Monday, July 27, 2009

Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray
Produced- Film Divison
Directed- Shyam Benegal
Language- English

More on Ray:-

Satyajit Ray, Ray film's and Ray Movie.

Satyajit Ray

Issue no-5

Pic- Ray and Kurosawa.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cinematography and Time-II

A recent comment from Haridas B at the Indian Auteur website pointed us towards these set of lectures given by Mani Kaul at the International Film Festival of Kerala, 2006 and also a subsequent debate on the same with cinematographers and filmmakers at the Osian film festival 2007. This debate was further revived by the same group of cinematographers and they had this to say:

"We found Mani Kaul's argument very interesting and relevant. But unfortunately this subject has not been picked up and debated enough. So we have compiled the video recordings of both the events here. Please view the videos and contribute to the debate"

I would like to know the views of people here, so we to can contribute to the overall discussion.

Mani Kaul also wrote an essay exploring similar themes and topics in Beneath the Surface: Cinematography and Time which is available online at the Indian Autuer website.

The New Issue of Indian Auteur

Video source:-

Friday, July 17, 2009

Indian Auteur- Issue no 5


How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare

One of the sole motivations for working towards establishing a scope for co-operative film criticism, production and distribution here in India was when an acquaintance in Mumbai told me it would take 20 years to change things. That’s when I believe we had a target date in hindsight. What we seek is an age where there would be freedom for the director to film the places he loves, the restaurant he visits and the college he studied. In a manner that is personal and close-and a camera style that is distinctively his very own. And a time where one is not deprived of reading criticism against great men of cinema who are thought to be infallible- A time of questioning.

A time when people will not hide behind the veil of mediocrity- in the name of serving the interest of the masses- Or protecting the rights of the proletariat. Above all; a time of choice, for every film from Mumbai we should get to hear a story from Chhattisgarh, Manipur, and Kashmir on the big screen. India stretches from Kashmir to Kanyakumari but our lives are directed and dictated from Mumbai and Chennai. Read More

Pictures- From the just concluded Shakti Samanta retrospective


Forum to be online soon. The technical errors in sections(feature, archive, Manifesto etc) will be fixed asap.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cine Darbaar

I haven't been writing much lately, but a number of activities are taking place on the ground to take cinema and discussion to a whole new level. In the span of two weeks we've managed to hold two big cine experiences and each one of them had people from all walks of life turning up for the screenings. The just concluded Shakti Samanta retrospective ran to packed houses and people where more than eager to participate in the discussions. A full report with pictures would be published soon. Cine Darbaar has been instrumental in the last six months to push towards several initiatives such as film festivals, film appreciation and workshops. The just concluded Shakti Samanta retrospective was the fifth cine experience by the group.

Here are two recent reports on Cine Darbaar:-

Time Out- New Delhi.

Court is in session

A six-month-old group of Delhi cinephiles is hoping to popularise World Cinema in India, reports Ajitha GS.

On January 1 this year, a group of young cinephiles came together and formulated what they called the “Delhi Manifesto” ( Among other things, it condemns snobs and pseudo-intellectuals, while also damning the ignorant who “have become so used to a cinema that’s meagre that they are satiated with films from the West” (read, Hollywood). The manifesto itself is typical of a group of youngsters – the average age is 24 – who are angry about the state of the world and want it to change immediately. But this bunch also has a definite plan of action.

In the past six months, Cine Darbaar (as the group is called) has organised an Iranian film festival (February), a Russian film festival (May) and, this fortnight, a Taiwanese festival. Cine Darbaar came together under the initiative of Supriya Suri and her partner Nitesh Rohit, and has grown to include 11 other members. “We hope to promote an understanding of cinema not just in Delhi and other big cities, but also in small cities and rural towns,” Suri said.

“Cine Darbaar organises cinephile meetings in various places. We’ve been working through friends and acquaintances until now, and have regular meetings in Patna, Pune, Hyderabad, Delhi, Jaipur, Chidambaram, Dharwad, Digboi and Gwalior,” said Suri. These meetings are quite a formal affair. The Delhi gang chooses a theme for the month, and relays this to all the centres, which then meet and talk and send a report back to Cine Darbaar. If all this is sounding just a little Stalinist, you’ll be happy to know that these notes then go up on, the group’s e-zine. The website does not restrict itself to world cinema. There are features, articles and reviews on a range of topics, from German expressionist cinema to Delhi-6 to Ritwik Ghatak. (There is also a long and involved interview with Ghatak that’s translated from Bengali.) The group’s passion for taking the action offline is commendable, as is its strategy. In all the events it has organised so far, Cine Darbaar has tied up with the foreign cultural centres in Delhi. This helps to organise both the required permissions and the screening venue. Suri also said that she and her colleagues refer to these festivals as “cine experiences”. “We distribute film reviews and information about the director, and discuss the director, the director’s style and even the culture of the country the film is from,” she said. “Then we see the film.”

