Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

Orlando

Based on Virginia Woolf’s classic novel of the same name, this is one beautifully directed film by Sally Potter, transformed to the big screen with a dash of surreal tinge and no touch of heavy-handedness that generally comes in the way of a director bent on being faithful to a book. Other conclusions notwithstanding, I see this as an allegory of the irrationality inherent in the act of sexual discrimination. Review at NYT, where Vincent Canby juxtaposes his impressions on the film with that of the book.

This film is transfixing.

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Written and directed by Sally Potter, based on the novel by Virginia Woolf; director of photography, Aleksei Rodionov; edited by Herve Schneid; produced by Christopher Sheppard; released by Sony Pictures Classics.

Be with me

A 3-part intermingled story set in singapore that portray the connectedness among the six characters that directly / indirectly affect their lives.

An event as mundane as cooking food for the blind woman leads the resigned old man to a life-changing experience. This leads to a chain of events that touches both their lives. This blind woman imparts a small word of wisdom that brings the young man, a social worker, close to his father. The social worker gets impetus from this blind woman to gain more discernment towards his social work, connecting with one of the broken hearted characters in the other “teenage love gone wrong” story. This character is handed a miracle by her fateful encounter with the simple minded man in the 3rd story about one-sided, unrequited love. This is just a simplified, skeletal overview which does not put forth the richness inherent in this film that works at various levels and dealt with considerable insight by the singaporean director, Erik Khoo. Beautiful review at NYT.

I cannot more heartily recommend this movie.

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Directed by Eric Khoo; written (in English, Cantonese, Hokkien and Mandarin, with English subtitles) by Mr. Khoo and Wong Kim Hoh; director of photography, Adrian Tan; edited by Low Hwee Ling; music by Kevin Mathews and Christine Shum; produced by Brian Hong; released by Film Movement.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye

The joy of geometry. When you realise that everything is right.” – HCB

Documentary on HCB. Not a biography. An interview. With HCB (and few others like Arthur Miller, Isabelle Huppert, etc.) on his photographs ranging from the 1920s to the present, his drawings, and paintings.

HCB on his images: “That is so long ago. And still so immediate. Thats why there is no such thing as death. Everything lives on. Suddenly scenes come back to the mind’s eye.

I live from day to day. The past is a tabula rasa. But it usually comes back like a burp.” – HCB on memories.

A photo is like a stab of a knife. Painting is meditation.” – HCB on painting

Review at NY Times.

Maxed Out

The United States economy is like a poker game where the chips have become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and where the other fellows can stay in the game only by borrowing. When the credit runs out the game will stop.” – Marriner Eccles, Chairman, Federal Reserve, 1931-34

There are many things that you all already might know, but there are some few new things that you might learn from this documentary. for eg:

1. why are the poor going more poor and the rich getting more rich?
2. On credit report. Its accurate all the time right? No, says the documentary, the inaccuracy rate in credit reports is 90%! This is the case only for “uninfluential” people. Those who are in the “VIP” list – the influential and famous people – their credit report is checked periodically, else they might cause an uproar, which might result in a change to the legislation related to credit card companies.
3. should u trust all the programs aired on cnbc? (No, per the documentary. ‘cos some programs are rigged by the corporate companies to put forth inaccurate, unvalidated info, e.g., fico reports on suze orman show)
4. do we have privacy? US constitutional rights state that individual privacy pertains with government and does not mention about other individuals. So, federal govt. uses private companies to get our individual private information, and thus is not unconstitutional, and in turn furnishes the credit companies with this information.
5. ever seen the free t-shirts and freebies for just signing a credit card application form on college campuses? Credit card companies pay $13 million to the universities for this endeavor!
6. how any organised institution, I mean, take your pick, takes the issue of individual financial debt to their advantage, to not lose the individual’s stewardship with that institution.
7. Bush’s top campaign contributor is MBNA – country’s 2nd largest credit card issuer. The recent amendment to the bankruptcy law bill was written by MBNA, says the documentary!
8. US international debt

LA Times Review

[Americans for fairness in lending]

Who the $#%& is Jackson Pollock?

A Documentary. On the art world and its various schemes. The documentary could in itself be one of those schemes – a PR. Or not. Maybe. Salty.

Review at NY Times.

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Mom: “They are in their teens and eloped. She was found and brought back home; tried commiting suicide. Ultimately, her folks had to relieve her. Now she lives with him, away from their folks.” I scoff. Teenage love!

Couple of weeks ago I watched Alain Resnais’ “Hiroshima Mon Amour”, and memory floods of my love when back in my teens. Pop forced me not to talk to her and scoffed, “Teenage love!”

As much Resnais’ film is a love story on the outset, its about the acts of forgetting and remembering. “Memory beyond consolation, memory of shadows and stones.” Beyond the need to empathize, to remember. The struggle to understand why we need to remember. “Why deny the existence of the need to remember?” The struggle to remember. “And yet, I forget!” And we forget. And yet, “We have to stay away from all troubled thoughts in life, else we’d suffocate to death!” Where does one find the balance? How can one stay afloat with the memories and not drown in the eddy of forgetfulness?

The film is also a statement against war. Against means to war. Sufferings of war don’t end at the battlefield, nor do they end when the signs of war have vanished. War lives forever within every being, within their forgetting memories, varying only in degree, affecting their lifes unexpectedly.

When she (Emmanuel Riva) falls for a japanese man (Eiji Okada) while shooting for a film on location in japan, memories of her first “impossible” love to a german soldier in france, during the wee end of WWII, returns to haunt her. The locals murder the german soldier and make her a scapegoat of unpatriotism rendering an apparent true love impossible. Now a married mom, her unexpected emotion of love, which started as a one-nighter, to this married japanese man seems doomed too as she needs to board a flight the next day back to france, to her family. Both know that it is impossible, but want to hold on and see each other. If apart, both know they will gradually and inevitably forget one another, however hard they try to hold. As the film gradually reveals, we find that this affair has taken over, unintentionally, as a form of catharsis for her, but ultimately falls short of a complete catharsis, as questions abound for which answers fall short. This review puts it well: “…two people hopelessly separated, not by their marital status or culture, but by the burden of their memories.”

The film flows like a poem, a concise poem, poetic in verse and image.