The Cinema Of Andrei Tarkovsky

There was a time when visual suzerains held cinema-going audiences spellbound with their every frame a painting modus operandi, hiding beneath these visual orgasms philosophical undertones to be sought after and admired, and in case of savants, comprehended. When I first chanced upon this blogathon, the name that popped up in my mind instantly was that of Quentin Tarantino, a true master of fiery dialogue and the power it unleashes on the minds of the audience. However, if I forsake for this moment my preference for the verbal aspect of cinema than the visual, I cannot seem to think of any other name than that of Russian film-making’s prized gem christened Andrei Tarkovsky.

I belong to the 21st century. Consummated by fast-paced movies, this is a generation which seems to forgive and even adore directors who forsake art if they seem to provide ample entertainment. So obviously, when I was introduced to the cinema of the likes of Ingmar Bergman and Terrence Malick and Bela Tarr, the reaction was reminiscent of a drug addict’s to rehab. However, when the sepia-coloured screen faded in, I was completely mesmerized.

I am talking about my viewing experience of the 1979 classic of Tarkovsky’s titled Stalker. There are very movies which penetrate deep into one’s soul and create an atmosphere which forces one to introspect on the very foundation of one’s existence. Stalker was one of the very few gems that conjured that atmosphere for me. As the movie progressed deep within the Zone, towards the room where one’s innermost desires were satisfied, I experienced my own subconscious tracing its path towards my soul and exposing a facet of it. A facet so veracious in nature that I was taken aback by the years I spent pretending to be oblivious of its existence. When Stalker neared its end, I was left sobbing inconsolably. Maybe when we look so deep into ourselves, sadness seems to be the only emotion invoked. Even if I say Stalker changed me irrevocably, I believe it still would be a gross understatement to the emotional impact this masterpiece by Andrei Tarkovsky unleashes.

But I believe that you, dear reader, still have a pertinent question hanging on the back of your minds. Why Tarkovsky? Why chose him over Welles or Ford or Hitchcock or Kubrick? Your question holds a firm validity since none of his other movies have even come close to Stalker’s greatness. The Mirror seems to be an artistic mess (a description I believe Tarkovsky intended it to be characterized by). His Solaris is an imperfect masterpiece in my opinion, oscillating between Tarkovsky’s and Stainslaw’s (the writer of the novel on which the movie is based) vision, in the end delivering a work-in-progress feel when the screen fades.

Well, the answer to the aforementioned question is crystal clear when I think about it. All directors have a distinctively personal work, say Malick’s Tree Of Life or Fellini’s 8 ½. With Tarkovsky, it was always personal. He intended every movie of his to be a pathway for the viewer into his own being, various cinematic models reminiscent of the pathways John Cusack’s character finds in Being John Malkovich.

All of Tarkovsky’s works were meditative in their nature, with soothing visual imagery at every turn.  It was not an attempt to lure the intellectuals or instill in his movies metaphorical subplots. On the contrary, it was his daring attempt to make art accessible to every layman. An opportunity to analyze and meditate upon the events which had transpired before. Unlike all other intellectuals who have graced the cine industry, Tarkovsky actually wanted ‘everyone’ to understand.

http://phyllislovesclassicmovies.blogspot.in/2017/03/announcing-favorite-director-blogathon.html

Decades Blogathon – L.A. Confidential (1997) — three rows back

Welcome to Day 4 of the Decades Blogathon – ‘7’ edition – hosted by myself and my blogging brother Tom from Thomas J. For those who don’t know, the blogathon focuses on movies that were released in the seventh year of the decade. Tom and I are running a different entry each day (we’ll also […]

via Decades Blogathon – L.A. Confidential (1997) — three rows back

Persona Review

I have always had a feud with movies which thrive on metaphorical images to derive meaning to the narrative. Cinema is a layman’s art form and I firmly believe that every individual who walks into the cinema hall should walk out of it a little changed in terms of his persona. The viewing experience should induce in him emotions of any kind such that the man who walks out of the cinema hall should be more human in nature than the man who walked in.

I have always found that the movies which base the essence of their narratives on metaphorical images evade such experiences to the viewer. If the viewer is unable to comprehend their meanings, he/she walks out of the cinema hall with plain frustration and nothing else. And if the viewer does succeed in comprehending their meanings with repeated viewings, then I believe he/she experiences only admiration towards the artistry of the story-telling process. But none of the emotions surface in the viewer in any of these repeated viewings. It is no different from a student trying to comprehend the working of an electromagnetic field. It is an experience which involves only an attempt for comprehension, leaving no space for emotions.