This fortnight’s Taipei Cine Experience – organised in collaboration with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre – showcases films by directors who represent the Taiwan New Wave, Suri told us. “All these directors were shooting films with a static camera, long shots, very minimal movement – everything was very minimal, even the stories,” she said. The films by Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-liang, Yang Ya-che and Wu Nianzhen are, by and large, not the filmmakers’ newest films. “The movement started off in the ’90s in Taiwan,” Suri said, when asked whether this was a deliberate decision. “Also, we don’t feel that only contemporary films should be shown.” She did admit that it was easier to get screening rights for the older films, though.
Cine Darbaar is now working to set up a “settled film club” that will organise regular screenings in the city. Suri said that it should be in place by the end of the year. We’ll be tracking them, so watch this space.

Indian Express- newspaper.

Ang Lee might be the most famous Taiwanese filmmaker, but there are several crouching tigers and hidden dragons out there. A festival of Taiwanese films, being held over the weekend, celebrates them.

“On offer are five films from Taiwan New Wave Cinema that dates to the 1980s. The country’s chequered political history, having been ruled by the Japanese and the Chinese, had affected its cinema. It was only with the 1980s New Wave movement that Taiwan began to find its own cinematic vocabulary,” says Supriya Suri, co-founder of Cine Darbaar, an organisation that is holding the “Taiwan Cine Experience 2009” in association with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre.

Any festival of Taiwan New Wave must include Hou Hsiao-Hsien, so the “Cine Experience” kicks off with his Zui Hao De Shi Guang (Three Times). It’s a series of three stories that shows a transition — in the first two, letters play a pivotal role, while in the third cell phones, text messages and the Internet take over. “The tales span from 1966 to 2005 when words become more free and communication recedes,” says Suri. The film also has an unlikely Bollywood angle — Imtiaz Ali’s forthcoming film Love Aaj Kal is said to be its rip-off

Apart from the urban portraits in Tsai Ming Liang’s Dong (The Hole) and He Lious (The River), in which water becomes a symbol of social dysfunction, there will be Yang Ya Chen’s Orz Boys, a tale of two mischievous boys called Liar Number 1 and Liar Number 2 who are faced with the twin problems of staying out of trouble and growing up. But it is with a special film that the festival closes. We Nien Jen’s Duo Sang (A Borrowed Life) is about Sega, born in Taiwan under the Japanese rule and out of sync with the Mainland Chinese authorities who took over in 1945. “We are screening a rare sample piece because most prints are lost,” says Suri.


New Issue of Indian Auteur and the new forum to be up soon. The Indian Auteur Forum has been down due to the database getting deleted by accident.

pic- Three Times.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Retrospective of Shakti Samanta films

Directorate of Film Festival of India

The Minister of Information & Broadcasting Smt. Ambika Soni will inaugurate the retrospective of Shakti Samanta Films on 10th July 2009 at 1830 hrs at Siri Fort Auditorium II, New Delhi. Director and son of late Sh. Samanta, Sh. Ashim Samanata will be the Keynote Speaker. Shakti Samant’s award winning film Amar Prem (Hindi Colour, 1972, 153 minutes) would be screened at the inaugural function. Sh.Samanta, the noted film director/producer passed away on April 9, 2009.

Shakti Samanta directed first feature film in 1954 and started his own production company, Shakti Films, in 1957. In all, Samanta has directed 43 feature films: including 37 Hindi, and 6 Bengali films. His best known films are: Howrah Bridge, China Town, Kashmir Ki Kali, An Evening in Paris, Aradhana, Kati Patang, Amar Prem, Anuraag, Amanush, Barsaat Ki Ek Raat and Mehbooba. Seven of his films won the Filmfare Awards. Shakti Samanta is credited for starting the trend of making double version films in Hindi and Bengali with Amanush in 1974. Shakti Samanta also made the first co-produced film between India and Bangladesh in 1984.

Five of Shakti Samanta’s best know films Howrah Bridge, Kati Patang, Amanush, Kashmir Ki Kali and Anurag will be screened on Saturday and Sunday 11-12th July 2009.

- PIB Press Release

Venue- Sri Fort Auditorium-2
Time- 6:30 pm, Friday 10th of July

pic- Sharmila Tagore in an Evening in Paris.


New Issue Indian Auteur coming shortly.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Journey to Odessa, And the Return from the Zone

- Debojit Ghatak

A report on the recently concluded Russian Cine Experience.

