IMDb member since February 2013
    2012 Oscars
    2006 Oscars
    Lifetime Total
    Poll Taker
    IMDb Member
    10 years



Letters and confessions from the heart of a troubled mind.
Unlike many female filmmakers, Helma Sanders-Brahms is a name you've probably never heard of. Trust me she is truly a unique one as her nature is distinct, instinctive with a socio-biographical background. This is my favourite work from her filmography, matter of fact it is a tough gambit to source english subtitles for her films. I still have couple of films which is pending in my watchlist but "Heinrich" tops it for me. I am always was very touched by the ending monologue. I bet that the lasting bittersweet impression still remains the same like the first watch. It is a biography but the treatment by Helma is immersive and very close to the reality.

I decided to watch it today cuz Mumbai weather warranted a melancholic mood piece. I finished my Cultes Des Ghoules, Odelegger, Belenos marathon and played this film. It is weird weather coz Mumbai is't used to this at all.

Circling back to this film, This story is a biography of German author Heinrich von Kleist , a man whose life had serious ups and downs, moving only in troubled waters personally and mentally. Helma manages to document Heinrich's personal life using his letters as a medium through which the narrative of secondary character emerges. It opens with a note that the film is based on the documents, letters, writings of Heinrich von Kleist and it is accompanied by a poignant score. The film paints a portrait filled with bleak atmosphere as we follow Heinrich whose life is ambiguous and fighing with his personal demons, sexuality and longing. It is really not easy as the events unfold especially in the climax. Helma choses not to show the double suicide but opts for sound of the guns followed by Heinrich's closing notes.

Heinrich's life story is available online, there is not much of information dump here so just be prepared to immerse in anticipation of the finale. It is feel like a boring film since it doesn't follow the traditional biography approach. But i guarantee for those who wait, this boring colour-toned film suddenly become bittersweet.

This ending quote is so beautiful, I wanted to share it here.

"..and now farewell, may the heaven grant you a serene and fresh morning, a shower of rain during the heat of noon and a quiet cool star-filled evening under which one can fall asleep softly and easily." - Heinrich von Kleist.

Nails in My Brain

Solace From Scorn...?
Hilal Baydarov works have been exalted by film festivals, slow cinema cinephiles and fans of Azeri cinema. It was quite surprising to see Locarno repudiated his latest submission this year with zero awards. I like his style but don't go out and recommend it out of experience cuz it many times labelled as a load of Arthouse turd. This film is to be enjoyed (no pun intented) as a whiskey on a cold weather night. I have been on a marathon of movies with downpour, cold or bleak. This documentary warranted another watch, there are so many shots, lines that accompanied me so often. I love his fiction but his documentaries make up most of him, his psyche, this can be the best example as it is very complicated even more difficult to describe. I have seen comments that his fictional films are better but sometimes the drastic self indulgence are usually unwelcomed by the majority.

Right from the opening shot of a gloomy landscape followed by shot of Baydarov in a hoodie is about the most Depressive Suicidal Black Metal he can get in the cultural background of his birthplace. Then begins his lamentations, a retrospection of past, philosophy, ideology about religion, life, cinema, love as Hilal takes you on a journey and once you join in, if you manage so, an outburst in guaranteed as the chapters unfold, tightly into this philosophy, even encompassing the mundanity and more depressive atmospheres. The cinematography contrasts of calm and atmospheric fragments in which bleak motifs of the vicinity resound throughout the runtime till the final nail in the coffin with the pages from the book (brain). Definitely his personal work till date as it strikes a certain emotion and builds upon the longing and sadness.

MURDER and murder

Rainers Passionate POV On Lesbian Identity
On the occasion of Yvonne Rainer's birthday i had revisited some her works. As i do for other filmmakers, i just wanted to share my thoughts on this film which is one of her best. In the film there is everything that one can expect from atypical Rainer. The bleak, interesting and personal picture of middle-aged lesbian couple, the concept of love, breast cancer. Rainer paints an absurd portrait in her style about the acceptance, the inner conflicts and shows moments that are likely to be distasteful to many but it is a familiar troupe in most of her works. It can be light-hearted but there is a melancholic feel with the deeper themes that Rainer manages to get across the viewer.

1744 White Alto

Overkill for the sake of aesthetic buffoonery
This is the kind of film which makes when you think that the director just wants to overkill and make a film for the sake of aesthetic buffoonery and pop culture references. It is funny to see the 9 plus star ratings and there is no way these scores are genuine. Dam sure, this title really shows how the ratings game is played by the PR teams and studio. Please don't fall for the high rating regardless of the director previous outings. Unfortunately, this is so bad than Thinkalazcha Nishchayam and remains a decent attempt, a little messy and dotted with acting. Another film that was average is Nivin Pauly's "Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham"and "1744 White Alto" is even worse in terms of comedy, the gags are not organic and it frequently adds to the film's feel of being forced.

