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5 reviews in total 
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16 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
well intentioned but lacks depth (even though it seems the opposite), 27 February 2005

It is sometimes hard for creative and well meaning filmmakers to accept the fact that their political and philosophical understanding of the world might not be as rounded as their movie making skills. Godard shows in this excruciating film that he clearly falls into this category of filmmakers. 'Notre Musique' is well intentioned, for sure. Godard seeks to obfuscate the lines between reality and drama, the sensible and the absurd (heaven guarded by US marines). In doing so, however, the film becomes Godard's 'international politics explained' more than an engaging piece of cinema. Being a visual medium as it is, cinema needs to add layers of subtlety to what's seen (so that we look beyond that which is seen), in order to be not only an effective messenger but also an exercise in self-exploration. 'Notre Musique' is a blaring loudspeaker with Godard in control of the microphone.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
a throwback to another era of movie-making, 30 January 2005

The prints of this last Dutch silent movie have recently been restored, and all credit must go to the people who did that, since they have brought a great piece of cinema to life. Some of the shots in the film are truly exquisite, and though the story is almost entirely predictable, the film is eminently watchable as it shows us a glimpse of the society in a country that otherwise remains at the periphery of European cinema, and during a period sandwiched between the two wars. The music is very well done, and the chase sequence during the first bits of the movie can put some more recent ones to shame. If this movie comes to your city, its well worth the cab-fare.

14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
great treatment of a difficult subject, 20 January 2005

The Center for Arts of my university is screening all of Pialat's movies this month. 'The mouth agape' is the eighth Pialat film that i've now seen (out of 10) and it is right up there, not only as one of his best along with Loulou, naked childhood, and Van Gogh, but as a striking work on the subject of death. We see an elderly housewife during her last days, who finally dies just when her pain and suffering compels even those who love her intensely, to wish for the dreaded moment to come fast. But the movie is more about how her disjointed family, comprising of a playboyish husband (who, even as an old man, cannot refrain from flirting with any and every woman he runs into), a son who's gone on his father's footsteps and daughter in law, who in a sense mirrors the lady's life. A young and lovely Nathalie Baye plays the daughter in law, and is one of the several stand out performances of the film. In short, death is a hard subject to make films on, but Pialat, with masterful touch, does so with unflinching realism, and the movie has several truly beautiful moments.

Aakrosh (1980)
5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
brilliantly directed and acted, 12 January 2005

This is one of the best movies ever made in India. It is unfortunate that the world associates films in India exclusively with bollywood (atleast post-Ray), and so, films like Aakrosh do not get their due. The film pits the idealism of a young lawyer, Bhaskar (Naseer), who is the public defendent for a tribal man, Lahanya (Om Puri), against the inhumanity of the very milieu he has grown up in and is a part of, and which exploits tribals off their labor, life, and dignity with abandon. Especially poignant is Bhaskar's relationship with his mentor (Amrish Puri) who is the public prosecutor in this case. The two share an extremely cordial relationship in personal life but are gulfs apart when it comes to their work and professional ideals.

But probably most important point of the movie is what social theorist Gayatri Spivak asked some years later (in the context of women though)-- 'can the subaltern speak?'. Aakrosh is a forceful reminder that in our capitalist and bureaucratic postcolonial set-up, they indeed cannot.

Nearly all performances in the film are brilliant. Naseer, as the idealist lawyer is completely immersed in his character, to the degree that one forgets that it is Naseer you see on the screen, so good is he as Bhaskar. Something, however, that cannot be said about any of the mainstream 'heroes' in Bollywood. The film, I think, is worth watching for Naseer's method acting alone. Om Puri is remarkable as a tribal man framed in the murder of his wife (Smita Patil in a brief appearance), who, as we discover in some painful shots, loves her a lot. The agony on his face is haunting. And Amreesh Puri is extremely effective as the public prosecutor. The best scenes for me, personally, were Naseer's incessant, and ineffective, pleas to Om Puri to speak up and his cross examination of the witnesses and monologues in court. If anyone needs a great exposition of method acting, then the song 'sans mein dard' is the place to start. Following Naseer's movements in it are extremely educative.

Swades (2004)
6 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Swades-- The Motorcycle Diaries meets Karan Johar, 1 January 2005

This is a film, coming as it does after the defeat of 'India Shining' campaign in last year's elections, for urbanites/NRIs to show them what Indian villages look like and what can be done about the problems with rural India. And it does nothing but reaffirm this superficial 'concern' for a fictional rural poor (not that there isn't such a category in reality, but this particular type in the movie is a work of fiction). Mohan's self realization is at the center here, not the 'simple' village folk who move in and out of his life as and when needed. There is not a shred of realism and people's accents, their costumes and their general disposition makes it seem that this particular village is a blend of UP, Bihar, Kerala all at once. And the methods for 'swades' brand of rural upliftment are highly innovative too-- dance sequences and technological utopianism.

AR Rehman's music is, though, a high point of the movie, as are a couple of performances, mostly by the Lagaan cast. SRK does what he's best at-- shedding tears; and here he finds a willing companion--his old nanny. Some of the camera shots are 'inspired' by 'The Motorcycle Diaries', and incidentally, they're the best of the lot. In the end, the tagline 'We, the people' is a misnomer. Instead the movie turns out to be 'SRK, the saviour'.