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.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Love and Creating

Last evening I started re-reading something I last read when I was in college. I still found it just as affecting. But let me exercise some restraint which I wish to believe -  or atleast make a show of, as if - age has made it easier for me to achieve, by getting out of the way quickly and  resting content with quoting:

         ..(But) the fact remains that I have a strong, determined face that does not at all represent my true character, though it partly explains some contradictions in it. Perhaps my most noteworthy characteristic is lack of depth. Whatever I do or say, the whole of me is contained in what I do or say, and I have nothing in reserve upon which to fall back in the event of my having to retreat. I am in fact, a man all vanguard without any main body or rearguard. From this characteristic comes my proneness to enthusiasm: I get excited over any trifle. This enthusiasm of mine, however, is rather like an uncontrolled horse taking a very high fence, having already thrown its rider, who is left in the dust ten yards behind. What I mean is that it is an enthusiasm that almost always lacks the support of the intimate, effective strength without which any kind of enthusiasm dwindles into mere foolish desire and rhetoric. And I am, in fact, inclined to rhetoric - that is, to the substitution of words for deeds. My rhetoric is of the sentimental kind. I want, for instance, to be in love and often deceive myself  into thinking I am in love when all that I have done is talk about it - with great feeling, no doubt, but nevertheless simply talking. At such moments tears come easily, I stammer, I assume all the attitudes of overflowing emotion. But beneath these outward signs of fervor I often conceal a bitter, positively mean kind of subtlety which makes me deceitful and does not represent any real strength, being merely the expression of my egoism.