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An absolutely bold and highly relatable experience
Knowing the culture of Kerala in general and the film-goers here, It is almost impossible to believe that this film was received so widely. The debut feature film by Sanal almost redefined independent film for malayalees.
He succeeded very well in creating a strong and different experience on screen and in my head/heart. I was in search of Maya myself during the course of the film, and even when I knew that she was never going to be found elsewhere, I kept searching.
There are many factors that related me to this film. More than a year ago I was traveling in North India all by myself and let me be honest, the scenes of Ganga in Rishikesh and the shots of the Himalaya connected me back to my own past. At an emotional level this film brought back the memories of my own selfish nature in my relationship with the girl who taught me many things.
As the debut feature length film from a talented director, the film did not disappoint me at all. The 99 minutes I spent in front of the big screen definitely gave me an experience worth remembering.
My compliments don't mean that I loved everything about this film. There have been moments of bad acting which threw me out of the illusion of film. Especially the dialogue delivery by Prakash Bare seemed unrealistic at many points. The issue can be with the lack of experience from the actor, the dialogues themselves or even his lack of understanding of the part of the script. No matter what the issue was, it was non-existent in the scenes where he was actually searching for Maya (or himself). At the same time Meena displayed amazing understanding of the character despite some minor issues again with the way dialogues were delivered. As a keen observer of the technique and the medium I was amazed by your ability to create cinematic poetry on the screen and it seems to be your key strength.
I admire and appreciate the shot selections and camera angles, they not only conveyed beauty and the search for it but also helped to create the mood of the story. The nonlinearity was indeed a challenge for some audience but I personally loved the way you did it. My job as a viewer was made hard and that's the kind of involvement I like being asked by the director. When the director asks the investment of time, patience or thoughts from the audience I feel the mutual respect and that's something very important for me. In Oralpokkam, Sanal respected the audience well enough.
Editing of the film was one factor that made me bite teeth occasionally. There have been a few different occasions where I was looking at the closeup/mid shot and then for sure knew already that the camera is gonna show me the wide and extreme wide of the same. It was not a pleasant experience while I could predict shots to that certainty. I had serious issues with the first twenty minutes or so of the film. Especially the editing and acting at those parts. Cuts to the phone screen to tell the story could be avoided and that's something I personally disliked. I would have preferred even voice over to reading text messages on the screen. Even a reaction shot of Mahendran would have been enough to show how the relation with Maya was changing instead of telling me to read what was on the phone which was already apparent. I am being ruthless in commenting about these things because I believe that only constructive criticism can be of any use to artists.
None of these negative criticism mean that Sanal is any lesser director . Everything I have written is my personal opinion as a learner and observer of the medium and need not mean that these feelings or thoughts are universal to other viewers or learners. I would not even dare to compare Sanal's artistic creation with the garbage that is created in present day Kerala.
Copie conforme (2010)
Two films merged together
This is actually a totally different approach to cinema. Is it original? We wouldn't know, but it is definitely great. There are various ways of approaching this film. There is a lot of philosophical questions being raised and answered partially or fully through out the film. One way I like to look at this film is as two journeys with no definite separating point. Somewhere at the middle of the film, the relationship between the two characters change so we get to look at the things in life (art) in a different way. In the first half, you see a happy male who is satisfied with his being while in the second half, he is someone who has been married for 15 years, and unsatisfied with his state of being. The lady is more satisfied in the second half despite being emotional and vulnerable.
There is a serious philosophical discussion about what is the right way to approach things. In the first half, the independent man doesn't care about the consequences of actions in general. He thinks things are just the way they are and we should not try too hard to change it. In the second half, he starts acting exactly opposite to his own earlier philosophy as the lady takes control in a socially acceptable relationship. It was interesting to see that the director used the term Mise' en Scene to credit himself at the end as this film does not fall under the Hollywood definition of drama.
Deux jours, une nuit (2014)
A film is not about it's ending alone, especially not this one. The film is extra ordinarily realistic and simple. Marion Cotillard's acting just blew me away. If it was any other actress, I doubt that it would be interesting to stare at the same person for the entire length of the film. Loved every moment of it.
Use of natural light, long takes, lose head camera are all supposed to give you a boring film if you are used to the Hollywood style. But, just having a great script and Marion is enough to make any film special. Thanks for making this film. Short and sweet, That's this film. A story I could totally relate to. She made me cry.
Targeted at specific audience.
Every experience is personal and subjective. The film experience of Boyhood was extremely disappointing for me after waiting in a street long queue in the heart of Sydney city.
While I appreciate the courage to make a film over the period of twelve years, I felt like I was sitting in the cinema for twenty years. Repeated philosophical jargon and a character who had no clue about what he wanted did not do it for me. Above all, what made me detached from the film was my own inability to connect with most of the characters. They all seemed happy and satisfied with their life even during the times of trouble.
The story itself seemed too passive as a result of an easy childhood of the main character. There was nothing special about him that made me care about his story. All I felt while watching a film was that I was watching a documentary about "How hard it was to grow in America in the beginning of twenty-first century." It was not.
