Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bergmania in Bangalore

For what it's worth to the people who read this blog, we have not blogged since the time Aamir Khan had hair on his head but oh well.

So Palador decided that they had to popularize one of our heroes. And so there was the film festival at our old haunt. Which means that the crowd that loves to kiss the air next to the cheeks of the person they are meeting was present en-masse. So you can understand what an odd figure a couple of bag-toting bespectacled geeky engineers cut.

Anyway arriving slightly early at such events has the advantage that we could get seats to sit on, the usual ones at the extreme ends of the row below the fans, which in retrospect did turn out to be the one time we regretted it.

And since most people in this great city believe in IST there was the crowd that came about 10-20 minutes late and not everyone found a chair to sit on. There was this couple that found just one chair left, so the lady decided that she better sit on the lap of her partner. To re-affirm one's love for each other every 10 minutes by cuddling up and muttering sweet nothings loud enough to carry over to the row behind, resulted in our co-author (who incidentally was in the row next to them) of the blog watching shall we say shots of movies from the dark side.

**Hint to TAM to pen a post on this as vitriol is much better coming from him**

The movie in itself was good and TAM already has a review here.

And then there was this girl who was sitting next to me. Apparently she seemed to have got too tired taking baths/showers in mere hydrogen-di-oxide so she decided to experiment. And experiment she did we believe in Davidoff, she seemed to have just swum in a pool of it and come over to the movie. Now when the fan was such that the wind blew towards us we breathed Davidoff and not oxygen and since our body is not accustomed to such experimenting we ended up coughing. Apparently the Davidoff experiment has still not gained ground even with the arty crowd since when the fan changed directions there were a couple more guys whose lungs still seemed to be more accustomed to elements with atomic number 8 rather than aforemetioned perfume.

We must say when we walked out, never in our life have we been happier to breathe in the air of Bangalore.

The next movie Summer Interlude was about first love. It portrays how the choices we make when we react to a tragedy (unfortunately first love here does end in tragedy) end up making us the person we are. The ending of the movie is marvelous. A characteristic of his used here, to show mundane events interspersed with the intense emotional turmoil the characters are undergoing, in this case a practice for a ballet performance is something we admire. A similar theme is also found in The Magic Flute where the narrative of the play is shot between with the reactions of the audience, and conversations between the actors during the breaks.

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The third movie to be screened was Through a Glass Darkly the first part of his famous Faith Trilogy. An extremely claustrophobic movie, it is shot mostly on a small island with just the four principal characters. Bergman is at his best where he is dealing with questions of faith. Tackling questions of the purpose in staying alive and if there can be a single objective reality. An extremely bleak melancholic movie so characteristic of Bergman.

This was followed by Winter Light, our pick of the lot. The main character in the movie is a priest at the Church who is having his faith deeply questioned due to all the despair and unhappiness he sees around him. When a fisherman who is having similar doubts plaguing him and tormenting his mind enough to contemplate suicide the priest is not able to offer any succor. The whole movie spans between two services in the church and left me deeply shaken. There is a deep resonance to be found as the priest grapples between what he has been taught and what his surroundings are leading him to believe in, if one has personally undergone the same crisis of faith. A must watch if you like Bergman. (Incidentally this is the second part of the Faith Trilogy and is panned by all and sundry film critics, Bergman himself did not think too highly of it)

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Next up was The Silence (the third part of the trilogy) followed by Summer with Monika. We skipped the former as we had already watched it. Summer with Monika is about love between the tempestuous Monika and literally the guy who works next door Harry. After a date he falls for Monika madly and once Monika has a quarrel with her family, Harry decides to escape in his boat with Monika to an island. By the time they are done with their holiday Monika is pregnant. After having the baby Monika figures out that her priorities in life are to have a good time while her youth and good looks last while Harry wants to work and study towards a better future for him and his family. And an all to predictable end comes to it. Later we find Harry reminiscing about his Summer with Monika; less troubled times, might just be the happiest time of his life.

What we found even better was the FTII short film (Was screened before the beginning of each movie) titled "The eight Column Affair". It tracks a marathon winner who falls for a tennis player both of whose snaps are on a newspaper. As he goes through the various sections of the newspaper trying to reach his love forms the movie. Quite easily the best of all the FTII movies that were shown, it is no wonder that the director went on to shoot Johnny Gaddar.

Concluding the festival was The Devil's Eye, all we would say is that directors who are good at dark despairing melancholic movies should not try their hands at comedy.

There was another excellent FTII movie starring Sonali Kulkarni that we liked, anyone who can re-collect the name of the movie shall be appreciated.

And to conclude TAM's hypotheses : "Any movie shot by Sven Nykvist is twice as better as any movie shot by anyone else".