kaustavthegodfather

IMDb member since December 2010
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    IMDb Member
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Reviews

La Imagen del Tiempo
(2019)

Boring and cannot even operate a camera
Please do not waste your time watching this incredibly bad and obnoxious documentary. The director cannot even do a proper zoom in or a zoom out. The characters are not characters. Like models. Overall, a horrid waste of time for the viewer.

Cat Sticks
(2019)

A film abour heroin addicts in Kolkata, India
Cat Sticks by director Ronnie Sen is a black and white film based in contemporary Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal. The film doesn't have a storyline in the sort of way like requiem for a dream, but is a more candid look in the lives of who are drug addicts. There are scenes which are stark cold and ironic like the father who does dope in front of their son, while the TV is singing some old bollywood song. He later after having put his son to bed, goes our trafficking and looking for money. Next we have the middle aged heroin dealer who is part of the narcotics and customs but sells them to college students. They have an almost satirical conversation, with many insider jokes and topics including the brutality of the police on suspects. And we have protagonist figure two friends who settle in an abandoned flight to smoke heroin. There story has a wider prtion that the other two.

I felt the characters lacked depth and were in essence following one scene to the other in apt repetition of their drug abuse. The camera had better coverage on the whereabouts and obfuscates certain alleys trying to capture a noirish atmosphere.

Though uncertain with their lives they live on the edges of drug abuse and poverty, struggling with losses. The film somehow doesn't make the audience engage to their inner feelings, so it is hard to feel any sympathy for them. Overall an honest effort.

El hombre de la sal
(1969)

A tribute to the working indigenous man, from Colombia.
A film which is an ethnographical account of mining salt. The salt's perilous jounrey starts and ends with a song in the film. The practice of extracting salt is shown, alomist in the green tint (which I am certain is the contamination of the film due to dirt being attached to the film) shows Don Marcos Olaya who is the last salt indigenous baron. The workers are engaged in the proces of "Chibcha" to ferment salt at 25 degrees Celsis and extract the salt. Breaking it with sledge hammers and pick axes, the process lies demystified. Gabriela Samper directed it with Marta Rodríguez. Poetic and experimental approach.

Magunira Shagada
(2001)

Magunira's cart wheel
If one reads the stories of Tolstoy, his stories revolve mostly around desolate winters in the rural textures and the high prominence of Religion. Minus the cold the same can be found in Prafulla Mohanty's Magunira Shagada. A film that is set in a tribal village of Balasore called Haripur. The films context revolves around a village simpleton called Magunira. He loves his 2 bullocks named Kalia and Kasara ( the film is filled with their names being called almost every 2 mins)Having childllike innocence with him Magunira is the cart puller who ferries passengers from the station to their destination. We see an elaborate scene where he is married off to a beautiful creature called Kusum. Tragedy strikes with the advent of modernisation with the arrival of a Bus which starts pulling all the passengers from Magunira's cart. Leading to a frustrated Magunira been driven to poverty, then leads to an untimely death of his wife Kusum in hunger. The film is filled with religious parabolas of people asking questions on mortality, come-uppance, life after death, the yin-yang question of happiness vs. sorrows. the film though is really good shows the the turn around of Magunira from a village simpleton into a Marxeque looking figure babbling in hunger about betrayal and loss. The films seeks to depict the futile nature of things and the betrayal of the brethren villagers. The death of Magunira was shown in the first scene so by the end you already know where this was headed. If one reads the stories of Tolstoy, his stories revolve mostly around desolate winters in the rural textures and the high prominence of Religion. Minus the cold the same can be found in Prafulla Mohanty's Magunira Shagada. A film that is set in a tribal village of Balasore called Haripur. The films context revolves around a village simpleton called Magunira. He loves his 2 bullocks named Kalia and Kasara ( the film is filled with their names being called almost every 2 mins)Having childllike innocence with him Magunira is the cart puller who ferries passengers from the station to their destination. We see an elaborate scene where he is married off to a beautiful creature called Kusum. Tragedy strikes with the advent of modernization with the arrival of a Bus which starts pulling all the passengers from Magunira's cart. Leading to a frustrated Magunira been driven to poverty, then leads to an untimely death of his wife Kusum in hunger. The film is filled with religious parabolas of people asking questions on mortality, comeuppance, life after death, the yin-yang question of happiness vs. sorrows. the film though is really good shows the the turn around of Magunira from a village simpleton into a Marxeque looking figure babbling in hunger about betrayal and loss. The films seeks to depict the futile nature of things and the betrayal of the brethren villagers. The death of Magunira was shown in the first scene so by the end you already know where this was headed.

