19 September, 2007

The three golden Cs

It's not everyday that we have a father to son kinda chat. The last evening played witness to one such rare occaision. The stuff he said made sense to me (for once).

And thus it was that unto the fidgetting neophyte, his dad propounded from Olympian heights (6'3'' to be exact) the Rule of the Three Golden Cs. And the neo-A.R.C. enquired of A.R.C. senior, "What? Like the Seven Seas?" Glaring ominously at A.R.C. junior, senior rumbles, "Nah! The golden rule of the thumb in any situation is ... never Condemn, Complain or Criticize. Any place: peers, seniors, workplace. And avoid the company of those that do. You're quite prolific in the 'criticize' department..."
And junior replied, "Er....eh....not exactly...." What he meant to say was, "Ever heard of literary criticism?"

The Pujos are approaching. You can feel it in the air: the single most important festival in this city. Fun, food, lights, girls, the goddess, hanging out, the whole lot. Eschewing these chaotic joys, I shall (as is my wont) retire to the sylvan seclusion of a Salt Lake residence, or the neck of the woods in the South of the city. And try to study there.

But my mind wouls be wandering far off the beaten track. With the road as my family, the sky as my companion, and my mind as my tireless feet. Through the rubbles of time, trailed by an ode to broken things - moments, thoughts, loves, lives. Not condemning, complaining nor criticizing.

02 September, 2007

A Bergman Retrospective

Much to my delight, a retrospective on Ingmar Bergmans films were screened at the Seagull Media Centre. Samik Bandopadhyay introduced each film and prompted the discussion that followed. Needless to say, I took to it like a fish to water.

Went to The Silence, Persona, Cries and Whispers and Saraband. Had already seen the Seventh Seal and Wid Stawberries. In a nutshell, these films are not for the Indian audience. Not at this stage.
There are two main kinds of storytellers (for what is filmmaking other than sophisticated storytelling?) : the creative artists - like de Sica, Jean Renoir, Satyajit Ray, Orson Welles et al. And then we have the austere surrealists, the philosphers with the disturbing ability to shock our rutted minds off their complacency by the compelling visual barrage - Bergman, Bunuel, Antonioni.

This is no moralist or sentimentalist. Bergman is the cruel, uncaring Providence as he casts his players into the bitter rigmarole of life, redolent with existential angst, eternal questions and the shades of our darkest natures.
In The Silence we find two alienated sisters, where the proximity of death for one doesnt bring forth the oh-so-very expected splurge of sympathy from the other. Why should it? Death removes the present from the future, not obviate the past from the present. The only solace is the silence of unundestanding. Persona is a gothic horror: the merging(never, ever perfect) of the personalities of patient and nurse, the fickleness and obtusenes of human nature stripped bare before glaring bulbs. And finally the film reel runs out in a bitter end to ones make-believe facade that is so necessary for human contact. This one was possibly my favourite, where Bergman took cinema as far as it can be taken.
The last two films are in breathtaking color - and we fade in again and again from red - the absolving blood that is after all nothing in face of cold, hard facts. A dead sister awakes, seeking comfort from her sibling. Both flee - one from stern distaste, the others intial pity smothered by fear and disgust. It is left to the nursemaid to be the last solace, herself finding none.

I saw Saraband yesterday. The mans last film. It was touching, but I did not find the old gripping intensity as there was in the earlier creations. Intend to go to Autumn Sonata and then call it a day. The retrospective really opened my eyes - to good films, the world outside and the one within.

Welcome visitor!