Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Notes on the Cinematographer



Reading, Robert Bresson’s Notes on Cinematographer is like re-tracing a path to start from zero. Unlearning in the process of learning. Every sentence in the book looks back at the words that form its existence. These words create a rhythm that feels like a thought is in action. One that is economic, clear and precise. On the exterior it may seem as a concrete intent of the author. But the sentence that contains the thought is not concrete, because it determines its existence through a rigorous process of introspection that materializes in the sentence. The process of such manifestation is always evolving. It's like an act one does in front of a mirror, promising s(he) of the objectives and goals in life and trying to lay a path of confidently following it. This introspection is not the end but the foundation(belief) to fuel the larger work ahead. Hence, forming a nomenclature. One that begins with the book materializes on-screen and affect the viewer who then may/or may not become a part of the cycle.

The book is not a guide. It's not going to spoon-feed you and take you there. It's very much like a Robert Bresson film. One has to evaluate or introspect in the process of reading and re-reading each sentence itself. The purpose is to question. Not just what we read, but also what we see. Through this act of questioning one arrives at a certain point where the author and the reader could meet. One that could very well be to see thyself.
.

Here is the opening excerpt:-


Rid myself of the accumulated errors and untruths. Get to know my resources make sure of them.

***


The faculty of using my resources well diminishes when their number grows.

***


Master precision. Be a precision instrument myself.

***

Not have the soul of an executants(of my own projects). Find, for each shot, a new pungency over and above what I had imagined. Invention(re-invention)on the spot.

***

Metteur-en-scene, director. The point is not to direct someone, but to direct oneself.

***


No actors

(No directing of actors)

No parts

(No learning of parts)

No Staging

But the use of working models, taken from life.

Being(models)instead of SEEMING(actors)



Cinephile Meeting: Reports
The meeting started with a screening of 'Bicycle Thieves'. After the film got over we proceeded to a nearby cafe to discuss about the film and carry on with the agenda, film criticism in India.
Read More

Pic-Merriweather Post Pavillion- Animal Collective.

Few of my fav tracks-

1) Grass
2) Fireworks
3) Did you see the words
4) The Purple Bottle
5) Their Latest album is by far one of best of 2009- In the Flowers, My Girl..damn I quite like everything. So do check it out.

Related: Few fav track from Panda Bear:

1) Bros
2) Take Pills

- I hope in April... I get time to finish the book. Think and write more on my experience. Get back to watching films, and also write more on the blog.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

ICE: Iranian Cine Experience.


The Iranian Cine Experience is the fruit of the hardwok poured in by our Cine Darbaar President Supriya. The cine exp will travel across India. It will start in Delhi and travel to Orissa and than we will do a small mini- cine experience for kids in an Orphanage in Hyderabad. That will be hosted by our man Shubhank. The second and the concluding leg of the Cine Experience will happen in May which will be followed by the Taiwan Cine Experience. So good times ahead for lot of learning and film discovery.

Cinephile Meeting- Movie of April- Under the Moonlight- Reza Mirkarmi.
supported Iran cultural House/Kaneh Cinema.


Schedule.

Cine Darbaar and Indian Auteur with the support of Iranian cultural centre and Khane cinema brings you a week long experience of the best films in 30 years of Iranian cinema after the Islamic revolution. Each screening will be followed by an interactive discussion along with the Iranian Tea. The first series includes the following film:-


FRIDAY 3rd April, 2009 6 p.m.

The inaugural film will be THE COW by Dariush Mehrjui, who said to be the pioneers of the Iran New Wave along and the film that paved the way for the greatest directors of the country to be inspired from. The film will be followed by a small discussion with the Director of Iranian cultural House, who would introduce us to cinema and aesthetics.


Saturday 4th April, 2009 5 p.m.

The river still has a fish: An Iranian Documenray


6pm

Captain Khorshid (Nakhoda Khorshid)
Directed-Nasser Taghvai-

Captain Khorshid is an adaptation of Ernest Heminway's To have and have not, taking place in the Persian Gulf: A one-time smuggler squeezed out of the business goes to the aid of political refugees.


Sunday, 5TH April, 2009 5p.m.


The DPs of Iranian Cinema: a documentary

A rare documentary that brings forward you the contemporary director of Photographers of the Iranian cinema.


6p.m

Time for drunken horses (Zamani barayƩ masti asbha)
Directed- Bahman Ghobadi

Living in the impoverished on the border of Iran-Iraq, the Kurdish family struggles after their parents death. The film is about the journey of the 12 year old Ayoub, who struggles to get money for the operating his handicapped brother through smuggling and what follows.


