Wednesday, 24 December 2008

For the New Yr,FINs spreading out, renovating, updating itself..

What happens to most well-recieved innovations? They spread out, reinvent themselves, get 'branded',numbers increase...heck, CCD,RelianceFresh,even RK egg eatery bear testament to that.

Its about time G-NID(Gandhinagar NID,to you) got kick-started.
And thanks to intervention from Sekhar Mukherjee and Kanika( TAD,1st yr)
Their Audi will soon be graced with regular film screenings and audience of the like; making this a landmark for Film Club.Both of them.:)
Personally, I'm glad Gandhinagar and Paldi have this common link, and lets hope for many more in the future.

Next Update.
Film CluB Poster Exhibition scheduled this month. Posters being uprooted from across the last two semesters, and the best one of course will receive a substantial goody-bag type prize from Crosswords.
Similar plans for FIN Promos;regarding which many enthusiasts have promised new promos this semester.

Keep Posted.
Merry XMas and peace to All.

Signing off.

A Classic December.

To those who take a peek at this lonely blogspot- it aint resting in peace yet.

First things first:Current SCREENINGS.
'December Classics' was the theme,continueing into Jan.We're moving across the continent,starting with the epic 'Gone with the Wind' and entering UK,Europe,India(local classics),the Orient, and so on.

23 8 1/2 (Fredrico Felinni,Italy)
27 Blow up (Antonioni,Italy)

30 Metropolis( Fritz Lang,Germany)
31 New Years Eve Special: Oliver Twist (David Lean,Great Britain)

1 New Years Day: Triplets of Belleville(animation,France)
6 Rules of the game( Renoir,France)
8 Macbeth (Orson Welles)

Monday, 3 November 2008

Million Dollar Hotel poster

Will wonders never cease?An overseas poster flew into our inbox,in an unusual format a day before Million Dollar Hotel was screened during the last week of the semester.And its never to late to archive.
And from an Ex-FIn member too.Much obliged to (and inspired/impressed by!) Shreyas Krishnan 7th Sem Graphic Design for this one.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Afterthought on notebooks

(Handout by Pragya Mishra,7th semester Graphic Design)
Tuesdays screening was 'Notebook on cities and clothes'.
Wim Wenders and Yohji Yamamoto chat about cities and clothes,with Yamamotos unimitatable,refreshingly blasphemous takes on his city(Tokyo),the conflict of identity and affirmations that 'Im a dressmaker,not a fashion designer'.

A documentary,or perhaps going beyond the definition of one?

True this may be,despite that thou might disagree!

Once in a while,people take the initiative to holler back a response after yet another cycle of screenings.As the semester comes to a close,Manish Desai from TAD,3rd semester PG sent in an email on tuesdays' film:
" A designer could connect very well to it. It also examined the nature of documentary and somehow it was about inner conversations between two people brought out in movie."

Take a peek at his blog and see for yourself.
More words like this,if not a review or 'critical cinematographic analysis' will cause the FIN blog to do a hearty (yet dignified,mind) jig on the NID server.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Oct 22nd-Buena Vista Social club

The Buena Vista Social club was born in 1949 in a neighbourhood in Havana,capital of Cuba.The members only club was a place for musicians to meet,play their music together and smoke a cigar or two.
They sang of the ancient deities of fire and water, gave birth to the New World Afro Caribbean religion of Santería, the spiritual heart of Cuban music. A smooth blend of African percussion,European bass and loose American influences was played.

Pianist Rubén González, who played piano on the 1990s recordings, described the 1940s as "an era of real musical life in Cuba, where there was very little money to earn, but everyone played because they really wanted to". The era saw the birth of the jazz influenced mambo, the charanga, and dance forms such as the pachanga and the cha-cha-cha, as well as the continued development of traditional Afro-Cuban musical styles such as rumba and son.

From the 1960s,the cuban governement began a program of shutting down all nighttime entertainment centers-namely gambling outlets,nightclubs and other places associated with Havana's hedonistic,or pleasure-pursueing reputation. A rapid shift to Communism to build a 'classless and colourless society' meant a redefining of forms of expression in the black community. social and cultural centers were abolished and funds stopped,and with that, a whole generation of music and musicans burnt out.

Cold war politics,namely America's suspicious attitude toward Castro's regime,further discouraged revolutionary ideals and the passage of cuban music into america,such as the beginnings of the latino craze in the early 20th century in Europe and America.
By the late 60s, the distinctness of the myriad sub-genres of Cuban tropical music began to blur, diluting into the generic "salsa" that we have today.

The closure of the buena vista social club was inevitable.

In 1996, American guitarist Ry Cooder was invited to Havana by British world music producer Nick Gold of World Circuit Records to record a session where two African High-life musicians from Mali were to collaborate with Cuban musicians.On Cooder's arrival (via Mexico to avoid the ongoing U.S. trade and travel embargo against Cuba).Plans changed and Cooder and Gold decided to record an album of Cuban son music with local musicians.A total of 20 musicans contributed,finally.
Communication between the Spanish and English speakers at the studio was conducted via an interpreter, although Cooder reflected that "musicians understand each other through means other than speaking"
Upon release on 17 September 1997, the CD became a huge "word of mouth hit".It sold more than 5 million copies and won a Grammy award in 1998.In 2003 it was listed by the New York based Rolling Stone magazine as #260 in The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Ry Cooder inspired New German Cinema director wim wenders to film the new beginnings of the buena vista social club album.The performers had concerts in New York and Amsterdam.Footage of the recording sessions,interviews with the musical veterans and final shots of the rural islanders in the Big Apple(some had never stepped beyond their island) were what make some of the most moving scenes in the documentary.No wonder Wenders quoted "..didnt feel like a documentary anymore,feels like a character piece."
The international success of the Buena Vista Social Club generated a revival of interest in traditional Cuban music and Latin American music as a whole,and they continued to tour the world,remarkably...something of a music anamoly!

refer to vista
for more information and extraordinary photography taken by Wenders and his wife.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Oct 14th-23:Sax and violins:The Wim Wender Film Fest

"Sex and violence was never really my cup of tea; I was always more
into sax and violins."

