Friday, 22 December 2006

Result of Vote and Notes for the Fourth Week

Hi everybody,

The results are in, and the winner is Option C: SOLARIS! A big “thank you” goes out to all those who cast their votes in the Science Fiction round for the 28th. The number of respondents was small when set before the entire student population, but, all things considered, this number is enough to call the venture a success. You chose it, we’ll screen it. Here is the breakdown:

A. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, 9 votes (25%)
C. SOLARIS, 20 votes (56%)

Total no. of votes: 36

Academic significance: Andrei Tarkovsky is the only one to get pass marks, as adjudged by the good people of NID.

Political significance: Stanley Kubrick and Hayao Miyazaki have lost their deposits.

Cosmic significance: The positive, lifegiving, yang solar force has overcome the negative yin of outer space, and both have in the process pulverized between them some speck of a planet (and a tiny valley on it).


26th December 2006
6:15 p.m. at the Auditorium

By students of FTII, Pune

The Film and Television Institute of India has a well-deserved reputation for pre-eminence in this field. This compilation of sixteen diploma films is intended as a showcase for the powerhouse from Poona. Reflecting the strong practical philosophy of the institute, virtually all of the shorts are on 35mm film. As with any such collection, overall quality is uneven, but what cannot be refuted is the élan with which the budding filmmakers approach their chosen subjects. There are some real gems here. Anyone sitting through the whole thing shall be well rewarded.

This is followed by

A selection of diploma films by former students of NID.

Of this, little needs to be said. If you stayed throughout the FTII screening, we want that you stick around – to cheer on our people! Up, up, N-I-D!


28th December 2006
6:15 p.m. at the Auditorium

SOLARIS (1972)
Runtime: 2 hours 45 minutes
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky

A Soviet scientist is dispatched to a remote post to replace another who perished in unexplained circumstances. The scene he comes upon is a space station in orbit around a mysterious planet, named Solaris, which is suspected of harbouring intelligent life. His two colleagues are less than friendly, however, a sorry state of affairs not helped by the poor condition of the station and the sudden reappearance of his long-dead wife. More a psychodrama than out-and-out science fiction, this film explores inter- and intra-personal issues. Those who have seen Tarkovsky’s scintillating MIRROR (1975) will know what to expect, to an extent. There are (from our current perspective) several anachronisms, at the time obviously thought of as ‘futuristic’ and which now look terribly outdated. Keep an eye out for them, but be mindful of what our kids might think of THE MATRIX.

About the director: Andrei Tarkovsky stands in the top tier of all-time greats. His many works have been screened repeatedly in the auditorium; he remains a favourite, as the vote attests. Very heartwarming indeed. This writer heard from a teacher that few people in his native Russia follow Tarkovsky nowadays. A great pity, for it is in films such as the aforementioned MIRROR that one can discern the soul of a people as it was then. NOSTALGHIA (1983) and IVAN’S CHILDHOOD (1962) have something of the immortal within them.

As the year comes to a close, let us revel in the freedom that democracy affords us. Not to be melodramatic, but this is a fitting (and ironic) Christmas gift for Tarkovsky, in more ways than one.

With regards,
The Film Club.

Third Week, Dec '06

Hello everyone,

Our offerings this week are more carefree than some of our previous screenings, on account of the festive season. Tuesday’s screening is thoroughly non-analytical, something for the right side of the brain. Thursday’s child is all smiles: the sunlight shines right through, despite the black & white stock, and the film is our sending-off gesture for all who plan to go out next week. We know that a number of you were juddering back to normalcy after the convocation. If our happy intent runs against your attempts at rigor, please forgive us!

19th December 2006
6:15 p.m. at the Auditorium

ARIA (1987)Runtime: 1 hour 30 minutes

A collection of ten shorts by ten directors taking sequences from operas and arias. Other than the theatrical theme, they are unconnected in terms of plot, style and setting. Big names rub shoulders with more obscure personalities, so be prepared for ups and downs. For example, the "Armide" episode is done by THE John-Luc Godard, but then you also have someone like Franc Roddam, competent but far below, and in the middle Ken Russel. (Incidentally, the latter two men made movies for the British rock group The Who, a band that pioneered the "Rock Opera". The movies are, respectively, QUADROPHENIA and TOMMY. This writer is a fan.) Followers of Western Classical music will recognise immortals such as Richard Wagner and Giacomo Puccini. As to the quality of rendition, bear in mind that reconciling so many creative individuals always was an unforgiving task.

