Balancing the number of Rotten Tomatoes!

Experiment, Analysis, Conclusion...

For those who think independent cinema is almost like inviting cannons firing rotten tomatoes, our sacks are full! We are dreamers and we dream about making people perceive art differently. We like forcing a different thought. Why?

How many films that you have watched helped you in expanding your thought, opinions or empathy for fellow human beings? Aren’t we compulsively happy about the kind of art that is sold in the name of entertainment in the present times? Well, it will be an understatement to say that Hollywood, Bollywood or our regional cinema fails to produce film that are equally thought-provoking. However, the acceptance of such works is yet to see the broad light of the day. Thus it’s better to consume rotten tomatoes than sponsor sugar-coated reviews on national dailies.

 

Independent filmmakers are often accused of making something that fails to generate enough buzz in the market. Very true! I don’t feel they have a reason to make a buzz out of a star controversy or a billion dollar pay check. We do it because we simply want to share a story – we take risks. We don’t owe anything to anyone other than the handful of audience we have.

 

The Cemetery is not made to capture sugar-coated reviews and attract Facebook likes. I would rather appeal for sincere and frank perception. I’ll have no regrets discussing the faults in the film and neither do I expect an ‘all-so-good’ review. I am more concerned about how viewers react to an emotionally dry scheme of visual sequences. I am concerned about how viewers feel about the open-ended climax and I am really looking forward to some real criticism from all those who have resolved to dedicate 20 precious minutes of your life.

 

Independent Cinema will not flaunt big banners but will knock your doors and urge you to think differently. As an indie filmmaker, I tried the same in my debut project. An attempt that might seem feeble to a few but I can promise that the passion for something indigenous will reflect in the entire work. Be it the narrative, the music, the locales or the acting, The Cemetery will be a different span of film-watching for any quintessential film lover!

 

Determination and passion will drive us forward, in the hope that a few more stories that lurk around our not so dramatic lives will find their destination someday! Expecting support and honest feedback… Join the Facebook event and watch The Cemetery as it releases online on June 1.

Nirbaak – a true reflection of honest artistic conscience…

n

I couldn’t connect with Nirbaak. I didn’t go all “claps and praises” for the film. I didn’t understand why Srijit made a film like Nirbaak.

No, Nirbaak is definitely not the right movie choice for a Sunday afternoon with your beau. A few left before the show ended and even fewer applauded. Yet I couldn’t ravel what I saw.

Okay, so going frame by frame, it’s the story of a narcissist, inter-species love and necrophilia, punctuated with some metaphysical sequences. Is that it? So Nirbaak is a “slow, pseudo-intellectual, claiming-to-be art house movie gravitated by Sushmita Sen”.

Nirbaak-1

The post-watch adda of the film was not so speechless. While some considered it a complete fiasco, others called it an innuendo of what today’s Bengali film industry can look up to as an exemplary creation.

Contrivance, mixed with the right amount of quandary can give rise to a masterpiece and Nirbaak is one such example, undoubtedly. This acerbic movie is not for everyone. And why should it be? After all, not many of us listen to the wind or understand our pet’s parable or relate to the tryst between the morgue-man and corpse.

 

Nirbaak-2

Thanks to the team who could think of such an incendiary plot and pass it through the red-eyed censor and make it to the theatres.

Keeping the entire buzz aside, do yourself a favour. Go and watch the movie. After all, the fulcrum of the movie is all about loving yourself and everything else would fall in place.

Nirbaak-5

The relentless shenanigans of the Bengali film industry didn’t create any sense of sordid amongst the tireless (read sick) remake movie-makers. It takes a lot of guts to pull up all the good factors in a single movie and challenge the moviegoers ‘universal mindset and passing the test with aplomb. Nirbaak answers, or rather questions the base of the modern film industry with all its pedagogic skills what an “experimental” film would be like. How you perceive Dali or what Van Gogh permeates in you is absolutely individual aesthetic coaching. What essentially this movie makes you feel is the surreal world which probably doesn’t get through our membrane too often. The ubiquitous sense of surrealism is not always felt but you cannot but subscribe to this hypnagogic element of life.

