Friday, March 30, 2007

not pop-eye's spinach

one entire side of my block of buildings has been taken over by spinach- its a chain of food stores. its opens today. am not at all happy that my building tucked away in the corner of this weird t village will suddenly see a lot of visitors and traffic. but on second thoughts - all of you who drop by to pick up your monthly/weekly provisions come on up and i promise you a good hot cup of tea/ cold beer ...

and i am gearing up for a series of screenings in bangalore. happiness. i really like bangalore and miss the life i had there.

and aboutthe vikalp- nova festival- saw very few films but out of the lot i saw i loved three of them. and i mean i really loved them. its been more than five days and i continue to mull over the films. two were by benedicte lienard, a belgian filmmaker. A piece of Sky and Heads against the wall. Heads against the wall is a documentary film on four youngsters housed in a reform institution. She is not allowed to film their faces and reveal their identities. She uses that to define the visual language in the film. She sustains deep intimacy with the subjects while filming very distant images of the youngsters along with extreme closeups of disembodied body parts- hands, lips... The subjects dominate the frame and they seem to determine both the narrative and the rhythm. But at no point is the position of the filmmaker ambiguous or left to interpretation. She is staunchly on the side of the law breaking youngsters, and against the institutions trying to mould them. There is no confusion about that. Yet the film breathes and allows us to breathe all through. Beautiful beautiful film.

Another film that i saw where the subject seems to engage with the making of the film as much as the filmmaker was shyamal karmakar's 'I am the Very beautiful'. This is the synopsis that he provides :
If a human being is the best plot, then Ranu is one thick plot. Over the past 6 years of filming, she has moved from one relationship to another, from one home and even one country to another. After an extremely modest upbringing in a refugee family, an abduction, a child, suicide attempts and many failed relationships later, Ranu is a total contrast to Shyamal, the film-maker who is well educated, well to do and of course, well respected. Their relationship grows with the film as the two accept each other despite moral archetypes and the film ultimately, turns out to be a sign of their trust and respect for each other as human beings.

The synopsis does not do justice to the film. Somewhere early in the film Shyamal and Ranu have gone to some fort on top of a hill. As they trudge up, the samera following them from a distance at times, shyamal asks ranu how old she is. she replies, 30. I think the camera moves close to her and she says, i was born in 1977.' The camera moves away again and shyamal asks, how old is your daughter. Ranu replies, 19. In a bland matter of fact manner shyamal says you must be 45. Ranu says, no i am not. ( i saw the film five days back so my mind might have 'redesigned' the shots )

This one sequence framed the film for me. Shyamal opens up his frame so that Ranu can define herself for the filmmaker and the audience. He is not trying to 'show' his wonderful, undefined relationship with her. He films her own HER terms. He ventures into very very dangerous terain with such ease and confidence that the film obviously becomes a treat to engage with.

Now i am too tired to write about the third film, A piece of sky. Again- a very beautiful film.

Suffice to say that i have spent many many hours over the past few days mulling over these three films instead of completing my subtitling!

thats all for now.

2 comments:

Space Bar said...

ah...now i know what films! thanks for this.

sur, i don't want to knock the worth of your 'obssession' with sanah and momminess, but i really wish you'd write more about films as well. there's such a great perspective you have there that i'd like to read more about. it feeds something i me that i miss so much, talking films with people who make them.

surabhi said...

hee hee... sanah and momminess and films and books really jostle for mind space. my mind is a delicous bhurji mess at the moment.