In my opinion, this is a film that was made just for the native English speakers who were born and brought up in a developed country. I could see that others at the cinema were enjoying the film very much from the loud laughters and the applause that followed the end credits. This can arise another doubt that aren't there many films made just for a small community? Indeed there are. So the fault is probably in my decision to spend three hours for this film.
One of the best Indian films ever
Before Tarantino even started thinking about non-linear narration, Adoor made it happen in Kerala. This film uses that particular kind of narration for a purpose too. The entire film makes sense once you finish watching it. I am lacking words to praise the courage Adoor showed to create a film from the point of view of an insane person.
There are technical imperfections in the film, but with the limited budget that was accessible for the director, he has done a great job. It has been such a difficult task to find a copy of this amazing film, but finally managed to find it n youtube. Adoor Gopalakrishnan's films are watched at home only by true film lovers who take the craft seriously. It is a shame for our civilization that quality art is unrecognized most of the time.
Mumbai Police (2013)
The future generations will laugh at us.
I watched this film after hearing that the protagonist is a gay person, which is almost a revolution in a conservative society like Kerala. The way gay people are portrayed in the film just disappointed my high expectations. The characters are so underdeveloped and their motives are unjustified by their actions in the film. There are so many scenes that are unbelievably coincidental as the writers could not break the clichés. Using cuts to fake the fight scene was effective, but still such a cliché in Malayalam films.
Solving Sudoku is used as a measure of eligibility to go back to work for a police officer who is suffering from memory loss. Unsurprisingly, the same officer is used to solve the same case again even after the superior realizing that the protagonist is suffering from the accident he had. The character done by Rahman was so badly developed and was created as an excuse for making the story the way the writers wanted. And the actor could not help but act badly too. I haven't seen any other films of Rahman from recent years, but in this film, he did such a terrible job. But I'd blame the writers for that.
It is surprising that he hadn't had any sexual thoughts about any men for the period of investigation in the second term. His boyfriend visiting him on the last day of investigation is questionable. Chasing scene looked very fake, but acting of Prithvi and Jayasurya were convincing. Comparing to most of the Malayalam films these days, this film still wasn't the worst, so I am giving it a three.
Like Someone in Love (2012)
This is one of the very few good films I have watched in a while. This film is criticised for being simple, but Kiarostami's craft is almost flawless and very realistic. There are times when I questioned the duration of real-time in the film as he opt not to use jump cuts to show the shift in time, but except that minor glitch, this film was highly tense, deep and meaningful at so many levels.
Unlike the superficial Hollywood garbage we get to see everyday, Kiarostami's films show us real people with real problems. Probably one of the very few directors who can claim to have real class in this present era. I started watching this film after reading an interview with the director. The film did not disappoint me even a little bit. I am ashamed that I did not come across his name before.
Typical Hollywood Awfulness.
I wasted valuable one and a half hours of my life for this. It was my fault to expect something classy from a Hollywood comedy. This film is not funny, not even a single bit. I couldn't laugh even for once. There is an evident attempt from the film maker to show that he is not a sexist, but with stupid racial and sexist jokes, he confirms that he is nothing but a mere parasite who lives off the mentally sick.
I have no idea how this awful film got a rating of more than 7 on IMDb. This is terribly disappointing for anyone who takes movies seriously. The actions of the characters don't make any sense. If comedy is supposed to be extreme drama, this film is a mere melodrama about a protagonist whom I couldn't care for. At no stage, I felt a sympathy for the main character. If you are able to relate to any of the characters in this film, you should definitely see a psychiatrist.
The female character started off with some pride, then I lost respect for her too as she had no justification other than the writer's dumb and selfish intentions to accept the protagonist. Unrealistic, sexist and racist sickness.
I'll start with the good points as they are very few to start with. The CGI and Matt Damon's performance were okay. Other than that, the movie just made me laugh, not in a good way. The dialogues were so terrible that I knew where the movie was heading in the first five minutes itself. Every dialogue was made up to explain the plot which was already obvious from the visuals. What's up with Jodie Foster? I never knew that she was such a terrible actress. Many of the characters looked so fake and unrealistic. I didn't find a single character that a normal person can relate to. The Direction and writing were unbearably terrible. The writer somehow assumed that all the viewers are dumb. In the scenes where there was a melodrama, it looked so unrealistic that the viewers were feeling almost nothing. The whole time I spent in the cinema, i was so conscious that I was watching a terrible film. I promised myself not to go to this writer's films again. All my friends had the same view about this film. Oh by the way, there are some major continuity issues as well.
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1988)
A beautiful voyage through a man's life
I have never seen a better movie in my life. This movie would make you cry if you have had a good childhood. It's a movie about nostalgia, reality of life, and about the importance of relationships we develop during our early days. It happens in a small town. As I was born and brought up in a small village I can relate to every aspect of this movie. It talks about love, sex, tenderness, comedy, disappointments and achievements. A must watch for everyone with a heart. The characters, the story, the direction, story telling and casting are just amazing. The actors did a wonderful job. It is a movie where the characters foresee what's going to happen. It's a movie with so many different levels. Simply breathtaking. Even though the pace slows down a bit towards the end, I would not consider it as a drawback.