MONDAY, 6th April 6 p.m.


I am taraneh
Directed-Rasul Sadrameli

Fifteen year old Taraneh, whose widowed father is in jail, refuses the unwanted attentions of carpet salesman Amir - until Amir's mother talks Taraneh into accepting Amir's marriage proposal. Within four months the couple realizes that they are incompatible, they divorce and Amir immigrates back to Germany. When Taraneh discovers she is pregnant she decides against all advice and intense social pressure, to keep the baby.


Tuesday, 7th April, 2009,6 p.m.


Under the Moon light-
Directed-Reza Mirkarmi

Reza Mir-Karimi's `Zir-e noor-e maah' (`Under the Moonlight') is an appealing if imperfect attempt to show something like the series of experiences that turned prince Siddhartha into Gautama Buddha. A young man has a series of encounters with evil and suffering in the world and is transformed.

Unfortunately minutes before the street urchin called `Chick' jumps off the subway car and steals pure country boy seminarian Seyid Hasan Ahmadi's clothes for his investment as a shaykh, we know all too well that it's going to happen. Iranian films tend to the fatalistic. Magid Magidi's `Rang-e khoda' (`The Color of Paradise') and Jafar Panahi's `The Circle' are about doomed people who end up worse off than where they started. After the subway robbery I was afraid Seyid too was on a cinematic path to doom. But the beauty of Seyid's character is that he's still tough despite not being streetwise, and his status as a seminarian protects him from the downward path. That's why he follows Chick under the bridge and comes back to help the motley crew under there. Once he's robbed on the subway, Seyid maintains a semblance of continuing his Islamic studies at the seminary, but Tehran is providing a crash course in the school of life.

source- IMDB


Wednesday 8th April, 6pm


White Balloon
Directed- Jafar Panhani

Young Razieh (Aida Mohammadkhani) needs to buy a goldfish to celebrate the New Year in Iran. Her mother (Fereshteh Sadr Orfani) gives her the money and she sets out to buy said fish. Along the way she continually loses the money and must rely on the kindness of strangers to help her.

This is a very slight film. It's plot is wafer thin in terms of traditional narrative, it may well frustrate many viewers with it's gentling strolling style. However it is quite funny on the surface. The many people who come and go during Razieh's journey are amusing - from the tailor berating a customer for having a small face causing his shirts to not look correctly tailored to the antics of the honest snake charmers. It's not a laugh out loud type of film but it does have a gentle humour throughout that is fun if you are in the mood for it.

source-IMDB


Thursday 9th April, 6pm


Under the olive tree
Directed- Abbas Kiarostami.

The realism of everyday life with some strange air of poetic aura was fascinating. The action just floats like a river, no big happenings but pictures are dense, close to skin, close to feelings. The people dreams pour out into daily life. The shaky balance between reality and a dream culminates in the last sequence and we hope for an answer, which is not disclosed but we are left to search it in our imagination and in our dreams evoked by this wonderful movie. Maybe longing for an answer is all what is possible.

source- IMDB

The programme can have last minute changes for further details please contact:

supriasuri@gmail.com
niteshrohit@gmail.com

Phone 99.58.30.11.95/98.18.60.81.58




Website www.indianauteur.com

Monday, March 23, 2009

Indian Auteur- Issue no-2 Editorial



Our second issue is dedicated to Ritwik Ghatak who was not just a visionary, but a poet. One, which world cinema lost too early, he was an original filmmaker whose only wish was to reach the masses through the medium of films- A dream that is yet to be fulfilled.

I feel angry, frustrated and sad that the films of our cinematic forefathers are in a sad state of affairs. The legacy of Satyajit Ray is preserved because the Academy of Motion Pictures have helped in restoring many of his works. But, masters like Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen are not in such favor.

The Cannes Film Festival 2009 planned to organize a retrospective of Mrinal Sen’s Calcutta Trilogy in the classic section. But the condition of the negatives is so poor that they are not fit for screening. This shows the sheer neglect on part of the government funding bodies, various producers and organizations that have not bothered in restoring our own legacy. The state of Ritwik Ghatak’s films is in a poor condition too. In spite of the effort taken by his son through the Ritwik Memorial Trust, not everything is easy for the master even after his death. His collection of essays is now out-of-print, while the state of the negatives, for most of his movies, is abysmal.