It would be better if the director paid more attention to the characters, acting, pacing, mainly the dialogues and not to the amount of being a Dan Kwan, Gen Sekiguchi, Jeremy Saulnier, Guy Ritchie, Xavier Dolan, Quentin Dupieux, Martin McDonagh, Zach Braff, Sam Raimi, Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch, Coenessque Wannabe. Even the mediocre cast isn't enough to rescue the floundering except the lead. The film is meticulosky crafted staging-wise but it's nearly as pretentious and an overkill as the palattes looks like it done just to be a ripoff like a trash on treadmills.

To summarize, the film manages to subvert the malayalam cinema conventions with more flaws of its own. Its attempts to position the absurdity, social commentary as a kind of existential feels like a misfire. The tone of the film oscillates too indecisively between black comedy and drama, unfortunately it does go beyond buffoonery, despite a very few scenes.

De humani corporis fabrica

Pathological Procedures: Visceral & Kaleidoscopic View Of Human Body Reduced To Scalpel Blade & More..
"I am convinced we are all voyeurs. It's part of the detective thing. We want to know secrets and we want to know what goes on behind those windows." -David Lynch, interviewed by Newsday, 1997. I wanted to begin with this quote as the line basically sums up my entire experience and evokes both awe and a grim feeling.

Before the film "De humani corporis fabrica" I was familiar with the filmography and worldview of director duo Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, I saw only two of their films "Leviathan" and "Caniba", and I confess, based on the assessment of only these films, I had very contradictory feeling about the style. After the first viewing of Caniba, I did not like it much and since the weird, uncanny, experimental cinema is my realm i mostly swim in. I felt the cinephiles hype didn't seem justified for "Caniba" but with their latest i must say the duo testing unorthodox methods of shooting and pushing the boundaries of what Cinema can and should be is commendable to create their own space.

A documentary on health system, a shockumentary, body horror, slapstick comedy and a few other tags that "De humani corporis fabrica" falls under, still cannot summarize all of its significance and genre nature for example the last sequence of doctors in the bar and the mutiple motifs in the scene. Taking inspiration from Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) 16th-century anatomist, physician, and author of one of the famous book De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543), the director duo have created a canvas that causes shock and awe. The surgery footages is presented so real with Cronenberg symbolism which literally permeates every frame.

Like i said the multi-genre feel instantly knocks the mind out of a comfortable slumber. It will be contrasting when surgeons perform operations when human body is reduced to scalpel blade, man playing god, ranting, discussing about the probability and possibility of the surgery. A Kaleidoscopic look at how human beings reborn after the anatomized, excoriated surgery of disfigurement combined with 21st century medical technology. The camera work is brilliant, it is visceral to witness all the colors they make when it turns macabre with every detail shown on the screen. Shocking to see behind the scenes of the health system, the crisis and many more commentary. I am not ready to revisit it for second viewing at the moment but will check it out sometime later and it might not have the same impact on me, maybe even stronger.

To summarize, those who accustomed to seeing Mondo films, Aroma Planning/ Baroque Studio and Shockumentaries, also those who watched Kiyotaka Tsurisaki's works, Susumu Saegusa films, Der Weg nach Eden (1995) by Robert-Adrian Pejo, John Alan Schwartz's Faces of Death (1978), A Certain Kind of Death (2003), Damon Fox's Faces of Death, Stan Brakhage's The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971) will appreciate this unsettling piece of work.

Mo hozue wa tsukanai

A portrait and a slice of life film
Been watching Yoichi Higaschi films on the occasion of his birthday. I have seen his films from the 90s phase but haven't explored his older catalogue. I have read that Jun Ichikawa was a fan of this film. A slice of real life in '70s Japan. A story of a woman's emancipation. A young female student and her troubled relationships with two boyfriends. All the actors are really good at this, but the leading actress is giving a truly superb performance. A touching and sincere film, with a but great direction,that doesn't try to show off.

Kaori Momoi is mesmerising as Mariko, as her "just their" performance really emphases her "sleepwalking" thru her life, as you become so invested in her. The scene just of her eating celery on the verge of tears is heartbreaking and really, really, really well done.


Bleak Emotions
Greek legend Nikos Panayotopoulos has made some really interesting films, i love his Edge of Night (2000), The Idlers of the Fertile Valley (1978) but Melodrama was my least favorite. Today, the outrageously good weather warranted a marathon of movies with downpour. I had watched Vesper (2022), Nails in My Brain (2020), Ode to nothing (2018) and Saloum (2021) and this gem was next on my list as the image of both Yannis and music teacher Anna standing by the window watching the rain drop down the pane. This scene has been in my memory ever since i watched it long back, it is so vivid and even Anna's monologue about her inner struggle, the calendar flipping scenes, especially the opening and the closing with Cinema reference, the tonal shift of the pastoral setting from Black and white to color. Truly a melancholic piece of work, soothing and peaceful at the same time. This is now my favorite Panayotopoulos, the opinion might change but really loved the experience of revisiting it as the weather accentuated the mood of the film. Loved the way he staged the existential crisis of both the leads with the environment composed of a nothingness, including the dry sex scenes. As the minutes go by and there is a pessimistic character development, even the tape recorder, calendar arrives as an unexpected guest in the narrative. Even the last act, a sort of closure representing the fall of the condemned Yannis to an existence for the cruel gesture is atmospherically shot The burial of his sick mother and the scenes that follow will leave an apocalyptic mood and feels meta as it ends. I would say Cinematically, on the level of sound and image directly, it is one of the best Greek films and will be a captivating watch for those who love slow Arthouse cinema.