Who is Wim Wenders?

Ernst Wilhelm ("Wim") Wenders (born August 14, 1945) is a German film
director, playwright, author, photographer and producer.

After dabbling in medicine,philosophy,painting and finally as an
engraver,Wenders decided to follow his obsession after watching upto 5
movies every day at the local theatre.He joined the University of Film
& Television Munich in 1967 that fall,subsequently as a film critic.

He debuted in the 1960s as part of the New German Cinema with 'Summer
in the City' and earned further honours between 1982-87 at the Venice
Film Festival,Cannes Film Festival,Bavarian Film Awards and Locarno
International Film Festival.

AND this fortnight is the Wim Wenders Film Festival- 6 films across 2
weeks; every tuesday to thursday.

14th- The American Friend(1977)
15th- Tokyoga(1985)
16th- Wings of Desire(1987)

21st- Notebook on Cities and Clothes(1989)
22nd- Buena Vista Social Club(1999)
23rd- Million Dollar Hotel(2000)

Do contact one of us if you'd like to do an introduction or make a poster!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Filmclub '08-'09

The end of yet another term of another committee of Filmclub.

The elections for 3 posts of the Filmclub managing committee just concluded and the three who will be taking over are as follows:

sem 3,gdpd
Film & Video Communication

sem 3, gdpd
Animation Film Design

sem 1, pgdpd
Film & Video Communication

Congratulations and best of luck guys!


The old team
(Shreyas, Sarah, Amarantha, Deepak)


Today we have a special screening to go with the election for the new Filmclub managing committe (2008-2009). (Results to be posted soon).

From the Animation studio that brought you Animatrix comes this visually stunnig new anime film based on the popular Japanese manga written by Taiyo Matsumoto. In Treasure Town, life can be both gentle and brutal. This is never truer than for our heroes, Black and White, two street urchins who watch over the city, doing battle with an array of old-world Yakuza and alien assassins vying to rule the decaying metropolis.

For more: Visit the official website

Sept 11, SHOLAY

Cut to India.

The most popular western ever made here.


Ramesh Sippy

Sholay can be said to have inaugurated the modern period of commercial Hindi cinema. Often described as India's best-known "curry" western, Sholay was 'patterned' on American spaghetti westerns, though as with any other good Hindi film, the presumed 'copy' is at least as interesting as the 'original'. The addition of romance, comedy, and songs gave it the ambiance that one expects of a Hindi film. The film narrates the story of an ex-cop Thakur Baldev Singh (Sanjeev Kumar) who hires two jail birds (Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra) to eradicate a town and neighbouring villages of the menace of Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan) and his band of dreaded dacoits.

The film made use of several interesting innovations. This included its spectacular cinematography, with shots panning over rocky heights and barren canyons, often under menacing clouds. This lends the movie much of its eerie tension. One of the long opening scenes, which shows a train being defended by Baldev Singh against an attack by bandits, is quite spectacular in its effects, and is reminiscent of similar scenes in westerns, most notably John Ford's "Stagecoach" (1939). Sholay, likewise, plays upon themes of nature versus culture, the encroachment of nature upon culture, and the meaning of civilization in wilderness.

“Kitne aadmi the?”

But Sholay will also be remembered for the heights it took villainy to in Indian films. Unlike earlier villains who were content to bring about a misunderstanding between the lovers' families, Amjad Khan's Gabbar seems to pursue evil as an end in itself.

Sholay presents interesting parallels with its predecessor by nearly two decades, Mehboob Khan's Mother India, notably in the enduring trope of the daku (Indian English "dacoit") or highwayman—an outlaw whose popular representations span the gamut from freedom-loving Robin Hood to rapacious sociopath. Unlike in the former, the dakus of Sholay—from their first appearance in the flashback of the train-shootout—are unambiguously evil and bent on carnage, yet they are apparently ensconced in the very heart of the nation (the film's visual setting is the plateau country of the northern Deccan, India's midsection), and the forces of social order (here focused in the brooding patriarch, Thakur Baldev Singh) are powerless to defeat them. Indeed, the sadistic Gabbar Singh has brutally murdered this "Father India's" two sons and has literally cut off his law-administering arms (cf. the comparable though "accidental" mutilation of the father in Mother India). To strike back, Singh must (as he puts it) "use iron to cut iron," replacing his slain offspring and severed arms with two "adopted" criminal “hands,” who alone possess the requisite bravery (and moral ambivalence) to track down the monster in his lair.

Significantly, a mere six weeks before the premiere of Sholay, on June 26 1975, another self-styled "Mother India," Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, claiming that anti-social forces imperiled the nation and that draconian measures were required to prevent chaos, imposed a "State of Emergency," suspending constitutional rights and jailing thousands of political opponents. In retrospect, Sippy’s cinematic epic appears as a surprisingly dark and prescient parable of the erosion of traditional order and the brutalization of politics in the once-happy
village of Ramgarh—the Nation writ cinemascope.

