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Special mention : The Town
BIUTIFUL - a spiritual journey through the despair of life
I saw Biutiful last week at the International Film Festival of Kerala where it was greeted with a standing ovation after the screening. Some may feel Biutiful boring and depressing but it will be a transcendent experience of redemption for the rest. Alejandro González Iñárritu has come up with a movie that could take you to deep trenches of despair and end up on the spiritual path with a glimpse of hope Biutiful is one of the best movies of the year if not the best.. on par with Iñárritu's Amores Peros. It is a meditation on the dark areas of urban life
It is rich with a true socio-political image (which some might consider as a bleak world view of Iñárritu) by portraying the marginalized multi ethnic lives of Barcelona. Story is filled with bleak images of lives of Senegalese immigrants and Chinese sweatshop workers that will remain as unforgettable visuals in our minds..
Biutiful is the story of Uxbal, a terminally ill man who lives on crimes. Uxbal (played by Bardem) itself is a bridge between our world and the eternal, a man of contradictions.For example, he has a supernatural gift of speaking with the dead but ends up being purely human by charging money for it. Uxbal's wife Marambra who has bipolar disorder is a gem of a characterization. The movie has a linear narrative unlike Iñárritu's previous works. But don't expect a spoon fed Hollywood drama. Movie is deliberately ambiguous at times and open to multiple interpretations.
Good characterizations, smart script and wonderful performances along with artfully dense scenic strength of the problematic city lives, aided by great cinematography make Biutiful a brilliant experience. But the trump card of the movie is a stunning performance by Javier Bardem
Watch it for an improved version of Iñárritu and masterful acting of Bardem
LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha (2010)
Brave New Face of Indian Cinema
This may not be a masterpiece...or a flawless classic ... But it definitely shows the brave and passionate approach of Dibakar Banerjee towards cinema...
First let us say.. its a zero fun movie... but really sensational... Don't expect conventional b-wood masala or even a parallel Dev D.... LSD is offbeat to the maximum....
The novel idea of using spy cams, cc cams etc for capturing life with the breath of realism is innovative. Even better was the selection of this mode of cinematography to show the voyeuristic Indian who considers sex as a taboo in daylight and intrudes with no shame to others' privacy......
Movie has three segments.. The first one was the best of the lot.. It dealt with the hot issue of honour killings and the dark barbaric casteist violence underlying in the traditional Indian mindset.. Dibakar said in an interview that he has nothing against the censor board in blurring the nude scene of the movie (pls don't go 4 the movie expecting this) but cutting the dialogues with caste reference was really unfortunate.. Yes those dialogues would have definitely added to the heat of the first segment.. It was something we all should hear and all should see.. What Censor board shown there was the obsession of hypocrite Indian society to hide its dark side under a worn out cloth of culture...
second segment was what i really expected to be the theme of the movie.. a really hot issue.. and the third story dealt with a moral dilemma and a rotten system.. But the two stories lacked the emotional punch of the first one... if the second segment was a bit better(the issue deseved more depth and intensity), the movie would have elevated to heights unprecedented to modern Indian art-house cinema..
Nevertheless Dibakar Banerjee deserves a 9/10 and a double thumps up for an engaging movie with novel and innovative craftsmanship...
Questions may have raised about the ability of Dibakar to portray the themes of caste,voyeurism and ethics to its utmost intensity.. or about the success of innovations in cinematic medium to approach these issues...
But these questions should vanish before the sheer guts of Dibakar Banerjee to experiment with themes and treatment..
If you ask me how Indian Cinema will grow to an internationally acclaimed status... i will answer "we need more Dibakars, we need more LSDs "
District 9 (2009)
Best Sc Fi for our Generation
This mind blowing indie film is in my opinion the best picture of 2009. We were lucky to get precious sci-fi art gems in the past decades. 2001 A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner etc were sci fi masterpieces. But there were no sci-fi masterpieces in our technological era(Apart from some good films ). Odd, but true,cinema of 21st century was deprived of a true scifi film with real substance and insight. But the wait is over. We got our masterpiece in this small indie film. It ruthlessly unveils human darkness, our ethnic intolerance and questions the basis of our civilization. Metaphorically rich, thought provoking, magnificent acting,strong narrative and splendid direction, District 9 is awesome in many ways.I bet you, this one is not gonna be forgotten soon.
Darbareye Elly (2009)
Interesting look into Human Life
I came to see Farhadi's flick at Kerala Film Festival. It Won the best picture award Golden Chakoram there. Farhadi's sketch human interactions are so lucid. How humans react to chaos and how the manipulative nature of humans come into act in time of difficulties is clearly depicted in this film. It reveals a true fact about the body of lies used by ordinary people in their ordinary lives. We lie thousand times a week. When we are thinking about manipulations, its not only about the conspiracies by the big power houses. In fact the root of all those are present in common man. About Elly beautifully depicts how common man, including women and children uses lies and these body of lies causes to make relevant impact on their lives in changing situations.Even though film creates a tense atmosphere of chaos caused by the disappearance of Elly, at one stage delegates started laughing during the screening.Farhadi's little picture even created a satirical approach on how man makes things complicated with his manipulations. On the whole it is a good introspective into the real human nature...
A new age of cinematic visualization starts here...
Avatar, undoubtedly an amazing experience, will redefine the boundaries of modern cinema. The magnum opus of the master craftsman James Cameroon delivers magical screen realization to innovative imagination. It took over a decade for the fast-paced technology to catch up to brilliant imaginations of James Cameroon.It is the movie of the decade in terms of cinematic imagination (even crossing the earlier standards set by LOTR trilogy) and movie of the generation in terms of CG. The advantage of Avatar is that the movie not only revolves around the hype of $300 million and IMAX 3D, but has an involving political statement. It brings into light, three major issues. Firstly, the movie itself stands as metaphor of the US invasion of Iraq. Secondly it unveils imperialism's cold blooded face in disrespecting and demolishing cultures. Lastly it has a profound green political statement that insists on bio-diversification. Even though it doesn't indulge itself into individualist philosophies, Avatar is not philosophically void. It is illuminated (like the illuminating insects and plants of Pandora) by the philosophy of universal identity believed by the Na'vi tribe. The concept of Eywa really matches with the base theory of coexistence of many human civilizations. Some may say story of Avatar is old wine (pointing Dances with wolves, The Last Samurai and all). But, the invasion on aboriginal cultures and human civilizations by imperialist powers is repetitive - it happened during civil war, it happens in Iraq. So the story isn't loosing its relevance but deserves the retelling.
But beyond all this, the breathtaking visuals will steal the show and will surely leave you with a once in a lifetime cinematic experience. The thrilling action sequences in sky, mammoth animals , legendary Hallelujah Mountains of Pandora, and scenes in which Jake tames the flying dragon bird -Mountain Banshee and biggest creature in sky -Toruk, all leaves a mark in history of cinematic visuals. It is the CG that even shadows the 3D. but don't miss the show in 3D as not seeing this movie in 3D will be the greatest loss. Hats off to the one man - James Cameroon, who imagined the unimaginable and realized the impossible. Avatar makes the sci-fi cinema so far, paraplegic as the protagonist Jake Sully in human form and a new era of visual entertainment starting from this movie, as mind blowing as the blue Avatar itself.