 

Nirbaak-6

I watched the recent Bengali film Nirbaak last evening. It is still with me and I’m still very profoundly with the characters of the film. A number of fellow audiences in the theatre thought the film was insane and tried to bully their partners indicating the time that they are wasting while watching an old narcissist bathing or a tree having an orgasm or a fetish love of a bitch for her master or even a morgue-man’s first found love in a corpse.

Well, to be honest Nirbaak is a film that is not made very often in India and in terms of commercial cinema, this is a rare species. Thanks to the portfolio of the director, a substantial number of movie-goers managed to make it to the theatres. Some were forced by their mates and some were probably hoping to experience another urban-romantic pot-boiler. Nirbaak disappointed them!

A film dedicated to Salvador Dali, the director Srijit Mukherjee draws inspiration from one of his abstract and surrealistic paintings while conceiving the concept of Nirbaak- very evident and very aesthetically done! Ambitious as a commercial project and revolutionary as an alternate cinema, Nirbaak emerges as a soliloquy of human psych depicting the not-so-happy minds of our society and their unconscious connections with voiceless sources of happiness (read respite). Hats off to the concept, attempt and the effort!

Nirbaak-4

I don’t prefer writing reviews narrating the story or the good and bad moments of the film, I fancy investigating the mind space of the creative personalities involved in a project. While Srijit’s earlier films promised something for every soap-watching audience, this film condescendingly disobeyed his own style and he challenged himself with a form of cinema that is not visited very often. This is either ways not a review but a vote of thanks and a heart-felt congratulation to the entire team. Nirbaak, very organically creates a space and a scope for the otherwise abstract ideas resonating art and the truth of being an artist.

 

Nirbaak-3

Wrapping up, I would like to assert the significance of art being a medium that can foresee truth. Art should disclose truth, truth of the present hour, truth from the untold stories and truth of being differently happy from varied perspectives. Nirbaak as a piece of art achieves them gracefully!

John F. Kennedy in a speech to bid farewell to the immortal poet Robert Frost said, “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.”

Nirbaak arrogantly defied to be a form of propaganda and evolved as an artistically poised truth!

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture, thanking a fellow writer & friend for contributing in this excerpt and keeping the indispensable arguments alive.

Exploring the incredible Single-Shot look of Birdman!

Birdman-3

The creativity involved in film making in the recent times often fall under microscopic inspection as film enthusiasts try and decipher the techniques to create the visual illusion. It is quite obvious that a film attracts such mass attention if and only if it excels in some global film podium. Birdman by Alejandro González Iñárritu is one of those rare instances when a film grabbed attention for creating a visual illusion – as if the entire film was a single shot!

Birdman-1

When discussed over coffee the technique was appreciated by a number of film enthusiasts, however, when discussed over whiskey Birdman’s single shot illusion is often regarded as one of the great cinematic magic tricks of all time. If you have not watched the film (you must be very busy), come back after watching it and read the rest of this write-up. Some of you might find it absurd and some of you might wonder about the impossible sense of geography – I am still an explorer!

[For film buffs and intense followers of international cinema – this is not the only one take film that I have watched. There is Ana Arabia by Amos Gitai and there are various instances when a particular part of a film is shot in a long take. However, Birdman is an exception – an exception for all good reasons]

birdman-2

Birdman delves into the life of a former movie-star, Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) portraying his mind and psychosis in an attempt to regain his lost fame. It is a first person account of the actor who is preparing for a Broadway production depicted in a style that appears seamlessly one-shot. Although the film looks like a 119 minute continuous shot, it is obviously not. The idea behind this blog is to congratulate the team (sometimes I feel I am a part of it) that made it possible and explore the blueprint of such a miraculous technique.

In an article published in Hollywood Reporter in December 2014, the Oscar winning cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki described the entire process of filming as a ‘ballet’.

Describing how difficult the lighting of the sets and maintaining the continuity were, Lubezki said, “That is because, for instance, the light that is lighting Michael at his makeup mirror will create a shadow a minute later if we move around the room. So we had to time all of the lighting changes, making sure you don’t see shadows. We were moving lights; we were moving diffusions. There were grips moving with me. Every time you see a shot, there were eight people moving with me. It was like a ballet — that’s what made it truly exciting.”