The issue is an important call of reminder for the future generation of filmmakers, to always keep one step ahead in retaining a right and authority of your own master prints. This is important; take a pay cut, when you begin, or when you grow, but don’t lose a sight of your master prints, because the money could come and go, but the master print is like gold, and should be treated like a forex reserve for filmmakers.

We apologize for the delay of the second issue, and hope that you enjoy reading articles, in the course of writing which, have helped all of us in learning more about the man and his cinema. I sincerely hope we can do our bit in helping spreading the films of the master to the younger generation of cine goers across the world And I hope, that, in the coming future, we can work towards helping restoring his works and allow his soul to break free.






Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cinephile Day Out


Our Forum

Today we have a meet in three of our main destination of growing trends in cinephilia. Here is the link to a leading daily writeup on our cinephile meet group in Jaipur.

The Article

Topic- Discovering film Criticism, and an intro on Andre Bazin

Delhi- 4m
Venue- CCD, Khan Market
Film Screening- None.

Hydrebad- 3pm-7pm
Venue- Mahadpur, Kavri Hills.
More details- Facebook.
Screening- The Bicycle Thief

Jaipur- 5:30pm-8:30pm
Venue-B-14, Bhawani Singh Lane,
Near MGF Metropolitan Mall,
C-Scheme, Jaipur - 01
Screening- Citizen Kane
More Details- Facebook.

.

We lucky that along with an intro of Bazin two movies that he championed are being screened in few of the mettings. Thanks to everyone who are taking an active role to champion these meeting and those who attending. This interaction is definitely a great learning experience and blessing for most of us. Not just for the joy of watching films with people who enjoy the experience but also to learn new set of values and opnion on cinema and life. So that each of us work towards being a better human beings and citizen of the world. And taking cinema to a new plane...One that Indian Cinema certainly deserves.

Update:

Issue no-2 ready to roll....announcement soon.

pic- Cold War kids...few of my favourite tracks from their previous albums:

1) Hang me up to dry
2) Hosptial Beds
3) We used to vacation

Indian Auteur on Facebook

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Indian Auteur Forum



The primary goal of Indian Auteur is to initiate a discussion among people who love cinema and everything else that is part of the medium. Discussion is an important reason for us taking different initiative across India. From our journal, Cinephile Meeting, Film Experiences and the Online Forum.

The Forum is a place where one should engage in a discussion to understand and discover cinema. The Forum is a place to learn and interact. So please abide by the rules and guidelines to keep a healthy, passionate and engaging discussion among cinephile brewing across the world.


THE INDIAN AUTEUR FORUM

Update:-

Cinephile Meeting 20th - Mumbai

Representative- Suraj Chandrakar.

More info



Pic- Album art, Garham Samuels Peter, Bjorn&Young folk- one of my favorite bands in the last couple of years.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pt Ravi Shankar and Cinema



Pandit Ravi Shankar is a Bengali Indian sitar player and composer. He is a disciple of Baba Allauddin Khan, the founder of the Maihar gharana of Hindustani classical music.

Ravi Shankar is a leading Indian instrumentalist of the modern era. He has been a longtime musical collaborator of tabla-players Ustad Allah Rakha, Kishan Maharaj and intermittently also of sarod-player Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. His collaborations with violinist Yehudi Menuhin, film maker Satyajit Ray, and The Beatles (in particular, George Harrison) added to his international reputation.

He has received many awards throughout his career, including three Grammy Awards and an Academy Award nomination. In 1999, Ravi Shankar was awarded the Bharat Ratna award, India's highest civilian honor
- wikipedia

Pt. Ravi Shankar is one of the living saints of music in India. His musical accomplishment and range are far and wide. But for a cinephile like me, it was through Ray’s Apu Trilogy that I was introduced to his music. Even now, when I close my eyes, I can still hear the soulful flute that Ray cleverly used as an important transition in Aprajito to let audience realize that Apu and his mother had reached their village. Pt Ravi Shankar did know the limitation of exploring his own aestheticism in cinema. And moved away from composing music for films. And Ray like the auteur he was, took the job himself.

Here is a short but an interesting interview published in the Times of India. There are few interesting anecdotes that he talks about. For eg: The influence of the movie Awara in China. One can see a reference to the film in Jia Zhangke’s masterpiece Platform which deals with an important period of transition in Chinese history. The movie is soon releasing on DVD in India. So please go ahead and purchase this wonderful film.


Q/A with Rana Dasgupta.