The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein

Obscure Gem: An Experience To Be Contemplated Not Only With Eyes But Mind
While revisiting Akame 48 Waterfalls (2003), the opening scene of this film kept appearing subconsciously as it is etched literally on my mind forever. Whenever i revisit Shinji Somai's Moving (1993) i always draw parallels with the climax of this film definitely been a favourite of mine.

I was clearing out my IMDb lists and bumped into to this title i scrolled down and was so glad to see two reviews. But i was baffled to see Zero reviews plugged in after 2003. About decades later we just got 2 entries which was posted many moons ago, i wonder why no one else has posted anything. Anyways, i have decided to share a brief note on this film which truly holds the definition of criminally overlooked or unsung gems.

The cinema of John Gianvito showed us the horrors of war, the mental drain, economic impact and dominance of USA over Latin America and the Middle East. His documentaries are compelling without going overboard or melodramatic in the traditional genre approach with room for solidarity. My favourite in his filmography is Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (2007), a brilliant documentary much more than history lecture.

Coming to this film it stands out in Gianvito's catalgue and the presentation here is minimalistic and strikingly different than his other works. Set up in the times of the Persian Gulf war "The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein" brings sensitive issues as Gianvito brings three stories that are impacted by the War.

The first story begins with one of my all time favourite opening ever, a guy in bandanna drops a young boy in the Rio Grande river and we see another dead body of a teenage girl floating as there is a close up as the blood dripped down onto the leaves. Then we see the magnificient painting of Paul Delaroche's Young Martyr as the text pops up on the screen that reads the title of the movie.

At the center of the plot is Fernanda Hussein who is the main character and she embarks on the search of her missing kids. Facing the heat of being an outsider she gets targetted by the system and is falsely accused for Pro-Iraqi sentiments. Now we see what the last name "Hussein" has got to do with this bullying as she loses her children a 14-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son who are thrown in the in the river.

Then we have part ii "Orphans of the storms" it follows the part i template and begins with a quote from John Trudell "Dont trust anyone who is'nt angry" aimed at the character a teenager opposed by his conservative pro-war Father for his antiwar principles influenced by his radical teacher in school. He is seen as a weakling and incapable of anything even the acamdemics. Without having a second thought he flees from his home to contribute to the cause and the movement.

Part iii we are dealing with a war veteran who plunges headlong into the aftermath of Operation desert storm and is forced to stray along with guilt. The feeling he shows sucks him into a real hell as he alienates himself from the rest of the world. In a threesome sex which starts with the girls teasing the marine running hands all over his body and nipples and suddenly intercutting between the flashbacks of the killing fields news clips as he confronts the personal scars with the intercourse.

On the music side John Gianvito uses the perfect talent, Iraqi oud player Nasser Shamma managed to compile powerful musical selection as we can see himself perfectly adjusted to the depressive background of the film.

I have to mention about my favorite scenes as it is seared into my memory and tough to just single out one moment or sequence. The most important of all the xenophobic graffiti on Fernandas wall which says 'Arab pigs go home'. Gianvito doesn't opt for a fullblown acting here he uses a realistic approach without giving an burdensome acting or narration. I loved the scene in which Assad and Amir looking out into the sky and discussing about the clouds taking shapes changing patterns a really beautiful moments between the siblings. The shot when the lucky wish bracelet slips off Assads hand in the river was done brilliantly. I was invested in the police station sequence it gives a clue that they are definitely accomplices and have been hand in gloves with the the hate. The cop goes on to suggest Fernanda to change her last name to Sanchez or Lopez. The sungazing shot of the marine presents a tonal shift as the atmosphere is supernatural and masterfully created. Another favorite is the short glimpse of a note "My loves the door is open I've gone to look for you," it evokes a melancholic feeling.

There are many more i can go on and on but ultimate favorite is the climax which is surreal avant-garde madness and otherworldly sight. The closure takes place in a local gathering event known as Zozobra giant burning effigy consumed into the bonfire to get rid of bad vibes and negativity. Fernanda witnesses the entire event as people showcase their carnal impulse that is innate to humanity amidst cheering and "Burn him, Burn him" screams. The primitive mindset psychological heaviness as what drives people to indulge in this trance inducing violence is captured. Fernanda's morality quest is in question mark as the narrative is presented in near abstraction it is superimposed with flickers hyperactive zooms as the giant effigy represents chaos of human nature. It reminded me of the experimental films of Takashi Ito, Dore O, Ishu Patel l, Phil Solomon, Teo Hernndez, Klaus Wyborny, Peggy Ahwesh and Moving (1993) being the most obvious all wrapped up in that edge that Gianvito sinks into the depths of his subconscious.