According to me, the entire movement of lights along with the camera that provided no clue to crack the single shot illusion gave Michael Keaton the much acclaimed dramatic look. The director, cinematographer and editor along with a team of highly creative people followed the panning of camera and the movement of color to stitch those otherwise long takes (usually in the 10 minute range). A tricky editing and a subtle VFX followed in the master copy.

_AF_5961.CR2

Well, theoretically the end result seems quite achievable. However, in reality the cinematography of Lubezki is nothing less than incredible – such flawless movement that it never looked disjointed. I am curious to find out how the entire team decided on this goal. The journey must have been fascinating to say the least. Cinematography is something that I am stating quite profusely in this article. However, it is aided by a pool of creatively genius people who contributed in editing, color grading, writing and most importantly directing the thought which probably seemed like a dream!

One of the striking features of Birdman, the film is probably the confusing and bold use of space. The film was mostly filmed on a mazelike set and the use of space, color of lights and the camera movements were purely out of artistic desire as I understand. And I completely believe that Riggan’s inner state of mind was perfectly described in this process. Whether that was intentional or not, I hold no version of my own. But, to be honest, every time I have seen the film, it excited me; I felt an utmost rush of desire in me that transported me to the sets of Birdman where Iñárritu and Lubezki would probably shoot the next scene planning the perfect transition!

119 minutes of visual illusion – One shot – quite an incredible feat!

Two – a short film by Satyajit Ray that you might have missed

Two-short-film-by-ray

Short films can really be an engaging medium for film makers and film lovers. Especially for story lovers, short films have always made a mark. Satyajit Ray, one of the pioneers of Indian cinema was entrusted with a project commissioned by the US Public Television under the banner of Esso World Theater in 1965. The project had a guideline which made it mandatory for the director to make an English film in a Bengali setup. He made a silent film paying a tribute the genre. It seemed Ray was really not happy with proposal, but the result was mesmerizing.

 

‘Two’ is a silent film with a very surreal treatment that depicts the encounter of two kids from two different segments of our society. A rich kid with all kinds of amusement materials at his disposal and a slum boy with limited resources but with a very poignant approach towards happiness are protagonists of this short film.

two-satyajit-ray-still

A still from sets of ‘Two’

 

The kid from the well-to-do family watches a slum boy playing around from his window and tries to conquer his small world of happiness with all his efforts. As they both display their collection of toys, every time the rich kid out-plays him with his set of options. Loud trumpets as an answer to a humble flute, a cowboy look with a gun as an answer to a home-made mask and a spear. And when defeated by all means, the slum boy tries to fly a simple kite, the rich kid shoots it down with his air rifle. Overpowered and humbled, the slum boy gives up while proud of his victory the rich kid comes back to his lavish room filled with toys and amusement materials.

The "Ray" of hope for Indian Cinema!

The “Ray” of hope for Indian Cinema!

However, the suggestive victory of the rich kid did not last long enough.  The film ends with flute music played by the slum boy which encapsulates the silent aura of the films while the rich boy observes his toy robot breaking down. He still did not surrender, but the slum boy made him realize the thin line between winning and losing. A must watch!

 

Cast: Ravi Kiran and a random street child

Producer: Esso World Theater

Screenplay & Direction: Satyajit Ray

Cinematography: Soumendu Roy

Editing: Dulal Dutta

Art Direction: Bansi Chandragupta

Sound: Sujit Sarkar

Music: Satyajit Ray

COLORS OF ETHIOPIA

mymotionpicture:

I have never seen more candid images than these… Steve you made my day…

Originally posted on Steve McCurry's Blog:

Ours
Time-old
Highland of highlands
Ancient
Where all history ends
Where all rainbows meet…
Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin
Poet Laureate of Ethiopia
1936 – 2006

ETHIOPIA-10501 (1)

ETHIOPIA-10304

I knew that the English regarded themselves as civilized, 
 but it seemed to me that in many ways Ethiopia was a far more civilized place.
Catherine Hamlin, M.D. in The Hospital by the River : A Story Of Hope
Founder with her husband of Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital

ETHIOPIA-10328NF3 (2)

ETHIOPIA-10405 (3)

DSC_0017_sf (2)