The programming for the week of Russian cinema was planned in way that one moved back in time from the contemporary Russian cinema to a retrospective on Tarkovsky and then back to 1925 through Battleship Potemkin.

After the inauguration which involved the lighting of the lamp by young cinephiles, the series of screenings commenced with Oksana Bychkova’s Piter Fm, a film disliked by all are team members but liked by the audience. And since the first day is always difficult to break the ice among the audience, this conflict was the perfect provocation for the audience and the team to get involved in an active discussion on the film.

The next day, Ostrov/The Island by Pavel Lungin was screened. The film is about a spiritual transition of a guilt stricken man, and how he overcomes the fear of death by the end of the film. Anatoly, the father of the island, had once killed an innocent man during the war, and starts living as a priest who can heal the people suffering from any pain. The film was shot on cinemascope and this was the trigger point of our discussions. Such a move was thought of by many as being too academic, and too biased towards the ‘technical’ side of things. Cinema without technical aspects is not possible; rather cinema began with technology and later became an aesthetic principle. Our emphasis remains on the appreciation of the film form. The construct behind an idea, the cinematic foundation of a thematic skyscraper – which also remains the focal point of our discussion. But to reach that level we did realize it is important to first understand the audience and then try to reach such points in a better way, without making it sound too educational.

The retrospective began, predictably, with Ivan’s Childhood, the first feature by Tarkovsky. A lot of people did not favor the idea of showing his films as he is already very popular and has been shown worldwide but our reasons were simple - not many of us understand him. Hence we felt even though the film might have been screened a number of times, it demanded a more thorough collective understanding.

The discussion that followed was eventful, in that it featured walk-outs, vehement oppositions, and solemn acceptances. People assumed, because of our love for Tarkovsky, a disdain for the mainstream in our tastes – and therefore, even a slight hint of Spielberg bashing was jumped on, and squashed on by paranoid and hysterical audiences. Of course, they could not appreciate an obvious, and yet conversely, barely obvious distinction between good and bad cinema; instead perceiving our effort as being a celebration of the off-beat and a derogation of the mainstream. The discussion also piqued interest in the topic of cinema’s isolation of itself from theatre – and even though it invited uninformed opinions, it is a cause one would like to inquire deeper into. The 18th saw the screening of Stalker, which resulted in completely anticipated audience walk-outs.

On the other hand, there were first time viewers who were pretty intrigued by The Zone presented in the film. And it was today that we had one of the best discussions of the entire seven days. Starting from our own interpretation of the film, going towards what the director wanted to say and how he wanted to say, everything was discussed which went on for around forty five minutes. Today was a day when one realized while there are viewers who are obviously not interested in exploring different cinema but there are many in our city who when showed something else are willing to stay throughout the film and the discussion. It’s probably the first time that discussions are taking place here in Delhi, and we love that people love to be a part of it.

Nostalghia, the first film that Tarkovsky made outside Russia, held an immense interest in a lot of people today. By now we were already familiar with the crowd that was coming every day. And although today there were not many people for the discussion but those who did stay back, it was very evident that it was for the need to understand the characters and the film much more, so did our time. The most wonderful thing that happened today was that we realized how through discussions and questioning yourself you finally find a path toward understanding the director and the piece of work much more. And those who came every day as just a viewer, not from a film background, much to our glad notice - could observe through three films till now by the same director, his use of water, air, grass and how he uses the tracking shot to pervade the water etc. There were instances when we had organized a film festival with some organization who had been working in such field for years and refused to organize discussions claiming the audience does not stay back and they don’t want it. Someone would want to eat their words now.

The last day was a sort of our cinematic return home – to our roots – to the films made by one of the fathers of modern cinema – Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, a film so vividly a depiction of a political stance through the medium of cinema that it could not help but involve people. That it did so after 84 years of its release makes the achievement more staggering. The tragedy of the sailor was still afresh as ever, the wound still uncomfortably moist, and the soup still boiling. The discussion on the montage and its invention was accompanied by reminiscences of audience members of the good ol’ Calcutta days when film clubs would screen the film – as both a mark of protest and of impression. We also recorded, with pride and surprise, the largest audience turnout for a discussion, as around 70 people stayed back; perhaps as a tribute to one of the greatest films of all time, or as a courteous approval of our efforts of the last week. Whichever, it made us pleased. Thus, with the feeling of a job well done, and the excitement of other such jobs in the near future, the festival was officially declared closed.

For sometime.


Coming soon.

The new Issue of Indian Auteur with updates on the just concluded Taiwan Cine Experience and the upcoming dates and info on the Cinephile Meetings- August 2009 will be online on 14th of July.