Mein 1. Film

A 7 yr Old Christoph Schlingensief's 8mm Debut
What a cool debut, probably the coolest badass debut ever by Christoph Schlingensief, can't beleive he was just 7 year old when he made this. I had never watched his shorts, but today managed to check out his filmography on the occasion his his birth anniversary. I know many will be aware of his later films but this short debut is crazy, setting the bar for his wicked filmography. A must for his fans, o can't describe how cool this short is. It's not "bonkers", like his later films but has fun absurd moments, three acts and mostly about Cinema. RIP Christoph Schlingensief, one of the best German filmmakers of all time.


Weird experiment, one of Menkes best
On the occasion of iconic experimental filmmaker Nina Menkes birthday i revisited her early films and this was the first time that i watched Dissolution. Menkes films have their own style with a penchant for surrealism and this is a swamping addition in her unique filmography. It will be little confusing because of the screenplay and camera techniques, but when the narrative stabilizes and the central being (non-living) starts to appear, i.e. The camera with very less screen space for the lead. Everything is well done - I like the black and white images of the film which make it even more 'spooky.'

Deux fois

From the mind of Raynal: Experimental Feature Debut about Nothingness, Space, Dreams...
Jackie Raynal is one of my favorite from the Zanzibar Group. On the occasion of Raynal's birthday today, i checked out her works including her association as Editor and actress in various films. I liked this film but those who have seen will have different opinions. What is the point? Why are we meant to like this? Because MANY will that someone who is high or drunk would make this such a mess of a movie. Originally I was pretty polarized with this film as it left a weird feeling, infact i prefer her New York series but then this is pretty interesting considering the time it was made, the political scenario. Check out Acéphale (1969), a chaotic art from Zanzibar film group.

Coming to this, Not long after the film begins, Raynal puts herself in the space and anticipates to form a structure to make this film. The tone is based on the rules of primitive Zanziber gorup, lots of weird minimalistic shots and avant-garde moments with inaudible dialogues. The form is there, but it's from the mind of Raynal, not of the French "Arthouse" kind. As you will be the characters saying things, Raynal screaming and in the end a there is a scene, i could feel his larynx to pieces, and there's absolutely no hope of understanding a word he says as it is inaudible. The editing have a distinctly experimental sensory sound, take the outdoor shots especially in the field. I must say WTF was the opening? Raynal offering a short prayer before the meal. I guess it was kind of cute but still weird, gets a fork and starts eating, it will be like an asmr food video (lol). I loved the shots when she explores the vicinity, capturing people and the number of times she stopped by the grocery store to buy soaps. These routines could feel boring like some someone scraping a blackboard with his fingernails, things get more weirder in the last act, there is a brief nudity, topless Raynal in a room with a guy, but looks lifeless, spaceless. The final sequence when she goes on about dreams is staged pretty well, who gives a f about budget.

Ich bin ein Elefant, Madame

Absurd, offbeat & myopic social farce
In the center of the plot of the film, Pupil Rull a lively and vivid character is revealed with a top angle shot in a room full of newspapers to a Velvet Underground's 'Waiting For The Man" from their debut album. After the cast and crew credits in the opening, the red color continues as Rull is drenched and so his room, there are other characters that are introduced in the school. Against the background of the school and , Rull feels that he is entangled in the traps of the teachers who are Nazis which leads to an ideological confrontation with everyone. Things gets weirder, funny as he prepares to lead a protest against the authoritarian school system, Rull immerses in a situation where everything is not so simple, there is no black or white, but red as he draws closer to achieve what he started. There is a scene when he stands his ground, comes to a certain point sporting a red Indian attire. He behaves strangely as his collision with the system completely enters into a strange zone towards the end. There is shift in tone of the film as it takes a documentary approach as the passerby's in the vicinity react to the Swastika graffiti. Then another tonal shift to color which exposes a certain type of behavior, pointing to the problems not only of totalitarian but of the youth, class war, ideological revolt with a political purpose. Far right or left, well it is left to the viewer to make their own verdict. Who is brainwashed, who owns the mind control tool? The innocent students who found themselves under this crossfire from the struggle of opposites. Things aren't very clear but this is from fueled with the spirit of 60s, that doesn't mean this yet counter culture film made under the hippie influence, yes this is an experiment of the 60s with the intersection between agitprop film, a bit of godard, provocative, absurd and as purely artistic part, it is shot well. The humor will not land for many, it is German and the protest might looked staged artificial and without tension. On the whole, an interesting experiment, against the backdrop of student revolt, with an offbeat staging that shows the pressing problems of society. I really can't recommend it to everyone as it doesn't cater to the traditional style, political thriller nor the quasi-documentary type.

