Monday, August 10, 2009

Knowing the other half of truth

I finally found a film society and rushed to it in the right time for the screening of the taiwan movie 'Yi Yi - A one and a two' by Edward Yang.To be honest , the movie was too long for an audience brought up on Indian cinema. In retrospect, we find out that the length was one of the key ingredient of what the movie portrays - Life.

So, where do i start to explain a movie about life, that too when the director tells it in the simplest of ways, if i try to retell it, it will be more complex and spoil the fun. I shall only to refer to the points where the director's ghost seems to be wandering around the characters and makes his presence felt subtly but so strongly, that the dialogues would only become proverbs in your life.The indispensible character in the director's endeavour turns out be the 8 year old kid, who drops words of wisdom with sweet innocence, be it asking his father "Why do we always know half the truth, we can only see whats in the front, we cant see whats behind at the same time". The best piece though, that had a loud applause from the audience is when the kid hands over a photogragh to his Uncle,picturing the back of his head and when asked why is he giving it to him, he replies in a saintly manner, wrapping himself in towel, "You cant see it yourself, i am trying to help you". Moments like this are sprinkled all over the movie, just when you start to yawn at the boring rituals of life intertwined with the inevitable complexes of the characters , the director makes you sit up with these subtle charges of dialogue.

It seems as if the director literally possessed the character of the Ting-Ting's boyfriend when he is discussing movies and says "My uncle says that , with movies , we live our life three times over". Thats when half the audience will be woken up to the fact that their life also would seem the same if presented through flickering frames. A Grandmother in coma as a sounding board for the characters is such an original experiment to pull the audience towards the characters.

The character development is so well done that the audience is set at the centre of a circle that the characters traverse only to come back to where they started and realise the futility of their internal struggles with guilt and mournful retrospections of lost opprtunities.Husband reliving his youth and realising that he is still restricted by the same fears and apprehensions.And its an experience to see his life intercut with his daughter's first date.

All in all, the movie is the directors signature on every frame, that for me is one of the most important thing in any movie,because in cinema, one man's command on his art becomes fountainhead of creative excellence of a larger number, i.e the cast and the crew.

Yi Yi is a movie which you shouldnt expect to entertain you or for that matter make you feel sad or make you laugh, you are not supposed to like it or hate it or judge it in any extent when you are watching it, you are only supposed to live it with the director and it will stay with your memory for a longer time.

Stop Read and Watch

Watching Subramaniapuram is definitely a bloody good experience.Despite the language being my neighbours tongue, I had a consolatory detail to associate with, the heroine being from the coochy-coochy talk show that used to beam on the telugu channel.

Thats where i say that sometimes it really helps, when you stop and read about the movie and the creator and his accomplices who cast this spell on you.

The director, lets call him the creator, he earns that position with all justice, for he wrote, directed and produced the movie and ofcourse acted in it. This gesture often brings out a sympathy from the distributors and sometimes even the audience. Please keep your condolences to yourself. Such a gesture is nothing but a persons love for the art he dreamt about and his desperation to give it a shape in his OWN way.If you have a good sight, you can find that desperation in every frame.

The most important thing for me though is , Sasikumar quoting that he likes RGV. Now lets get that simple, when someone says that he likes RGV, dont try to ask him 'How Much', Because you either hate RGV to Death or love him for life. If you are one of the RGV fans like me, you will start hallucinating with the virtual umbilical cord that the movie has all over, most of which might just be unintended coincidences, but who told you so ;) . The simplest thing could be Sasikumar calling his banner - Company Productions- doesnt that seem to come out of the factory. And then you only find more when camera races after people being chased through narrow alleys.And when you a see a street fight starting for no reason - you cant help that 'gotcha' smile on your face.

So, you know the rule when you sit for a RGV like movie, - Dont fall in love with the characters, because they are going to die a ruthless death. It will seem as the ghost of RGV has sprung out of screen and killed them. If you think i am exaggarating, try watching Siva at the time when telugu cinema was accelarating to sink like Titanic, you wouldnt bother when Raghuvaran kidnaps nagarjuna's niece and threatens to kill. You would be telling yourself "Come on, who are you fooling, when did villians become so honest, that too about killing kids". And then you sit up in a seat. I know, some would say, hadnt he done too much of such things after that. Well, i would only say,its anyday better than, Sharukh dying for 2 hours in Kal ho na ho.

Anyway, you will have to break the rule yourself, because you will fall in love with the characters for their innocence in crime and haplessness in love. So, you only give up all hopes and sit there watching your characters falling in love and then betraying each other and getting hacked to death.

And, you see those drizzle of the new wave all over the screen, when the camera follows kasi steadily without cutting until he sits on milestone and reconcilliates what he has done. If you have forgotten how the old cinema or the so called Hi-Tech Cinema used to look, here it is, Flash on the screen-POV of Paraman : the sickle in hand rising high and coming down-Paraman screaming with blood oozing from a place where the sickle is least probable to strike-Flash again(with zzzzzzzzzzuk sound)-Kasi would be trying to pull out his hair- and then some infinite flashes with twice infinite sounds and the scene would have been benchmarked against the superhit daily serial.

Finally, there is something you will know when you only read about the flick that the lead protaganist and the creator are schoolmates, where the Music Director James Vasantham was Music teacher. Now there is one thing that teachers teach you very well, especially music teachers - How to say your prayers. Like a devotee touching the steps when entering a temple, like a dancer bowing to the stage before his performance, James Vasantham's first song that breaks out of the speakers is by Illayaraja and rest is bliss.

P.S: I have amazing fun when i read about these trivia regarding any movie i see.Subramaniapuram just turned out to be too much of it.