Sunday, October 23, 2011

Notes on recent filmic impressions

There are reviews and there are reviews. Many months ago Nanga Fakir came across a series of masterful one sentence reviews of famous films. Some examples that remain etched in NF's memory are those for The Lord of the Rings ("Midget destroys stolen property") and Lakshya ("Heart-broken boy climbs hill").

Thoroughly inspired and awakened from his own rather staid style of film reviewing, Nanga Fakir decided to use the same snarky, dismissive, one line review style from then on - only problem - his film viewing phase, unbeknownst to him, had sadly come to a full stop; and so the one line reviews never caught on and were never featured on his weblog.

A curious by-product of the end of the era of manic film watching was NF's resurgent interest in contemporary Hindi cinema of the commercial variety. Gone now were the days in which he would swear by the names of obscure, arthouse directors of the Far East (though occasional forays into the circuit were not ruled out: see for instance, his attendance of the 2011 Film Festival in which he saw on the big screen the ass kicking Tokyo Nagaremono by the fabulous Seijun Suzuki); instead, he eased into the role of the casual film goer and put his wannabe critic self to sleep.

So after mandatory viewings of recent Hindi films like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara ('You won't get to live life twice') (one line review (OLR henceforth): debauched Indian nouveau riche spout new-age, hippie carpe diem slogans); Yeh Saali Zindagi ('This bitch of a life' (?)) (OLR: Sudhir Mishra thinks hurling random expletives at the audience makes him cool - well, it doesn't); That Girl in Yellow Boots (OLR: Nice try, but Anurag Kashyap is no Kim ki Duk); Shaitan ('Satan') (OLR: Pretentious, though very, very slick, especially the remixed Khoya khoya chaand song - slow motion porn at its best); Well Done Abba ('Well Done Dad') (OLR: Well done Shyam Benegal!); No one Killed Jessica (OLR: Rani Mukherji destroys an otherwise good film in a mere twenty last minutes); Road, Movie (OLR: Nice, refreshing, artsy - the Hindi Cinema Paradiso); Shor in the City ('Noise in the City') (OLR: Thoroughly enjoyable - much like the director duo's previous: 99), Nanga Fakir is, on the whole, very pleased overall with the recent upsurge in the quality of indie/semi-indie Hindi films coming out in recent times.

The Far East, though, to be honest, has not lost its allure. Hong Sang Soo, Lee Chang Dong, Sogo Ishii, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Masaki Kobayashi, Johnnie To, Jia Zhangke remain thoroughly unexplored. 

He enjoins friends, readers of the blog and fellow cinephiles to undertake this journey to the East Asian heartlands since he himself probably can't venture forth anymore. He's now stuck in the cow belts of his native Hindi hinterland, cocooned and ensconced in the warm, cozy underglow of a culture, country and language he has an instinctive understanding of. Let's not bemoan his final downfall and consequent relegation to the wastelands of laziness and stasis. Let's remember him fondly for what he used to be. He's done enough already.

Hasn't he?


Anonymous said...

have you seen 'gandu'? i've heard all manner of good things about it, but haven't got to see it yet.. maybe i should wait for your OLR first..

Nanga Fakir said...

The trailer was too pretentious. It looked like the filmmakers were trying too hard to be cool. That put me off a bit.

If you see it though, do let me know if it's worth seeing.