Satyajit Ray and you changed the concept of film music?

It’s much more the credit of Ray than me. I am extremely lucky that he utilized me for the Apu Trilogy and Parash Pathar. Satyajit Ray had full confidence in my abilities and gave me ample scope to compose the background scores of his classical music as much was rigid in his need for music and gave me exactly that much of freedom which the moments in his script required for composition.

What was your experience in Neecha Nagar?

Chetan Anand was an imaginative and sensitive director, whose maiden film; Neecha Nagar introduced me to the world of films. He made a brilliant use of my sitar counters to project the anti-imperialist mood of his film. He never interfered in my scoring and was very clear as to what he required from me. In some ways, his working style was similar to that of Ray. Had Chetan stuck to his Neecha Nagar style of film making, he would have achieved the same height of Ray.

You were the first film music director from India to be recognized internationally?

I will not say so of myself. The creations of Shankar-Jaikishan in Awara and Shree 420- ‘ Awara hoon’ and ‘ Mera joota hai Japani-were on the lips of every Russian and Chinese. ‘Awara hoon’ was a favorite number of even comrades Mao Tse Tung.

Did it annoy you that Richard Attenborough replaced your music in Gandhi with the London Philharmonic Orchestra?

I will not forget that episode. I was thrilled to be the music composer of Gandhi and put in my best efforts for the classic. But what without even informing me, Attenborough removed my music compositions and mused the London Philharmonic Orchestra instead. I did not expect a director of his class to indulge in such an activity. Now, I feel, he must have a different vision for his creations to which the Philharmonic Orchestra was more suited than my creations.

In spite of your littting melodies in Anuradha and Goddan why do feel that classical composers have restrictions in composing for films?

Composing for films in very different than performing on stage or creating an album of pure classical or fusion music. Film music is to large extent bound by the script and choice of the director. My melodies in Anuradha and Godaan were popular but not to the extent of the tunes of SD Burman or Madan Mohan. They were ideal composers for films. I understood my limitation in this arena very well.

- Source: Q/A with Rana Dasgupta in Times of India news daily.
- pic soure- wikipedia, Pt Ravi Shankar and George Harrison

Update.

- An interview with Pt. Ravi Shankar
- Pt. Ravi Shankar music tribute to Ray
- An interview with Jia Zhangke in Film Comment.
- Issue-2 coming soon.
- Do check website for updates on cinephile meeting.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gulaal

Mr B



Anruag Kashyap's Gulaal review is in...check it out.

When you watch Gulaal, you are never looking for brave camera movements, forced perspectives, depth of images, innovative angles, startling shot divisions or diegetic wizardry. Nor is his art-design the most unique, usually punctured with neon-signs, corners in shade, a throwback or two to the counter-culture era of the late 60s or early 70s, usually manifested in the form of tributes to icons as diverse as: Hendrix, Fosse, Floyd, The Doors, The Beatles. Regardless of their relevance in the current scenario, but present, nonetheless, for the automatic richness they would add to any texture. Read More

Updates:

- Satyajit Ray on Cinema.

- Jia Zghanke is one my favorite filmmaker, and its a matter of celebration to see the release of three of his movies in India by Excel Entertainment. Expect more on him and his cinema soon on Indian Auteur

NDTV Lumiere and Excel Home Videos will be releasing movies from Chinese film-maker Jia Zhang Ke on home video.

The DVDs include Platform (2000) and Unknown Pleasures (2002). Regarded as the leading figure of the ‘Sixth Generation’ movement of Chinese cinema, Jia Zhang Ke’s second feature film Platform and third feature Unknown Pleasures along with his multiple-award winning first feature Xiao Wu are together considered as a informal trilogy of China’s transition into modernity.

Both DVDs are priced at Rs 499.

source- Businessofcinema.com


- The Second round of Cinephile Meeting are in a full swing. So those who are interested in organising one in their city or particpating in the listed cities please visit the website for time and venue

- Read Issue-1, and Isuse- 2 coming soon. I know we are late. :)

pic- Mr B, a film in making.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Save Chaplin...

Our Wesbite


It's hard to ignore this type of news, because it shows the lack of education on the part of fundamentalists who stopped a film crew/artists from shooting and installing a statue of Chaplin in Udupi Karnataka... Simply because:

""Chaplin is a Christian and his contribution to India is nil."

A couple of weeks back women in pubs and birthday party were a target now the insanity has gone further to Chaplin. It's high time, we the youth of India, awake and use our power to vote the right people in the right places in the upcoming general election.