21st December 2006
6:15 p.m. at the Auditorium

Runtime: 1 hour 54 minutes
Directed by Jacques Tati

This film introduces the character of Monsieur Hulot, a jolly ne’er-do-well with a knack for stepping backwards into trouble. It portrays the title character on his summer vacation at a resort on the Western coast of France. The helpful and childlike M. Hulot causes unintentional chaos wherever he goes, proving that the road to Hell is indeed paved with good intentions. And his intentions are certainly the best. The film throbs with a life that finds expression in the unflappable comportment of the everyman, helped along by the charming ambient music. Most of all, the level of intimacy you, the viewer, can achieve is remarkable. A superb yarn. Just in case you do something catastrophic this Christmas – touch wood – remember this film.

About the director: Jacques Tati went on to make MON ONCLE (1958), his best-known film, again recounting the adventures of Hulot. Expensive commercial failure with the ambitious PLAYTIME (1967) did not detract from the fact that it is a masterpiece.

A reminder, if you please. By week's end the Film Club will have closed the Science-Fiction Vote for the 28th screening. If you wish to participate but have forgotten to do so, refer to the relevant e-mail dated 8th December.

Well then, have a barrel of fun!

With regards,
The Film Club.

Friday, 8 December 2006

Schedule for Dec '06

Welcome back, everyone!

Well, actually, all of you were here at least a week ago. Some never left campus this vacation, so it really should be the other way around: The Film Club is back! Now that the convocation whirlwind is done with, we can all get back to our regular schedules. The dust will take some time to settle, though, and this time we have a few new things for you to think about, besides the usual screenings. We would like your help.

For those who do not wish to wade through long proposals, the screening schedule
comes first:

12th Dec., Tuesday, 6:15 p.m., Audi

ANIMATION SHOWREEL 2002 by NFTS (UK) students, and
TRAVAUX DE FIN D’ETUDES 1998-1999 by ENSAD (France) students
14th Dec., Thursday, 6:15 p.m., Audi

19th Dec., Tuesday, 6:15 p.m., Audi

ARIA, dir: various
21st Dec., Thursday, 6:15 p.m., Audi

26th Dec., Tuesday, 6:15 p.m., Audi

LENSIGHT DIPLOMA FILM: 2004-2005 by students of FTII, Pune, followed by
A compilation of diploma films by former students of NID
28th Dec., Thursday, 6:15 p.m., Audi


The last bit caught you, didn’t it? It is part of a new initiative we decided upon, the purpose of which is to encourage greater participation by the student body, as a whole or in parts. The success of this depends on you. Think of it as an experiment.

THE VOTE: The simplest, easiest idea to implement. You can choose one film from among three science-fiction classics. Kindly refer to the accompanying e-mail, subject: “VOTE for 28th December screening”. This is based on a suggestion by a student, and we think it’s a very good one!

THE CATALOGUE: As many of you know, the various films in the institute are arranged in a rather basic manner, mostly lacking comprehensive in-house data (such as synopses) and cross referencing. It is even worse with our diploma films. This plea may be a cry in the wilderness, but if any of you want to help, you may get in touch with Mr. Kaushik Chakraborty at the Animation/New Media Lab.

THE BLOG: An attempt to directly address the interactivity issue. NID mail is not suited to lively discussion vis-à-vis the moving picture. Also, the Auditorium landing has never been famous for retaining movie-lovers, most of whom tramp off to the mess as soon as the show is over. The mess itself has seen brisk sessions – but these occur in groups. Very fragmentary, and a person sitting in one place may never know what those outside his/her cluster said. A blog would store your musings in one place for all time. Coming soon (hopefully). Any assistance would be appreciated.

REACHING OUT: This has interested students promoting the institute when they go home, in effect becoming evangelists for the Temple of Design. It may sound like a big bother, but wait: all you have to do is take back selected work, such as diploma movies on discs, and talk to, say, the people at your old school, college, social club, etc. and arrange a screening. A good way to get around, and it can only boost your prestige. You’re happy, we’re happy. E-mail or meet us in person – Sekhar (the chief), Dawa, Prachi and Deepak. It is still vague as of now. Any suggestions?

There you have it. This month is a real mixed bag. Even if you don’t want to follow up on any of these proposals, you could still send us some feedback on the screening combination. Do you favour this much variety? What do you think of week- or month-long themes?

Think on that. And see you all in the Audi.
With regards,
The Film Club.

First Post

We now have a blog. This is the address!