Ramdenime interviu pirad sakitkhebze

Matters of the heart and mind
On the occasion of the Legendary Lana Gogoberidze's 94th birthday i revisited couple this feminist masterpiece. I am a day late, but i don't want to miss out on sharing my thoughts about this film. This time around a good print and i somehow managed to source better subtitle unlike last time. From many things in the film there are bittersweet feelings, main reason being the life of director Gogoberidze and the suppression faced in the Stalinist time echoed in a in a storyline that is written well. The plot is something arthouse fans are accustomed to in a female centered drama. A women living in duality, inhabiting two worlds split between personal and professional life. Lana is engaged in a very personal work both for herself, for the viewer and the situation of 70s Tbilisi women. Likewise, the story revolves around Sofiko an ambitious journalist revealed here to fullest. This digging into the personal matters eats up her mental health, especially the sequence when she interviews her Mother. As the plot moves, this void in family life intensively results in fall out with her Husband who starts to have an affair. The fact that Gogoberidz proceeded here with the drama must be applauded, she doesn't take sides or sink into to moral sermon while this infidelity concept is treated with brilliant writing. . Also, mainly conveyed by the impeccable performance of Sofiko Chiaureli with balanced cynical humor and realism, albeit supported with a good score by her regular composer Giya Kancheli turned out to be very interesting.

Summing it up , Lana Gogoberidze films are overlooked when compared to Larisa Shepitko and Kira Muratova. I wish many watch her films and appreciate her willingness that explores deep reflection of the past and not only feminism but about an entire society.

Meat Joy

Extremely Provocative feminist short
On the occasion of late Carolee Schneemann today, i decided to watch her films. Not many know her works but one of the most distinguished figures of her generation. A multi-talented artist who openly challenged the mainstream art with her provocative body art. 60s was the time when the rise of art collectives, cinema movements garnered support from the underground. Schneemann was part of the noise and made a feminist statement to showcase the abuse of the bodies, systems using her body as a tool. In this short film, from what is happening on the screen, this might seem a bunch of naked sickos under influence shredding each other bodies with paint, meat and going wild. But there is more to that, a feminist statement, the subtexts filled with psychology, the surface of the performance to create shock value. If you are interested in performance art like the works of Shigeko Kubota Vagina painting (1965) Monica Sjoo's God Giving Birth (1968), Or if you dig the Panic movement and Viennese Actionism can give this a watch.

O Bom Cinema

Ode to Cinema Marginal: Burn the city with the camera!!
The first time you peep the title of this movie, you feel it is gonna be an ode to cinema. True, it makes you get sucked into the stories and begin praising it. But this is not something like Rogério Sganzerla's Tudo é Brasil (1997) which was my initial assumption.

Brazilian Marginal Cinemas in itself a movement that loathes shock value over everything else. Here in O Bom Cinema/The Good Cinema (2021) keeping in mind the thesis of the movement filmmaker Eugenio Puppo takes help from video footages of legendary figures during the vast majority of the run time. This one ranges from the special video footage to recreation of the present into a cohesive whole to make sense of that time.

Brownie points for the Samuel Fuller's reference, Carlos Reichenbach notes, Boca de Lixo (1993) and there are many such moments which will delight cinephiles who followed the Marginal cinema. There is a sequence of behind the scenes of Maurice Capovilla's O Profeta da Fome (1969) with the late José Mojica Marins and my favorite part was the ending with João Silvério Trevisan's Orgia ou O Homem Que Deu Cria (1970). Liked it how Puppo charges along through the different materials from the movement and his approach works for keeping this one surprising and off-guard. Might not be liked be everyone but the motive present here is to create a tribute sort of using documentary narrative and this effort must be appreciated by fans of the genre.


Transcendent: There are movies and then there is Kantara
Absolutely bonkers, wild and a movie worth for a discussion. This film impresses with its variety of forms and feelings - there is a whole bunch of emotions. Rishab Shetty has the ability to cater his films to moviegoers of all class and successfully crossed that divide between indie and mainstream. Even his production 'Pedro' and which is doing wonders in the festival circuit endows his ability to strike a balance. Likewise with Rakshit Shetty who has backed so many indie films including the recent Sakutumba Sametha (2022).

Coming to Kantara, this film has so many layers of complexity and it's amazing Rishab expresses a lot while keeping it grounded, rooted and minimalistic. With unending sound of the biosphere set in Tulunadu as a conjunction between ecology, greed of man, civilization and everything in between sums up the tone of the film. I loved the idea of the flashback and voiceover to set things going from the start. On the other hand, this is a proper commercial film so expect all the genre troupes, elevations, guy falling head over heels in love and a story done to death. But Rishab stands out as he chooses this inalienable closeness of mother earth and man, adds the main ingredient, i.e. Is ENTERTAINMENT!

Even Shiva as the rebel concept was conveyed so well, the face-off that involves internal and external conflicts will immerse you. His character is grey and not without its downsides as he lives in two worlds at the same time. The first is the world of flesh and bone, and the second is the divine, which is his true calling to carry the legacy of his father. The realization is pretty good, when he gets nightmares for the wrongdoings, he is led to this mysterious place in the forest, like a portal. It happens in the pre-climax after the brilliant "i am cleansed," scene, very short and doesn't go into full details of the transformation. The gloomy atmosphere in the film occupies a central niche, besides, the tone of that forest, it also contributes to the overall outcome of the film.