 Ethiopia confounds every expectation
You arrive expecting a vast featureless desert and instead find yourself
overwhelmed by majestic landscapes and climatic abundance.
Ethiopia is a true revelation.
It is the most welcoming, enjoyable and
uplifting country I have ever visited.
– Philip Briggs, Ethiopa 

ETHIOPIA-10221

ETHIOPIA-10395 (2)

Ethiopia has always held a special place in my own imagination.
I felt I would be visiting my own genesis,
unearthing the roots of what made me an African.
– Nelson Mandela

ETHIOPIA-10108NF (1)

ETHIOPIA-10486NF3

ETHIOPIA-10212 (3)

ETHIOPIA-10124

Over the…

View original 227 more words

Chatushkone – resonating hope in the mute tunnel of recent Bengali cinema

chotushkone

To begin with, please don’t consider it as a review of the film. It is not even a critical analysis. You can read it as an expression of gratitude for the man who brought a spring of hope in the Bengali film industry and is doing wonders for the last five years. It is a humble attempt to assert the fact that Bengali films are still intellectually superior in a country where senseless films are celebrated as commercial cinema!

It is very different here in Bengal. We tend to celebrate art in various forms and when it comes to films we have a natural tendency of becoming a little more critical. After the golden era of the seventies, there was a lull in Bengali cinema. I was lucky enough to experience the rise of Bengali cinema during the earlier years of this millennium. I would definitely credit a few film makers who compelled the Bengali audience towards theatres. Rituporno Ghosh, Aparna Sen, Anjan Dutt, Kaushik Ganguly and definitely Srijit Mukherjee are the leading names in this context.

chotushkone-still-1

The subject of this write-up happens to be the latest film by the last name in the aforementioned list, “Chatushkone”. The film is undoubtedly the biggest blockbuster in 2014 as far as Bengali cinema is concerned. It proved that the Bengali audience is still very particular about the art of cinema. It is not the mindless films (read commercial films) but intelligent and substantially superior films that attract audiences to cinema halls. Srijit’s films have been proving the point from his debut film to say the least! Autograph, Baishey Shrabon, Hemlock Society, Mishawr Roshshyo, Jaatishwar and then came Chatushkone.

chotuskone_aparna-sen

Being a film buff and a keen student of film making, I am a part of the stories that float around the industry for the last seven-eight years now. Chatushkone happens to be Srijit’s one of the oldest scripts that witnessed a number of adversities. If a film is perceived as the brain child of the film maker, perhaps this child of survived the most difficult conditions. Challenging the conditions like actor walk-outs to loss of inspiration (the sad demise of Rituparno), Chatushkone was perhaps the most adamant project of the director that turned out to be his best film till date. Analysis of the film is done in various scales and the success story has been written, discussed and celebrated through various means. I still wanted to point out some of the weak links of the film when I went to the theatre for the second time to watch the film. I considered taking notes! I couldn’t, I was converted to a keen audience.

chotuskone_goutam-ghoseThere are a number of films that are made with the concept of film within a film. Srijit challenged the form – he made a film with four films in it, treating them very uniquely. With different time lines, different colour codes, different taste and a very subtle approach all the four films had a statement of its own. The quadrilateral chemistry between the four directors illustrated in the film was entwined in a soothing yet a very compelling thriller story. The director has a unique signature in terms of his sarcastic and invigorating dialogue writing; Chatushkone was no different.

chotuskone_chiranjit

The plate was full for the audiences to grab their desired tastes. The likes of Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Goutam Ghose, Aparna Sen and Chiranjit played the major characters along with wonderful cameos from Kaushik Ganguly, Barun Chanda, Neel Mukherjee, Indrashish Roy, Paayel Sarkar, Arpita Chaterjee and Koneenica Banerjee doing justice to the script. Chiranjit (Dipak Chakroborty) probably collected the most number of congratulatory messages for Chatushkone, his comeback film. As far as the music was concerned, the songs penned by Anupam Roy were lyrical and soothing as usual. Although, I personally feel that the film had two songs too many, given the genre or the subject of the film is concerned.  Editing, Cinematography, set design and the execution couldn’t have been better.

 

chotuskone_parambrataAs a concluding note, I would definitely like to congratulate Srijit Mukherjee for restoring the hope of audience in Bengal. Dear comrade, keep inspiring us with your efforts that can and will nullify the efforts of some shallow trade-analysts who define films on the basis of box-office collection! I wish him all the success for his future projects and hope his films cross international boundaries bringing more glories for Bengali cinema.