One of the biggest hits in history of Bollywood, Sholay (in English as Embers, Flames, Flames of the Sun), was recognized as the Best Film of 50 years at the 50th Filmfare awards. It was India's first 70 mm, stereophonic sound film and was released on Friday, August 15, 1975, with as many as 250 prints, including at the Minerva Theatre in Bombay (now Mumbai). This was the first film in the history of Indian cinema to celebrate silver jubilee (25 weeks) at over a hundred theatres across India. To date, more than 1,100 prints of Sholay are in circulation-the highest number for any Hindi film.

Although initially declared a commercial disaster, Sholay went on to become the most successful film in Indian film history. It is the highest grossing movie of all time in
India with collections of Rs. 2,134,500,000/- or US $ 50 million. Even today, it remains the box office gold, a reference point for both the Indian film-going audience & the film industry.

The large cast of super-stars contributed to that, as did the memorable dialogues between Gabbar and Baldev Singh, and between Gabbar and his henchmen. Amjad Khan played the role with perfection, and not without sardonic humor. His lines became so popular that cassettes of Gabbar's dialogues were being sold separately, to be learnt by rote by millions of movie goers.

It is widely acknowledged by movie critics to be one of the best movies ever created by Bollywood and to be the most watched and popular. It was declared "Film of the Millenium" by BBC India and internet polls in 1999.


This week we return to Westerns, not Spaghetti Westerns though. We start with

John Ford

Although there were Westerns before it, Stagecoach quickly became a template for all movie Westerns to come. Director John Ford combined action, drama, humor, and a set of well-drawn characters in the story of a stagecoach set to leave Tonto, New Mexico for a distant settlement in Lordsburg, with a diverse set of passengers on board.

Dallas a woman with a scandalous past who has been driven out of town by the high-minded ladies of the community. Lucy Mallory is the wife of a cavalry officer stationed in Lordsburg, and she's determined to be with him. Hatfield is a smooth-talking cardsharp who claims to be along to "protect" Lucy, although he seems to have romantic intentions. Dr. Boone is a self-styled philosopher, a drunkard, and a physician who's been stripped of his license. Mr. Peacock is a slightly nervous whiskey salesman (and, not surprisingly, Dr. Boone's new best friend). Gatewood a crooked banker who needs to get out of town. Buck is the hayseed stage driver, and Sheriff Wilcox is along to offer protection and keep an eye peeled for the Ringo Kid (John Wayne), a well-known outlaw who has just broken out of jail.

While Wilcox does find Ringo, a principled man who gives himself up without a fight, the real danger lies farther down the trail, where a band of Apaches, led by Geronimo, could attack at any time.

Stagecoach offers plenty of cowboys, Indians, shootouts, and chases, aided by Yakima Canutt's remarkable stunt work and Bert Glennon's majestic photography of Ford's beloved Monument Valley. It also offers a strong screenplay by Dudley Nichols with plenty of room for the cast to show its stuff. John Wayne's performance made him a star after years as a B-Western leading man, and Thomas Mitchell won an Oscar for what could have been just another comic relief role. Thousands of films have followed Stagecoach's path, but no has ever improved on its formula.


poster: Shreyas R Krishnan

Sept o4, SATYA

An Indian Noir today,

Ram Gopal Varma

RGV’s most notable film to date and one that has set standards in its genre is Satya. Satya is the story of an impoverished man who is so dehumanized by society that the only way he can regain some of his humanity is by becoming a cold-blooded killer. It is said that the first thirty minutes of Satya are one of the best thirty minutes of Hindi cinema. It is an entirely different type of gangster film, in that there is no stylish portrayal of gangster life, nor is it a typical cat and mouse game between the police and thugs or between rival gangsters.

Sept 02, PSYCHO

Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize moral ambiguity and sexual motivation. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography, while many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression.

The term film noir (French for "black film"), first applied to Hollywood movies by French critic Nino Frank in 1946, was unknown to most American film industry professionals of the era. Cinema historians and critics defined the canon of film noir in retrospect; many of those involved in the making of the classic noirs later professed to be unaware of having created a distinctive type of film.

What better way to start off a week of Noir films, than with the Master of Suspense himself. Alfred Hitchcock.

"There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it."

One of the most famous-- and possibly apocryphal-- Hitchcock anecdotes concerns a five-year-old Alfred Hitchcock, sent to the local police station with a note from his father after some mischief-making.After reading the note, a sergeant put young Alfred in a cell, and left him there for a few agonizing moments.The policeman returned and let Alfred go, only to tell him, "This is what we do to naughty boys." True or not, this story and Hitchcock's Roman Catholic background encompass all the themes Hitchcock would later put in his work-- terror inflicted upon the unknowing, and sometimes innocent victim; guilt (both real guilt and the appearance of it); fear, and redemption.


This is the film that best epitomises how Hitchcock could mis-direct audiences and play games with them.Psycho (1960) is the "mother" of all modern horror suspense films - it single-handedly ushered in an era of inferior screen 'slashers' with blood-letting and graphic, shocking killings (e.g., Homicidal (1961), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Halloween (1978), Motel Hell (1980), and DePalma's Dressed to Kill (1980) - with another transvestite killer and shower scene).

It is based on the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, which was in turn inspired by the crimes of Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein. The film depicts the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who is in hiding at a motel after embezzling from her employer, and the motel's owner, the lonely Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins).

SAUL BASS (1920-1996) was not only one of the great graphic designers of the mid-20th century but the undisputed master of film title design thanks to his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese. He is known for reinventing the movie title as an art form.

Haunting is the word to describe the vertical bars sweeping across the screen in a manic, mirrored helter-skelter motif at the beginning of Hitchcock’s 1960 Psycho. This staccato sequence is an inspired symbol of Norman Bates’ fractured psyche. Hitchcock also allowed Bass to work on the film itself, notably on its dramatic highpoint, the famous shower –murder scene with Janet Leigh.