Metaphors if used for enhancing the effect of storytelling work wonders. Take the scorpion on the back of the Driver’s jacket in Nicolas Refn’s Drive or the rain of frogs in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. Magnolia had a tremendous emotional impact on me without any comprehension of the rain of frogs, but the understanding of that sequence further added to my love of the film. But that doesn’t mean my first viewing experience was destroyed by my incomprehension of that salient sequence.

This is where movies like Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy, and the movie in question, Ingmar Bergman’s Persona fail artistically in my humble opinion. Although my writing may give the impression that I have no explanation of the events that transpired in Persona, it is quite the opposite. In my analysis, Elisabeth Vogler is a method actress and Sister Alma is the character she is bound to play in her next performance. However, when perfecting the emotions and persona of Alma, she finds in the character a reflection of the troubles of her own personal self, such as her conflict with motherhood and devotion to her profession. However, she overcomes these hurdles as the movie progresses, which seems to be the reason I attribute to her smiling at tense conflicts.

But what fun is such a movie which is nothing more than a jigsaw puzzle at its best ? I cannot imagine watching it again after I have come up with a sensible explanation about the events in the movie. What is art if not for the emotions it invokes ? Persona is a failure as a movie for it fails it evoke none.

RATING :- 3.9 / 10

https://charsmoviereviews.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/medicine-in-the-movies-blogathon-announcement-may-26-28-2017/

 

Contagion Review

All great art is about something deeper than it cares to admit. On the surface Contagion maybe about a global pandemic, but beneath its masterfully crafted layers, it is about the only thing in the world that seems to spread faster than the virus in question in the movie – fear.

Steven Soderbergh uses the same hyperlink narrative style he popularized with his 2000 hit Traffic, and surprisingly, it yields even better results. Far reaching in its scope, Contagion brings about a feeling of oneness gradually through its narrative, in my opinion to highlight the collective emotions of empathy and fear the world trembles with irrespective of nationality in the times of such a pandemic.

Any talk about this movie would irreverent if it does not deem the medical world aspect of this tale worthy enough to broach. More than anything, I appreciated Contagion for not dumbing down its content so as to suit the general audiences. Although I am sure Soderbergh kept the science intact because of his integrity towards his work, it further accentuates the tension the movie generates because our incapability to comprehend the technical complications of dealing with a pandemic of such seriousness further helps in creating a feeling of helplessness in our minds. This helplessness further brought me closer to the hearts of the people in Contagion who live in constant fear not because of the deadly nature of the virus, but because of their ignorance and disillusioned nature regarding the resolving of this issue.

With a cast so large and so talented, it will be monotonous on my part to call out each one of them and appreciate them, for  every cast member shines in their role. However, I wouldn’t get a sound sleep tonight if I do not mention how Kate Winslet gives a shattering performance as Dr. Erin Mears. Whenever she is onscreen, Winslet establishes herself as the emotional backbone of this movie which is a stellar achievement in a cast that includes the likes of Marion Cotillard and Matt Damon among others.

The only fallacy in this near-perfect movie seems to be the sub-plot involving a blogger who utilizes this pandemic to generate profits. While I cannot make a case against the fact that this subplot falls short compared to others, this movie could not have been complete without it as well. How can a movie about the wide-reaching effects of a pandemic gives miss to the culpability the fourth estate amounts to in such situations ?

Contagion is a spine-tingling experience which goes about its matters in a discreet manner, and in turn, succeeds in creating an atmosphere which helps the viewer to pay attention and feel empathy for all the characters of this movie who are interspersed geographically but connected emotionally. And the last five minutes of this movie make a good case for it to contain the scariest ending of any movie ever made till date.

RATING :- 9.4 / 10

https://charsmoviereviews.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/medicine-in-the-movies-blogathon-announcement-may-26-28-2017/

When Characters Take A Backseat – Children of Men & Blade Runner

In my efforts to catch up with the science fiction genre which I used to find abominable till a year ago, I watched Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men today. And in those movies I found a binding link, a ‘Magnoliastic link’ as I prefer to call it on the basis of Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece. Magnolia, as you may know if you have watched it, deals with tales weaved together by the workings of the fabrics of nature, or as we popularly refer it to – chance. It seems to be the case with Children of Men and Blade Runner, two movies in which the atmosphere takes ground gradually and the characters recede into the background.

The dystopian settings in Blade Runner and Children of Men are poles apart in nature. The world of Blade Runner is an orgasm to the eyes with its futuristic design. The movie is characterized by its hard-edged architecture and visual grandiose complemented by the neo-noir lighting scheme. The world of Blade Runner seems to be a consumerism-laden wasteland. It is a movie where one can keep the volume on mute and yet find oneself overwhelmed by the visceral visual experience.

