Monday, November 30, 2015

Sao Paolo Day 1

A morning walk that led form the hotel in Higienopolis to Largo Republica- the name of which remained me of my undergraduate thesis in Margao. From there to the Church Square- Ze. A city of churches on squares and three dimensional road structures- horizontal and vertical- some I suspected were built on older water systems. And on the outskirts of the old city- the high modernist towers- with concrete grills that open and stilt areas with expressive form finished concrete.
Later, after an interview with a newspaper on the pedestrian Avenue PAulistana I walked to the brilliant Lina Bo Bardi museum.

Sao Paolo: Lina Bo Bardi - Museum of the Art of Sao Paolo

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Amsterdam: Aldo Van Eyck's Orphanage

I am still surprised the overtly design conscious dutch allowed this masterpiece to fall into disrepair. when karla and i were there the building was subdivided into parts- one part an artists studio. most of the building was shut down and empty. a gentle scale in spite of the sprawling campus- a modular metabolism that allows it to flow across the lawn, and the idiosyncrasies that make every corner unique.

Lamayuru and Landscapes on NH1

Lamayuru monastery with it's landscape of golden 'moonscape' mountains, clusters of houses; and on the way the Indus snakes alongside with green fields in the valleys and the mountains turning purple, gold, pink and every colour and form imaginable at every turn. 

the 400 blows . max mon amour . joint security area

male teenage angst shapes this film- some lovely scenes- the famous truancy in paris with the well of death; or that beautiful end on the beach with the startled look to the camera at the end. still i felt that the sexism that underpinned it all was rather annoying. the father is allowed to be cold towards his son because he is after all a step son- but the mother is given no excuse for being the bitch she is treated as. as for other women? they don't really exist. 

savagery is unleashed in the prim domesticity of the british diplomat's home as it prepares for the queen's visit when the chimpanzee might be giving better sex to his wife. he is confused, jealous, curious- while the wife stays silent as an enigma. played as natural the film is funny, easy and most importantly tender- in spite of its preposterous plot. 

blood brothers make friends across the border between north and south korea. you know this can't last right from the first scene. the rashomon like pov shifts try to confuse the matter - not very successfully. but skilled at story telling- this is. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

warrior . nayakan

testosterone packed melodrama this good is rare. bro tears, dad love/hate and some sibling rivalry. the men get to express themselves only in fistfights or sulk and scowl at each other. ‘brothers’ twisted the backstory around- gave us some mom issues and some kareena kapoor but kept the rest the same. the tear jerking didn't need amping up. tom hardy’s bruised swollen lips make him look like a sullen schoolboy. 

more daddy issues with kamalhasan as a pasty faced cupcake in the early half just seems silly- especially when he wears neatly ironed matching matching clothes through the murders and the beatings. later on, he improves. all evil people have sex with prostitutes while the other women are the conscience of the film- the daughter and the mother. more male machismo bonding dictates the rest of the plots- with no self-reflexivity (same to same as ‘warrior’) the bombay recreations in out of focus (at least in the print i saw) blue grey wet muddy are fine enough- but for the hero’s shiny greased face are fine as long it is the slum or the stock shots of marine drive/ gateway / vt. the rest of the film- the funeral sequences, the courtroom stuff are so not mumbai that the spatial illusion falls flat- letting the film go too. 

Monday, June 08, 2015

melodrama . upkar . anniyan/aparichit

who needs reality from cinema? we don’t ask if we need everyday conversation from music? or three dimensional accuracy in painting. the artifice of the medium as message is where we find our pleasure. then why do we demand ‘realism’ from the screen. cinema has to be a heightened world in which we immerse ourselves in spectacle and magic. 3d is merely another deceit that has to be enjoyed because of its difference from and not because of its similarity to the world.

‘upkar’ flattens the tropes of patriotic filmmaking into predictable cliches. the burnished earth, the iconic pose against the sky. but if there is a theme that lies underneath it all- is it the partition? half men, cripples everywhere and a land divided between brothers. the hallucinogenic night sequence that again cuts a cabaret with horror makes easy targets of the rich- take that! and can i have another drink after the premier?

‘anniyan’ or ‘aparichit’ in which shankar gets vikram to stand in for all of the heroes we want on screen- the sweet good shy wimp, the angry young man and the romantic hero. the schizophrenia is not only his on screen but also ours- a portrait of us. the jingoistic middle class anti corruption tirade and revenge drama is so overplayed it becomes comic- becomes scary. in fact the same happens with all the three personas that vikram inhabits and takes to extremes. the romantic hero obsesses suicidally, the wimp whimpers and gets beaten up while the action hero kills mercilessly. each in extreme reveals the ludicrousy of it all. and images? the pop folk art on the ambassadors and buses in the village song, or the super crazy action sequences with fast motion, slow motion, stop. a skeleton in the arm is seen in x-ray when it is broken.