  • The film only cost $800,000 to make yet has earned more than $40,000,000. Hitchcock used the crew from his TV series to save time and money. In 1962 exchanged the rights to the film and his TV-series for a huge block of MCA's stock (he became their third largest stockholder).
  • Robert Bloch's original novel was inspired by the notorious serial killer Ed Gein who was also one of the inspirations for the character of Hannibal Lector (The Silence of the Lambs/Manhunter).
  • Hitchcock bought the rights to the novel anonymously from Robert Bloch for just $9,000. He then bought up as many copies of the novel as he could to keep the ending a secret.
  • The blood in the shower scene is actually chocolate sauce.
  • The shot of Janet Leigh flushing the toilet is believed to be the first such shot in American cinema history.
  • The MPAA refused to pass this film because they claimed to be able to see Janet Leigh's nipple during the shower scene. Hitchcock didn't edit it out, but merely sent it back, (correctly, it seems) assuming that they either wouldn't bother to watch it, or miss it the second time.
  • Hitchcock insisted that audiences should only be allowed to see the film from the start so as not to ruin the surprise. This was unheard of back then as people were used to just coming in at any point during a movie.
  • After the film's release Hitchcock received an angry letter from the father of a girl who refused to have a bath after seeing Diabolique and now refused to shower after seeing Psycho. Hitch sent a note back simply saying "Send her to the dry cleaners".
extra: How to turn your boring movie into a Hitchcock thriller


This week, Filmclub brings to you student films from
the following schools. These were received as entries
for the Chitrakatha film festival held at NID

Aug 26th

Aug 28th


The next in our week of Surreal films is:

Jan Svankmajer
Revered Czech animator Svankmajer's 1993 film is a virtually dialogue-free exploration of the strange intimate workings of the lives of six common people. Through a disturbing mix of live action and the wondrous stop-motion animation that the director is famous for, the humdrum lives of a postwoman, shopkeeper, television presenter, detective, and two apartment dwellers are examined and intertwined while we see the elaborate processes these people go through to satisfy strange fetishes which involve food, animals, and everything in between in a way which is not all sexual to the observer.

About the director:
After studying at the Institute of Industrial Arts and the Marionette Faculty of the Prague Academy of Fine Arts in the 1950s, Jan Svankmajer started working as a theatre director, chiefly in association with the Theatre of Masks and the Black Theatre. He first experimented with film-making after becoming involved with the mixed-media productions of Prague's Lanterna Magika Theatre. He began making short films in 1964, and continued working in the same medium for over twenty years, when he finally achieved his long-held ambition to make a feature film based on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (Neco z Alenky (1988)). He has also exhibited his drawings, collages and 'tactile sculptures', many of which were produced in the mid-1970s, when he was temporarily banned from film-making by the Czech authorities. He has been a card-carrying member of the Prague Surrealist Group since 1969.


This week, we move on to Surreal films.

Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early-1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members.

Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non-sequitur; however many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact. Leader Andre Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement.

Surrealism developed out of the Dada activities of World War I the most important center of the movement was Paris. From the 1920s on, the movement spread around the globe, eventually affecting the visual arts, literature, film, and music, of many countries and languages, as well as political thought and practice, and philosophy and social theory

{ For the Surrealist Manifesto } defines Surrealism as " Subjective depiction of emotive themes through unnatural, incongruous and fantastic imagery".

"The real purpose of Surrealism", as Luis Bunuel said, was "to explode the social order, to transform life itself."

Luis Bunuel

"The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie" was (and still is often considered) the most popular work of filmmaker Luis Bunuel.

Minor social embarrassment—people start showing up for a dinner party its hosts are unaware they are throwing—turns into a genial exercise in surrealism. Six middle-class friends keep trying to have a nice meal together, but something—love-making, military exercises, criminal activities, even a sequence where they find themselves on stage in a play, playing themselves—keeps preventing them from breaking bread.

Luis Buñuel creates an absurdly comic and wickedly incisive portrait of the meaningless social rituals and polite hypocrisy of the upper middle class in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. By interweaving exaggerated reality with lucid dream sequences, Buñuel blurs the distinction between civilized behavior and social indictment. He was 72 when he made this film.


Woodstock was a profit-making venture, aptly titled
"Woodstock Ventures". Around 186,000 tickets were
sold beforehand and organizers anticipated approximately
200,000 festival-goers would turn up. Tickets for the event
cost US$18 in advance and $24 at the gate for all three days.
Ticket saleswere limited to record stores in the greater New
York City area, or by mail via a Post Office Box at the Radio
City Station Post Office located in Midtown Manhattan. As
the day of the festival neared, almost double the number of
expected people turned up and demanded that the concert be
made a free one.

The festival came amidst military conflict abroad and racial
discord at home. It was the biggest bash for the counterculture
and is a reminder of the youthful hedonism and excess of the 60s.
It was a culmination of what the counterculture meant—
the bands appealed to the generation that was questioning the
direction of American society. Many of the biggest artists
of the 60s performed at the Festival, and it was their influence on
the youth that brought them together to a farm in Bethel to
struggle against bad weather, food shortages and poor sanitation.
The site of Woodstock became, for four days, a countercultural
mini-nation. Minds were open, drugs were available and "love"
was "free". It was a festival where nearly 400,000 "hippies"
came together to celebrate under the slogan of "three days
of peace and music"

Woodstock- 3 days of peace and music, is a 1970 documentary
on the Woodstock Festival. The film was directed by Micha l
Wadleigh and was edited by (amongst others) Martin Scorsese
and Thelma Schoonmaker. It received the Academy Award
for Documentary Feature, as well as a nomination for Best Sound.