 

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture seeking light on the other end of the mute tunnel called, Bengali Cinema!

The girl I stalked at Park Street Metro!

schizophrenia

“Did you believe me, when I said I am fine last night? You hung up after saying a quick goodnight. You prove me everyday how insensitive you are!” She was screaming at the top of her voice while the crowd in front of the metro station at Park Street made way for this lady in black. She was quite tall, she was wearing a black top with folded sleeves with a black jeans. Her phone seemed to be a costly gadget; white and red. She stood at the gate and before disconnecting, she fumed, “Just wait and watch you scoundrel, see what happens today!”

 

I followed the woman as my smoking spree took the back seat for some time. I thought I had a story around that outrageous woman. Although, these relationships nowadays are growing ever so more impatient and couples are happily breaking up! I heard some friends of my friends throwing break-up parties to celebrate their liberation. I wonder why on the earth they tried to make something work that eventually resulted in foul-mouthing.  As I walked down the steps I spotted her a few steps ahead. She walked in haste as if she had a mission. I could hear an announcement, I didn’t care!

 

I know I am a complete mess and I am tired of hiding it, however, when it comes to beautiful women and their grief, I somehow get involved. She was angry when our eyes met and she looked stunning as her glance and gestures probably came from a classic dance drama depicting arrogant love. I saw her punching the ticket and walking in. She went down the tunnel to the other side of the station. She will go north. Then I saw her coming up again. So, will she go south? I went to the counter and bought the ticket that will take me to the terminal stations both north and south. Now I don’t see her anymore.

metro-suicide

I went in and I searched the length of the platform for her. So I went down the tunnel to search for her on the other side of the platform. “All that spirits desire, spirits attain.” – Khalil Gibran described in his words how so co-incidental and how relevant this meeting will be. I saw her sitting at the end of the platform. It was pretty crowded. I looked at the display to find out when the next train will arrive. She didn’t notice me until I went right in front of him and said, “Excuse me, may I speak to you for a while, in private. I am obviously not stalking you but it is really something very personal.” She looked at me with mixed emotions. Anger got the better as she stood up and left the seat to move somewhere else. I felt terribly insulted and awkward as I thought people staring at me might take things otherwise.

 

I stood there for a while keeping a close watch on her movements. I developed a notion that she might have considered doing something extremely insane. She walked down the platform and kept looking at her watch in regular intervals. I walked up to her and this time she spoke to me. “Listen, I don’t know you and neither I am interested, will you please excuse me?” Her voice was cold and the disgust was very evident.

 

“I don’t earn my bread disturbing women at metro stations my lady. I thought you can be a menace to number of people who will choose the metro for travelling today. Are you considering a suicide?” She was taken aback and tried to look say something. I knew this was the only chance and I kept on saying, “I know Bibhash very well, he is my friend and I have watched both of you in his facebook profile.” Before I could finish, she went ahead to see whether the next metro is arriving. She bent in front to dodge other men and women trying to find the same. She looked back and came close to me. She smelt like the red soil drenched in the first rain. I started regretting!

 

I wish I could tell her that when the razors, pills, knives start whispering her name, there is a voice screaming at the top of its lung’s capacity saying that I knew you are not fine. You can never be fine with me, unless I am not me!

 

I believe I looked different but she recognized my voice. “I know you, who are you and how do you know that I came here for end my life? I really don’t want to live. I have to end this suffering! You tell me, who are you?” I smiled, I tried to tell her that it hurts being on the other side of the world. I tried to tell her that she looks astonishingly beautiful and it is not worth giving up her life for some trivial relationship discord. She was growing restless and I spoke to her for another 49 seconds. I told her that she is the most beautiful woman that I came across and I was really dumb that I couldn’t mention that ever so more frequently. I was happy that I could surprise her for the one last time!

 

miss-meThe metro rail officials in Calcutta have a hard time with this idiosyncratic young generation. Some irritated sad soul started announcing again, “Due to a probable suicide in the Rabindra Sadan Metro station, all metros heading towards north are temporarily suspended. Inconvenience regretted!”

I am trying hard but she cannot see me anymore!