The folks at Churmuri have started a petition:

“Let's save chaplin

“Today we have a shocking news in Times of India and Kannada prabha (of Indian express group). both the papers has reported that the fundamental organization activists has stopped film crew and artists who were working on 67 foot statue of charlie chaplin in Udupi, Karnataka. reason: chaplin is a christian.

Why we should succumb to these 'great dictators'?. lets save chaplin. Lets sign a petition. Lets voice our concern”

On Deccan Herlad.

After pub-going women and lover couples, Charlie Chaplin has become the latest victim of saffron wrath in Karnataka, with a "Hindu" group objecting to installation of a statue of the famous Hollywood comedian in Kundapur taluk here on the grounds that he was a Christian.

Ever since the project to install the 67-ft statue at the Ottinene beach was launched by him, it was facing protests, Hemanth Hegde, director of Kannada Film "Houseful", told reporters today but refused to blame any particular group.

Some activists claiming to represent "a Hindu organisation" yesterday descended on the project site and halted the work. Read More

More on Times of India.


Updates:-

1) Cinephile Meeting- 2nd

2) Issue No-1

3) Issue no-2 slightly delayed due to technical reason.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Art for Activism


Cinema as an activist tool will only survive when the artist stands behind his work with conviction, and continues to struggle for his cause. Activism for a cause does not provide instant results; instead it is a constant struggle between competing truths, whose boundaries are so thin that one can easily slip through them.
Art is all around us – we have numerous painters, singers, and filmmakers – but true artists who are concerned with the truth and using art as a medium of activism are becoming harder to find each day Read More

---------
UPDATES-

- Indian Auteur- Cinephile Meeting 2nd: Please visit for details on listing.

- There is a slight delay for the second issue due to technical reasons. Please do check our the the contents of our first issue and other features on the site.

- ISSUE NO-1

- Contest, Cine Experience to be annoucned soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Indian Auteur- Cinephile Meeting -2nd




“CINEPHILE MEETING- MARCH 2009”
( Dedicated to Andre Bazin)


" The meetings are open to all, and are conducted purely for the love of cinema"


Topic: Discovering Film Criticism.

Idea: To talk about the state of film criticism in India.

- Do you read film reviews?
- Is film criticism important? This and much more to be talked and discussed.

+ The report which were not published earlier will be published along with the second event.

+ A history of film criticism in India essay will be distributed along with an introduction to Andre Bazin and his essay.

All participation meeting will be published in the journal and further interaction will proceed on the site/forum. For participation and details on venue and timing in any of the following city or if you want to organize on in your city.


Please email:

niteshrohit[a]indianauteur[.]com
supria[a]indianauteur[.]com
anuj[a]indianauteur[.]com




Schedule
:

March 12th - Patna, Bihar

Venue:- TBA

Time: TBA

Representative- Suraj Chandrakar.
surajchandrakar{@}gmail{.}com


March 15th - Pune

Venue- FTII

Time: 3pm
Representative: Indranil Kashyap


March 22nd – Hydrebad

Venue- TBA

Time- TBA
Representative:- Shubhank Mauria
shubhank{@}gmail{.}com


March 22nd – New Delhi

Venue: Khan Market
Time- 4 pm

Representative: niteshrohit[a]indianauteur[.]com
supria[a]indianauteur[.]com
anuj[a]indianauteur[.]com

March 22nd - Chidambaram

Venue: TBA

Time: TBA


March 22nd- Jaipur

Venue- B-14, Bhawani Singh Lane,
Near MGF Metropolitan Mall,
C-Scheme, Jaipur - 01

Time- 5.00 PM.

Representative- rajkumardevjan{i@}gmail{.}com


March 22nd – Dharwad

Venue- UAS Campus

Time- TBA

Representative- Jagriti.


March 22nd - Digboi

Venue- TBA

Time- TBA

Representative- Anil Kumar


March 28th- Gwalior
Venue-TBA

Time- TBA

Representative- Suraj Prasad.

* Dates, venues and timings are subject to change
* Please keep checking the blog for further updates.



Andre Bazin

(1918-1958)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cinephile Meeting: Chidambaram


( Band of Outsiders)


Our website.



Chidambaram is a municipality and taluk (tehsil) headquarters in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. It is 11 km from the coast and 240 km south of Chennai by rail. Chidambaram is a major pilgrimage site for Shaivites as the temple there houses the Akasha Lingam of Shiva.


