Posts Tagged ‘2013’

You still haven’t seen Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight? Well, here’s the first thing to do. Click here to go to Mumbai Film Festival site and book your seat at Liberty Cinema for its screening on 23rd Oct at 5:30 pm slot.

And now come back to this post. Shubhodeep Pal watched the film and went meditative on Jesse and Celine’s two decade long love story – wonder, ponder, and all that jazz. Read on.

(I just have one question – they are not a couple in real life? Hawke and Delpy never fell for each other? Unbelievable, this cinema shit!)

Before Midnight2

In one of the many memorable scenes in Before Midnight, Celine watches the setting sun descend into the distant hills, and counts down to the moment when dusk will envelop Jesse and her. “Still there” she breathes. “Still there”. Until the inevitable moment when, of course, it’s no longer there.

But is it the sun that she’s referring to, or their love – spanning two decades – that her longing, slightly sad eyes see sailing into the dark? After all, doesn’t love too follow a similar arc to the sun? It is not a far cry to suggest that, in love too, there is a period of expectation akin to dawn, then the happy realisation of love that reaches a zenith, followed by a gradual disintegration until dusk arrives, and, finally, a darkness that marks the passing of love.

However, just as they expect the sun to, many people expect dead love to conquer the darkness in a dawn that’s imminent. Sadly, love is less predictable and more beguiling than the cycle of the sun. Indeed, love is often more like the stages of our lives than we’d like to admit, and, often, it mirrors our emotional state at that stage. Our best shot is perhaps to extend the middle period – from zenith to dusk – and try to make love oscillate between these two points. Or, at least, delay the inevitable.

In Before Midnight, Jesse and Celine occupy this middle period. The heady lightness of discovering love, followed by the more sombre loss of paradise, are now past. They are together, but saddled with age, children and responsibility. More importantly, in their story, they are separated from their first moment of love by two decades. Has their love actually survived that long, Celine frequently asks. Will it endure much longer? Or will competing interests tear them apart?

In another romantic classic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Joel, one of the two protagonists, wonders: “What a loss to spend that much time with someone, only to find out that she’s a stranger”. Celine and Jesse find themselves in this spot too. Can they truly say they understand each other perfectly because of their love? Their differences, after all, are prodigious:

Celine is a strong-headed woman of the arts from post-feminist Paris and no pushover for men. Jesse is American and, despite being a moderately celebrated writer, by his own admission, lacks the cultured sophistication of Celine. Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to see Jesse’s virtues as anything other than an unremitting adoration for Celine and winning wit.

At this moment in their lives, more than anything else, they find themselves in need of re-affirming the love that binds them together. Celine and Jesse are living with their two children in Paris – but Jesse’s son from his previous marriage must spend most of his time with his mother. Jesse would prefer to be closer to him; Celine cannot think of moving to America on a whim, especially when she’s just secured a new job. Will these forces, tugging the two in opposite directions, tear them apart?

When the first feelings of love are a distant memory, what remains? Is it still love, or just a memory of love? Moreover, how does love cohabit a space in which our human frailties are eventually revealed from under the glare of the initial moments of love? In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind, this thought finds succinct expression in a dialogue between the protagonists Joel and Clementine:

“Joel: I can’t see anything that I don’t like about you.

Clementine: But you will! But you will. You know, you will think of things. And I’ll get bored with you and feel trapped because that’s what happens with me.”

Similar concerns drive one of the major underlying currents of Before Midnight. In one scene, Celine asks Jesse whether, seeing as she is now, as a woman older by twenty years, would Jesse have still come up to talk to her. Jesse tries to give a reasoned answer, instead of the expected romantic one and that irks Celine. Does love survive on expected answers, instead of the truth?

The writer Alain de Botton, in his fine book, Essays in Love, writes: “To be loved by someone is to realize how much they share the same needs that lie at the heart of our own attraction to them. Albert Camus suggested that we fall in love with people because, from the outside, they look so whole, physically whole and emotionally ‘together’ – when subjectively we feel dispersed and confused. We would not love if there were no lack within us, but we are offended by the discovery of a similar lack in the other. Expecting to find the answer, we find only the duplicate of our own problem.”

In Before Midnight, both Jesse’s and Celine’s insecurities find expression in articulate, intelligent dialogues that play one’s insecurities off the other. Perhaps the finest set of dialogues written in recent memory belongs to the hotel set piece when Celine and Jesse’s differences clash violently and spill all over each other’s sore spots. And they react as all humans do – by hurting the other in order to find a balm for one’s own wounds. The genius of this movie lies in how we can easily see – like we have often seen in our lives and in our homes — how both Jesse’s and Celine’s arguments appear sound until the other returns with a counter-argument.