The visuals are ideally combined with subplots and the authenticity to mix the culture of Kambla and Bhootha Kola is not an overkill. It is picturized so well as the climax moments densely settles in memory for quite a long time and it will be the same for other viewers too.

The main thing here is that the spirit of Rishab Shetty to keep it authentic right from music, staging, actors and ending with costumes. It is really tough that he will have another big film comparable to Kantara in his career. To put it simply and briefly, I am delighted with the viewing. Enjoyed every minute from start to finish. A community watch, a spectacle made for only celluloid experience. I know when this will be out on OTT so called shallow cinephhiles, purists, Xenolingohassens will find it cringe and problematic. I am still going with 10/10 sure I'm obviously biased, the making, production value soothed the drought of content driven commercial films lacking in kannada industry. Mark my words, this will be remembered by those who have experienced it only on the bring screen even after decades.

Guru Sishyaru

Good Vibes: A Compelling & Tender Sports Drama From KFI
Well first of all let me start off by saying, it's so shocking to see not even a single review posted for this film. On the other hand, It is a great feeling sense to be the first to do so, it's an overwhelming process to share about a good cinema. The plot itself is not a discovery, even the theme of opportunity, retired coach, intertwined with socio-economic, exploitation by landlord and a scathing political critique is done to death. In 'Guru Shishyaru' director Jadesh Kumar Hampi who failed to make an impact with Gentleman (2020) proves with latest outing that he is a filmmaker on my radar to to watch out for. I was so taken a back when the conflict was revealed in the first half itself but the director still managed to find the genuine approach in order to translate this story into something worthwhile on the screens. I bet the majority will empathize with what is happening on the screen and expected turns of events that stimulate even more to watch it to the end.

To be honest, I went in blind completely unprepared in a 'tabula rasa' state and the experience? Extremely satisfying. I did quite enjoy actor Sharan's Avatara Purusha (2022) in parts but here i was expecting him to give a typical overstrained & constipated performance but honestly he pulled it off very well. But the main merit of the film is the supporting cast, the boys didn't mess up their parts and accentuated the narrative.

I am so glad that we are getting to see some good films from Kannada recently. Popcorn blockbusters like KGF 2, 777 Charlie, Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana being consumed on an unprecedented level with a super wide viewer base. On the other hand, indie films receiving appreciations, be it Thurthu Nirgamana, Arishadvarga, Rathnan Prapancha, Cutting Shop, Sakutumba Sametha and now Kantara which is one of the best films of the year. Guess Pedro will achieve the same feat when it is out. I strongly recommend moviegoers to check out these films and support such experiment with moral underpinning.

Coming back to this film, i guarantee it will leave a positive emotions to see the life-affirming sporting achievement of the team showcased in the runtime as well as superbly supported by strong acting, the humor is good and doesn't feel forced (English teacher scenes, the boy waiting for a wash after a dump, lot of gags are organic here). Kudos to the music director and a special mention for the background score as the overall tone wasn't typical folk, it is open, not too polished and fit the film perfectly. Brownie points for Ravichandran reference, i have been disappointed with his choice of films and disliked Ravi Bopanna. So it was fun to see the old Crazy star reference in the movie. Please go see Guru Shishyaru (2022) and please do not miss the post credit scenes which is definitely the harsh reality of Kho-kho sport. It is much than a sports drama, i totally recommended it for viewing!

Tristesse des anthropophages

Provocative surreal short with lot of scat reference
To be honest this film popped up when looking up acting titles of Legendary Jean Rollin. So i had no clue what the movie was about, not even the genre. IMDB claims it is horror short film but in my opinion it is wrapped up in the trappings of an arthouse format with absurdism all over. It is not horror with traditional genre troupes but it is quite unnerving stuff like how it tries hard to make a statement about religion and society juxtaposing scatophagy (rofl) with a little Christianity theme as allegory. But I'm genuinely not sure what the hell any of that was. It suddenly turns into a musical similar to Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) opening dance. A man on ladder sings as the men join in and it picks tempo, the lines are cheesy like this one here "love is done with cheeks, blah blah blah." But i will appreciate the novelty of director Jean-Denis Bonan for even thinking to make something like this. So absurd, that the short film shows guy taking turns to produce excrement so it will be served to the customers in the restaurant. We have Bonnet, the French guy who narrates his story on how he got involved in this turd eating establishment. He is abused by the establishment who don't like him for coming back as resurrection is completely forbidden.

Also, this short film is one of the most weird opening and closing credits i've ever seen. It reminded me of Fernando Arrabal's Long Live Death (1971). Director chooses to include the title imprinted on naked bodies withstands in close-ups. It unbelievably sets off all the ugliness or weirdness to follow. Definitely not a sublime turd like the film states and i don't think I can recommend this short film everyone, maybe watch few parts of Hotel Splendide (2000).

