Archive for the ‘Documentary/Television’ Category

Form and Void of Rust Cohle   Leave a comment

What makes Matthew McConaughey unique is his consistency in getting drunk on characters obsessions. The movies like Dazed and Confused (1993), The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), Killer Joe (2011), Mud (2012) , Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Interstellar (2014) stand testimonial to that. He finds ownership and freedom to portray characters that live on the fringe, who all are a bit on the outskirts of civilization and another classic example which stands above all, is his role as ‘Rust Cohle’ in the television crime drama series – True Detective.

True Detective is an American television crime drama created and written by Nic Pizzolatto. Season 1 revolves around a story of occult murder and detectives Marty Hart and Rust Cohle, are assigned to solve it.

To prepare for the role of Rust Cohle (who psychologically struggles to deal with his past and is obsessive in solving the murder) , McConaughey himself created a 450-page evoloutinary analysis of the character which he named “Four Stages of Rustin Cohle”, he named it as

  • 1995 Cohle
  • Crash
  • 2002 Cohle
  • 2012 Cohle

and continued “I wanted to get in that dude’s head. The obsession, the island of a man—I’m always looking for a guy who monologues. It’s something really important as I feel I’m going into my better work

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The coverse effect of his obsession is transformed into nihilism as stated below:
I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody” (Rust Cohle, “The Long Bright Dark”, True Detective)

Filled with pure compassion, Cohle survived from himself because he kept on questioning what he did not know.

References:
True Detective:A Case for Neo-noir – Alicia Berdan
True Detective: Pessimism, Buddhism or Philosophy? – Finn Janning
True Detective is an example of “nihilist pop culture” , Meta: Aesthetics of the media assemblage – Glen Fuller
Matthew McConaughey Explains The Four Stages of Rust Cohle
http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/q-a-matthew-mcconaughey-talks-true-detective-20140303

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Indian Idol Jr – Epitome of versatility   Leave a comment

Chet Baker’s – My Funny Valentine vs Md’ Rafi’s –  Abhi na jao chodkar, Mariah Carey’s – hero vs Shreya Goshal’s Munbe vaa, so what’s with the comparison ? Which genre of music fits me? After years of much reflection it all boils down to the genre of – anything but soulful, Music which maintains moderation yet that takes you to the mysterious center. Surprisingly, for me Bollywood music tops the list because of its style, thematic structuring, its modulations of tone and rhythm and voice – musical patterning in a metaphorical sense – all of which are called upon to invest plot with some of the inexorability and necessity that in pre-modern literature derived from the substratum of myth.

Basically, Bollywood music works as part of the process that transmits narrative information to the spectator, it functions as a narrative agent. Mood, emotion, characterization, point of view, even the action itself are constructed in film in a complex, visual and aural interaction in which music is an important component.

In the Hindi film, ‘scopophilia, catered for through strategies of overt spectacle and display’, and the pleasures of music, the starts , fights, dialogues, comic interludes and so on, take ‘priority over epistemophilia. With songs, the melodramatic mode and spectacular visual styles of picturization make songs appear to be items that are independently composed, although these characteristics contribute to the overall narrative meaning or effect. However, at least with the songs and the lyrics, there is a great deal that integrates individual song production with Hindi films.

The examples of how details of the situation , drama , emotion , character, location , action and cinematography affect songs demonstrates the level of integration between songs and the  narratives of their parent films.

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I just adore the songs because, amidst its complexity simple patterns emerge, “The songs have become a ubiquitous part of modern India. They have become the music of public space in India, being heard from open windows in people’s homes, on buses, and in bazaars. They are sung and danced to by millions of people in range of formal and informal contexts, and have been appropriated in many folk genres. Unlike western rock or pop music, film song as a whole has fans in all sectors of Indian society”
This is precisely why i like Bollywood music because its not rocket science and caters to a common man whims.

