October 22, 2010

Mumbai 2010 Day #1: Of Battles and Wars

Out of the five movies I watched today, the protagonists of three die in the end. That apart, most of the primary characters in these movies lost their lives. What a bloody day to begin with! Also, since this festival has a special section on the best of Japanese Cinema, three of today's movies were Japanese classics.

'No Regrets for Our Youth'(1946) is one of the earliest films by Akira Kurosawa. It is also very different from his other films, having a female protagonist and being extremely political in nature. In fact the unique blend of politics and personal lives of a woman and two men reminded me of 'Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi'. After finishing all of Kurosawa's major works, it is good to find these rare gems.

Seijun Suzuki's 'Branded to Kill'(1967) doesn't just sound like a Tarantino film. The very first few seconds into it and you will realize, this film must have had a big impact on him. And I just read that it actually did. Noir elements stylized to create a stuff that is still fresh, I am sure this film would have been a sensation back then, as much as it was in that PVR screen today.

The day also introduced me to Takeshi Kitano, the great contemporary Japanese master. 'Boiling Point'(1990) is the kind of stuff you look for in film festivals. I was badly hoping that the last film of the day should make me laugh and it did made me do that badly. Plus, it was weird, and did not make much sense - an essential ingredient for festival experience.

Also watched two recent movies. 'Kick Off'(2009), the story of a group of Iraqi refugees residing in a football stadium after the US invasion, and 'The Man Who Will Come'(2009), an Italian film set in the Second World War period. The impact of the latter was so immense that I would rather call it a horror film. The story of German cruelty against the women, children, and elderly of a countryside community was easily the most powerful film of the day. And it was the reason why I wanted to follow it and conclude the day with something funny.

Tomorrow promises to be even better. For now, I should just take a good sleep.

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