• The documentary was reportedly edited from 120 miles of
footage shot at the three-day concert.
• While they don't appear in the film, or on the soundtrack,
a number of other artists played at Woodstock, such as The
Grateful Dead, Incredible String Band, Creedence Clearwater
Revival, Johnny Winter and Ravi Shankar played through the rain.
• There is a small portion of footage of Jerry Garcia in the film
holding a joint, and also of him discussing the traffic problems
while tuning his guitar.
• Though the Doors did not play at Woodstock, drummer
John Densmore can be seen briefly watching Joe Cocker from
the side of the stage.

For more on Woodstock the festival

Thursday, 14 August 2008


We conclude this weeks war films with a film that could easily also fall
into the genre of comedy. This film takes place during the Second World
War and infact the film was released in America in 1940, i.e. 5 years
before the end of the war.


Charles Chaplin

Chaplin got the idea when a friend, Alexander Korda, noted that
his screen persona and Adolf Hitler looked somewhat similar. Chaplin later
learned they were both born within a week of each other, were roughly the
same height and weight and both struggled in poverty until they reached
great success in their respective fields.

When Chaplin learned of Hitler's policies of racial oppression and nationalist
aggression, he used their similarities as an inspiration to attack Hitler on film.

When he first announced that he was going to make this film, the British
government - whose policy at the time was one of appeasement towards Nazi
Germany - announced that they would ban it. By the time of the film's
release, though, Britain was at war with Germany and in the midst of the
blitz, so the government's attitude towards the film had completely

When this film was released, Adolf Hitler banned it in Germany and in all
countries occupied by the Nazis. Curiosity eventually got the best of him
and he had a print brought in through Portugal. He screened it not once
but twice. Unfortunately, history did not record his reaction to the film.
When told of this, Charles Chaplin said, "I'd give anything to know what
he thought of it."

Released 13 years after the end of the silent era, this was Chaplin's first all-talking,
all-sound film.



Apologies for the delay in updating the blog. As of today, information about all the screenings have been posted.

Happy reading/watching!

Film Club


This week, it's War.


Gillo Pontecorvo
This film was commissioned by the Algerian government. It is based on the 1962 memoire novel
Souvenirs de la Bataille d'Alger, written by Saadi Yacef, one of the military chiefs of
National Liberation Front The film shows the Algerian revolution from both sides. The French
Foreign L has left
Vietnam in defeat and has to prove something. The Algerians are seeking
independence. The two clash. The torture used by the French is contrasted with the Algerian's
use of bombs in soda shops. A look at war as a nasty thing that harms and sullies everyone who
participates in it.
In 2003, the New York Times reported that the Pentagon screened this film for officers and civilian
experts who were discussing the challenges faced by the
US military forces in Iraq. The flier inviting
guests to the screening read: "How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas".
This is the  only film in Oscar history to be a nominee in two separate non-consecutive years. It was
a foreign film nominee for 1966, and then a nominee for screenplay and direction for 1968.


This Italian film which was directed in 1952 by Vittorio De Sica is part of the Itallian Neo Realist
film movement.
Italian Neo Realism is a kind of film making that came up after World War II as studios
were unable to afford large production. Films directors used unprofessional actor and shot
people in real location to cut cost. They also dealt with stories about the difficult economical
and moral conditions of post-World War II Italy.

Vittorio De Sica

Umberto D is a beautiful yet sad film that follows an old retired civil servant who is desperately
trying to maintain a decent standard of living on a rapidly dwindling state pension. But he's up
against his tyrannical landlady, who keeps demanding rent that he can't pay (while renting his
room out to prostitutes during the day), and his only friends are the pregnant housemaid and his
little dog Flike.
It is interesting to know that the director chose to name the leadcharacter of this
film after his own father.

"The high quality of this motion picture, brought to eloquent life in a
country scarred by war, is proof to the world that the creative spirit can triumph over adversity."


The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks at the end of World War II against the Empire of Japan by the United States at the order of U.S. President Harry S. Truman on August 6 and 9, 1945. After six months of intense firebombing of 67 other Japanese cities, the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed on August 9 by the detonation of the "Fat Man" nuclear bomb over Nagasaki. These are to date the only attacks with nuclear weapons in the history of warfare.

The bombs killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945, roughly half on the days of the bombings. Since then, thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs. In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the dead were civilians.

Six days after the detonation over Nagasaki, on August 15, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, officially ending the Pacific War and therefore World War II. (Germany had signed its Instrument of Surrender on May 7, ending the war in Europe.) The bombings led, in part, to post-war Japan adopting Three Non-Nuclear Principles, forbidding that nation from nuclear armament.


Isao Takahata

In the waning days of World War II, American bombers drop napalm canisters on Japanese cities, creating fire storms. These bombs, longer than a tin can but about as big around, fall to earth trailing cloth tails that flutter behind them; they are almost a beautiful sight. After they hit, there is a moment's silence, and then they detonate, spraying their surroundings with flames. In a Japanese residential neighborhood, made of flimsy wood and paper houses, there is no way to fight the fires.

"Grave of the Fireflies" (1988) is an animated film telling the story of two children from the port city of
Kobe. With the fall of the fire bombs, they become orphans and homeless. This film, based on ‘Hotaru no Haka’, the semi-autobiography by Akiyuki Nosaka, relates the tragedies of war as Seita and Setsuko struggle to survive with only each other to hold onto.


Isao Takahata is a long-time colleague of Miyazaki and a co-head of Studio Ghibli. Unlike Miyazaki, Takahata started his career as a director from the beginning. Born in 1935, he graduated from the most prestigious university in Japan, Tokyo University, and joined the newly founded animation studio Toei Doga in 1959.