There is no substitute to proper singing” says Shreya Ghoshal and her favorite composer Rahaman too pronounces the same “It’s not the instrument. It’s how it translates from an artiste. I love the voice – it’s the most perfect instrument ever heard.” So in an endeavor to find young talents Sony India came up with an idea to extend the Indian Idol brand to Indian Idol Junior; to have young kids as the participants, equivalent to SaReGaMaPa Li’l Champs, to adjudge winner, Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani and Shreya Ghoshal were selected as judges. I rarely watch reality shows, however being a magnanimous Shreya fan, I just did not want to miss this, Plus all in all, the show was fashioned by FremantleMedia and the promos itself looked super-promising! (Indian Idol Junior Launch Promo – DDLJ) :D

After auditioning in four cities, 11 contestants (aged between 5 – 15 years) were selected from various parts of the country:

    • Akash Sharma, 13, Mahendragarh, Harayana
    • Anjana Padmanabhan, 11, Bengaluru, Karnataka
    • Anmol Jaswal, 14, Jammu Tawi, Jammu and Kashmir
    • Aryan Das, 11, Cuttack, Odissa
    • Debanjana Karmakar, 14, Kolkata, West Bengal
    • Eman Chaudhary, 15, Guwahati, Assam
    • Nirvesh Dave, 15, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
    • Priyam Borpatragohain, 14, Sivasagar ,Assam
    • Sugandha Date, 8, Nagpur, Maharashtra
    • Sonakshi Kar, 10, Kolkata, West Bengal
    • Sankalp Yaduwanshi, 12, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh

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Out of 11 contestants Debanjana and Anjana were simply outstanding, this observation does not condescend the rest, but they both were from a different zone altogether. Both have classical backgrounds, Debanjana learning it since the age of 4!  Anjana since the age of 8! And they both have uncanny ability to establish connection with the audience.

Here are some of their mind-boggling performances:

DEBANJANA KARMAKAR

  • Tum hi ho of Aashiqui 2 – With Arijit Singh, this one was just sensational.
  • Tum bin jeevan kaise beeta of Bawarchi – One of the ingenious compositions of Madan mohan and beautifully rendered by Manna dey, a gem of a song! Deb – playback singing par excellence.
  • Hum Dil de chuke sanam, Title Track – I think this was Deb’s one of the most poignant performance.
  • Aao naa of Kyun Ho Gaya Na – This was just beautifully rendered the Intro, mukhda, Antara 1, Antara 2 was perfect and Shankar mahadevan was just speechless!!
  • Satyam shivam sundaram, Title Track – An effortless imitation!
  • Bairi Piya of Devdas – Absolutely loved the way when she carried herself  – isshhh!
  • Ae Ri Pawan dhoondhe kise tera mann of Bemisal – Deb’s fitting tribute to RD Burman, Anand Bakshi.
  • Dil me ho tum akhon me ho tum of Satyameva Jayate – A timeless romantic duet from Bappi da, I am just enamored by its simplicity, composition.
  • Mere dholna sun of Bhool Bhoolaiyaa – Originally rendered by Shreya and Deb does full justice.
  • Tare Hain Barati of Virasat – The original song is sung by Jaspinder Narula (Intro), Kumar Sanu and Deb does both, great performance!
  • Rasme Ulfat Ko Nibhaye toh Nibhaye aise of Dil Ki Rahen – Oh my goodness, The lyrics. composition have such a unsettling impact and to have such a talent to sing this one, its just unfathomable!

