Sunday, 31 May 2015

When sick and in bed.......

I was down with fever for a whole week a while ago. The easiest way to entertain yourself in such situations is to watch movies. I ended up watching quite a few very nice movies. Two of the best movies I watched were as follows.

1. A Separation- 

It is a 2011 movie by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. The movie is about how different people can perceive the same situation completely differently and how it can lead to very complicated scenarios for everyone involved. A very tight script, executed brilliantly by the director, it will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. There are underlying themes of religion, class-bias, woven in very beautifully into the script, therefore adding many layers to the story. The father-daughter relationship is depicted beautifully in the movie and was one of my favorite bits of the movie. Its a movie of brilliant performances too, but the performance of the teenaged daughter Termeh, takes the cake. The movie very easily has made into my favorite movies list. I had watched only one Iranian movie before this, this was my second Iranian movie and I am definitely hooked and waiting to watch many more.

2. The grave of the fireflies-

A heartbreakingly beautiful tale of a brother and sister's struggle to survive during the World War II in Japan. Seita takes care of his little sister, Setsuko like a parent would, when their mother dies during bombing and their father is away at war. It is an animated movie and the animations may have been used to dampen in some way the pain and suffering shown in the movie. The animations are done in the typical Japanese style and lend an element of innocence to the whole story because the storyteller happens to be the elder brother Seita, talking about his little sister Setsuko. The film leaves you thinking about how a war can or had affected the lives of people in the past.

I watched two other movies made by directors closer to home, and will write about them in the next post.....

Friday, 13 February 2015

Five really nice movies that I watched in the last one year.

Disclaimer: This is not a list of must-watch movies that released last year. These released at different points of time in the past, just that I happened to watch them in the last one year. Also, the movies are not listed in any particular order.

1.The lives of others, 2006- A brilliant German movie about how experiences can change people, the experience in this case being, watching over a writer and his lover in socialist East Germany as a secret agent. The film has the right mix of drama and suspense , garnished by the right amount of beneath-the-surface- emotions. The setting and the details are very authentic and beautifully recreated.  The kind of movie that would make one believe that even the most ideologically hardened individuals are more than what they seem and a little bit of scratching beneath the surface might reveal some very, very unexpected emotions and different people.

2. Loins of punjab, 2007- Indian crossover cinema always fascinated me. But, I always thought that the portrayal of the Indian diaspora was over-the-top and the characters were deliberately made caricaturish. That is until I moved here to the US. This film is a tongue-in-cheek look at the Indian diaspora in the US with their aspirations, frustrations and the entire package. I was ticking off check boxes in my mind while watching the movie, comparing the characters in the movie to the Indians I have met during my stay here. Believe me, the film is not trying to be funny, it just ends up being funny! Enough said !

3. Ernest and Celestine, 2012- I am not a big fan of animated movies. But when the animations seem like they stepped out of a children's fairy tale book (my favorite kind of books) , I'm more than just happy. With animations that seem almost poetic and a theme of unlikely friendships, beneath which lies the universal theme of love, it is pure visual delight. The kind of movie that leaves you feeling warm and happy.

4. Gone Girl, 2014- Quite the opposite of the last movie, I left the theatre with a shudder , thinking about how many layers each individual has and is hiding. It has a brilliant ending that takes the cake for this movie. The wife goes missing on a couple's anniversary and the husband is accused of murdering her. The series of events that follow, leave the viewer completely taken aback and wondering about the extent of the complexity of human minds and thoughts.

5. It's a wonderful life, 1946- A typical feel-good Christmas movie with a beautiful message.  Best watched on a cold winter evening, with a cup of hot chocolate. When we often question the meaning of our existence in the larger scheme of things, we often forget what life would be like for those people whose lives we have touched in some way or the other. An angel is sent down from heaven, to make a man contemplating suicide, realize that how he has touched the lives of so many other people in his small little town. Garbed in the disguise of a feel-good classic, the movie does end up teaching some valuable life lessons.