Thursday, 29 March 2007

March 29th - Stanley Kubrick's "DR. STRANGELOVE"

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Those were the days, when the best that the brightest minds could come up with for keeping the peace was the M.A.D. doctrine. In the making of the film, Kubrick became steadily aware of the bizarre logic behind nuclear deterrence, bordering on the lunatic (and the reason why this is a comedy). Here you will see: (1) Peter Sellers as the U.S. President (2) Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove, and (3) Peter Sellers as a British officer. Quite a cast!

About the director: Stanley Kubrick (b. 1928, d. 1999), undoubtedly one of the shining lights in cinema, leaves little behind of the man himself. Many speak bitterly in his wake; others defend him stoutly; neutral opinions are uncommon. He has the anomalous status of mainstream/independent. He laboured long on his films, which include Lolita (1962), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and The Shining (1980).

All the best as you prepare for the juries. See you next Semester!

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

March 28th - Nishikant Kamat's "DOMBIVLI FAST"

Dombivli Fast (2005)

Runtime: 1 hour 50 minutes

- Winner of the “Sant Tukaram Puraskar”, Pune International Film Festival, 2006
- Winner of the Jury Prize at the 4th Indian Film Festival, Los Angeles
- 4 stars, the New York Times

A remarkable film about an otherwise ordinary man who does something extraordinary. Madhav Apte, as a typical middle class Mumbaikar, faces corruption at every point in his life. He cracks in the end and goes on a rampage, cracking down on wrongdoers wherever he can find them. A tragic film, too, not because of how the story goes, but because of the context in which it is set. Sandeep Kulkarni gives a powerful performance as the lead character. The editing is sophisticated and evokes the busy feel of a city.

About the director: Nishikant Kamat started out with TV serials. He also wrote the screenplay for Neha Dupia’s Julie. This is his first outing as a movie director. He is presently molding Dombivli Fast into a Tamil version, Evano Oruvan, featuring the actor Madhavan and a Chennai setting.

Monday, 26 March 2007

March 27th - Robert Altman's "MASH"

MASH (1970)

The Auditorium at 6:15 p.m.
Runtime: 1 hour 51 minutes

Set in a U.S. military hospital during the Korean War, MASH is not so much a movie as a series of events featuring the hellion trio of Hawkeye, Trapper John and Duke. These guys are army doctors – they do great with the doctor bit, but with the army part... the less said the better! One cannot do everything, after all, not in a war. The battle zone does strange things to people. Even the officious types are a bit off, to the point of being buffoons. In the end it is all about how one copes. Gallows humor at its best.

About the director: Robert Altman (b. 1925, d. 2006) had an up-and-down career in the business. MASH was his major breakthrough, and he quickly followed it up with other [critical] successes. A slump, punctuated by Popeye (1980), dragged his banner in the dust, but he made a comeback with The Player (1992). He had a character-driven approach to making movies, frequently letting his actors improvise their pieces.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

Starring: Antonio Banderas

Yet another comedy this month. This film packs in two days and two nights into one-and-a-half hours of frantic activity, throwing together teetering egos and absurd circumstances in a cascading mess. Take a handful of young women and put them through this. They are never the same again. As may be guessed, the issues of love, melodrama and grotesque humor have a lot to do with the story. We are sure a lot of you are not too familiar with Spanish-language sitcoms. This movie is higher than the run of the mill. We thought that this movie would be most appropriate for the way things are on campus these days!

About the director: Pedro Almodóvar (b. 1951) is the most famous Spanish filmmaker at present. Known for his interest in the relationships between people, especially women, he successfully combines essential humanity and the culture-specific into works of sophistication. If you like this film, be sure to catch All About My Mother (1999), which is crazier by far.

Monday, 19 March 2007

March 20th - Fellini's "LA DOLCE VITA"

La Dolce Vita (1960)

Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée and Anita Ekberg.

It is no coincidence that the name of the lead character’s colleague, Paparazzo, is now used to denote an overly intrusive photographer. Though the setting is ‘60s Rome, the story still has relevance in our media-saturated age, dealing as it does with themes of cultural decadence, crass sensationalism and the loss of the self. It spans barely a chronological week, yet in that time the protagonist finds his life turned inside out. Marcello Mastroianni plays the lead as a reporter and is surrounded by an array of others, including Anita Ekberg as an actress. La Dolce Vita is widely considered to be the most famous European film of the 1960s.

About the Director: Federico Fellini (b. 1920, d. 1993) is a fixture on every collector’s wish list. Audi regulars will remember the recently screened 8½, but one example from his impressive body of work. La Dolce Vita marks the juncture between his earlier Neo-Realism [as with La Strada (1954)] and his later, ‘artier’ work [as with (1963)].

Thursday, 15 March 2007

March 15th - Martin Scorsese's "KUNDUN"

KUNDUN (1997)

Directed by Martin Scorsese
Runtime: 2 hours 15 minutes

DVD blurb: “Praised as one of the best films of the year, Kundun is a motion picture masterpiece directed by five-time Academy Award™-nominated director Martin Scorcese. It’s the incredible true story of one of the world’s most fascinating leaders – Tibet’s Dalai Lama – and his daring struggle to rule a nation at one of the most challenging times in its history. Powerfully told and set against a background of world politics – the film’s release created an international uproar! Featuring a striking, Oscar®-nominated score by renowned composer Philip Glass, this extraordinary Motion Picture has been greeted with both controversy and critical acclaim – experience it for yourself!”

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

March 8th - David Lynch's "BLUE VELVET"

Set in the small, quaint town of Lumberton, Blue Velvet begins with the protagonist (MacLachlan) discovering a severed human ear - which he takes to the police. He begins to investigate the matter himself, and discovers a seamy underworld within Lumberton, involving a bizarre homicidal kidnapper (Hopper), and a seductive, mysterious night-club singer on the verge of a breakdown (Rossellini).

Blue Velvet opened to great critical acclaim in 1986, and was a box office success, considering its limited release in theatres. The film has since become a cult classic, noted for its use of surrealism, dreamlike aura, neo-noir and examination of the dark-side of America, and has spawned several inferior imitations.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

March 6th - Woody Allen's "bananas"!!!

When bumbling product-tester Fielding Mellish (Allen) is jilted by his girlfriend, Nancy (Louise Lasser), he heads to the tiny republic of San Marcos for a vacation... only to become kidnapped by rebels! Once the band of rebels seize power, their leader goes crazy and they replace him with Mellish, thinking he can save the country. But when Mellish is nabbed by the FBI, he is put on trial for subversion and in a side-splitting courtroom showdown - including the most hilarious self-cross examination ever - Woody Allen proves beyond a doubt that he is not only our most gifted satirist... he's a master comic artist.

Woody Allen's second film as director, co-writer and star takes parody to the extreme with a brilliant send-up of everything from relationships to dictatorships. An early example of what Allen called his 'slapdash' approach to comedy, Bananas' broad, fast humour and rapid-fire witticisms form a dazzling kaleidoscope of inspired ingenuity and comic artistry.