Posts tagged ‘review’

September 25, 2012


If one ever wanted to see the invisible oppressive face the Man, this film makes one see ten distinct poses of patriarch power. A divorced mother navigates the Man’s world in her car while she drives her son to his grandmother’s house. It seems that the mother, in trying to convince her son to stay at her place or atleast listen to her, is trying to convince the childish faces of this Man’s world. The faces come in the form of a child, sister-in-law, a prostitute, a dejected friend, a rejected believer, a god-fearing old lady all reminding her limitations and audacities. This unsaid narrative organically translates itself into political talks between two view points of opposite sexes, subversive or sustaining, sitting alongside. Sometimes she contests; sometimes she conforms to achieve nothing, but, survival with dignity. This confident struggle comes out in her conviction to keep driving till the point both the views shut their mouth – who is the submissive and who is autocratic is left for the viewer to decide.

From a camera mounted on the dash board, the story is divided into ten conversations from the fixed point that rotates to see the woman and the faces, bringing in the world revolving outside her car. The strength of this style, for me, was the sheer simplicity with which it allowed me to paint the unseen world. It brought out the real hidden play of politics of sexes, without moving, and in literal sense also, from the point. If nothing, it makes you pick up the camera and capture the issues that you always saw but never comprehended. Ten, beyond a feminist point, is a humanist endeavour that one cannot prevent from indulging into.  Abbas Kiarostami in turning this complex phenomenon into simple pieces of conversations strips the chauvinist society naked. And the view isn’t live-able, but, surely imaginable.

May 16, 2012

Withnail and I

Stranded at the doorstep

Withnail and I‘ talks about a problem that is probably the most central to my life – that of growing up. As a kid, to me grown ups were all about leading a humdrum life deliberately doing boring things when they could really be enjoying. The whole hub-bub about being a grown up and being responsible and important was, obviously, a load of crap. The only thing that seemed good about grown ups was that they had access to money but that too they didn’t spend on buying ice-cream. In short, being a grown up was pointless.

Now as a grown up, my views haven’t changed much. Yes, I have discovered intoxication as a grown up but that’s about it. The whole concept of being a grown man (and not a boy) seems over-hyped. What point is it if you spend the larger part of your life doing something that largely bores you, makes you sick and does’t help anyone else much either? Being mature, taking charge and maintaining a poker face is all there is to be an adult.
But this is that one thing that you just cannot avoid. At the fag end of your college life (when you are still allowed to be not grown up) when you ask, “Can I remain like this? Just like this?” the slap-in-your-face answer is “Hell no!”
Thereby begins the journey of becoming obnoxious. The successful ones are held up in society as examples. The who suck at it just wither away.
‘Withnail and I’ is a rather pungent take on that. And one that tickles too. And the exploits of the two – Withnail and I (Marwood) give a heady feeling to those of us who have experienced it on our own before. There is a certain romance in struggling to make one’s ends meet especially, if one is a student or a young bachelor trying to make it on his own. Success, the goal of this struggle, is also inexplicably looked upon as the bitch. Success often means betrayal. Certain conditions of existence, universally agreed upon to be unfavourable, bring about a certain sense of camaraderie which transcends those conditions in turn. And then, somehow, that camaraderie requires those unfavourable conditions to keep going on in a perverse manner. It is this buddy feeling, garbed under many a facade – creativity, revolution, alternate living, subversion etc., that underlines this very difficult juncture of life. When Withnail and his friend don’t have enough to eat but still crave for booze, have to go through hell to survive in the countryside…only then do they perform at their magical best. That ‘performance’ may include mouthing lines like “Warm up? We may as well sit around a cigarette” or just keep downing large pegs of scotch.
There isn’t much that makes one logically agree with Withnail. Probably even he didn’t agree with himself. But ‘Withnail and I’ shows that the problems they face are important. The shifts in life that have been designed by the society may not be smooth for everyone especially if they are not ready or willing for it. The film makes (or tries to make) one realize that such people can be brilliant without producing any brilliant result. The point is that only the ‘grown ups’ refuse to realize that. Grown ups who are actually douchebags.
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