Thursday, December 31, 2009

Indian Auteur: JumpCut

IA gleans over the decade past: The confession from a maniac cinephile's journal: the enduring images, the random thoughts, the harangue and the eulogies.

JUMPCUT: Films 2009- Maithili Rao

JUMPCUT: The OO's- Anuj Malothra.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

IA Weekly: 3 Idiots

3 Idiots : Who is the idiot then? The cinema screens all over the country become the most potent of weapons for the middle class to battle The Man. But the battle is not one that involves any amount of introspection, only sloganeering. IA sees a trend emerging. Anuj Explores.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Indian Auteur Weekly Review Updates: Anuj writes on, Avatar...

“I’ll tell you the story of Ramakrishna and his disciple. Ramakrishna was a Hindu wise man. And he had a disciple who had absolutely no faith in his teachings. So the disciple went off all by himself. Fifteen years later, he came back and said, “I have found the Way!” He told Ramakrishna, “Come, and I will show you.” Then he took Ramakrishna to a river. And the disciple went back and forth across the river, walking on water. “See?” he told Ramakrishna. “I can cross the river without getting wet! I have found the Way!” Then Ramakrishna said to him, “You’re a complete ass. With one rupee and a boat, I’ve been doing the same thing for years!”

- Contempt(1963)/Jean-Luc Godard

The history of cinema is linear. If an event occupies a certain point on the linear cinema history-time, it will never reiterate, repeat or recur; instead, like the history of time, being frozen at that point. Such recurrence is rendered impossible because cinema the artform is intertwined with cinema the technology. Each era in cinematic history is marked primarily by the machine (or set of machines) that facilitates its creation. The cinema is but a yield, a subservient one at that, of the level of technological development at the point of its production. If one were to attempt a summarization of cinema’s history in a few words, he could exclaim the names of Lumiere, Melies, Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Ford, and Godard; and the answer would be correct, but if he were to choose to constitute his answer with terms such as Phantasmagoria, Zoetrope, Kinetoscope, Bioscope, Kodak, Arri, Michell, Bolex, and Ampex, would it be wrong? No. Read More

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cinematography: Subrata Mitra

Discussion on favorite cinematographers and their aesthetic and technique at Indian Auteur Forum. The discussion kicked off with the works of the legendary but largely forogtten cinematographer Subrata Mitra. Join in to discuss this and more at the forum:

'Subrata Mitra is perhaps the greatest ever Indian cinematographer who revolutionized prevailing aesthetics in Indian Cinema with innovations designed to make light more realistic and poetic.

Mitra was born into a middle-class Bengali family in 1930. Even as a schoolchild he would cycle with classmates to the nearest cinema to watch British and Hollywood films. By the time he was in college, he had decided he would either become an architect or a cinematographer. Failing to find work as a camera assistant he reluctantly continued studying for his science degree.

In 1950 the great Jean Renoir came to Calcutta to shoot 'The River'. Mitra tried to get a job on the film but was turned away. With the efforts of his father he was given permission to watch the shooting. Out there he used to make extensive notes and meticulous diagrams detailing the lighting and the movements of camera and actors. In fact one day the cinematographer Claude Renoir asked for his notes to check lighting continuity before doing a retake. Also visiting the sets on Sundays and holidays to watch the shooting was a graphic designer. Mitra became friends with him and would visit him every day and describe in great detail what he had witnessed at the shooting. The other gentleman was planning a film and one day he asked Mitra to photograph the film for him. And so at the age of 21 Mitra became a director of photography.

The film he was to photograph - 'Pather Panchali', and the director - Satyajit Ray. 'Pather Panchali' was shot over four years in chunks whenever Ray was able to find funds. In fact for 18 months the production shut down entirely until Ray's mother talked to a friend of a friend of the Chief Minister of West Bengal who agreed to finance the remaining part of the film. 'Pather Panchali' led to a collaboration with Ray which produced 10 films in 15 years.Read More