He liu
(1997)

Nothing less than 10/10
The River was Tsai's third feature film after Rebels of the Neon God and Vive L'Amour. While both films feature many of Tsai's trademarks— including his frequent collaborator Kang-sheng Lee who always plays a character named Hsiao-kang (whether it's the same character is debatable) The River definitely feels the most indicative of the direction that Tsai would go with his next several features, eventually culminating in his masterpiece Goodbye, Dragon Inn. Here Hsiao kang is a young man who lives with his father and mother but almost never communicates with them. One day Hsiao-Kang is asked by a film director to play a floating corpse in a nearby river and, though reluctant, he agrees. Thenceforth he finds himself plagued by a bad neck ("Postmodernity is a Pain in the Neck" as one IMDb review wittily spoke). Though he goes everywhere and tries everything to get relief (hospital, acupuncture, spiritual healer, chiropractor); nothing helps, and his life begins to become unbearable. His parents have problems of their own: his father frequently, but secretly, goes to the local gay bathhouses while his mother is starved for sexual attention. The River contains many of the director's trademarks alluded to above, but it's less rigorously formal than the films that followed. Here, Tsai's camera is still mostly tied to its characters, panning, tilting, moving, tracking to follow them. His long take aesthetic isn't as extreme here either, and while scenes still usually play out in single takes, the scenes aren't quite as elongated. These qualities give The River a looser aesthetic and greater dynamics. Tsai makes excellent, and often quite disturbing, use of juxtaposing short scenes of movement with long scenes of stillness. That stillness is especially potent inside the bathhouses, which are swimming in darkness with just a small light illuminating the bodies of the figures inside. Tsai stays with these sexual encounters for an uncomfortable amount of time, never blinking in order to catch every undulation, every hand movement, every orgasmic exultation. This motif culminates in the film's most devastating scene where father and son accidentally meet in the same bathhouse. The River also marks Tsai's first extended use of his continual visual motif of water, and it's never been more apropos than here. Most crucial is the scene where Hsiao-kang agrees to play a dead body in the local river, but not before stating, "that river's filthy." In his later film, The Wayward Cloud, Tsai used water as a symbol for something organically essential to life. The water shortage in that film, combined with the substitution of watermelon juice, seemed to suggest the substitution of pornography for real human connection. Here, the pollution of water carries the disease that will afflict Hsiao-kang throughout the film. That disease seems to be the erosion of human connection and communication. The fact that Hsiao-kang plays a corpse, floating aimlessly in a polluted river, surrounded by a film crew seems to suggest a multiplicity of artificial layers surrounding individuals, infecting their humanity to its very core. It's telling that Tsai returns to the (rather humorous) image of the leaking roof inside the family's home, tracking their efforts to keep water out by any means necessary. Water is also intricately connected to the film's obsession with sex and bodily fluids considering that the father goes to the bath houses to court his homosexual liaisons. Early in the film a sex scene between Hsiao-kang and an old girlfriend is preceded by her insistence that he turn off the lights and close the windows so she can pee. This early scene itself is connected to the film's opening scene, which features an up-and-down escalator where Hsiao-kang and this girl first pass each other. The encounter is indicative of the film's concern with the autonomous movement and separation of individuals, and is especially funny when Hsiao-kang turns around and tries to go down the up-escalator but finds himself unable to make any progress. Tsai's wickedly biting and absurd humor is pervasive in the film though many seem to miss it, perhaps because of a natural tendency to take such obvious art-films so seriously. One perfect example finds Hsiao-kang's mother giving him an "electric massager" to help ease his neck pain. The next scene finds her alone in her room, watching a porno film and visibly lamenting the lack of her "massager." All of the "healing" scenes take on a kind of satirical quality with Tsai mocking the scam artists who are obviously powerless to help Hsiao-Kang. Another funny scene finds the father riding with Hsiao-Kang, holding his head upright so he can drive his motorbike. If anything saves Tsai from the accusation of artsy-fartsy pretentiousness, it's his sense of humor that suggests he probably doesn't take himself as seriously as his fans do. While The River isn't as "silent" a film as Goodbye, Dragon Inn where Tsai managed to reduce the film's dialogue down to less than 10 lines, it's certainly pointing in that direction. Most of the film's best scenes play without any dialogue, and what dialogue exists seems utterly banal and almost inconsequential. Tsai is already forging his unique visual style, but he hasn't yet achieved that pristine sense of metaphysical mystery that will pervade What Time is it There?, or that sense of architectural abstraction that will pervade Goodbye, Dragon Inn. The River still feels rough and a bit juvenile. Its frames are opaque and muddy, almost echoing the idea of the dirty river itself. But if this isn't Tsai at his most pure or most profound, it's probably Tsai at his most depressively powerful. This is a film that will probably leave you feeling as unclean as that titular river, and it's guaranteed to be a film that will grime and gunk up your subconscious. A perfect 100/100 if not more. Rarely Have I seen a Tsai film (and not to forget Jia ZhangKe too) reveling in mediocrity.

