Friday, June 26, 2015

EXT - DAY (Kinda)

I was watching Sabapathy (1941) for the umpteenth time yesterday.

Much is made of Bharathiraja getting films out of studios - the veracity in that claim is perhaps a tad less wholesome than the conviction in it - but, precious little is made of who confined it indoors in the first place.

With every movie one watches from the early eras of TFI, one only gets surer about a nuanced film-aesthetic dropped in favour of a -how does one put it- a rather loquacious alternative.

But then, possibly, what we get to see on TV today is a positive-select of the best ones of the era. And to that extent we aren't exposed to the 'average aesthetic' of the day enough to come to a reasonable understanding to make a comparison. But what are blogs for, if not to shoot from the hip.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The wonder that was

Let us start by watching pAttum naanE.
Why would I tell you why yet, this is enjoyable enough for me to not have to bother telling you why.

Video Link:
If you didn’t like that, you probably shouldn’t read further.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Jig

No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. …. Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. -          Oscar Wilde (Preface to ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’)

This film is a hit or miss.

One ought not to talk about its sequences, references, camera, sound and what not,  on even terms without addressing the elephant in the room – the complete abandonment midway of what the central character was thus far. The film’s “descent” into the absurd, the farcical shift in tone – can make or break the film. It cannot be talked of as a minor point, say a mild niggle and shift over to appreciating some nuances in the film-making.

You either buy it as a deliberate choice of an artist or a facetious irresponsibility of an amateur, who is learning the ropes. And all evidence of the so-called ‘new wave’ of young filmmakers do urge one to side with the latter. However, I think there is reason enough to believe this is a case of the former. And just that opens up a whole new avenue of reading what the film was trying to do.

Thus, what follows may thus be an indulgent over-reading.  You have been warned:

Saturday, April 19, 2014


'Tis not to see the world 
As from a height, with rapt prophetic eyes,
And heart profoundly stirred;
And weep, and feel the fulness of the past, 
The years that are no more! 
It is to spend long days 
And not once feel that we were ever young.

Growing Old - by  Matthew Arnold


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

PaNNaiyArum padminiyum - Musings on Ownership.

As you have heard, the car is everyone's. The entire village loves it. Kids ride it, the postman does his beat in it, atleast one corpse is transported on its roof, infants are delivered in it and what not. 

But, while the film does make the most out of a - weakened by overuse - Tamil film trope: 'the good, simple people of the village' , what makes it special is that, it engages with the touchy question of 'ownership' quite well. The film is particular about acknowledging the sense of unease in precisely what is not articulated: that the car is not everyone's. It IS private property after all. And that there are degrees of ownership and claims that each have over it and which they want to defend against the claim of an 'other' - an other perceived as an outsider with a lesser claim.  Or an other having a greater claim, which makes one insecure.  Or an other having without deserving, a greater claim.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

But the book itself does not count

Are you  someone who has somehow manage to develop a rather stately impression of your own writing ability and also feel you possess a critic's discernment?

Do you have a capacity for delusions of grandeur - is that even a question, of course you do. So much so that you can exaggerate - not just your writing and critical abilitIes - but even your own impressions of them, to be able to relate to the turmoil of some who is, and expresses himself, way better?
Read on then as Silvio Baldeschi - the narrator of Moravia's Conjugal Love-  writes a critique of a novel he just finished writing.