October 27, 2010

Mumbai 2010 Day #5: Family Matters

Could watch only three movies today. Seems this is how it's going to be for the next two days as well. If only I had finished my assignment before this fest...

Tai Kato's 'In Search of Mother'(1962), the story of a drifter looking for his mother who had abandoned him as a child was very good in parts. But it was inconsistent. I liked the ending, though.

Rajko Grlic's Croatian film 'Just Between Us'(2010) used an interesting structure to tell the story of a family of promiscuous people, just about everyone sleeping with multiple partners. Call it a sex comedy, but it ended with a message. The last line of the film was: "These bones slept with that bones. So what?"

Thanks to another 'public demand', I got to watch the third film of the day. 'Next Year in Bombay'(2010) is a documentary by Jonas Pariente and Mathias Mangin on the small Jewish community in and around Mumbai. One interesting thing I would like to share here is this. There was a shot of a public transport bus stopping at the stop before moving ahead. That shot was an inversion (mirror image) of the original shot. The entrance and exit to the bus were on its right side and the bus-number was inverted. I asked the directors, who were present during the screening, the reason for it. They said, while shooting they shot this bus that moved from right to left of the frame. During the edit they realized that it was not a desirable motion. (Psychologists say our perception of motion is largely affected by the way we write. So, a left-to-right motion is more comfortable for the eyes of English/Hindi audience than a right-to-left motion.) So, in the edit, they decided to invert the image.

Alfred Hitchcock has used the reverse of this principle. In 'Vertigo' when the protagonist, who fears height is running up the spiral stairs of a tower, he moves from right-to-left-to-up. This, psychologists say, is the most disturbing motions for our subconscious!

P.S. It is interesting to note that cultures reading right-to-left would probably find the same shot less disturbing!

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