At Sea
(2007)

The life and death of a merchant vessel
Peter Hutton's silent At Sea tracks the birth, life, and death of a container ship. Significantly lowering the costs of international trade, the shipping container "box" has been a vital instrument for the constitution of the current networks of global capitalism. The film begins with the construction of container ships in South Korea, a process that takes place on such a grand, epic scale that it seems to have transcended the limits of the humans who appear as specks next to the hulls of the ships. The middle section of the film rides along on one ship as it crosses the ocean from Montreal to Hamburg. But as the camera looks out across the rainy bow of the ship, the countless stacks of brightly-colored containers underscore the fact that the purpose of the trip is the circulation of commodities, not humans and their imagination. Those economic calculations become more cruelly explicit in the film's concluding section, which takes place on a shore in Bangladesh, a post-apocalyptic wasteland where, alone on the sand, the ships that have been deemed to be no longer useful are scavenged using dangerous pre-industrial techniques. When everything of value that can be removed has been stripped off, the ships are left on the shore like rusty fossils prematurely aged.

Un lac
(2008)

Pontifically Visceral
Just saw Philip Grandieux's Un Lac (A Lake) over my quest to discover the usage of landscape, time in cinema. In order to explain Un Lac and to describe it is a enormous task. firstly, it was unlike any french movie, bordering on the french extremism, yet it is totally different from the counterparts of Noe, Brisseau, Dumont etc. Having a fairly simple plot, of a epilepsy suffering boy and his family welcome a lumberjack from outside to stay over and cut woods in the harsh climatic Alps. The film has a certain dark integrity to it, yet there is no anything deeply having an ultra shocking effect or anything which can upset the viewer. The film possesses some sort of ambiguous moral ambiguity and the narrative pattern is not so easy to digest. Grandieux's use of the mise-en-scene and the 'excessively' in-motion close ups with the camera itself is a way to thrust the audience into the lives of the mountain lumberjacks. His differing ways of suggesting isolation provide one more example both of how he can seemingly get any effect that he wants and of how he doesn't integrate them. Through out a morally ambiguous shadow play occurs if I may say so.Silence and intensity pervade the white mountains and black, scintillating lake, shot in color, yet naturally very black and white, giving the sense of bitter cold and stark desperation. we never get to see the house from the exterior. Inside it only darkness is prevalent and the only light available makes it quite hard to distinguish one person from the other. When the Hege sister of Alexi sings out (whic is the only song or music of any kind in the movie), Alexi remarks "Your voice doesn't sound the same. Your singing isn't pure" a certain snide of morality is passed as Hege elopes with the outsider Jurgen. Then there is the ghoulish and stern looking father Christiann whose arrival is anonymous. Grandieux delivers leaps over so that part remains unknown as to what relation the father had or from where he comes. His presence adds a very serious tone almost as pitch black as the interiors of the house. Certain elements also dictate that Grandieux may have been following Bresson's Notes on cinematography and merely the actors are models in cruel whether enacting without motives. 'Motive' that maybe the only thing missing here. The film ended beautifully with the sister Hege leaving with Jurgen by the lake. Leaving behind her elliptical brother, her blind mother and the agonizing whether behind. Though not a matter of judgement but yet the situation demands judgement even without flinching as to her abandonment of her family for a stranger. But the big question was when the film ended was that what made them choose such a penancing life in the first place ?

Chittagong
(2012)

A courageous effort both off screen and on screen
Yes, the film is about the independence movement in the last stage. A stage where civil disobedience movement and "bharat choro andolan" has hit the high note. In it's backdrop Bedabarat Pain articulates together the lives of a few revolutionaries from eastern Bengal struggling for independence against a ruthless British empire.

