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%)
B. NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND, 7 votes (19%)
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
LENSIGHT DIPLOMA FILM: 2004-2005
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
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.
The Film Club.