The world of Children of Men is art design at its best. Alfonso Cuaron intended to give it a documentary feel, so the futuristic world of his is nothing more but the present world, except for its rusty and brunt nature. The settings seem to be a gradual yet horrifyingly certain extension of the present socio-economic conditions brought to its raw nature due to infertility, where the rich become richer but the poor do not become poorer. They perish.

The settings of Children of Men is futuristic, particularly evident from its automobile technology, however Cuaron blends effortlessly the post-modern world with the present. Take for example the cages in which refugees are held at railway stations. I can see that happening and that is where the true horror of the movie lies. That the current global politics has gradually receded to such banality and hatred that the world of Children of Men seems nothing but a distant reality.

But the most beautiful interwoven theme is that of hope and humanity surviving in the midst of all ruckuses. The scene in Children of Men where the baby is finally exposed to the world is one of the best I have ever seen. The reactions of the people, some bowing their heads with folded heads, soaking in the moment of witnessing the Messiah of all humanity restores some faith in me about the future. May movies like these hold the beacon of light in the midst of ignorance in dark times.

THANKS FOR READING. IF YOU HAVE LIKED/HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS / HAVE ANY  DOUBTS, PLEASE SHARE. I WILL RESPOND TO IT AS SOON AS I CAN. AND PLEASE SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE. YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011549616628 YOU CAN ALSO E-MAIL ME ON castlebang786@gmail.com OR favebook2011@rediffmail.com

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Copyright : All written content on this site, unless otherwise noted, has been created by the website owner. As such, the content is the property of the website owner. This content is protected by Indian and international copyright laws. If you wish to reproduce, re-post, or display any of our content on your own site please only do so if you also provide a link back to the source page on this website and properly attribute authorship. Our preference is that you seek our permission before doing so. If you see anything on this website that has not been properly attributed to its originator please contact me. In response, I will attempt to correct the attribution of the offending material or remove and/or replace it. All material on this website is posted in accordance with the limitations set forward by the Information Technology Act, 2000. If a documented copyright owner so requests, their material will be removed from published display, although the author reserves the right to provide linkage to that material or to a source for that material. As a website devoted to discussing and reviewing movies and television I will at times, for illustrative purposes, present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always be specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available  for purposes such as criticism, comment, and research. The website owner believes that this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material because the articles published on this website are distributed for entertainment purposes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinema Paradiso Review

Every one of us has a favourite dish at home. It is utter joy when your mother makes it, and although you know that there are thousands of restaurants out there which serve the same dish with better taste and finesse, you still proclaim it in an unabated manner that no one can make it better than her. Logically, you are lying but emotionally, you are not. For it has that one intangible ingredient which at the end of the day seems to make all the difference – love.

I believe it is the same element which has resulted in Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso to carve out a niche for itself in cinematic history. It is that rare work of art which is an appreciation of the art itself. The tale is of Salvatore, a film-maker who reminisces about his upbringing in a small town in Sicily, where he forged his love for cinema through Alfredo, the projectionist of the cinema hall of the town.

Although centered around cinema, it works as Fellini’s Amarcot does, for it seems more concerned with examining the lives of the people centered around the main action rather than the action itself. With this Tornatore ushers in a wide variety of characters whose entire courses of life can be summarized within their cinema-going experiences. From first glances to romances to sexual encounters, Cinema Paradiso which is the cinema hall in question holds the memories of the lives of an entire generation within its walls.

There is a scene where Alfredo projects The Firemen of Viggiu on the walls of a nearby house. As the projection moves from the walls of the projection room to the hearts of cinema lovers, I reckon every true cinephile shed tears, being reminded of why they fell in love with this art form in the first place.

Cinema Paradiso is melodramatic at some places and at times, seems to usher in forced emotions with lagging scenes. But for all its heart, it stands out as an imperfect masterpiece. It maybe because Tornatore made this work with the complete realization that a 155 minute movie about the love of movies would be an exercise in futility. Instead he makes it about the only thing every cinephile world over loves more than cinema, and what every work of cinema is a celebration of  -Life Itself.

https://debravega.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/announcing-the-no-youre-crying-blogathon-our-favorite-tearjerker-films/comment-page-1/#comment-5024

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wizard Of Oz Reviewed & Analyzed

The fact that a MGM musical is still celebrated by cinema lovers world over is an astonishing certitude. But after watching The Wizard Of Oz, I laugh in the face of the qualms I had regarding this movie before watching it. There isn’t a movie worthy enough of its position in world cinema than this adaptation of the Frank Baum classic by Victor Fleming.

