Cannes Diary 9 – Fairy Tales And Fluttering Curtains

June 6, 2017

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Read the full text on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/cannes-2017-fairy-tales-and-fluttering-curtains The screening of Nos Années Folles (Golden Years; French), by André Téchiné, started late, but the grumbling quietened when the reason was made known. The director and a few of his famous actors were making it to the theatre. What’s a half-hour when you’re seated three […]

Posted in: Cinema: Foreign

Cannes Diary 8 – A Workshop, An Experiment, A Bit Of Interpretation

June 5, 2017

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Read the full text on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/cannes-2017-a-workshop-an-experiment-a-bit-of-interpretation Lqaurent Cantet’s L’Atelier (The Workshop) is about, among other things, the word “granular.” Antoine (Matthieu Lucci) encounters it in a book written by Olivia (Marina Foïs), a famous Parisian novelist. He has enrolled in her summer writing workshop, where the aim is to craft a crime […]

Posted in: Cinema: Foreign

Cannes Diary 7 – Clockwork Toys, Existential Thrillers

June 5, 2017

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Read the full text on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/cannes-2017-clockwork-toys-existential-thrillers I couldn’t stop thinking about The Lobster days after watching it (that ending: did he? didn’t he?), so my response to Yorgos Lanthimos’ follow-up, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, may be the result of sky-high expectations – but I think the film really is a huge disappointment. […]

Posted in: Cinema: Foreign

“A Death in the Gunj”… Sounds like a murder mystery, but really an exquisite character study

June 4, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… The title of Konkona Sen Sharma’s first feature, A Death in the Gunj (based on a short story by Mukul Sharma), promises that a life will be lost, and the opening scene confirms this. Two men peer into the trunk of an Ambassador and wonder, “Maybe we should bend the knees and put […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

Cannes Diary 6 – Early Palme D’Or Buzz, Barbara And Elvis Presley

June 4, 2017

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Read the full text on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/cannes-2017-early-palme-dor-buzz-barbara-and-elvis-presley And the Palme D’Or goes to… At least on Sunday evening, the general consensus seemed to favour Michael Haneke’s Happy End. The other films in competition were certainly various shades of interesting (I especially liked what Bong Joon Ho’s Okja did in a “mainstream” space), but […]

Posted in: Cinema: Foreign

Cannes Diary 5 – Godard, AIDS And Frail Fathers

June 4, 2017

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Read the full text on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/cannes-2017-godard-aids-and-frail-fathers Michel Hazanavicius may be the best cinematic mimic ever. The Artist was a pitch-perfect reproduction of the silent movie. In Redoubtable(French), he goes after Godard, and at least part of the film’s giddy pleasures is the reminder of what a po-mo prankster Godard was. The film […]

Posted in: Cinema: Foreign

Cannes Diary 4 – A Superpower, A Transition, A Saffron Revolution

June 4, 2017

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Read the full text on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/cannes-2017-a-superpower-a-transition-a-saffron-revolution Kornel Mundruczo’s Jupiter’s Moon (Hungarian) is about a man who can fly. At least, he can levitate. By all rights, he shouldn’t be able to. This isn’t a question of physics but of biology. Aryan (Zsombor Jeger, who looks a lot like Gael García Bernal)  is a […]

Posted in: Cinema: Foreign

“Oru Kidayin Karunai Manu”… A gem that doesn’t forget to entertain even as it pursues loftier ambitions

June 3, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/oru-kidayin-karunai-manu-movie-review What kind of narrative could one weave from the story of villagers heading to a faraway temple in order to sacrifice a goat? A road movie, certainly, with every stop introducing quirky characters, startling contrivances. Or perhaps even a thriller, given that someone dies […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Cannes Diary 3 – Timelines And Animal Rights, Faces And Places

June 3, 2017

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Read the full text on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/cannes-2017-timelines-and-animal-rights-faces-and-places The seventies means different things to different people. To some, it’s the nostalgia of the last gasp of a certain kind of artistic Hollywood movie (Altman, Coppola, Scorsese). To others, it’s the Spielbergian mainstream, which would take full flight in the coming decade — the suburbia, the […]