He and Miyazaki became friends through the animators' union at Toei Doga, which he vice-chaired and Miyazaki chaired. His first movie, Horus: The Prince of the Sun (1968) is still considered one of the greatest examples of Japanese animation. Miyazaki worked as an animator for this movie, providing numerous ideas. Takahata and Miyazaki continued working as a director-animator team for many great animated masterpieces, including Lupin III, Heidi, 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, and Anne of Green Gables


Guru Dutt

Kaagaz ke Phool has been considered Guru Dutt's finest film by many. A
cinematic masterpiece that went over the audience's heads and sank like
the Titanic so to say.

Technically the film is perhaps his best film. The camerawork with
its use of light and shadows is magical. The frames have been
beautifully composed keeping in mind the cinemascope format. ( It is
India's first ever film in cinemascope and got cinematographer V.K.
Murthy the Filmfare award ) The relationship between the director and
his protégé is delicately handled on a very human plane. The film
making scenes are shot with meticulous attention to detail. The
ambiance of the film studios is most effectively created. (Although
audiences could not digest this breaking down of the myth surrounding
the film world, its aura and glamour ) And song picturisations, as
mentioned already a strong point of Guru Dutt, are taken to new heights
particularly Dekhi Zamaane ki Yaari and Waqt ne Kiya Kya Haseen Situm
the latter perhaps the best ever song sung by Geeta Dutt.

Today, Kaagaz ke Phool enjoys a cult following and goes house full whenever re-released.


More than anything the phenomenon of song and dance gives Indian Cinema its unique identity. Unlike Hollywood, where the 'Musical' was a separate genre by itself, song and dance has been an integral part of the narrative in Indian Cinema be it in any language or genre.



Shankarabharanam deals with the character, of Sankara Sastry, who devotes his heart and soul to Sangeetham. At the height of popularity, he meets Tulasi -a prostitute, who is also very interested in classical arts. Being impressed by Sankara Sastry's mastery over Carnatic music, she tries to devote her entire life to learn and practice under his guidance. She murders a man who tries to misbehave with her, and is sent to jail. Sastry fights for her and gets her out. But as the caste-ridden society does not accept the Guru-sishya relationship that they share, she leaves Sastry's home.

Several years later, Pop music is the ‘in-thing’ and Indian classical music takes a back seat with classical musicians finding it hard to earn their daily bread. At this point, Tulasi enters the story again, with her son…

Vishwanath's musical hit, Shankarabharanam, is often presented as the film that transformed the Telugu film industry in 1980s. It borrows extensively from the classical Carnatic music to tell the story of a relationship between a Carnatic guru and a prostitute. It led to the revival of Indian classical music in Andhra Pradesh. The movie deals with 2 relevant topics-

Decline in popularity of Carnatic music and the Guru-sishya relationship.

The film released in only one theatre and opened to empty hall. But it later turned out to be one of the biggest hits of 1979. The success of this film triggered a sequence of other art movies in Telugu, including Thyagayya, Meghasandesam (by Dasari N. Rao), and Viswanath's own follow-ups to Sankaraabharanam: Saagara Sangamam, Sruthi Layalu, Swarna Kamalam, Sirivennela, and Swathi Kiranam.

The film was remade in Hindi as Sur Sangam (1985) with Girish Karnad and Jaya Prada.


National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment (1980)
National Film Award for Best Music Direction (1980) - K. V. Mahadevan
National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer (1980) - S. P. Balasubrahmanyam
National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer (1980) - Vani Jayaram


It's time to celebrate the Musical.

Robert Stevenson

This film is a heart warming comedy that tells the tale of Mary Poppins
who is a kind of Super-nanny who flies in with her umbrella in response
to the request of the Banks children and proceeds to put things right with
the aid of her rather extraordinary magical powers before flying off

The movie combines a diverting story, songs, color and sequences of live
action blended with the movements of animated figures.

for more


Next in line in this week,

Jacques Tati

Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed; nearly wordless comedies about confusion in the age of technology reached their creative apex with Playtime. For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-year-long, bank-breaking production, Tati again thrust the endearingly clumsy, resolutely old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a host of other lost souls, into a bafflingly modernist Paris. With every inch of its super wide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, Playtime is a lasting testament to a modern age tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion. This was also the only film that Tati shot on 70mm.

Paris’s treasured monuments are but a fading memory, seemingly incongruous with the new ethos of cold conformity. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc De Triomphe and numerous other icons of antiquated French culture are spotted in reflections as people pass through the clear glass doors, as constant reminder of what has passed. In order to facilitate his vision for Playtime, Tati had an entire scale-city built on the outskirts of Paris. Dubbed “Tativille” it featured moveable, cut-down models of skyscrapers that could be positioned accordingly and large ground-level street sets custom-made to suit the directors’ pre-planned intentions.


Tati introduced his most enduring character, the near-silent and bumbling Monsieur Hulot in 1953 with Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday. Tati’s unfussy plot decisions simply constructed the necessary unfamiliar environment within which Hulot could be best placed to act as the comedy stooge in relation to the strangeness that surrounded him.

In Playtime, Hulot is a passenger ambling through a fully modernised Paris of sleek glass and steel office towers, now transformed to resemble every other major city in the world, as depicted in numerous tourism posters.


Jacques Tati was born in Le Pecq in 1907 as Jacques Tatischeff, the son of a Russian father and a Dutch mother. He once said famously that he endeavoured to produce films that would make people smile. On reflection, his body of work proves that he went much further; subtly encouraging people to observe more intently and to think more astutely about social concerns through a gentle form of humour. As a filmmaker, Tati has recurring themes (the leisure class, modernisation, children at play, mass entertainment), and his compositions seem mathematically calculated yet spontaneous and vibrant.