The Cinephile Meeting was an interesting endeavor for everyone present in the meeting. We never had a thing like this in India and we did not come across such initiative. So, first, we are glad that the idea is being taken and great that Indian Auteur and Cine Darbaar are doing this. And we hope we can grow from here in the first meeting.

We started with an introduction of the people who were present for the discussion. Currently most of them were from the college and the places nearby the college. We were total of about twelve people had assembled for this discussion.

And we people are not film students or any where related to cinema. But as an audience we are interested in learning and we love movies. And everyone here believed that this should help the voice of the place and people reach further and learning take place.

The Manifesto.

1. We did not have a problem with the manifesto.

2. Everyone agreed to the points laid down in the manifesto and wanted to contribute in different possible ways for the growth of the manifesto.

3. People suggested that for the Meeting to be more interactive contemporary topics plus different screening would allow the Cinephile Meeting to grow and also help strengthen the points of action laid down in the manifesto.

4. Another idea that we believe could be done is connecting all colleges in India. Because in most colleges people watch films and would like to read about films. Not just simple reviews but good criticique on films.even good articles are welcome.

5. One thing we believe that the manifesto or the meeting should have brought forward was that it’s difficult for good talent(in acting, directing etc.)to get chance in this closed industry. Where above talent, people who are born in the Industry fraternity are given a choice unlike those who have talent. Hence, connection precedes talents. This to our belief is a major downfall in the growth of any form of artistic integrity in this country. And we should join hands to seriously raise an objection and voice against these people. Who could best be described as- incompetent in their own work. Because stars sons know no acting, their cousins don’t know anything about direction. Yet they make films. No doubt it’s bound to be bullshit.

6. One thing we agree that we don’t want to displace mainstream cinema and also agree that people should do their job better than what has been done.

7. Above all Film Education is definitely needed in India. We read through the Film Education column on the website and would like to thank those who are taking the task of helping non-cinema goers to understand different terms and aspects.

8. Look at Slumdog, an Indian theme being directed by Danny Boyle and taken to a new height is something we should have come up with. It’s shame on India directors. They can also do these types of films. But they are just busy in making sequels which gives nothing but taking Bollywood down n down day by day. To tell the truth it’s not just about Cinema, youth in most places are hardly pushed further if they don’t plan to take a conventional path of achieving their goals.
9. So we should appeal those directors to stop doing these things.


The first cinephile meeting concluded with these points which went on for long. But I have noted the crux of most of our discussion. And we are hoping and looking forward to grow through the next stages. And we are eager to learn and hoping this continues not just now but for times to come.
- Nitish Acharaya.
More Reports:-

1) Cinephile Meeting: Patna
2) Cinephile Meeting: A tale of two cities.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cinephile Meeting: A tale of two cities


Our website


First of apologies to all our readers, the article is not on the site due to some technical reason. But the discussion should continue without any problem.


Cinephile Report: Mumbai
Shubhank

I'll start with Mumbai since it was chronologically the first.

The Mumbai Cinephile meeting was postponed by a day since the original schedule was on the same day as the closing day of the Kala Ghoda festival. A couple of fellows, who seemed interested in attending the meet, sent me e-mails. They, however, could not turn up for the event. Hopefully they will be able to make it to the next, whenever it happens. The day brought with itself a slew of dramatic events. My favourite one - when I lost my cellphone in the train.

Well, we did meet ... an hour after the actual schedule, at Prithvi Cafe, Juhu.

There were 3 attendees; really.
1. Udita
2. Abhay
3. Shubhank

To be honest, I was never concerned with the participation, this being the first meeting. It is something we can always work on when the word spreads. One of my agenda was to discuss ways/methods of attracting more cinephiles and increasing the participation.

Obligatory disclaimer - I may not remember most of the details about the meetings. I also may interpret certain things wrongly which is why I would restrict the comments to a single line summary. Correct me if I am wrong Or add further opinions if I missed anything, the comment section is for you.

2nd disclaimer - Plagiarized from Ronnie Sen's article on no smoking - I hereby make no claims of knowing exactly what a film should be and how a film should be made. My knowledge of cinema is extremely rudimentary.

The meeting started with a very brief introduction followed by a not-so-brief but brief nonetheless discussion about the manifesto. There were doubts and issues related to it. Udita primarily felt that our cinema is changing, there is appreciation for slightly different and not-so-mainstream films. Abhay acknowledged and commented that the new breed of Bollywood, which is called urban/multiplex-Bollywood, has seen certain interesting films which have marked a change in the way we tell stories. I think we have seen certain interesting ideas and stories in films but the way they are shot still remains the same. The so called new-breed/new-wave of movie makers have the same objective as certain others its just hidden in the veil of pretentiousness they wear.

