#1 Billy Wilder – Fedora (1978)

Glorify who you are today, do not condemn who you were yesterday.

 

I saw my very first Billy Wilder film today and I can’t wait to watch more of his work. In his career spanning five decades as a film maker, he has accomplished to make sixty film, many of them still considered as classics. I feel dreadful to say that I haven’t been fortunate enough to watch more of his films. I look forward to it.

 

(Spoilers ahead)

 

First things first, I feel the poster gives away the story completely. If you can join the dots, it should not be difficult for you to determine the great secret behind Fedora. As for myself, I knew it all along. I’ve known this story for a long time and it makes me wonder what kept me from watching it so long. And yet, I was hooked. I think there are very few films who possess you so deeply that even if you know what is there to unfold you just wait to appreciate how it unfolds.

 

And this is what the film is all about, unfolding a story. Fedora, to those who don’t know it yet is this. Essentially a hat which leaves a shadow on your face when you walk in the Sun; covering most of it. The brilliance of the story begins with the title. The title tells us the story in a word. And that’s it.

 

We have so many films which end with every character in the film getting what he/she wanted. A crescendo, a happy ending. Surprisingly enough, though this is not the only film that has done this but it must be among the very first to end a film with none of the characters getting what they wished for. I feel it is just another suggestion towards the real world of celebrities which is different from their profile they project in public. It is about the tragedy of those who seem to have it all, but in reality are more hurt, more lonely than anyone else.

 

If we speak about the pattern, we have seen this same one in Citizen Kane. Charles Foster Kane dies right in the start and we explore his story through some unreliable sources with prejudices and biases. Although this structure is much simpler. It consists of two distinct flash backs according to me. One right after our point of view character,  Barry “Dutch” Detweiler played by William Holden stares at the mortal remains of the Legend, Fedora. And the other after the secret is just revealed in the second half.

 

We know all along that the film is not going to end on a high. We have no moments in the film when we can rejoice for long. Just the haunting past which keeps pricking us right where it hurts and reminds us of the unfortunate future of everyone. And that’s what makes the film so special for me.

Advertisements

#2 The Last Great Fighter

“From where we stand the rain seems random. If we could stand somewhere else, we would see the order in it.”

~ Tony Hillerman

 

Some things make you sad for no reason. By God’s grace, some things make you happy for no reason. It seems like it is all fair in the end. The granddaddy of all the accountants sitting up there looks down and says, this guy has worked a lot this week, he can have this and sends something like this!

The premise is set in the chilly mountains where Bruce Wayne trained himself, or to be more particular, 50 miles off Tokyo. It is the year 2222, and the weather conditions are just like they are today, or probably the way they were in 2002 when the film was shot. A sense of optimism bloomed inside me as I realised this – Global warming is a myth after all.

The film begins with two great warriors who have taken shelter in an empty flat, who have a dislike for each other. It turns out that the dislike is not reciprocated by the other warrior who prefers grunting over wordly pleasures. Maybe that is because he has already sinned enough by stealing the other warrior’s Bible and shooting his dog.

Nervousness builds in the air as we run out of words. Nervousness builds in the air. But as Sherman Alexie has said in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, ‘Scared means you don’t want to play. Nervous means you want to play.’ They enter into a battle which involves no weapon but their bare hands. And with a swift move of his palms, the warrior on the right sends the warrior on the left to his final resting place – the deadly wall.

It is rare to find a video with such a genuine raw feel to it! I would love to know the backstory of this film because I know there has to be one. I want to know what inspired these guys to invest their time in something so experimental like this. It takes us back to the time when YouTube was a simple video sharing site without the glamour it has today. We have come so far and the journey has been great. But every once in a while, it is nice to look back and enjoy some moments like this!

(I hope you wait for the post credits scene.)

#14 Pursuit of Happiness

I have been privileged enough to know a bunch of talented people. And I am jealous of them to the core. Even I want to be able to play the acoustic version of ‘Wonderful Tonight’ without any hassle in front of a live audience and bathe in the applause. I want to be the center of attraction at every party with my moves. And every once in a while (though bodybuilding is not a talent per se) I want to take off my shirt on the beach without hesitation.

As simple as it may sound, I want more from my life. Who doesn’t? Isn’t that the reason we do things? To get more?

In the summary of our school days, I wonder, we were under the constant judgement of our performance in the exams. And no matter how much we tried, there was someone or the other with whom they always compared us. ‘It is okay if you did not score well as long as you were one step ahead of your rival.’ Rivalry has seeped through our veins so deep that we don’t even find it wrong anymore.

And is it wrong? Maybe yes, maybe not. I think under the pressure of judgement I performed well. For someone else, the absurd expectations proved fatal. It is the outcome that measures the correctness of our actions. It is too simple to connect the dots backwards. It is easy to thank someone or blame someone as a post script.

Do you know the feeling when the coin is tossed in the air? Suspended mid-air with utmost uncertainty of the outcome. When you can do nothing but to believe in your luck? I dread those moments. The flutter of a butterfly may cause the winds to change their course, making the coin turn one more time and change my fate altogether. Suspended mid-air, far away from the concept of control

If you think about it closely our life is the sum of all such moments. No matter how good you are, life finds a way of surprising you. Like a gust of wind making a bird’s nest to fall off the tree. I wonder if that keeps the bird thinking what if it had lazed a little? Things would’ve been different.