July 22, PUSHPAK

Laughter is the best medicine, it is said. This week Film Club presents comedy films.
First up,

Singeetham Srinivasa Rao

...Kamal Hassan is an updated little tramp for 1980s India, a young unemployed man who searches for a job in a desultory and hopeless manner, and is a bit of a pushover. After a chance encounter with a millionaire who is a drunkard, Hassan kidnaps the man and replaces him at Pushpak, a swank five star hotel that he is booked into...

Pushpak is a black comedy Indian film released in 1988. Set in an large unnamed Indian city (shot in Bangalore), the film is based on the king-for-a-day story.

At a time when only very self consciously art house films eschewed songs, Pushpak went a step further and did away with dialogue as well, creating one of the most sincere silent films ever made. There are very few scenes of characters in conversation and no cue cards — a staple of even Silent Movie, Mel Brook’s tongue-in-cheek tribute to the era.

And yet there was a lot more to Pushpak than just a gimmick. It may have done away with some of the trappings of commercial cinema but had all the elements that make a great mainstream entertainer — a love story, a crime caper, a thriller and a comedy — with plotlines blending together seamlessly. The primary narrative pays tribute to Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights.

July 17, ABHAYAM

The next film in the Childhood package is,



Eight-year-old Vinu is an imaginative child, who is locked within the pressures of the urban education system by his ambitious parents. Tied to his daily routine, Vinu keeps seeing his small table clock in a nightmare, where he is little and the clock is colossal, where he is eternally trying to hold back the hands from sticking 6 in the morning and always failing.

Tried of battling with the daily routine, Vinu runs away from home one day. He roams the city in the hope of reaching the bus stop where he can find a bus to take him to his village. He encounters many adventures and finally reaches his village as a stowaway in a boat. The he finds that his anxious parents have reached before him, having suspected his destination from what his closest friend told them.

About the director

Sivan began his career as a photo journalist and won several awards for his photographs. In 1959 he set up his own film studio, and soon after that an art gallery for new artists and photographers. Through the years, Sivan has produced over twenty documentaries and short films for the Films Division and other institutions. Swapnam (1972) was the first feature film to be produced by him, which won four state awards. Yagam (1980) and Abhayam (1991) too won him several awards.

July 15, 400 BLOWS

From today, we get back to our weekly themed screenings. This week's theme is childhood.

Francoise Truffaut

tories of childhood have often been tempered with the melancholic yearning of lost innocence (as in Louis Malle's Au Revoir Les Enfants) or the profound weight of human misery (as in Robert Bresson's Mouchette). In The 400 Blows, François Truffaut introduces his alterego, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud), a young man attempting to break from the confines of his unremarkable life through escapism and mischief. Antoine's vacuous, neglected life unfolds before us with dispassionate objectivity: a misunderstood, underachieving student invariably caught red-handed with the pinup centerfold or scribbling on the classroom wall; a selfish, adulterous mother attempting to reach her son through bribery; a crude, distant father flaunting his generosity in giving the illegitimate son a name. But the pensive Antoine is hardly the incorrigible delinquent that everyone has destined for him, and his fascination for cinema and literature provide a fleeting distraction from his ennui. Attempting to conceal a failing grade on a Blazac-inspired essay (which the teacher is convinced he has plagiarized), he runs away from home, an act which exacerbates to theft, and inevitably, sends him to a camp for juvenile delinquents.

Truffaut's assured camerawork never wavers in this highly influential and relevant film of adolescence. Successive, montage shots of children watching a puppet show emphasize their innocence, and sharply contrast with the disillusioned Antoine in jail, seemingly detaching himself from his inextricable situation by pulling his turtleneck over his nose. Fluid camera tracking pervade the film's exterior shots, reflecting the humor and vitality of youth. Note the lightly paced, overhead shot of the outdoor exercise scene, as the boys slowly splinter off in different directions until no one is left. In contrast, Antoine's flight from the reform school is slow and labored, reaching an uncertain conclusion. Ending with the infamous stop motion zoom of Antoine at the shoreline, he is at a proverbial crossroads: unable to keep running away, looking back at a familiar, hopeless fate.




“I used to believe in many things, all of it! Now, I believe only in dynamite.”

The last in our Spaghetti Western package, this film, despite its name, is not a spaghetti western. It is what is called a "Zapata Western", after the famous Mexican revolutionary. These films are characterized by the simultaneously friendly and antagonistic relationship between a local bandit, and a foreigner who is an expert at revolution.

In A Fistful of Dynamite , Juan Miranda (Ron Steiger) is a Mexican bandit who runs across Sean Mallory (James Coburn), who is an IRA terrorist on the run. After some initial hostility and a few explosions, Juan convinces Sean to rob the Bank of Mesa Verde. Sean, however, arranges things so that Juan frees hundreds of political prisoners while looking for the safe in the bank. After that, Juan slowly turns into a full- fledged revolutionary, while Sean loses his revolutionary fervor.

Thursday, 10 July 2008


On day 3 of our Spaghetti westerns festival, we bring to you...

...The mother of all Westerns...

“When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk.”

The last movie of the ‘Dollars trilogy’ is a bit different then the previous ones. For starters, the title doesn't mention anything about dollars. Yet it is still considered part of the series due to the appearance of Clint Eastwood, and the similar storyline (all three concern the acquisition of large amounts of gold by The Man With No Name playing two sides against each other). The film’s working title was The Two Magnificent Tramps and was changed just before shooting began when Vincenzoni, the scriptwriter, thought up The Good, The Bad & The Ugly which Leone loved. It was part of Time's "100 Greatest movies of the last century".

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

For a Few Dollars More, July 9

“I didn't hear what the bet was.”

“Your life.”

This sequel to A Fistful of Dollars continues what is called the ‘Dollars trilogy’.

In this movie, the Man With No Name is back, and this time he's a bounty hunter. So is the Colonel (Lee Van Cleef). They both set their sights on a recently escaped bandit, Indio, who plans to rob the Bank of El Paso. The Man with No Name and the Colonel conspire to turn in Indio and his men for a huge reward, but with such a huge reward, the two bounty hunters must watch each other as closely as they watch Indio.

For a Few Dollars More is the first film that contains what is to become a Leone trademark, the musical theme embodied within the movie itself, where the music is often both diagetic and non-diagetic (within and separate from the action).

Poster by Vidit Narang

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

A Fistful of Dollars, June 8

“When a man's got money in his pocket he begins to appreciate peace.”

An obscure director named Sergio Leone was given $200,000 and a load of leftover film stock and told to make a Western. With a script based on Akira Kurosawa's samurai epic Yojimbo and an American TV actor named Clint Eastwood, Leone made what was essentially supposed to be a throw-away film; Per un Pugno di Dollari - A Fistful of Dollars. This violent, cynical and visually stunning film introduced ‘The Man With No Name’, the anti-heroic gunslinger for whom money is the only motivation and the villains are merely obstacles to be removed. Many later films followed this formula of the lone gunman in pursuit of money to the exclusion of all else. Leone's unique style, artistic camera angles, extension of time and raw, explosive violence presented a skewed view of the West, making his film different from any Western that had come before. Critics panned it for its brutal depiction of an unromantic West, but audiences loved it.

Poster by Vidit Narang

Spaghetti Westerns

This week's screenings are a package of four Spaghetti Westerns, directed by Sergio Leone, that Filmclub has received from the Italian Cultural Institute:


What are Spaghetti Westerns?

Between 1960 and 1975, European film production companies made nearly 600 Westerns. Critics either blasted or ignored these films, and because most of them were financed by Italian companies, they called them Spaghetti Westerns.

Originally these films had in common the Italian language, low budgets, and a recognizable highly fluid, violent, and minimalist cinematography that broke many of the conventions of earlier Westerns — partly intentionally, partly as a result of the work being done in a different cultural background and with limited funds. The term was originally used disparagingly, but by the 1980s many of these films came to be held in high regard, particularly because it was hard to ignore the influence they had in redefining the entire idea of a western. Most traditional Westerns have clearly defined lines separating heroes from villains; only in Spaghetti Westerns do both sides begin to stray into the gray areas in between.

Sergio Leone
Leone came from a family with roots deep in the Italian film industry. His mother, Edvige Valcarenghi (stage name Bice Walerian), was a silent movie actress who gave up her profession when she married Vincenzo Leone in 1916. Vincenzo (stage name Roberto Roberti) directed and acted in films during the silent era, but for reasons that are not entirely clear he was prevented from working during the 1930s by Italy's Fascist regime. Vincenzo tried to discourage his son from entering the world of cinema, and Sergio briefly studied law before working as an unpaid fifth assistant on Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief in 1948.

Leone's first directorial effort came in 1959, when he stepped in to finish The Last Days of Pompeii for his aging mentor Mario Bonnard. He directed only seven films, his most famous being the three of the "Dollars trilogy".


The Colossus of Rhodes (1960)

A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

For a Few Dollars More (1965)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Duck, You Sucker (A Fistful of Dynamite) (1971)

Once Upon a Time in
America (1984)

Thursday, 3 July 2008


In tuesday's film Charulata, what begins as a seemingly straightforward character study quickly develops into a scathing critique of the social hypocrisies of the Bengali Renaissance. Charu becomes representative of a generation of women, encouraged to experience a sense of liberty and independence, but only within the andarmahal (inner sanctum of the house).

Today's film is different from Charulata, read on.

Abbas Kiarostami


103 mins.

The film tells a story of Hossein, a poor man who acts in a film as  the husband of Tahereh,
a woman who in real life
he has been pursuing without success.

By defining the role of cinema as a chronicle of real life, Kiarostami takes on the role of documenter rather than director. In depicting the everyday lives of ordinary people through mundane conversations and unremarkable actions, he attempts to capture the essence of the human soul in a way that is honest and contemplative. But in the process of conveying life in real-time, his films can also test one's patience. In Through the Olive Trees, the director shuts off the camera, only to find that the lives of his actors are far more fascinating off-camera than the characters that they portray on camera. To accelerate this revelation, that is, to cull out the personal observations of the director for the sake of brevity, is to deny human experience. To trivialize its message is to comment on our own insignificance. Should the camera only be used as an instrument of entertainment? Is the wonder of life only worth capturing when there is an audience?

The final scene of Through the Olive Trees is a hypnotic reflection of the passage of real time, and we are reminded that we have witnessed one mere episode, one fleeting glimpse, of a wondrous phenomenon called life.

About the Director

Abbas Kiarostami was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1940. He graduated from university with a degree in fine arts before starting work as a graphic designer. He then joined the Center for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, where he started a film section, and this started his career as a filmmaker at the age of 30.

He is the most influential and controversial post-revolutionary Iranian filmmaker and one of the most highly celebrated directors in the international film community of the last decade. Kiarostami's films contain a notable degree of ambiguity, an unusual mixture of simplicity and complexity, and often a mix of fictional and documentary elements. He has consistently attempted to by lowering its full definition and forcing the increased involvement of the audience. This he normally achieves with his style which is notable for the use of panoramic long shots where the audience is intentionally distanced physically from the characters in order to make them reflect on their fate.

poster--> Vidit Narang