Last post on the film festival. Promise.
Louis Malle's Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows): Probably the most satisfying noir feature that I have seen in a long, long time. And this was apparently Malle's first movie made when he was twenty four! A self-assured ex-military man, Julien Tavernier kills his boss as he(Tavernier) happens to be having an affair with the boss's wife. He nearly leaves the scene of the crime but comes back in to pick up something, and gets stuck in the elevator. The rest you will have to go watch the movie. Top three reasons why you should see, no, own this movie (Bill, darling, have you gotten me anything for Christams yet?):
3) Henri Decaë's cinematography (there is a classic close-up shot of Moreau lit only by the lights of Champs-Elysees which is simply oustanding. Btw, I have always maintained that Paris should be shot only in black and white but more about that some other time)
2) The beautiful, beautiful Jeanne Moreau and
1) Miles Davis (So I am illiterate but I did not know that Miles was going to be around when I went in to watch the movie. And when the trumpet sounded during the opening scene, it felt like my first ever bit of warm brownie with vanilla icecream. Ok ok, so the word I was looking for there is orgasmic)
Bergman's Fanny and Alexander: No, I will leave this one alone. Will just say that it was amazing to see this finally on the big screen.
Rituparno Ghosh's Dosar: Well, to tell you the truth, it wasn't half as bad as I thought it was going to be. Nicely shot, Konkana was good, the movie itself was good here and there, but think Ghosh tries a little too hard to mimic well, you-know-who when he should be quite okay just by sticking to what he does best. Oh well, Bill's mom is happy now that dutiful daughter-in-law has watched one Bong movie at the fest. Btw, expected to see the entire Bong population of Kerala at the movie hall but was pleasantly surprised.
Now, for some disconnected schtuff about the film festival:
- Yeah yeah, I saw some "celebrities" too. Adoor Gopalakrishnan I met! And Revathy sat next to me using Fanny and Alexander. She, you know, actually seemed to like it!
- So I haven't been to international film festivals in India but from what I have seen in Chicago, NYC et al, it seemed to me as if the audience who turn up at these things almost invariably belong to certain demographics and I have no reason to believe that it would not be the case here in India. Like for example, there's apparently some sort of we-also-have-one film festival in Chennai happening right now and I can see film students, industry people, retired Hindu readers, and you know people like that. Here in Kerala though, whats surprising is not that the movie halls get filled 45 minutes before the show, its that the audience include people from all walks of life. The army officer's wife who came down from Ooty just for the week. The kid who lives two blocks down who thinks Nykvist = God. The uncle from State Bank who's a great fan of Rocha. Two maamis from the Agraharam who are hooked on to Iranian movies. The comrades from the party zonal office who seemed to know everything there's to know about movies from Latin America. Etc. Only in Kerala. Only at home. So shoot me.
- People are very very good about cell phones. They bring them in but you never have more than one going off inside the theater during a screening. Because everyone turns around and shouts at the unfortunate guy while setting their own phones to vibrate. Did I tell you I love home?
- Never underestimate the Don. Never. If you happen to go into the movie hall a little late and are unable to find a place, you will always find one of the Don's comrades who will find a seat for you. And it does not matter if there's a bandh - the comrades will get you home.