Like all Indian independence related movies this one is also a 'biographic' way of showing the film.It is a genre cliché of all independence movies that heroism should prevail in order to ring bells of protest among the audience.

It's the main story of Jhunku alias Subhendu Roy a 14 year old teenager who influenced by the Master Surya Sen and troupe to join and fight for the cause of independence. Surya Sen, acts as his mentor for uprising preparing him mentally and keeping up the challenge of becoming a rebel by training him in akhadas (body building gyms of yonder days) and by giving proper training in armaments regiment in the dense jungles where police patrols are not prominent.In this process the story becomes a two-fold. The early part detailing the struggles of Master da Surya Sen, Nirmal Chandra Sen (both now consider great martyrs of the Indian Independence movement) Lokenath Baal, Anant Singh, Gonesh Ghosh, Sukhendu Chakraborty, Ahasanullah, Binob Behari and several others trying to capture the Chittagong regiment by by making a coup-de-tat on the Chittagong Arms cantonment and striking the European club so as to strike terror in the hearts of the colonialists.

The later part of the cinema shows the gruesome struggle of the leaders of members of the partisan group. The struggle is intermittently present through out, the second half shows that one required nerves of steel to stand up in those times. While attacking the arms forgery and police quarters to seize arms Surya Sen instructs his younger comrades to do only the needful and not make a bloodbath out of the enemy, but the same rule won't apply for them when are caught.

The real issue of the cinema was to highlight the point that one doesn't require a lot expertise militancy to overthrow a government following a coup-de-tat. Surya Sen and his fellow comrades had done that just a by a mere bunch of inexperienced locally trained under-aged guerrillas. Vietnam war was famous for using the guerrilla warfare techniques but I think our Vietnamese counterparts may have taken cue from our Indian Independence warfare struggles where the britishers were ambushed in the dense jungles and beaten despite having more artillery and man-power.

Speaking of execution I would praise it in a thematic level. The story line was well adept and it didn't go overboard to entail it. Overtly romanticism was avoided in order to make it less focused on individual lives and more on the nucleus of the struggle. Manoj Bajpai's portrayal of Surya sen was calm and cool leader was good. It was pro-physical archetype of depiction. Though there is a bit laughable sequence where Jhunku is shown reading a letter in Bengali but the pronunciation is in Hindi. It's hard to guess on whether it was a deliberate attempt or had the director forgot to edit that portion. Speaking of the camera-work it was very good and impressive. The color tone was rightly adjusted in this cinema. If one looks closely the camera focuses on from top and slowly coming down to reveal on the earthly matters going down. This could be seen as making a visualized suggestion of the endeavor being a noble effort above this mortal world.

The sound mixing is very poor and left me disappointed at moments. At times the speaker would crackle so loudly that it was having an electrical problem. Sounds from the background felt unreal and was a dubious dubbing effort.

All said but the real star of this film shall be Bedabrata Pain. Being an eminent scientist himself, he decided to make a film on shoe-string budget detailing the painful tasks taken by our freedom fighters against an empire. In a way the film reflects pain own painful task of directing,producing and marketing the film against a heartless and plastic bollywood cheap selling empire. In a way it deserves praise. In a way I hope he sticks around and makes another independent film which can amaze us.

I think every Indian irrespective of class and society should see this movie and also show it their children. Children often complain that history is boring, I am sure that after seeing Chittagong most children would gleefully go through their history books in order to know more about their leaders and the sacrifices they made for the motherland. Strangely this film was also dedicated to Pain's own child who died of an accident 2 years early.

I wish that independent films like these find more success and more audience so that the filmmakers would get rewarded for their honest efforts in good films to cater to the masses.

Kanasembo kudureyaneri
(2010)

Prophetical Dreams running on an empty stomach
Girish Kasaravalli's Riding the stallion of dreams is a lesser seen modern work of art. An interesting plot mixed with the cultural background of North Karnataka mixed with feudalism as opposed to the rise of industrialism and the decay of moral presumptuousness.

The plot is kept minimal to it's best but borrowing a non -linear pattern of back and forth to tell it's tale of woe and fraudulence. Irya and Rudri are two utter poverty stricken couple. Irya digs graves while Rudri works at the landowners plantation picking flowers.While burying the dead in Hinduism is a vague concept (normally it is cremated) it doesn't occur much in the village side. While tradition speaks of a revered sadhu called 'Siddha' or who he heeds to the call comes when someone has deceased it brings good luck to the village resulting in a good harvest.

