-govindam-telugu-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan An early scene by a bus stop perfectly sets up the protagonist of Geetha Govindam. Vijay (Vijay Deverakonda) is doing one of those stalkery wooing numbers, trying to catch the eye of a pretty woman (Anu Emmanuel). He’s been trying to catch her eye […]

Posted in: Cinema: Telugu

“Karwaan”… A bland, weightless road movie, but the cast keeps you watching

August 18, 2018

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Spoilers ahead… Nothing seems to infuriate the middle-class Indian father — or alienate him from his son — than the latter’s decision to take up photography as a career. We saw this in Wake Up Sid. We saw this in 3 Idiots. We see this in Akarsh Khurana’s Karwaan. This is just the first of […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Critics

August 17, 2018

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Critics exist so a dialogue can exist about the art form. Not the business. https://t.co/aoDy10EOtO — Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) March 29, 2016

Posted in: Cinema, Personal