I won’t get myself in the trouble of trying to explain its plot for the moment, for it’s as famous as the movie itself and so silly yet genius that I haven’t yet developed such a mastery of English language that it can be summarized by me within a paragraph.

The movie is a celebration of everything that we love about fantasies – characters reeking of innocence in a world which doesn’t. But rather than praising its beautiful and hilarious songs, the wonderful production design or the fabulous performances, I would much like to dedicate this post to why this MGM musical of 1939 still holds its ground in a world so strongly inhibited by the likes of Kubrick and Hitchcock and everyone else. And the only reason which seems to transpires before me except for the historical importance it reeks of for the use of Technicolor is the plot of the movie.

So, the movie’s central protagonist is Dorothy Gale who as you might know, unless you have been living under a rock for the entire course of your lifetime, gets transported by a cyclone to the land of Oz where she meets the Scarecrow (one who wishes for a brain), Tin Man (one who wishes for a heart) and the Cowardly Lion (one who wishes for courage). Together, they embark on the journey to Crystal Palace, to meet Oz who will fulfil all their desires. (A paragraph which seems to contradict my earlier statement about summarizing the plot of this movie in a paragraph, but believe me, reading this and thinking you now know the entirety of the plot of this movie would be to look at one brick of the Great Wall Of China and say that’s all there is to it)

The Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion for me seem to epitome the innermost desires of Dorothy’s which seems to give the entire movie a surreal underlining which I will go into later. The Scarecrow seems to be a metaphorical representation of Dorothy’s yearning, or more better a child’s yearning, to be considered equal in his/her intelligence by the adults. In the beginning one can see how Dorothy’s family members seem to dispose of her troubles without giving it a moment’s thought, most probably giving her the idea that they consider her asinine, and thus the yearning to be intelligent.

The origin of Cowardly Lion can be traced back to when Zeke advises Dorothy to be a little brave while facing Almira Gulch. Dorothy’s reluctance to accept her consternation about Gulch seems to be the reason why the Cowardly Lion seems so unabating in making his cowardly nature so obtrusive.

Then what about the Tin Man who wishes for a heart to feel with, a quality which Dorothy seems so abound of ? I believe this is her yearning for Miss Almira Gulch, which further affirms her goodness.  Although the Wicked Witch of the West seems to be a representation of Gulch I believe it is restricted here to only her physicality and her hate for Toto. Tin Man here possesses the same yearning which Dorothy wishes came true for Gulch as well, thus making him a projection of the Gulch Dorothy wants her to be.

And about Oz itself ? It seems much to be a work of Dorothy’s subconscious rather than a parallel reality. The fact that the passage of time in the dream world is much faster than compared to the real world also explains the length of the journey as well. It seems Dorothy’s subconscious creates a world of imagination, inhibits it with characters which are reflections of her own self and introspect about her existence.

Or is this reading too much into nothing ? Is my chain of thought reminiscent of the way the adults in the movie reject the notion of Oz at the end of the movie ?

Whatever it may be, the creation of a child’s innocent subconscious or an unimaginable reality, The Wizard Of Oz is one of the most delightful movies to have ever come out and had me from that moment where Aunt Em says to Almira that ‘Miss Gulch, I now know exactly what I think about you, but I can’t say it because I am a Catholic’.

RATING :- 9.4 / 10

THANKS FOR READING. IF YOU HAVE LIKED/HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS / HAVE ANY  DOUBTS, PLEASE SHARE. I WILL RESPOND TO IT AS SOON AS I CAN. AND PLEASE SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE. YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011549616628 YOU CAN ALSO E-MAIL ME ON castlebang786@gmail.com OR favebook2011@rediffmail.com

Photo Rights : Google Images, Wikipedia

Copyright : All written content on this site, unless otherwise noted, has been created by the website owner. As such, the content is the property of the website owner. This content is protected by Indian and international copyright laws. If you wish to reproduce, re-post, or display any of our content on your own site please only do so if you also provide a link back to the source page on this website and properly attribute authorship. Our preference is that you seek our permission before doing so. If you see anything on this website that has not been properly attributed to its originator please contact me. In response, I will attempt to correct the attribution of the offending material or remove and/or replace it. All material on this website is posted in accordance with the limitations set forward by the Information Technology Act, 2000. If a documented copyright owner so requests, their material will be removed from published display, although the author reserves the right to provide linkage to that material or to a source for that material. As a website devoted to discussing and reviewing movies and television I will at times, for illustrative purposes, present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always be specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available  for purposes such as criticism, comment, and research. The website owner believes that this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material because the articles published on this website are distributed for entertainment purposes