There was a discussion regarding the content of the manifesto. We had some issues. I'll, here, play a diplomat and request the attendees to address their issues in the comments section. As far as my comments go, I basically have an issue with the evolution of the manifesto and that it does not give much emphasis on education. More on that later.

Other than this we did talk about Slumdog Millionaire. Interestingly Abhay was reading the book on which it is based. More interestingly, the Agra and Taj Mahal scene is not present in the book, if it is then it has not arrived yet.

The most interesting part of the meeting involved a recently released film called, A Wednesday. Here are the opinions ...

1. Udita - Didn't like the film because in times like these pseudo anarchy is the last advice anyone would want to give through their films.

2. Abhay - Liked the film and said that we are not insane enough to take the film seriously and adopt similar tactics as the antagonist of the movie.

3. Shubhank - Agreed with Abhay but didn't like the movie. I thought the movie was too contrived with stereotypical characters (a hard-ass guthka-chewing cop, a sincere cop, a teenage hacker etc etc) and the last bit when Naseeruddin Shah meets Anupam Kher, the dialogue "Mera naam hai ....... " creates a false sympathy for what could have been a good anti-hero if the movie was written well. And yeah, the usual direction/technical issues.

There were further talks about a lot of films and events. The Reader, Dev D, New York, Urban Isolation and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, really.

The meeting was wrapped up in a couple of hours.
Challenges –

Mumbai is never going to be an easy place when it comes to meetings like these. There is a lot of influence from the industry and participation of filmmakers and people from the fraternity is highly probable if not inevitable. The next issue is to find a representative who can take things forward.

Cinephile Report: Hyderbad

The Hyderabad meeting took place on the 28th of February. Once again, participation was very little. There were 3 attendees (deja vu?).

1. Himanshu
2. Faisal
3. Shubhank

We met up at Barista coffee shop in Kondapur. Later we went to my place and Himanshu was generous enough to provide me and Faisal a copy of Cinema Paradiso - Director's Cut. After this we took a walk to a place Himanshu had never seen before. He had a slight doubt that we might kidnap him and probably harvest his organs but nothing of that sort happened. Sorry to shatter your dreams man.

Coming back to the point, the discussion was healthier than the one I had in Mumbai. We covered a range of topics, from Godard to Mard Tange Waala; from Tolkien to Kafka and from the Cuban revolution to post apocalyptic fiction. Nope, no Slumdog Millionaire here. The highlights follow ...

Dev D

It was collectively agreed that Anurag Kashyap is a brilliant writer, stuff that no one can ignore. There were, However, individual concerns, I'll be a little selfish and start with mine:

1. The biggest fault of Dev D is the title. Anurag Kashyap, who proclaims to make films for the thinking audience, throughout the move tries to shove it in our throats that this is essentially the story of Devdas, set in a modern world. From the 'Maar Daala' song to posters in the background it is everywhere. Even the stories begin with a huge title which has the name of the character.

Why did he name the movie Dev D? Why not 'Emotional Atyachar' or something else? What would have been the reaction of the audience if the whole 'this is a cool-hip tale of the modern day Devdas' was in the subtext of the movie and not as blatant as it is?

2. How is the back story of Chanda relevant to the whole movie and not manipulative?

3. What's up with the ending? I'm not against happy endings but a character has to earn the ending. In case of Dev, the writer definitely wants us to have no sympathy for the character, it defied all the self-destruction that we had seen till that point.

Himanshu agreed with the fact that they film would have been perceived differently if there was no in-the-face Devdas remake. But did say that it would been a conscience decision to market the film, no one would have watched it otherwise. He also agreed with the fact that the movie was very well written, especially the exchanges between Dev and Paro.

He commented on how the film did well in the non-metro cities, which is great for a, for lack of a better word, non-mainstream (is this even a word? pardon me) film. I think it could have been because of the shock aspects and the sex-comedy bits .... which leads us to the next topic of discussion
The Manifesto

Why do people in this country watch films?

The most common answer will be escapism and it cannot be denied. We want to see our delusions come to life. We want to see good looking people dressed beautifully and living the life we always dream of living. But, are we selling our dreams too cheaply? Someone I know loved 'Dev D' and was depressed watching it because it reminded him about his past. A couple of my friends hated 'Oye Lucky' for the lack of a coherent plot.

