Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Miniscule Musings

  • Nanga Fakir has joined the ranks of those who consider The Wire to be a masterpiece of unimaginable proportions. As he watched the sixty odd, one hour long episodes over a period of ten days, he was totally taken in by the tight story-arcs, efficient, compact and unwasted movements in direction and screenplay; and the overarching theme of institutionalized dysfunction and disillusionment. As befitting a series focusing on the macro level, societal behavior of public institutions, character development takes a back seat to story progression and to the charting of the course of the lumbering bureaucratic behemoths' trajectories. Yet, there are gems of fascinating character sketches in the form of Omar Little and Bubbles - the Robin Hood stick up man and drug addicted informant - that make the series not just intensely edifying (which it so is) but thoroughly enjoyable as well. As someone coming from a cocooned, obscenely well educated, privileged background, NF cannot comment on the realism of the tales of drug trade, institutional corruption or the Baltimore slang - things for which the series is famous for - but the understated, subtle, very believable and extremely plausible characters and stories that slowly populate the five seasons (with the minor omission of the character Brother Mouzone and the irritating Greek background music whenever The Greek and his team are featured - a very overlookable-on-the-whole, minor annoyance) seem to resonate oddly long after the watching experience is over.
  • After the very funny initial forty minutes, Love Exposure degenerates into a very uneven, not-very-well made film that dies a simpering, lame Bollywoodish ending. However there are some things that do save the movie from being a total waste of four hours (yes! four) - the kung-fuish art of tosatsu (up skirt photography - which although done in a very over-the-top and funny manner, should come across to most women as extremely offensive); its savagely funny attack on Christianity that even Richard Dawkins cannot top; and the delectable, absolutely adorable Hikari Mitsushima (pictured here) as Yoko chan. On the whole, a disappointment, however.
  • In Dogville, Lars von Trier takes the idea of minimalism to a whole different level altogether. Not only does he do away with most conventions of movie making, he also does away with the idea that you need to have sets, props or other such bourgeois artefacts. Instead of houses, we have chalk linings delineating the boundaries of such aforementioned houses with labels "X's house" written on it. Instead of shrubberies, we have vague chalk markings indicating the boundaries of the same. There are no doors, but the actors walk, talk, behave, open, close and enter through them as if they were there. Anything not absolutely essential to the story (a door's just a door, a shrubbery just so - mere ideas in human minds - not essential at all. Apparently.) is erased and left for the viewer's imagination. It's actually more a play than a film. But whatever it is, is beside the point since the end product is wonderfully deep and absolutely brilliant. Bravo Lars! Bravo!


Arvind Krishna said...

The Wire is indeed a show with almost no parallels. And the fourth season, their take on the Baltimore public school system was the best by far.

Nanga Fakir said...

Heh...you seem to be taken up by this idea of schooling for the corner kids. Remember the time you visited last and were hell bent on trying to see the French movie "The Class" (which by the way I saw later only because you were sure it was 'what a movie' category product)?

Arvind Krishna said...

I desperately wanted to watch 'The Class' but it later turned out to be not as good as I expected.

You make an interesting observation. Maybe you are right. Another movie in this category is 'The 400 Blows'