Posted in: Cinema: Foreign

Cannes Diary 2 – A Family At War, Cultures At Peace

June 3, 2017

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Read the full text on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/cannes-2017-a-family-at-war-cultures-at-peace Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev’s much-awaited follow-up to Leviathan, his international art-house hit, is one of those films that perfectly captures the essence of its title: Nelyubov (Loveless). The opening frames are of winter, barren trees frosted with ice. It’s chillier inside the house of Boris (Aleksey […]

Posted in: Cinema: Foreign

Cannes Diary 1 – The Caste System, And Phantoms From The Past

June 3, 2017

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Read the full text on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/the-caste-system-and-phantoms-from-the-past-cannes-2017 On the first day of the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, I became a victim of what long-timers here jokingly call the caste system. It has to do with the colours of the badges. The most coveted colour is white. You get a white […]

Posted in: Cinema: Foreign

“Bongu”… A wannabe caper thriller that ends up quite dull

June 2, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/bongu-movie-review Kollywood seems to have run out of star prefixes coined from various combinations of “Ilaya,” “Super,” “Ultimate,” “Power,” and so forth. Natarajan ‘Natty’ Subramaniam’s title card in Bongu (Fraud), directed by Taj, refers to him as “Rare Piece.” It’s fun imagining scenarios where not-yet-stars […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Thondan”… As expected, yet another sermon disguised as a movie

June 2, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/thondan-movie-review Some people believe they’ll go to heaven if they die with the lord’s name on their lips. Here’s another option. While waiting in line outside Chitragupta’s office, make sure you’re holding on to the ticket stubs from Samuthirakani’s films. Admission guaranteed. I’m only half-joking, […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

“Brindhaavanam”… A crude mix of comedy and drama, with a few laughs from Vivekh

June 2, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/brindhaavanam-movie-review Here’s an example of what passes for comedy in a Radha Mohan movie. Sandhya (the spirited Tanya Ravichandran) pulls a male friend close for a selfie. He preens happily… until she tells him the picture is her response to a friend who went to […]

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil

Payal Kapadia on Taking the Only Indian Film To Cannes

June 1, 2017

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Read the full text on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/cannes-2017-payal-kapadia-on-taking-the-only-indian-film-to-the-festival Payal Kapadia was shooting a documentary in a remote tribal village in the Western Ghats, totally cut off from civilisation, by which she means totally cut off from cell phone reception. “It was like that Kiarostami film,” she says, referring to the running joke in The […]

The Mysskin interview

May 24, 2017

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Parts 1 and 2 of my video interview with Mysskin — on the sets of Thupparivalan — for Film Companion. Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

Posted in: Cinema: Tamil, Interview

L’Age d'(Palme d’)Or

May 14, 2017

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If you got that headline (translation: if you are a film snob), you may be interested in my dispatches from Cannes during the next couple of weeks.  Will put up links here as they appear on Film Companion. Au Revoir les Enfants. (See, I did it again!) Dispatch 1: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/the-caste-system-and-phantoms-from-the-past-cannes-2017 Dispatch 2: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/cannes-2017-a-family-at-war-cultures-at-peace Dispatch 3: […]

The Ramya Krishnan interview

May 14, 2017

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My video interview with Ramya Krishnan for Film Companion. Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

“Meri Pyaari Bindu”… An interesting premise that merely scratches the surface

May 14, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… In Akshay Roy’s Meri Pyaari Bindu, Parineeti Chopra plays Bindu Shankaranarayanan, the least convincing Tamilian in the history of Hindi cinema. It isn’t that she cannot speak convincing Tamil. The story is set in Kolkata, so maybe she’s one of those kids who never got a chance to learn the language. But she’s […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi

“Sarkar 3.”… A needless, not-all-bad sequel that’s more interesting as commentary on the director

May 13, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… The narrative is that the filmmaker named Ram Gopal Varma has lost it, and on the basis of Sarkar 3, it’s a relief to report that this isn’t entirely true. Consider the fine mirror scenes that depict a couple of assassination attempts – on the mafia don Subhash Nagre, aka Sarkar (Amitabh Bachchan), […]

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi