Monday, 31 March 2008

The Life of Oharu, March 27

Kenzi Mizoguchi

Based upon the novel "The Woman who Loved Love", by Saikaku Ihara, The Life of Oharu is a beautiful but deeply depressing experience. Hugely engrossing, Mizoguchi's film is a sophisticated tale of female oppression set in the 17th Century attacking the divide of sexes and class prevelant at the time yet also directing a subversive glance at the inequalities of 1950's Japan. This epic drama charts the extraordinarily unfortunate fate bestowed upon the daughter of an esteemed Lord. Falling in love with a lower ranking servant, Oharu finds both herself and her parents banished from the city by the courts. Forced to make a meagre living by any means possible and with the love of her life executed for his actions, Oharu finds herself drifting inexorably down a path of heartbreak and prostitution.

poster--> Shreyas R Krishnan

Woman of the Dunes, march 25

Hiroshi Teshigahara

Today we screen WOMAN OF THE DUNES , a 1964 japanese film based on writer
KOBO ABE's masterpiece.

A Japanese entomologist finds himself held prisoner in a sand pit with an
alluring woman who expects him to work at her side. To his surprise, the
scientist develops an intense bond with his female companion and resigns
himself to an eternity of hypnotic routine. A surreal allegory reflecting
man's grim fate...

"The story of a journey of inner discovery during which the protagonist
remembers what it means to be human in a modern society that sometimes
seems to have forgotten."

Hiroshi Teshigahara was an avant-garde Japanese filmmaker. He was only
incidentally a filmmaker. Son of the founder and grand master (Iemoto) of
the Sogetsu School of Ikebana (more moribundly known as flower-arranging),
he turned to film as an extension of his aesthetic explorations in other
A graduate of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, he was
a painter and sculptor, designed gardens and tea rooms, directed operas
and Noh plays for the stage. And he made 21 films, most of them short
documentaries on subjects as varied as Hokusai and Hispanic boxers.

posters--> Anisha Thampy

Monday, 24 March 2008

AI NO CORRIDA, march 20


Nagisa Oshima

This is a film based on a true story of fatal sexual obsession in
1930s Japan.The film is an exploration of how eroticism in Japanese
culture is often morbid or death-obsessed.

The Japanese title of the film speaks neither of empires nor senses.
It speaks of love and death, Eros and Thanatos. Ai no corrida - the
Corrida of Love - links love to the bullfight, the ritualised fight
to the death between the matador and the bull.

The film's full frontal nudity and graphic depiction of pubic hair
were designed to provoke and affront the Japanese censors. Japanese
censorship laws, which allowed graphic representations of violence,
including rape, forbad the explicit display of sexual organs and
pubic hair. This taboo originated in the Meiji era and was connected
to the campaign of the Japanese state to be accepted by the Western
powers as a modern civilized state. Prior to the Meiji Restoration, the
pornography industry flourished both in literature and art.So Japanese
social critics, artists and intellectuals, regarded flouting the censorship
laws as an attack on the state, a radical political act.

In general the film does celebrate the pleasures and varieties of sexual
intercourse. It does so by drawing on the artistic heritage of the
pornographic Japanese wood-block print of the Edo era (17th - 19th
century), known as shunga.

illustration: Shreyas

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

TEN, march 18

After the Makhmalbafs, we now bring to you another key figure in Iranian
Cinema- Abbas Kiarostami, also the last film in our Iraninan package.

Abbas Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami casts his masterful cinematic gaze upon the modern
sociopolitical landscape of his homeland—this time as seen through the
eyes of one woman as she drives through the streets of Tehran over a
period of several days. Her journey is comprised of ten conversations with
female passengers—including her sister, a hitchhiking prostitute
and a jilted bride—as well as her imperious young son. As Kiarostami’s
“dashboard cam” eavesdrops on these lively, yet heart-wrenching road
trips, a complex portrait of contemporary Iran comes sharply into focus.

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. Since then he has made
many movies and has become one of the most important figures in
contemporary Iranian film. He is also a major figure in the arts world,
and has had numerous gallery exhibitions of his photography, short films
and poetry. He is an iconic figure for what he has done, and he has
achieved it all by believing in the arts and the creativity of his mind.

poster by--> Ipsa Mehta

Thursday, 13 March 2008

THE APPLE, march 13

Samira Makhmalbaf
(the last film we screened was her father's 'Gabbeh')


There is no family in the film world these days more fascinating than the
Iranian Makhmalbafs. They've been known to sell their house and car to
finance a film, buy them back when they sell the film, and start all over
again the moment the next project comes up.


~88 minutes semi-documentary~

Richly allusive and beautifully photographed, "THE APPLE" follows the
aftermath of a real-life situation, in Tehran, in which a father had kept
his two daughters confined to their home since birth. Their mother is
blind and their father is a strict religious man who is concerned about
their honour should they be left on their own or subjected to the sinful
influences of the outside world while he is out of the house.

When neighbors reported the situation to the welfare authorities in
Teheran, the daughters, who are slightly retarded, were removed from the
home and returned to their parents only on the condition that the father
allow the two to leave home and explore the outside world.



Being the daughter of famous Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Samira’s
upbringing was both privileged and liberal, and in most respects very
different from the experience her two subjects in the film 'The Apple'

Samira saw the story on television and wanted to film their story using
the real people as themselves. She heard about the story on a Wednesday
and began filming on the Sunday 4 days later.

Samira Makhmalbaf belongs to New wave movement of Iranian cinema. he left
high school when she was 14, to learn cinema in the Makhmalbaf Film House
for 5 years. At the age of 17, after directing two video productions, she
went on to direct the movie The Apple. One year later, the 18 year old
director went on to become the youngest director in the world
participating in the official section of the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.



"The apple like the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible, represents life
and knowledge in Iranian poetry. We have a similar story in the Qur’an.
But I actually found this element in the children’s life. Because while
everyone was worried about the fate of these two girls, they were eating
an apple, and truly enjoying it. So I decided to keep the symbol of the
apple throughout the film".

"The best thing I've learned from my father is not to judge but to love

'THE APPLE' has been invited to more than 100 international film festivals
in a period of 2 years, while going to the screen in more than 30

poster- Merryn John Tharakan

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

GABBEH, march 11

Our flight around the world stops in Iran this week. We start with


Mohsen Makhmalbaf

The directors life story is film worthy. The director was a poor
boy from the city of Tehran he began working to support his family
at the tender age of 8. By 15 he had formed an under-ground Islamic
militia group. At 17 he was shot when trying to disarm a police
officer he was thrown into jail. He spent his four years there,
educating himself. After he was out he decided to write and make films.

Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf are considered to be responsible
for the worlds recognition of Iranian cinema.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf also started a film school in Iran his children and
family being its star pupils his daughter Samira made APPLE at the tender
age of 18. It won the Cannes special jury award. We are screening that
next on Thursday do come.

GABBEH is a film popular amongst NID faculty to introduce the colour
course. A gabbeh carpet is a triple hand-knotted carpet crafted almost
exclusively by women from Qashqai tribes in southwestern Iran.
The film follows the story of tribal girl the carpet she weaves and the
love she waits for.

They say that Iranian new wave borrows it style from the
Italian neo realisim and the art films from their European
counter parts But many people argue that the Iranian film making
style is purely theirs. Their films drift in and out of reality
effortlessly. They bridge the gap between documentary and fiction.
The frames are picturesque and the stories quaint and lovely.
There is something so humanistic about their films that they
appeal to everyone.

We will be beginning today’s screening with an animation package
from R.C.A.

poster--> Shreyas R Krishnan


As an exta special treat for you, we take you through a thousand nights in beautiful arabia following
the adventures of a prince on his magical journey


The film is animated in a style in which the character are always seen in
silhouette almost like a chinese puppet show. The story is based on the
elements taken from the collection 1001 Arabian Nights, prince Achmed with
the assistance of Aladdin, the Witch of the Fiery Mountain, and a magic
horse, battles the evil African sorcerer to win the hand of Princess Peri

About the director: LOTTE REINIGER

Born June 2, 1899, Berlin; Died June 19, 1989
She spent much of her life creating unique and often amazing silhouette
animation. After a short period of at Max Rienhardt's studio, Reiniger
began began working on intertitle design for Paul Wegener's films at
the age of sixteen. Her titles were made of hand-cut silhouettes, and
in 1919 she developed this technique to create a complete animated
silhouette film. In 1921, Reiniger married Carl Koch, who served as her
producer and camera operator for the next 40 years.

Between 1923 and 1926, Rieniger and Koch, with assistance from animators Walter Rutmann, Bertolt Bartosch, and Alex Kardan, created The Adventures of Prince Achmed. One of the world's first feature-length animated films, The Adventures of Prince Achmed displayed Reiniger's ability to create captivating characters through intricate design and an amazingly graceful sense of movement. The film remains unsurpassed as a demonstration of animated art.

With the advent of sound, Reiniger made a series of short films set to the music of Mozart. Through the 1930's, with the rise of Disney, Fleischer, and Warner Bros., character-based cel animation became the dominant animation form. As animated cartoons, with their costly and labor-intensive production requirements, became the standard, the works of filmmakers like Reiniger became less marketable. But because silhouette animation requires considerable patience and individual skill, but not necessarily the the production costs of cel animation, Reiniger was able to continue creating her unique animation until the 1970s.

Modern audiences seem to have an aversion to viewing silhouette animation, until they've seen the films of Lotte Reiniger. Even her later films, produced for television in the 1950s and noticably less sophisticated than her early work, possess a pure cinematic magic that is present in the work of very few animators. In all likelihood, there will never be a silhouette animator who will match Reiniger's skill, vision, and patience, and her films may well remain a unique testament to the potential achievements of the artform. Her films may easily hold their magic for audiences of the future, one hundred, two hundred, three hundred years from now. If this is true, by patiently creating beautiful silhouette animation based on fable and myth, Lotte Reiniger may have created a legacy of filmwork which will offer entertainment and amazement for the ages.

Rohit Iyer made a poster for the film, clumsy me cant seem to find it, will post it once i get my hands on it again..

Here's a clip from the film!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


In Britain of the 1950s divisions of class were far more rigid than they are today.
The 'new wave' films and the sources that inspired them gave a voice to a
working-class that was for the first time gaining some economic power.

Tony Richardson belongs to that generation of British film directors which includes
Lindsay Anderson and Karel Reisz, all of them university-trained middle-class
artists who were sympathetic to the conditions of the working classes and
determined to use cinema as a means of personal expression, in line with the goals
of the Free Cinema movement.

Taking audiences out of the studio and into the streets, where the real stories
were, Richardson and his partners favored realism above all: young, fresh actors,
location shooting, and narratives featuring controversial subjects such as
interracial dating and sex, homosexuality and class.

This 1961 film is based on an avant-garde play of the 1950s Britain. It talked
frankly about the taboo subjects of pre-marital sex, teenage pregnancy, abortion,
and adoption from the woman's point-of-view .

"If audiences throughout Britain were stunned by the in-your-face attitude of
'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning', they were left somewhere between tears and a
sense of hope with 'A Taste of Honey',an important film in the history of British

Jo is a seventeen-year-old and appears to be a loner. She lives with her mother
Helen who is constantly involved in affairs with men much younger in age. Jo
develops a rather positive take on everything unfavourable that is happening in her
life. She keeps herself busy mostly by sketching and drawing.
She meets Jimmy who she falls in love with, just before he is to go away on a long
voyage. Jo’s mother abandons her after finding Peter, a rich and much younger lover.
It is here that Jo meets Geoffrey, a kind-hearted gay man. Geoffrey and Jo get along
well and share a very similar optimistic take on life despite all its hardships. Jo
eventually discovers that she is pregnant, a shocking result of the last night she
spent with Jimmy. Though scared at first, Jo decides to keep the baby...

more about British New Wave


It was not until the release of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning in 1960 that the true effect of the ‘Wave’ was felt. Directed by Free Cinema veteran Karel Reisz and produced by another Free Cinema pioneer Tony Richardson, the film took over audiences in Britain like an avalanche over a small village in some god forsaken valley. It had all the ingredients for a controversial film: an anti-social protagonist, morally questionable behaviour and portrayal of taboo topics like unwanted pregnancy and extra-marital affairs. Albert Finney brings out the performance of his lifetime in his portrayal of the hot tempered tough guy Arthur Seaton, a role which was considered Britain’s reply to Marlon Brando.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was the first film to have all its exterior shots to be filmed on location. This was a major move which would influence the following films in the New Wave to be gradually filmed entirely on location. The film was also well known for its clash with the censor board. A significant amount of dialogue in the film had to be replaced owing to the extensive use of swear words in the script. Another major problem was the depiction of Albert Finney’s character Arthur waking up on Sunday morning in bed with his colleague’s wife, a scene directly implying extra-marital affair which was not seen before in British cinema.

For more on this film and the British New Wave-->

Monday, 3 March 2008

Schedule >> MARCH+APRIL

This month is the last month for Filmclub (this semester). So dont miss any of the screenings! I assure you, holidays result in sorely missing the films in the audi!!

We continue with our New Wave journey. After seeing films from France, Germany and Czechosolovakia, we move on to Britain (and another film from Germany), Iran, Japan and finally to India. It is interesting to see how the "New Wave" does not happen simultaneously and has a variety of causes, each different in every country.

M6- A TASTE OF HONEY, Tony Richardson
M11-GABBEH, Mohsen Makmalbaf
M13-APPLE, Samira makmalbaf
M18-TEN, Abbas Kiarostami
M25-WOMAN OF THE DUNES, Hiroshi Teshigahara
M27-THE LIFE OF OHARU, Kenji Mizoguchi

A1- MEGHE DAKHA TARA, Ritwik Ghatak


Film club transports you to Czechoslovakia in and around the Bohemian
train station of Lodenice. Set near the end of the second world war the
film is about Milos who works at the railway station, he is oblivious to
the war and the resistance that surrounds him, this young man embarks on a
journey of sexual awakening and self-discovery, encountering a universe of
frustration, eroticism, and adventure within his sleepy backwater depot. .


Jiri Menzel

JIRI MENZEL won an academy award in the category of best foreign film for
this film it was his first feature length film . The film is an adaptation
of a novel by Bohumil Hrabal . The director also acts in the film as
doctor brabec.


Today’s film 'Sedmikrasky'/'Daisies' is directed by a gutsy Czech woman!
This freewheeling 1966 gem of the Czech New Wave is an attack on
consumerism and materialism and many other aspects of the male dominated
society of the time!
{This film was, like our previous screening, banned by the communist


A witty surrealist comedy about two uninhibited young women Marie and
Marie who work together to create mischief and turn against the numbing
state of society in a madcap flurry of pranks and material destruction
that seem to be harmless but each of the moves is loaded with consequences
that soon snowball into serious trouble.. Seeing the world ruined and
values worthless, they decide to "go bad."
74 MINS | COLOUR | CZECH with ENGLISH subtitles | AUDI 6:15pm |

Part of the Czech New Wave of the early 1960s, Vera Chytilova made films
that were acclaimed for their visual experimentation and formal
innovation. While this reputation gained her international respect, it
also resulted in criticism by officials in her own country, which
disapproved of avant-garde styles and themes.

catch a scene from the film at



Everyone does what they can to avoid thinking. Laziness is the most basic
human trait. People don't want to think—they can't make the connection
between entertainment and thought. They want immediate kicks. People will
not be human until they get pleasure from thought—only a thinking person
can be a full person."
—Vera Chytilova, 1978

"One should try everything" insists one of the two heroines of Daisies
(1966). Heedless of clichÈ and formula, Chytilova explodes narrative and
bends the frame: her films donít stop until they've filled every crevice
with invention. Daisies attacks any pretense that human society is more
than a mechanism for organizing the consumption of food.

Romantic love is but one of the bourgeois ideals sacrificed over the
course of the film: the women also smash the cinematic illusion of
three-dimensional space, as they scissor up their own film images into a
jigsaw of body parts.

DAISIES was banned by the government until 1967 but when it was released
it won the Grand Prix at the film festival in Bergamo, Italy.
The films preferred by the Soviet-dominated Czech government included
straightforward stories of industrial heroes, films based on classic
literature and fairy stories,and domestic and detective comedies.
There was a profound dislike and distrust of allegorical content and
avant-garde experimentation, which was associated with intellectualism and
elitism by the bureaucrats and politicians who controlled the film
industry.Officially they complained that the imagery of the film revealed
a wastage of food, referring to the scenes in which the main characters
destroy a banquet setting.


After giving you the best of the German and French new wave we now move
to the Czechoslovak new wave . Trademarks of the movement contain long
unscripted dialogues, dark and absurd humour, and the casting of
inexperienced actors. The films often treated themes that were uncommon
in communist countries, such as the love-confusion of young people or the
absence of morality in Czechoslovak society.The movement came to an
abrupt end following the 1968 Soviet clampdown on the liberalization of
the Prague spring Milos Forman and Passer fled the country, while those
who remained faced heavy censorship of their work.

Milos Forman

This film was Milos Formans was the last film Forman would make in his
native Czechoslovakia. It is also the first film he shot in color, and a
milestone of the Czech New Wave. It is considered a cult film. He
continued to make films in hollywood which include One flew over the
cuckoos nest and Amadeus among others.

this film is set in a fire department in a small town which is having a
big party when the ex-boss of the department celebrates his 86th birthday.
The whole town is invited but things don't go as planned. Someone is
stealing the prizes to the lottery and the candidates for the Miss
Fire-Department beauty contest are neither willing or particularly


Rainer Werner Fassbinder

The story acts as an allegory for Germany after the war, using the story
of a young German woman Maria Braun the innocent who becomes a
cold-hearted cynic in the post-war industrial economic rebuilding. Her
free-spirited and slightly amoral character only works for total
financial success. She rebuilds in a cold and calculating method. In the
film's ending, Braun is the victim of her own inability to have emotion.

Fassbinder died at the age of 37 four years after making this film. His
death is often considered to mark the end of the New German Cinema.


Wim Wenders

Paris, Texas is probably Wim Wenders' most well known, critically
acclaimed, and successful movie, winning a number of international prizes
including the Cannes Palme D'Or for Best Film in 1984.

This unusual road movie, with screenplay by acclaimed playwright Sam
Shepard, tells the tale of Travis, a man lost in his own private hell.
Presumed dead for four years, he reappears from the desert on the Mexico
border, world-weary and an amnesiac.
He traces his brother Walt who is bringing up Hunter, his seven-year-old
son, his ex-wife Jane having abandoned him at Walt's door several years

As virtual strangers, Hunter and Travis begin to build a wary friendship
and conspire to find Jane and bring her back to be a real family.

Written and signed by two dozen German filmmakers pledging themselves to
"the new German feature film," the 1962 Oberhausen Manifesto boldly
announced the arrival of New German Cinema, with young, innovative, and
politically radical directors taking up arms against the propriety of West
German society and its failing film industry. In the late sixties and
early seventies, filmmakers such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe
von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog, Alexander
Kluge, and Hans-Jürgen Syberberg set out to create smaller, more
independent and artistically challenging films to investigate the state of
contemporary Germany (Schlöndorff and von Trotta’s The Lost Honor of
Katherine Blum), as well as to grapple with the ghosts of the past, from
the Weimar era (Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz) and the Nazis
(Schlöndorff’s The Tin Drum) to their aftermath (Fassbinder’s “BRD
Trilogy”). Like other countries’ new waves, New German Cinema, which ended
in the mid-eighties, embraced politically akin but artistically disparate
directors with diverse interests, working methods, and spheres of
influence, from the avant-garde (Kluge’s Artists Under the Big Top:
Perplexed) to major international productions (Fassbinder’s Querelle).

do check out-->


The next screening falls on Feb 14. Whether this day concerns you or not it's worth
watching these 2 Truffault films...
The 1st is "ANTOINE AND COLETTE" made for the 1962 anthology collection "Love at
Twenty" and the 2nd is his whimsical, nostalgic and romantic film "STOLEN KISSES".

These 2 films are a part of Truffault's sort of autobiographical series about
Antoine Doinel, the character he follows from boyhood to adulthood through 5 films.
ANTOINE AND COLETTE is the 2nd film and the 3rd is STOLEN KISSES.

Title: ANTOINE AND COLETTE/Antoine et Colette
Runtime: 47 min
ANTOINE AND COLETTE catches up with Antoine Doinel as a solitary 17-year-old who
works at Phillips manufacturing LPs to support himself. He meets Colette, a
high-school student, at a concert and falls in love for the first time. The film
traces his awkward courtship of the icy Colette, who never reciprocates.

Title: STOLEN KISSES/baisers voles
Runtime: 90 min
A perfect Valentines'Day film, but not mere fluff, either, this 1968 film is
Truffaut's happiest and most commercially successful film.
Antoine Doinel is given a dishonorable discharge from the Army. Although he yearns
to pick up where he left off with his girlfriend Christine, she is somewhat chilly
toward his affections.He is a hapless young adult with a chaotic love life and a
string of absurd dead-end jobs, from hotel clerk to private detective to TV

François Truffaut (1932–1984) was one of the founders of the French New Wave in
filmmaking, and remains an icon of the French film industry. In a film career
lasting just over a quarter of a century, he was screenwriter, director, producer or
actor in over twenty-five films.
In addition to being an autobiographical extension of Truffaut, Antoine Doine

l is also a classic picaresque underdog skittering along the fringes of society,
mocking its conventions and living by his wits.
Stolen Kisses provides ample evidence of Francois Truffaut's belief that men know
nothing about love: "They are always beginners. The heroine is always the stronger."