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Showing posts from January, 2009

Cinema in this Nation:Stuck, Not By Chance

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Debojit Ghatak (The film is as confused) Clearly, Zoya Akhtar only illustrates written text. Her ‘cinema’, if you can call it that, is about pointing-and-shooting written text. The only time her camera becomes dynamic is when she assumes her shot features a subtle sensitivity, such as when Vikram (her male lead), and Sona (her female lead), sleep on the sofa, wrapped around each other. Then, her camera dollies back slowly. And that is that. The camera, for the rest of the film, is only just switched on, as actors speak their lines. Though the above is nothing to be proud of, it is not something that should shatter the earth in terms of a director’s introspection of his or her work. Many directors point-and-shoot and it’s the basic denial of cinema’s basic function though one cannot deny the power of a narrative. A great script can be shot. It is normal. And this does imply that any judgement of Akhatr’s cinema should be performed in context of her narrative and not her visual capa

International Roundtable on the world of cinema 2008

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The roundtable I had participated is online at THE AUTEURS. Here is the opening address: Epilogue '08 is the final chapter of the year 2008. An online roundtable looking back one last time on the past year in films, after 2008 came to a close and every year-end poll and commentary has been published. We have gathered here a panel of passionate film critics from around the world to feel the pulse of the cinephile life as it unfolded in half a dozen capital cities where cinema is lively and brewing. We get a chance to take a look at the global village of cinephilia, more than ever bound together by the communitarian feelings of the blogosphere and the communication between foreign film cultures, through films and also the international exchange allowed by film discourse in the English language. We decided to propose this interactive event to the readers of The Notebook, with the generous help of Daniel Kasman, because The Auteurs is a website representing the evolving face of o

Indian Auteur.com

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' ' The First step towards debunking the myth of a bright future' Watch the space Film Journal on Indian Cinema Film Club Cinephile Meeting More MANIFESTO Thank you everyone, who have signed the manifesto, and those who like to sign please do so by clicking the link above.

THE DELHI MANIFESTO

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THE DELHI MANIFESTO Our cinema screen has become an ill-constructed, and conventional portal to a world we aspire of, rather than a mirror, which reflects us. Our emotions are guided by leitmotifs placed deftly, and religious beliefs exploited. Our spirit of inquiry has become dead and we have been reduced to mere receivers in the process. Cinema and television has replaced interaction with imposition of thought. Its thought. An artificial, fake and ill-created thought, a manifestation of our needs to escape ourselves. The medium has become a symbol of cheap entertainment, devoid of any examination of the form, and a victim of our collective need to create personalities, perfect alternate universes, and images of our aspiration. Our criticism has become trivial. Stories take precedent over the intrinsic qualities of the cinematic medium. Our film lovers are snobs, indulging in their wholehearted pseudo-intellectual diatribe, condemning the ignorant, and the ignorant have become so

Approaches to Critiquing

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Kshitiz Anand I love to critique. Being in a field in which I am always surrounded by the different forms of art that have been created, there is always a scope for criticism. So photographs that I take are criticized, and so are the designs that I make and I do so the same for any movie I see. Now there is a difference between the art of critiquing and the art of reviewing. While reviews are targeted for the common, general audience who do not have a flair for work, critiques are often targeted at a very specific audience. When we view an art / design we start with an impression of it. Over a time we start to develop an opinion about it. And these opinions over a period turn into judgments. These judgments are what we call critiques. Thus if we analyze, any judgment is therefore ultimately what is what the judge thinks about it. And these judgments are subjective. Thus criticism is a subjective act. A critic is a judge of a piece of art, who gives his or her subjective judgments

The Apu Trilogy

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Part 1 Apu Death Railways PART -2 The Railway Motif. Prof. Satish Bahadur I use the term railways motif, rather than the limited term train motif. The railways include trains and also engines, wagons, bogies, railway stations, platforms, human details on platforms, and in passenger bogies... also technological artifacts like rail tracks, shunting yards, signals, bridges, embankments, telegraph lines running along the rail track, and (add on) landscape seen from running trains, (... keep on adding...) rumble of a train, whistle of an engine... smoke from an engine. The railways are in the ambience of the Indian landscape and the Indian socialscape. Hence, they occur in the background of several scenes in the Apu Trilogy. The fiction of the Trilogy is essentially a design of developing human relations of the Apu story, and the railways recur with the palpable consistency of an integral element of the design. We need to trace this in the design of the Tril

The Issue of Norm: Slumdog and Ghajini

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Anuj Malhotra PART I : OF DUMBNESS AND THE ISSUE OF THE NORM From IBN TV18 Film host/reviewer Rajeev Masand’s recent review of Ghajini, a certain line is very interesting, carries great repercussions and yet, is present in such a casual, off-hand manner that it not only discards the gravity of the issue, but makes it seem that the writer has come to terms with it. The line goes- “Ghajini is a film which is dumb and celebrates its dumbness” The recent success of Ghajini, all commercial ofcourse, reveals a few collective national tendencies. We as a nation prefer restaurants with waiters instead of the ones which demand of us to self-serve. We love escalator and elevators. The concept of ‘home delivery’, though invented by some shrewd commercial mind in the Western hemisphere, eventually had us as its target. We also are a nation who stand in front of an artificial Taj Mahal background, and get our family portraits clicked. We do not go visit Agra. Basically, assuming the rea

Is Anyone Watching- Indian Documentary pt-2

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"The tragedy of Indian documentary is that for too long it has leaned on official patronage. This has stultified its growth and deprived it of an identity. The honest fact is that we do not have what can be called an 'Indian Documentary'. We have to create one, in order that one of the greatest mediums of the 20th century is not mortgaged to the purveyors of meretricious and mindless fare. As Goethe said:... "a great public is entitled to our respect, and should not be treated like children from whom one wishes merely to extract money" INDIAN DOCUMENTARY- PART 1 Synchronous Sound and Fury The sixties turned out to be an exciting decade. At last, the documentary idea had caught on. Its tremendous potential, range and effectiveness as a medium of communication was becoming apparent to the policy-makers and intellectuals alike. It is not without some significance that India's leading art magazine Marg devoted an entire issue to documentary films. So di