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ANJANA PADMANABHAN

  • Aapki Nazro Ne Samjha of Anpadh – Anjana chose this track for her audition, completely floors judges!! Btw, this song is representative of the legendary enterprise of Madan Mohan, Lata Mangeshkar.
  • Kyon of Barfi – With Papon she takes Kyon to a different level gets applauded by Vidya balan, Judges, Papon himself and is voted the best performance of the day, this is just a start and I become fan of Anjana Padmanabhan.
  • Salaam-E-Ishq, Title Track – Simply sparkles with the uniqueness and Shankar Mahadevan’s stupefied!!
  • Aao Twist Karen of Bhoot Bangla – Doesn’t impersonate the original, improvises it beyond imagination and Kavita Krinamurthy looks puzzled!
  • Roz Roz Dali Dali Kya Likh Jaye Bhanwara Banwara of Angoor – Hadn’t listened to this before, Gulzar+RD Burman+Asha Bhosle, Terrific! Anjana renders this one beautifully.
  • Sharm Aati Hai Magar of Padosan – The subtle variations, mind boggling interludes, modulations of tone, and Anjana effortlessly ascends to glory!
  • Titli of Chennai Express – One of my favorite songs of 2013, Anajana yet again improvises and Bann ke titli, she stumps everyone.
  • Tu Aashiqui Hai of Jhankar Beats – love the intro which slowly builds the tempo, and Anjana sings it in her own style and doesn’t even attempt to emulate KK.
  • Meri Zindagi Mein of Ajnabee – The intro is such a tough one, here Anjana doesn’t touch the notes of what Sunidhi did, but she modulates her tone decreasing the pace thereby accentuating the rhythm, and I am flabbergasted!! Imagine 11 year old doing this!
  • Ek Pyaar Ka Nagma Hai of Shor – Smooth as silk, she appeases with an emotional performance which truly stands testimonial to Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s empathetic composition.
  • Mein Tere Ishq Mein of Loafer – This is was something really special, Shreya gets all teary eyed that’s because without knowing the meaning of the song Anjana has sung, near to perfection.
  • Bindiya Chamkegi of Do Raste – The song which made Mumtaz famous, consequently did eight movies with Rajesh Khanna. This one is an original Laxmikanth-Pyarelal composition but with a Punjabi folk touch and Anajana performs with clinical efficiency.
  • Hai lambi judai of Jannat – is not equipped with that rawness which the song demands but does the trick with her exclusive freshness.
  • Mera Ishq Sufiyana of Dirty Picture – Such a melodious rendition! Engaging, uplifting performance.
  • Barso Re Megha of Guru – Shreya won her 3rd filmfare award for this song and Anjana veraciously sings the same in front of her and enchants the audience.
  • Pyar manga hai tumhi se of College Girl – One of the best songs of Kishore Kumar and Anjana Soars!
  • Muskaanein Jhooti Hai of Talash – Enticing, Exciting, Edgy and Passionate. She’s just 11!
  • Anjanaa Anjaani, Title Track – This was in Final episode and her dance-singing was exceptional!

Indian Idol Jr presented some of the finest singing talents in the country and has yet again demonstrated singing prowess of the nation. It also has brought me fond memories of Meri Awaaz Suno – first televised singing contest in India, which was won by inimitable Sunidhi Chauhan. Ever since the show began I was impressed with Anjana’s talent and I am still gaga over her voice and by winning the show she has irrevocably proved that music has no language barrier, and this is precisely what Bollywood playback Singing’s about, it is the voice, the ability to sing rather than their charisma as performers.

References:

The song of lunch – A Poem   Leave a comment

The Song of lunch is dramatic realization of Christopher Reid’s narrative poem. Adapted for Television and directed by Niall MacCormick stars Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson. It is story of a book editor (Alan Rickman) who, 15 years after their break-up, meets his ex love (Emma Thompson) for lunch at a restaurant they used to hang out frequent.

The film is 47 minutes long, very impressive, brilliant and flows like a wine. It is very different from the other mainstream short films, has very little spoken dialogue and mainly driven by Rickman’s sharp poignant interior monologues.

Rickman, a book editor in London leaves his office for lunch. He is in constantly touch with his own poetic imagery and while walking on the street imagines ‘leafy Literary-Land’. “And there goes TS Eliot, bound for his first Martini of the day, with his gig-lamps and his immaculate sheen.” He reveals that he is going out for a date with an ‘old flame’. Restaurant name: Zanzotti’s -unreformed Soho Italian, in which they used to hang out regularly when they were together but Soho has changed into ‘Cultureless, fly-by-night’. It’s been 15 years since he paid a visit to the restaurant and now it is under a new management. “The very table linen has lost its patriotism. Plain white. We surrender. And this menu – this twanging laminated card – big as a riot policeman’s shield.”

He meets his ex and after “Familiar collision of pout against pout” questions start to breed in his mind, “Though there’s something different, too. A new…what? Fragrance? Aura, Hint of carefree expenditure? Waft of wealth?” . The restaurant has lost its old charm and along with its famous cuisine, He is very much dejected. While, on the other hand, she is really happy and admires the new look of it. “And I’m quite glad to see a menu that doesn’t make a fetish of stracciatella and pollo sorpreso”. They announce truce and agree to talk about anything and everything that has happened so far with their personal lives.

Confessions Of A Copy Editor, chapter 93.

It’s an ordinary day in a publishing house of ill repute. Another moronic manuscript comes crashing down the chute to be turned into art. This morning it was Wayne Wanker’s latest dog’s dinner of sex, teenage philosophy and writing-course prose. Abracadabra, kick it up the arse and out it goes to be Book Of The Week or some other bollocks. What a fraud. What a farce. And tomorrow, which of our geniuses will escape from the zoo and head straight for us with a new masterpiece lifeless in his jaws? That’s about the size of it. What about you?