Naane Varuvean

Kudos to Dhanush but the film is ultimately disappointing
Take Away actor Dhanush and Yuvan Shankar Raja, you are left with nothing in this film. I agree that this is rather poor for an attempted 'COMEBACKS', director Selvaraghavan is only person to blame in this project. There are couple of problems with this movie, main thing is that it fails to convince on psychological metamorphoses that turn twins into enemies nor makes up its mind what it's trying to convey as most of the interesting things in the film are in the first half. Whilst I knew from the beginning that it was going to be a predictable fare and it did. Right from the opening i knew where this Selvaraghavan was taking the film, i just hang in there because to see more of villain Dhanush. It gets draggy and crumpled in the second half, not what I came for, but does right by it for the current (actor>director) Selva's standard and the ending feels like a rushed cap off to a film such as this. But the film boils down to a simple parable about good and evil, actions of the past and generic revenge angle.

I am not gonna say this is horrid, the paranormal and psychological angle is riveting which is explored well in the first half. The second half with the supernatural revenge thriller inspires little interest. Even the father-daughter relationship parts were pretty good and doesn't come across as a yawn.

To sum it up, it's atmospheric with all the authority of the lead, supporting child artists, it looks like a creative experiment. Kudos to Dhanush for trying out new narratives but the plot had lot of interesting possibilities doesn't mean it is bad movie, it will hold your attention. For Dhanush, every work with Selva is an undoubted success commercially and critically. In this film, he has done two polar opposite with brilliance accentuated by background score of Yuvan and there is nothing more to add here.


"Aadhaar" makes an impact despite the minor flaws
The scene and tone are set right from the opening where we see a luxury car is being launched and quickly followed by the introduction of Pachamuthu (Karunaas). This shift in the narrative was so quick to capture the social situation, the class war by encompassing more characters recurring economic crises and injustice in the system. At first, I was expecting something like a tear jerker drama but it was much more. I have to mention that actor Karunas did a good job in Interval sequence, he suffers and suffers, tries to take help by pleading and begging with the cops and constantly fails but doesn't give up. Even at the end his character stays true to the actual reality and not gimmicky. All he is left with is an aadhar card of his wife and you genuinely feel sad as he prays to god which is the only glimmer of hope. It was a good decision to have a message appear on the screen to highlight the helpless who are shipwrecked due to the injustice in the system in the closure. Even the Muslim cop is nothing more than a pawn and his end is tragic after getting his hands dirty. I liked the lady cop scenes and how they stage the accident, the airbag, test-drive and the postmortem. It really placed me to view the inner workings of the system where chaos prevails. The film has minor flaws like the staging of few scenes, i had problems with the song placement, even the baby crying didn't sync with the setting, in few places the acting of the lead felt like an overkill. But in the end, i want to appreciate the intention of the director to make this project despite the limited budget and putting his point forth as a clear reflection of the political, economic, social crisis. I totally recommend everyone to see this movie, do not make hasty presumptions or compare it with other filmmakers style or pattern.

An Essay of the Rain

A melancholic journey through the rain!
I have returned to my favorite hobby of horror films when it rains. Revisited a lot of classic hammer, then watched A24's latest body horror/ emotional manipulation Men (2022). Finally added this and it was all worth it, a weird mix but it was a good watch. The protagonist - a middle school boy takes a journey and how the rain merges in harmony with the happenings that brings him more discouragement as he fails to finish his assignment in the given time. He has to deal with his drunken father who is passed out in the street. In one of the scene the boy slips and is compared to his alcoholic father, once again emphasizing the connection of rain with the family. "Pavsacha Nibandh" does not preach or showcases class struggle, but it is shown in the emptiness of the landscape and thatched house. There is accusatory darts thrown in like many films on touching on the topics, it is monotonous just like the rain but hits hard. The true depth of this short film is hidden in the downpour and it is necessary to peer into the bleak landscape, listen to the sound of the rain and immerse yourself. It is a short film, an assessment that needs to be seen by cinephiles.

Neptune Frost

Meticulously Crafted Sci-Fi Musical
In this current wokester phase when things become stagnant, repetitive it is very rare to see filmmakers push forward and create something unique. This DIY Afrofuturists utopian musical is one such experiment which we don't see happen every now and then. But it is hard to define "Neptune Frost" to any genre, there's a bit of everything here.

The movie even highlights very significant and deep philosophical thoughts and problems like colonialism, data dictatorship, capitalism and many more. It is a gloomy picture which paints the journey of intersex hacker Neptune and Matalusa. Then we have a community called Digitalisa which is a safe haven for young hackers. There is many more threads going on with and we get a glimpse of lives of both the characters, the past and the coltan mine which works as an allegory for the film with musical numbers as a sign of protest. The soundscapes are in abundance here as they're used to push the narrative and as a harmony for the filmmakers code about technology and its labor. What I found interesting was the sequence here, with each track being different right from the opening ambient followed by the drum thumping in the coal mine and the breath taking finale and the post-credit closing with glitches which is structurally the simplest with just purely ambient eerie drone sound as Neptune looks up and speaks to the camera. Those who are aware of the Burundians and Rwandans history will tend to like it even more.

