Wednesday, December 17, 2008
DIFF 5 – Day 5 Roundup
16th December 2008
Now this is what a Film Festival really brings to fans of movies. A day that was worth more than 360 minutes of great movie-watching. It helped that a big chunk of that was a one-two knockout of a biopic.
The Sea Within (Ore Kadal)
Shyamaprasad | India | 2007
Set in metropolitan India, Ore Kadal is a tale of a man and a woman tearing their lives apart for each other's "forbidden" love. She is married (to someone else) with a child. He is a Social Scientist who does not believe in emotional attachments - he only requires women for his functional needs (I'm being polite). What starts off as a promising tale of sin and redemption turns into a melodrama of insanity and alcohol-addiction that fails to maintain any level of curiosity or attention. Mamooty does give a good performance as the detached social scientist, but not in comparison to what this great actor is capable of. Overall, commendable effort in Indian cinema, but a failure.
Three Monkeys (Üç Maymun)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan | Turkey | 2008
Üç Maymun is a beautifully shot movie. There are shots and scenes in the movie that make you gasp at the beauty the movie captures, and some that make you gasp at the ingenious ways in which sequences are depicted. The director also prefers long shots and minimal dialogue which work to make Üç Maymun a brooding and oppressive mood-piece. One family goes through an existential crisis when the husband, the driver of a politician, takes the blame of a car-accident on himself. In return, the politician promises his family a monthly salary as well as a fixed amount upon his release. Things get complicated when the driver's wife has an illicit affair with the politician which her son begins to suspect. The movie spends time with the three family members individually to take the audience through the emotional turmoil of each before leaving them at a state of tolerated co-existence. The stunning visuals, sparse words and a narrative depth makes this one of the great experiences of the festival.
Son of a Lion
Benjamin Gilmour | Australia | 2007
Son of a Lion is a gross misstep. For a movie that tries ti capture the story of a man and his son set in a small town of North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan among the Pashto-speaking Pathans that include Guns & Hashish as a part of normal life, the Australian director displays ignorance of the highest level. Here, you have a son who prefers to be a musician and study in school rather than join his father's work of gun-making & repairing. This clash of "ideologies" leads to the son telling his father "You look at life differently, I have a different view of life", and then conveniently walks away. This is a 12 year old boy speaking to his AK-47 totting father who fought the Russians as a part of the Mujahideen. Anyone with half the knowledge of what the community is like will know what to expect - but definitely not the father (by the end of the movie) telling his son: "I will not send you to a Madrassa. I will send you to a *proper* school". This dad, during the course of the movie, mentions his favourite movie being Rambo 3, because the Mujahideen were the heroes in it. If that wasn't bad enough, he suffixes "Rambo" with the number 3 in English, while the whole movie is in Pashto language. Incredibly ignorant.
The Hurt Locker
Kathryn Bigelow | U.S.A. | 2008
Kathryn Bigelow is one of the few woman directors in Hollywood who can make a good action movie for the boys. With The Hurt Locker, this protege of James Cameron turns up the heat in a movie clearly for the testosterone audience. Set in Iraq, the movie looks at a bunch of Bomb Disposal experts who are stationed in Baghdad for a count of days. As these men go through bomb after bomb losing fellow-soldiers along the way, the movie impresses upon the hopeless state to which the war-zone has fallen, and the mostly thankless high-risk job of the soldiers that risk their lives there. Yet the movie is not about the war, or its politics, but a zoned in look at one team's existence in it. While one soldier counts his days until they're relieved from duty, another lives at the thrill that the risk of their job brings them. Some great bomb sequences, a supremely-confidant lead performance by Jeremy Renner and some great cameos make this a great time at the movies. Atleast for the boys.
Day#6, the penultimate day, features two movies of which I hope atleast one rocks my senses to Kingdome Come. Find out tomorrow!
Categories: Dubai Int'l Film Festival