After such a rant, he finds it difficult to look her in the eye, “which is bright, amused, searching, pitiless,” he used to call them ‘Oracle eyes’.

The harder you looked,
the more sublime and unreadable they became.
But have they lost their old force?
The heretical question strengthen his own stare
Gaze meets gaze, revealing,as ever
everything and nothing there.

She is now living a glamorous life in Paris, a good wife and a loving mother and has no complaints.  She is married to a renowned writer “The ubiquitous jacket photo, the wintry smirk that stole her from him.” and he questions his own decision to let her go “And how could he have been so abject as to let it happen?”.

With comparisons and compliments with respect to the food, they have a pleasant time. He empties bottle of wine all by himself and orders another one, falls in and out of consciousness, retrieving the good times that they had spent together.

Slender fingers,
once so intimate
and versatile and tender.

Old times, bedtimes,
between-times,any-times,
of a startling impromptu innocent lasciviousness
that he’ll never know again?
Sleep-musky kisses that roused him in the small hours,
peremptory custody of light,
firm limbs, the polyrhythmic riding
he’ll never know again.
Caught a fish and let it go. Woe, woe, woe, woe…


His conscience repeatedly tells him not to think about the past and with the infinitesimal details that he still remembers, enters into an ever-ending conversation with himself.

Found a treasure and threw it away.
Figure of folly and pathos.
Voyeur of the past, and of the present.
He steals a peep.
Every movement has elegance and economy, is swift and deft.
The jut of her wristbone,
marvel of engineering,
holds the secret,
and as a connoisseur,
he yearns to inspect it at closer quarters,
by eye and by touch.
But how can he catch it?
Like a butterfly hunter,
he ponders the problem.

She tells him that she read his book and liked it, but finds all mythical stuff relating to it to be uninteresting, to which he points out that the mythical stuff was the whole point in the book which made sense i.e: Orpheus who attempts to bring back his dead wife to life. This is exactly the reason why she detests the book. She considers his truth to be trivial and metaphorical. “The analogy, the whole preposterous contrivance falls apart.”

He again goes into self-talk mode and watching this she bursts into anger and explains she had to make loads of amendments just to see him, meet him for lunch and also complains of his lack of attention. “You’re out to lunch at your own lunch.”

And who’s also to blame for your present state of emotional arrest,
infantile truculence and drunken flippancy.
It’s not just that you’re stuck in the past.
You’re stuck in your poems.
Which have their merits.
They’re nicely written,
they’re clever and so on.
But they’re misconceived,
false, hollow, wrong.
You should never have gone there.
Yet you did.
That… That’s the catastrophe.
That’s the disaster.


He accepts that his book was full of shite and goes to the rest room “the jabbing kidney reek that proclaims all men brothers.” and to terrace, he “cannot decide whether to weep or sleep.” Stays on the terrace for sometime and suddenly realizes that he has to go back to the table. Now, the restaurant is empty and she has left the place. He bids adieu but finds an old man who is seated by the window and “As he turns to go, the recognition… pierces him. Massimo!”

Phew! What a journey. Poetry translated into sublime drama with Outstanding performances from Rickman and Mrs.Thompson. At times you can feel severus snape’s tone in one or many inherent conversations. I did relate some of the scenes to Paris je t’ aime: Quartier Latin: A separated couple (Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands) meet at a bar for one last drink before the two officially divorce and also with Richard Linklater’s: Before Sunrise/Sunset.

It is one of the rare movies that I find intellectually stimulating, not just it but the whole process of thought transmission, narration, the facial expressions; that mean much more than the words itself.

Come drown into a sea of words: hear them, taste them, smell them.

More Reading:

http://debatinghouseofthemind.blogspot.com/2010/10/song-of-lunch-on-bbc-two.html

http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts-ents/film-tv-reviews/the-song-of-lunch-bbc-two-friday-1.1059238

Exit through the Gift Shop – A Banksy Film   Leave a comment

The Bad artists imitate, the great artists steal – Banksy

Exit through the gift shop, billed as ‘the world’s first street art disaster movie’ is a documentary directed by Banksy, who is a graffiti artist, painter, political activist. Banksy keeps his identity unknown and his voice altered throughout the movie. The film is about famous street artists, how the street art evolved and how Thierry Guetta became a millionaire just by selling pieces of pop art which are full of contemptible nonsense.