Different people, different reasons. I threw my remote at the TV when I watched Kiarostami's 'The Wind Will Carry Us' first time - I did enjoy is some 4 years later but something was different. Education. Quoting from the manifesto itself, a common man does not understand that his 'emotions are guided by leitmotifs placed deftly, and religious beliefs exploited.' There is a need for film education, spreading awareness. We do appreciate and wholeheartedly support the cause of Indian Auteur and Cine Darbaar. In fact this is the reason we planned to have this meeting and have set a goal for ourselves for the next one.

The last point which says 'to work towards a film love which adopts a middle ground, to reinstate the cinema director to his deserved position, to celebrate Indian cinema of the past and the present, to examine its potential' is argubly the most important one. Especially the part which talks about celebrating Indian cinema.
We discussed a bunch of ideas. One was to screen Indian movies (Ghatak, Ray, Dutt etc) during the meetings and then talk about it. Figure out what makes that film, a film.

Second was to talk about terms such as 'mise-en-scene' and explain why it is important in cinema. Another idea was to hand out or atleast announce non-monetary awards to people who actually deserve to earn recognition. This can be decided by the editorial panel of 'Indian Auteur'.


That would be it, I think. If I did miss a vital point I hope people who attended the meetings can cover them in the comments.


pic- NT Rama Rao and Dev Ananad.


Coming Up:

1) New Cinephile Listing- anyone interested this time, please contact

editor@indianauteur.com

2) New issue on Ghatak.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Traits of Eisenstein's Montage



We're overwhelmed when one of our favourite auteur Buddhadeb Dasgupta left us a note on the article written by Supriya Suri on his three films:


" To read the wonderful articles you've written on three of my films! For a filmmaker,they greatest gift is to have an audience who understands, feels,identifies with his/her expression, rather the various aspects of his expressions!I must say your articles are very inspiring. Go ahead.

I had a silent suffering that serious writing on cinema have probably faded away from our country! When we started, there were writers who actually studied cinema and understood its nuances as wellas technicalities, most importantly loved cinema!These days its been more commercialised and shallow!Thank you for loving cinema and exploring it the way you did."


One of the core focuses of the website is to inform readers about different cinematic style, history of cinema and on the theory and application of film criticism. This is the sole reason for having a ‘Film Education’ section on the site.

A number of our readers might be confused or may not be aware about the theory or power of "montage". Hence this article from our group member Anya is an effort to throw some light on the topic of Montage using Einstein’s Strike as the model.

Those who haven’t seen the film (and I’m sure many haven’t) the article would provide a brief history about Einstein, cinema and the development of montage. So it can work as a stepping stone for watching his movies and also exploring the topic of montage further.

I have also added various links from ‘You Tube’ that is talked about in the article. So those who are not familiar with his works. It’s always best to check out the sequence and refer to the article.

The Traits of Eisenstein's Montage

Previous articles in his section:

Harrytuttle’s - The Tradition of Quality- Truffaut Manifesto.
Supriya Suri- The Indian New Wave
Anya Levicheva- ‘ The kino-eye’


Upcoming:-

1) Second issue on Ritwik Ghatak
2) Different report of Cinephile Meeting/ New Dates annoucnement
3) Contest.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Watch Online- Sita Sings the Blues


Our website



Sita Sings the Blues is a 2008 animated feature film written, directed, produced and animated entirely by American artist Nina Paley (with the exception of some fight animation by Jake Friedman in the "Battle of Lanka" scene primarily using 2D computer graphics.

It intersperses events from an episode of the Ramayana, illustrated conversation between Indian shadow puppets, musical interludes voiced with tracks by Annette Hanshaw and scenes from the artist's own life. The ancient mythological and modern biographical plot are parallel tales, sharing numerous themes.

(wikipedia)

I hereby give Sita Sings the Blues to you. Like all culture, it belongs to you already, but I am making it explicit with a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. Please distribute, copy, share, archive, and show Sita Sings the Blues. From the shared culture it came, and back into the shared culture it goes.

- Nina Paley.(Director Sita Sings the blues)

Ebert on the movie, he was one the first critics to champion the film.


I doubt one of our own filmmakers or animation studio with their mega bucks and familiarity with the epic Ramayana could come up with something like this. Way to go and a must watch. And would do a review soon.


Sita Sings the Blues- The Movie