Friday, December 08, 2006

The Goat and other stories

The choices were between Omkara, a French comedy called La Chèvre, and a couple of Louis Malle films. The decision wasn't very difficult, I mean, you know of a better way to spend a lazy Friday afternoon than to stare at Gerard Depardieu on the big screen for a full 90 minutes? Really? So anyway, after the usual fight with the auto guy, landed up at theater a full 10 minutes early. You know, just in case. Shouldn't have bothered, there were about 40 people inside and most of them looked like students. Two women including me. I went outside and checked with guy at the exit. La Chèvre? Sure? Alright. Gerard Depardieu and there are two women in the movie hall! These Mallus are crazy, I say.

The movie itself was exactly what I needed - light, absurd, laugh-out-loud every other minute, and Depardieu in almost every frame. A young, unlucky Frenchwoman disappears in Mexico and her rich father employs an private eye Campana (Depardieu) to find her. When the attempt proves unsuccessful, the father, acting on the advice of his company's psychartist recruits a timid accountant, the accident-prone Perrin (a very excellent Pierre Richard) to help Campana. The idea is that only someone as unlucky as Perrin will be able to find the kidnapped Marie as "he will slip on the same banana peels as she does". The movie then is about the escapades of the very straight, logical, macho Mr Campana and the super clumsy, moronic, unlucky Mr Perrin as they retrace the vanished girl's steps. A series of unfortunate but comic accidents ensue, most of them predictable but nevertheless extremely funny. Funny because both Depardieu and Richard are exact opposites and there's no sign of the excited French steretype anywhere - nothing ever shakes them. Couldn't help thinking that if Hollywood were to do this, they would probably have gone the other extreme and made this another of those unwatchable, loud and boisterous monstrosities that they churn out at regular intervals.

And oh, in case you were wondering, the story is that I discovered that there's some sort of a film festival happening in the neighborhood starting today, and in the interests of giving the couch some well-earned rest, managed to get myself a pass. Looks like my pass can be used at all the state film federation type theaters such as Kalabhavan, Kairali, Tagore, Gorky Bhavan (well, what did you expect?) and of course at the Nishagandhi open air auditorium. My weekend will have to be spent in Karnataka as tickets and stuff have been booked but the plan is to spend the rest of next week running from one theater to another. Auto drivers beware! For Monday, I am trying to decide between Forever Flows (Bangladesh), Sawdust and Tinsel (yes, there's a Sven Nykvist homage happening, so there will be a couple more of these), Four Women Barefoot (Argentina), and Goodbye Children (France).


Ravi said...

...Gerard Depardieu and there are two women in the movie hall! These Mallus are crazy, I say...

lol ! ( Am assuming you intended what I thought you have )

Falstaff said...

Where's the choice? The Bergman, obviously.

The only real choice is between that and the Malle - but notice that any two-bit DVD rental service / store will have a copy of the Au Revoir Les enfants, whereas to the best of my knowledge Gycklarnas afton isn't available on DVD. I'm seriously envious.

Space Bar said...

deeply envious. i'm there every year, but couldn't make it this year. what retros this year?

Veena said...

Ravi: Hmm..There's not much to assume there!

Falstaff: I know but you know, once in a while you have to go see some of these movies which are being made in our lifetime too, na? Anyway you don't have to be envious, thanks to Air Deccan won't make it back home in time for the movie.

Space Bar: There's some Bergman stuff(cos of Nykvist) and a couple of Almodovars, some Louis Malle stuff in addition to a series on French comedies. Also an eclectic collection of Mallu films, so am all happy. Here's the schedule if you are interested:

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