To summarize, this is a very contemplative, surrealistic meditative musical with stunning cinematography. Few will draw comparison to Bacurau (2019), the works of the legendary Sun Ra, Jacques Baratier. In addition i would love to add Jean-Pierre Bekolo's Les saignantes (2005) which is one of the most overlooked sci-fi. I could say a lot more about 'Neptune Frost', the costumes, art direction but why? I will need to revisit this again and recommend everyone to see this movie for yourself, support a indie films. I also recommend you to watch Night of the Kings from Ivory Coast directed by Philippe Lacôte, Atlantics from Senegal directed by Mati Diop, This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection from Lesotho directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese.

Day Is Done

Paranoid Musical Freakshow
Finally saw the full movie, i had to go through all the vicissitudes of a heavy sleep to finish it but the closure was all worth it. It is really weird scrolling through my mind and constructing my thoughts about the experience of watching this. I'm honestly not too sure if what I feel right now (Positive/Negative) as I have no word. The last few minutes was fine, even thought the whole musical will feel very weird and out of place. The already enigmatic Mike Kelley's invite to plunge into the edgy world of personal nightmares taking cue from series of high school yearbook photographs. Each sequences is reflection of the other, but indirectly, as if through another reflection, through the pictures in the script. It was a tedious chore to sit through as Mike recreated the pictures by casting actors and make it a wacky live action of sorts with absurd symmetry of set design, accompanied by songs. And that chugga chugga chugga chugga chugga chugga is now stuck in my head with that song over it (not as a troll) but simply with respect for the artist.

El rufián

High-quality film noir of the highest standard!
"He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it" - Ecclesiastes 10:8 (Quote from the Bible)

A dive into the tormenting unconscious of Madame Florelle, an fortune teller with a dark past living a life of deception with fear lurking that she might end up dead in the hands of a prisoner. Nobody believes Florelle as her journey into the uncertainty and dreams changes things into an illusion. We find out that a man named Hector is out of prison after 10-years and there is a certain shift in emphasis as the film reveals his motives. There is an Homosexual doctor who has link to Florelle, the rest of the movie is a mix of Crime noir and It makes no sense to tell further, because a complete heresy begins in the good sense of the word. I loved the editing transition using the Crysal ball to create a grim atmosphere. I really appreciate Daniel Tinayre's screenplay so rooted in the crime noir genre as one can trace layers of excellence that comes togethers in its composition. This is my favorite film in his portfolio. I wish many will discover this classic and it needs a full restoration, the print available online is pathetic. Maybe a bluray but i really hope this film deserves better treatment.

Natchathiram Nagargirathu

Celebration of Love: A Daring Play On Human Emotions, Morality and Societal Norms!
A pretty bonkers movie completely devoid of Tamil cinema love stories that we have seen so far. This film will have mixed reactions as it is so off the wall that I can't tell this will be appreciated unanimously. Ranjith has delivered something world-class, he is back with a tale that has all the usual themes but deals with twisted love and all kinds of love. I am not a huge fan of P. A. Ranjith as a director but have a liking for projects he is on board as a producer. He has supported new concepts in his Neelam Productions despite the shortcomings in the production. I have followed his stint as a producer and appreciate his ability to pick unique stories, even his recent outings have the stamp of an auteur in the making and you can check out my 'Kuthiraivaal' and 'Seththumaan' review.

This experiment or an attempt by PA Ranjith to tell about Compassion, Love, the political tragedy without being too elitist or kitsch. I never expected it to be this good in such a way it does not look vulgar separating itself from the usual films we have seen in Tamil cinema. The theater setting was a good gambit, it evoked polar emotions as we travel with the characters plunging into screen with surreality. I despise filmmakers self loathing by making a very personal film, it is better if they keep it in a safe locker. Well, Ranjith's film is a personal cinema but doesn't over indulge in Kasthapadra Vada Chennai folks with existential crisis and dealing with errors in the system. In 'Natchathiram Nagargiradhu' it is impossible for Ranjith to let go of the politics as the characters discusses Dalit love. But this remains as a revelation of the characters and hard hitting dialogues. The basic human feelings, fears, banal truth about relationships which is often ignored is spoken out loud as Ranjith shares with the audience part of his inner life. I didn't like the comedy sequences involving Madeline, the French lady as it wasn't needed to push the narrative. But the rest of the characters go a long way from the first minutes of the film to the final credits with the completion of the play, sometimes pleasing to the eye. The Wild cat vs the Domesticated Cat reference was so relevant and deep. And the The I see a glimpse of arthouse influence here especially the works of João Pedro Rodrigues, Marcos Prado, Gaspar Noé, Aly Muritiba and Leos Carax.

Regardless, this is a film that is hard to compare with anything else. But, to be honest, I don't want to compare it. I recommend this to everyone as this film is a celebration love, a daring play on emotions.

Verdict: And, of course, one of the best films of the year.!

See all reviews