Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Au Hasard Balthasar 1966

This film enters the soul of an animal, in this case an unfortunate beast of burden. This reminds me of Rembrandt's Balaam's Ass or even Guernica. What would a donkey have to say, its life one of harsh labor and punishment. Some of the other characters in the film share an element of the animal experience, being trapped in a cruel destiny. We have much in common with animals, we live in the same space, more so in times of war, famine, poverty and despotism. Not least among the attractions is the blending with the music of Schubert.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Mouchette 1961

Someone says "Our hearts have been bombed out." Mouchette, for a variety of reasons, is outcasted from the people around her. She cannot even voice her feelings, her throttled tears breaking through to pour soundlessly. People don't care, like Breughal's picture of Calvary. Society is a cruel place. The dying mother, a wailing infant, an abusive father, not a friend, rejection, isolation. This is about the the disconnect, the gulf, the chasm, the spiritual void, the fractured heart, which is the reality of life. Finally, what a wrenching disengagement from the world, rolling down the slope, still reluctant, success after three times, The style is terse and the movie moves swiftly through it's 77 minutes.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Boyhood 2014

This beautiful and humane film examines life in contemporary US through the experience of Mason, a boy, tracing his life from early boyhood to late teens. The milieu is the ever changing present: the re-definition of family structures, sexual behaviors, livelihood and education. I gleened incidentl;y that the US must be one of the most favorable environments for the young to grow up in, with its patches of unrolling greenery, and vast educational opportunities. Nevertheless, economic hardship is a prime challenge faced by the characters, and happiness is as elusive as elsewhere.The strength of the movie is in the eternal unchanged aspects of existence, the transience of things, the failure to discover meaning, and finally, the enigma of looming death. By all means, outstanding.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mr Turner 2014

Director: Mike Leigh; As Turner: Timothy Spall. The film has the qualities of a painting. In some cases, the cinematography resembling the moist and chilly seascapes of Turner. This visually exhilarating biopic is an interesting account of a very human human being blessed by nature with an exceptional talent, without the quirks and eccentricities one associates with it. Timothy Spall's portrayal is dynamic and charismatic. The character of the artist and the men and women in his life are well fleshed. It brings to life the  Dickens like era, the onset of industrialization, in which it is set. A film to relish and savor.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

My Country My Country 2006

Laura Poitras. A documentary portraying life in Iraq during months preceding elections under American occupation of Iraq. This is a fine film which is educative about ground realities of that country.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Oath 2010

Director: Laura Poitras. This is a gripping documentary, about the minds of the people behind the hoods. The middle-east houses much fear, hatred and passion. Religion is the powerful brew which hooks and welds large numbers of people on a sub-continent. Ofcourse, it is mixed with oil, power and geo-politics--a holy mess, indeed. It tapers into a drab story narrated by an eloquent taxi driver. Needs to be seen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Theory of Everything 2014

This is a romantic biopic about Stephen Hawking. It succeeds in present the iconic scientist as a human being courageously confronting a crippling disease. Even more than the very human portraiture, it is nice to see British society at its civilized best. The locale is the green verdure of a hallowed academic institution, with manicured time weathered stone architecture and lush greenery.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Director: Laura Poitras. This is a documentary about Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower who exposed the widespread surveillance of the online activity of millions of citizens. The film raises the question of the limits of the power the state does or should exercise over citizens. If one has the fear that everything one does or says is being observed, it obviously puts limits on discussion, which is a limitation on freedom and democracy. Extremely terse and gripping as a spy thriller, this is a necessary watch for the sake of things one needs to be aware of, if not paranoid about.