Here comes the main part of the story. A feudal farmer who has been ill for the past few months is visited by his eldest son among other heirs. driven by desire to sell his plot to factories so that he can make an English school and make a better living out of his profession as a college professor. His wife and child is less ado bothered about her father-in-law. The caretaker Matadayya tells them to take care of her father-in-law as he will die within a few days. Inter twined with it Irya dreams of the father-in-laws death and makes a burial ground and goes to the feudal family's home for the burial process. He is mocked by Matadayya and sent away with a mere 20 rupees. Then Irya begins to contemplate weather his dream has failed him for it has never happened so, and his dream is precision wise accurate. The next day Rudri,Irya's wife dreams of Siddha visiting the village. She goes begging money and vegetable culinaries and meat with liquor to hold the tradition of inviting him. But when Siddha doesn't arrive both fall in mere depression that their dreams has failed them or perhaps are they rejected in God's eyes ?

A film like this has to be experienced and it surely will break cultural barriers. Highly recommended.

Bu san
(2003)

Cinema is dead, Long live cinema
There are few cinemas which deal with the obsession of cinema and cinema halls and yet showing the decaying of cinematic culture as new technology has wiped the projector based 'Run-of-the-mill cinema halls. Goodbye, Dragon Inn is a cinema which stands for the urban alienation of people, the decaying culture of cinema and also showing in an uncanny style of cinematography the audience in this case most of them are homosexuals or people seeking sexual companionship. Goodbye dragon inn is stripped of bare essentials such as emotions, jazzy editing and any sort of background music. There is no plot except for a cinema hall showing a martial arts movie in a rainy day over Taiwan. The event of cinema takes place over 2 - 3 hours and has unnamed characters. One lady ticket collector who with a limp manages the theater but is not the owner. Tsai in a unique and subtle way shows the audience during the course of the movie where there is hardly a few people. One of them seeking to brush with other men in the cinema hall and is somewhat repulsed by women or their gross antiques of chewing food in a noisily fashion in the theater. But the whole film has so much more and is in the least entertaining. This cinema is what one would call life reflecting art. This is a cinema made for people reflecting the future in a mysterious way where decadence has made a lot of cinema halls go out of business. Everyone talks of nostalgia but there is none when it comes to reviving old cinema in the halls. It makes us wonder if a martial arts movie cannot drag a handful audience in a rainy day, can a n obscure or lesser known cinema do any better in a normal day. Tsai also takes a swoop on the people who go their for their vested interests. Surprisingly most of them are homosexuals.A very slow pacing cinema which has a few scenes and done in a extremely minimalist fashion unflattering it in the same instance. Though it has long shot of an empty cinema hall for a few minutes which baffled me. But it made me wonder, does the director wants to show the emptiness of it ? This is one of the best films which I have seen which deals with cinema. Cinema is dead, Long Live Cinema.

Umberto D.
(1952)

The Last of it's Kind
State pensioner Umberto (Carlo Battisti) can't live on his meager monthly stipend; his bossy landlady is demanding back rent, his throat is scratchy, his sweet nurse is pregnant by any of two national guardsmen, and his beloved mutt has to eat scraps from a food shelter. Amongst all this devastation, sadness, and post-war economic criticism, Vittorio De Sica and Cesare Zavattini fashion their most enduring portrait of survival, and though it's a struggle that will bring Umberto and his dog to ruin and back (possibly), with thoughts of suicide and a future of homelessness, it's a triumph of human spirit. But De Sica never betrays the possibility, in the best Neo-Realist tradition, that Umberto is destined to fail because his social system has let him down, put him out to pasture as it were, as the film's most startling metaphor – a frantic trip to a dog pound – suggests in not so subtle detail, and further expanding on the themes he and Zavattini helped to invent with "Bicycle Thieves" and "Shoeshine", a potential "happy" ending, Umberto and his dog walking off into the sunset, after forsaking suicide, as children run towards the camera in joyous glee, is fraught with implications of further poverty and nowhere to go. It's a conflicting message that left critics, and Italian audiences, scratching their heads, but time has been kind to this greatest of all Italian films, and the balance between tear-jerking sentiment and harsh national criticism blends with a very pleasing aftertaste.

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