Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar's Journal
Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar" journal:
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Watched Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan's film based on World War II events. There is not much of a storyline or dialogues, but the film focuses on creating the atmosphere of the War with brilliant picturization of the situations (and there are no gory details as usually seen in other war films), cinematography and some haunting music.
Cats of Istanbul|
"It is said that cats are aware of the existence of God, while the dogs are not. Dogs think that people are God, but the cats don't. Cats know that people act as middlemen to God's will. They are not ungrateful, they just know better..." , so on goes a speech by a cat-lover in the brilliant documentary film Kedi, which is about the cats living in Istanbul city. Being an ancient port, cats from different parts of the world had landed in Istanbul over centuries, making the city their home. Though the effects of urbanization are posing as a challenge for them now, they still get a lot of fans and patrons, and have their own ways to survive in the cityscapes.
Kedi shows a series of scenes from the lives of different cats, brilliantly photographed and accompanied with some varied background music, interspersed with comments from different people in the city. The dialogues are humorous, amusing and at times even philosophical. People talk about the "character of cats" and their behavioral patterns, and some people lovingly imitate the ways cats interact with them. There are a few who have some words on the ways cats changed their lives. The sequences are connected in an amazing way, and this film was a great viewing experience.
The Diary of a Nobody|
The Diary of a Nobody is a book of fiction in the form of a diary, written by George Grossmith, with illustrations by Weedon Grossmith. First published in 1892, the book tells the story of a clerk living in London. Charles Pooter lives with his wife Carrie in a rented house, and is regularly visited by his friends Gowing and Cummings who live close by. He is a very loyal employee of his firm, and adores his manager, Perkupp like a God. Most of the diary narrates the day-to-day happenings in Pooter's life, over a period of an year. His son Lupin's arrival after his studies, his various "adventures" as seen from the perspective of Pooter, and the generation gap between the father and son, add some drama to the proceedings.
Though Pooter writes the diary in a straight-forward manner without intending to be funny, the various "accidents" in his life, and his commentaries on his thought process on various incidents make this book a very hilarious read.
Directors Lal Jose and Renjith had made a few interesting films in the past, but their graphs have been consistently going down in the last few years, and I think now they have entered the tough field of competition for making the most boring Malayalam films, along with veterans like Sathyan Anthikkad, Joshi, et al.
Lal Jose's Velipadinte Pusthakam starts with some crude and vulgar "jokes" by the character of a college professor, played by Salim Kumar. The jokes seemed too poor for a Lal Jose film, who usually maintains some basic standard in terms of humor in his films. However, by the end of the film, I realized that this particular character was the only relief in this pathetic film.
Watched Solo, a supposedly "experimental movie" directed by Bejoy Nambiar. The film is an anthology containing four stories, which are said to be representing four different elements - Earth, Fire, Wind and Water - though I couldn't understand the exact connection.
While I was thoroughly bored with the first story, the second and third stories were interesting and the fourth was somewhat watchable. Though the narrative style indeed has some freshness in it, overall the film did not impress me much.
Ondu Motteya Kathe|
Watched Ondu Motteya Kathe, an interesting Kannada film narrating a simple story with a touch of humor. Director Raj B Shetty acts in the main role as well, and he was good in that role.
Out of the Indian regional language movies I watch - mostly Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi and occasionally those from Bengali, Kannada, Telugu and Marathi - the most atrocious films are from Telugu. The musical classic Shankarabharanam
(1979) is one film that I have watched several times, but I am yet to watch a mainstream Telugu film made in the last three decades which can be called as tolerable.
When I think of Telugu movies, what comes to my mind are some of those violent and barbaric fight scenes in them where the heroes stand covered with blood, wielding ancient weapons like sickles or machetes, and the way these scenes are interleaved with item songs, forming a pattern that is tirelessly used in these films. The pathetic way the female lead characters are consistently portrayed purely as an eye-candy material without any sort of personality attached to them, is also something that I have noted as a signature of the Telugu commercial movies. When I read articles by GP Ramachandran who critically analyzes Malayalam films to bring out the hints of male chauvinism in them, I would want him to go and watch Telugu commercial movies which would make people hunt for new terminologies to describe the extreme psychic forms of male chauvinism which are presented as very normal and model behavior in these films.
I happened to notice the posters of Arjun Reddy
a few weeks back, which featured a man wearing cooling glass and smoking, and assumed that it may be some sort of gangster film possibly surrounding the real estate industry. Later I read several positive reviews about the film which praised it as some sort of cult masterpiece, so decided to watch it, with great hopes. But I could not figure out what was there to praise so much in this film. Certainly the narrative style of the film is better than the usual Telugu flicks which made it watchable to some extent; However I could not find much in it to feel so excited about. Also, we see the usual patterns here too - A hero who thinks that the world revolves around him, who unilaterally declares that a girl "belongs to him" the moment he sees her for the first time, and just goes ahead and kisses her in full public view, and a few sidekicks ("friends") who would do anything for him, etc., etc.
Asterix and the Chariot Race|
I got the latest Asterix Album Asterix and the Chariot Race, and it was good to see Asterix albums slowly coming back to the old glory to certain extent, under writer Jean-Yves Ferri and artist Didier Conrad.
This is the third Asterix book coming from its new authors, and I think the overall quality of scripts have been consistently improving. There are funny dialogues, and plenty of interesting character names in this new book. And illustrations by Didier Conrad are brilliant that I couldn't find any difference in style from those by Uderzo.
Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum|Maheshinte Prathikaram
was a light-hearted, feel-good movie without any typical feel-good ingredients of commercial cinema, narrated in a realistic way with very natural blends of humor. With Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum
, director Dileesh Pothan once again proves that he is a director to look forward to, and someone with a signature narrative style.
The film starts with a beautiful song in a similar way as Maheshinte Prathikaram
, and the song develops over scenes showing the budding love affair between two main characters (played by Suraj Venjaramoodu and Nimisha Sajayan). The film soon cuts to incidents that happen a few months later - The lovers are married now and as they struggle to settle with some farming experiments in a village of Northern Kerala, the golden chain of the girl gets stolen during a bus journey. The thief (played by Fahadh Faasil) was sitting just behind her in the bus, and he coolly swallows the chain when caught. Rest of the film mostly is set in the premises of a police station, and we see how the couple hope and wait for retrieving their precious possession.
I enjoyed the gentle touches of humor that is there throughout the narrative, and the way Dileesh brings out those touches in a very natural way. Like his earlier movie, he has cast newcomers in all the roles (mostly those of police officers) except for the key roles done by Suraj, Fahadh and Alencier, and they all perform without even a trace of amateurism, making us feel like being in that police station for the duration of the movie. Nimisha Sajayan is expressive, and I think she is a great find by the director like Aparna Balamurali of Maheshinte Prathikaram
First They Killed My Father|
Read the book First They Killed My Father
, a touching memoir by Loung Ung, who had spent her childhood at Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime. Loung was a girl of five, living a comfortable life with her parents and six siblings at Phnom Penh in 1975, when the Khmer Rouge took over control of the country. The book is written mostly from the perspective of the child, and shows how the family members supported each other in their struggle during the next five years (apparently, we don't see many references of helping hands from non-family members - probably it is an indication of how the grim times in the country had disintegrated the entire social system and people were mostly on their own in their struggle for survival). Not all of Loung's family managed to make it; but Loung and her eldest brother finally get to reach a refugee camp in Thailand in 1980, and from there immigrate to the USA.
In many ways, the book reminded me of the graphic novel The Best We Could Do
by Thi Bui (written more recently), which narrates the struggles of a Vietnamese family during the 1960s and 70s. However, Loung Ung's book has a very straight-forward narrative, unlike the graphic novel which uses a bit of dramatization and gives a lot of focus on the character study of the key people noted in the memoir.
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