Thierry Guetta is a French immigrant, owns a clothing store in Los Angeles; he gets vintage clothes cheaply and resells them for exorbitant prices to hipsters, has very unusual hobby: Carries a camera 24X7 and films anything and everything that is around. He meets his cousin Space Invader who is a street artist and becomes fascinated with the street art and spends years filming the art and its creators. Guetta now with all the videos that he has filmed wants to make a documentary on Street Art!

Guetta films virtually every street artists work except Banksy. Banksy, a street art deity, a global celebrity following his controversial paintings on the West Bank and by withholding his identity has become the world’s most fascinating artist. Guetta eventually meets the phantom who surprisingly allows him to film his work and also his studio in London.

Banksy now presents a three day vandalised warehouse extravaganza called ‘Barely Legal’ in LA and after the event to his surprise street art prices go up! Sotheby’s auction house in London auctions three of his works for exuberant prices and Banksy updates on his website: “I Can’t Believe You Morons actually buy this Shit.” :P

Banksy asks Guetta to complete the documentary; Guetta comes up with 90 min film called ‘Life Remote Control’. After watching Guetta’s footage on street art, Banksy says  “I didn’t know if I believed he was a filmmaker or a mental patient with a camera.” ;) So, Banksy decides to take over the documentary himself, advices Guetta to Stop Filmmaking and concentrate on becoming a Street Artist and also tells him to come up with his own Art Show!

Guetta wants to go big. He wants to be the next Banksy ;) He names himself Mr.Brainwash because he realizes that all art is brainwash :P and also explains , ‘Life is like a game of chess. I don’t know how to play chess. But life is like a chess game to me…’ :D so he decides to put a show in LA and hires people to create art under his super-vision :) and with publicity from Banksy and Shepard Fairey he successfully conducts the show ‘Life is Beautiful’ and sells cheap art for millions. The show goes on for three months! Thierry Guetta becomes god of street art ! And even Madonna hires Mr. Brainwash to create the cover for her 2009 celebration album!

Banksy and Shepard Fairey are really amazed to see Mr.Brainwash’s unprecedented success. Banksy ponders: “Maybe it means art is a bit of a joke.” Maybe not. In either case, go out and make some and if you cannot, go out and buy some. It’s all good, ain’t it?. And in the end he says “I used to tell everyone to go off and make art.. I don’t do that anymore…”

Shepard fairy exclaims: “I do think that the whole phenomenon of Thierry’s obsession with street art, becoming a street artist, a lot of suckers buying into his show and him selling a lot of expensive art very quickly – it’s anthropologically, sociologically… It’s a fascinating thing to observe, and maybe there’s some things to be learned from it.”

After watching this documentary I laughed really hard and also there were lot of questions sprouting up like, what is art? What is expensive art? Does expensive art influence so much that you loose your own thinking? How is it valued? What makes it so special? If expensive art is created by manipulating and hiring people to make art for you, art that copies the styles of other artists, then the standard by which we define art has been lowered. Mr. Brainwash becomes right: art is brainwash. PSEUDO is the word.. and the current trend is People take art seriously without really understanding it, without any head of their own. It is like appreciating pasta/pizza/burger even after eating MTR Masala Dosa.

There is also a widespread speculation that this might be another Banksy’s pank, a very expensive joke ! to which Banksy asserts  “Ordinarily I wouldn’t mind if people believe me or not, but the film’s power comes from the fact it’s all 100% true. This is from the frontline, this is watching an art form self-combust in front of you. Told by the people involved. In real time. This is a very real film about what it means to ‘keep it real’.”

“Making a film isn’t as much fun as it looks. I spent a year … watching footage of sweaty vandals falling off ladders and If I make another film it’ll be called something like ‘Kate Moss Undressing’ and maybe then I’d take more interest in the camera angles.” :D


In the end, after all the drama, Banksy’s former spokesman Steve Lazarides states: “I think the joke is on… I don’t know who the joke is on, really. I don’t even know if there is a joke.” and after watching Exit through the gift shop I feel the same way too… :=)

Further Reading:

http://nomorepopcorn.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/the-non-fiction-section-exit-through-the-gift-shop/

http://libcom.org/blog/exit-through-gift-shop-banksy-film-11052010

http://edendale.typepad.com/weblog/2010/12/banksy-yes-banksy-on-thierry-exit-skepticism-documentary-filmmaking-as-punk.html

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