I Just Watched
I Just Read
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My list of movies to be watched has come down to 22 now. I watched Yojimbo and Chinatown in succession this week. I liked Yojimbo better than A Fistful of Dollars by Sergio Leone, which is a remake of the former. In fact, I found Yojimbo better than Rashomon and Seven Samurai too (the other Kurosawa movies that I have watched), in terms of technical finesse at least. The camera angles in Yojimbo, which means Bodyguard in Japanese, are to die for, and the use of music is fantastic. In fact, I have realised over the years how important background music is in enhancing the mood of a scene. All great film-makers (great in my diary, that is) - David Lynch, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Polanski, Kurosawa, and many others, have always relied on a variety of combinations to get that precise sound to accompany the scene. The result, no need to mention, is spell-binding.
Chinatown is one of the best detective thrillers, if not the very best, that Hollywood has ever produced. And to think that it's been made by the Hollywood outcast, Roman Polanski. The movie has Polanski written all over it, and has a haunting quality, something that I had talked about while reviewing The Ninth Gate too. Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway are at their peak here. In fact, the movie scores very high on all counts, and I feel is next only to The Godfather when it comes to cinematic perfection. I might be being unjust to a whole lot of other greats, but this movie is really good The ending is shocking and sad, and I would have preferred a happier one.
I also watched Fire yesterday. I had missed it when it came out almost a decade back. Deepa Mehta has her own distinct style of film-making, which I find patchy at times, but beautiful nevertheless. A certain softness permeates her frames. And of course, it's always heartening to see Indian actors getting to do meaty roles. 1947:Earth was the better film in the trilogy, which I believe will get completed finally, despite all those controversies, as I got to know from IMDB that Water has been made as River Moon now with Lisa Ray and Seema Biswas replacing the originally planned pair of Azmi-Das. Coming back to Fire, it is a 'bold' film, and still keeps from turning into the obscene and cheap skin-shows that today's 'bold' Hindi films are. When you have actors of the calibre of Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das, competent performances are naturally expected and, thankfully, delivered. Azmi's facial expressions to show sadness (and sexual deprivation) are perfect. The story, or rather the situations are funny at times, especially the antics of Mundu (played by Ranjit Chowdhury, who always seems to get weird roles), which despite being really shocking (you have got to see the movie to understand what I mean) only made me smile. The use of English in decidedly Indian situations also adds to the comic aspect, but probably unintentionally.
And finally, I reread Jonathan Livingston Seagull after a gap of five years yesterday. I had almost forgotten how beautiful, yet simple, the book is.
Woven by amon, 01:16 pm
Friday, April 08, 2005