Unburdened by such thoughts, everyone except humans must be happy. It’s just us who believe in the pursuit of happiness. We wait for the better tomorrow as we blindly forget that today is the tomorrow we always waited for. We keep running after we cross the finish line instead of celebrating. And maybe that’s where we lose.

So instead of envying others for what they have, I’ve decided to be proud of what I have. Maybe someone, somewhere will be jealous of me too. Because it is simple to see the light reflected off others. To see your own reflection, requires a talent.

#13 I Bet This Has Happened To You (2012)

A great man once said if you can’t get over something, convert it into literature.

 

1. Women have a set of rejections ready. When you are about to ask them out they just open the file in their head and smash you with one. No woman says “yes” in the first shot. If she does, she thinks you are way out of her league.

 

2. Love is like a ghost. You don’t believe in it until you experience it. When you experience it, it never lets you sleep. Then you try to convince people that it is for real and they don’t trust you. But ultimately it is just a chemical imbalance. Nothing more nothing less.

 

3. You can’t really be friends with the person you have been in a relationship with. At the most you can act as if everything is cool when in public. But in the back of your head you keep asking “Why did we break up?”

 

4. After your break up you hate the things you once loved the most about that person.

 

5. The problem never starts with a fight. The problem starts when you are lying on your bed thinking about apologizing and you don’t make the call.

 

6. You never actually get over a person. Of course until you meet someone who is better at making you feel worse.

 

7. When you are in love you love every love story, no cheesy line is cheesy anymore. Actually speaking you weep like a little girl in the toilet thinking about that person.

 

8. You become an excellent family planner.

 

9. No one else finds the person you love as special as you do. For everyone else that person may be just a part of the crowd. But he/she means the world to you. You are ready to leave everything behind to just be with that person. But the wonder of it all is that person never realizes, how much you love him/her.

 

10. Love is always true. But sometimes it is not just meant to be.

 

#12 Spooky Obsessions (2014)

Well, in a very recent, very unbiased and completely reliable survey three most common fears across the globe were revealed:

Number 3. Fear of death

Number 2. Fear of public speaking

Number 1. Fear of dying while public speaking

 

Today, as we are being antisocial on the social networking sites a few modern threats have popped up in the notification window.

 

For a very close friend, Surpanakha Ramachandran, it is a matter of honour when it comes to her selfies. Anything below 371 likes gets deleted from Instagram and finds a haven in Google+. Her recent selfie at the PVR washroom had to settle for a new low of 198 likes. When asked to comment on this catastrophe our humble friend answered in vernacular: “अब तो नाक कट गयी।”

 

It is demeaning, degrading and demoralizing not to be appreciated for a status update. One does try so hard to compose it. Sugar, spice and everything nice blended with chemical #. And when a comment receives more attention than the original message, it is taking a defecate right in the face. *defeat (autocorrect)

 

One must be aware about how he/she is portrayed on the Internet. Being cool is a full time job with it’s own perks. And there is nothing wrong in wishing your dad a happy birthday in the cyberspace rather than the awkward space.

 

While most of the world lives in this fear of lacking social presence, a modern monk has found inner peace in simple pleasures like privacy. He believes that we can never share our true joys in words. Our minds are so cluttered by the aftermath, that we forget to savour the moment ourselves, sharing them is a different matter. His dumbo was last seen in Thane mental asylum and he is scheduled for execution in 2 days by a Slingshot.

 

As we keep our articles honest and ad free, here is a shoutout to your favourite Twitter celebrity Kamaal R Khan for his latest clash with Kapil Sharma. And if you are just scrolling on Facebook as you are completely jobless here is a list of 20 things you should do if you are a human. #12 is an absolute must!!!

 

Note: Hey! What do you expect? I’m a filmmaker. I exaggerate for a living.

The Uninformed States of America

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 2.13.21 PM

In the world wide mess that we call as the Internet, it is difficult to find something which is informative, thought provoking yet intriguing. Which brings me to this trailer that I came across yesterday.

Even my country, India, witnessed an election that changed the political scenario by a great margin. It just proved how important it is for the country to make the youth aware about their rights and responsibilities.

The project, directed by Mike Riley comes across as an interesting political science experiment bringing some very interesting causes of political apathy in the USA in the Sizzle Reel itself. I am sure there is a lot to come in the full feature. when we talk about this film, we are looking at some raw, unbiased views of American citizens.

The treatment of the Sizzle Reel is very catchy with a very interesting host that keeps you glued. The most important part of a documentary is to keep aside your own opinions as a maker and put forward the truth. And in these terms, the project sounds very promising.

The makers at Finally Free Media are about to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project on very soon. They’re also accepting submissions and requests for interviews and appearances within the film on the official website at www.theusafilm.com.

So you think you are not a part of the Uninformed States of America? Check out this awesome quiz and find out yourself.