Each successive argument, however, shows an increasing pain and a withering appetite to hurt. Is this the mark of true love: The unwillingness to keep on hurting the other, even in a fierce argument? Jesse tries to make peace repeatedly but fails. Celine will have none of it. But when she says “I don’t love you” to Jesse, does she really mean it or is she trying to justify to herself the reason for her vituperation of Jesse (which is undermined by her obvious affection for him)? Elsewhere in his book, de Botton writes: “We fall in love because we long to escape from ourselves with someone as beautiful, intelligent, and witty as we are ugly, stupid, and dull. But what if such a perfect being should one day turn around and decide they will love us back? We can only be somewhat shocked-how can they be as wonderful as we had hoped when they have the bad taste to approve of someone like us?” More than anything, this middle stage of love – as we might as well call it – is a time for the recalibration of the love of Jesse and Celine, especially as they prepare to look beyond themselves into matters that will affect the lives of not just their own selves, but also the family as a whole.

Before Midnight illuminates both the comforting and disconcerting aspects of love and how it ages. Undoubtedly, love can be transcendental and offer the purest of joys to those under its spell. Equally true is that the mist of love can unravel just as quickly as it appeared. In such circumstances, it is an abiding respect for each other that offers the best anchor for saving that love. More importantly, it is an appreciation for the mundane aspects of love that might provide the most enduring memories – remember how Robin Williams, in Good Will Hunting, says how he remembers his dead wife the most at night, during which her farts while sleeping are missing.

Susan Sontag argued in her seminal essay “Against Interpretation”, that the new critical approach to aesthetics undermines the spiritual, transcendental importance of art, which, is, instead, being replaced by the emphasis on the intellect. Can we perhaps extend a similar argument to the interpretation of love? Are we witnessing a transformational age in which love becomes a means to an end, soon to be discarded for more “substantial” things such as a meeting of minds that is based on logic and compatibility? The illogic of love can barely withstand the logic of our personal wants.

 ~

before-midnight

As a movie, Before Midnight is an oddity. In an industry that pleasures itself by commissioning inferior sequels that can endlessly cash-in the goodwill earned by the first movie, Before Midnight offers arguably more than the previous two films in the series combined. Apart from its deep meditation on love, it also has much warmth and wit to offer – on asides as various as parenting; sex in the age of virtual reality; the difference in psychologies of men and women, and the interpretation of literature. Even the funniest gags are littered with meaning — a particularly amusing one has Celine acting a bimbo.

The only irksome facet of this movie – which is quite deeply feminist at heart – is how it often shifts the audience’s “sympathy” to Jesse’s predicament and portrays Celine as unrelentingly insensitive to his plaints. This does not appear unnatural as it is presented in the movie, but was a slight cause of concern to me. Why did I feel more sorry for Jesse? Is it just how the characters are, or was Celine’s constant rebuffing of Jesse a bit too exaggerated? That said the movie excels beyond your highest expectations.

But do the two characters find a resolution? In a masterstroke, the movie refuses to tell us. And, given how faithfully it mirrors the oscillations of love in most of our lives, that is how it should be. For, what is life but an endless search for answers, only to find that each answer leads to more questions? The moments of peace that must be snatched are those during which we know that right now, for a few minutes or seconds, everything is okay.

 – Shubhodeep Pal

Disney-UTV has announced its slate for 2013. While most of us knew about their releases, what’s most interesting for me is the official synopsis of all the films. For example we have been hearing about Chennai Express’ pitch in hush-hush tone for a long time. This one just makes it official.  Do check it out. Wish they had given out writers name with all the films too. And i hope other studios could also do something on similar lines.

chennaiexpress

RACE 2

Realease Date : 25th January

Producers : UTV Motion Pictures and TIPS Industries

Director : Abbas Mustan

Music : Pritam

Cast : Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Jacqueline Fernandez, Ameesha Patel

Synopsis : The story of Race 2 is set in the lush locales of exotic Europe, with a backdrop of gambling and Casinos. A fast paced thriller that takes the legacy of “Race1”forward, with high octane action, combined with thrills and twists that have a roller coaster effect, and edge of the seat excitement.

ABCD – ANYBODY CAN DANCE

Release Date : 8th February

Producer : UTV Spotboy

Director : Remo D’Souza

Music Director : Sachin-Jigar

Cast : Prabhudheva, Ganesh Acharya, Dance India Dance winners like Salman Khan, Dharmesh, Prince, Mayuresh and Vrushali and Lauren Gottlieb, the finalist of the popular international television dance talent show So You Think You Can Dance

Synopsis : For Vishnu (Prabhudheva), widely regarded as India’s best dancer, dance is more than a passion – it’s the reason he lives! So when he finds himself thrown out from the swish dance academy he himself set up, by his manipulative business partner, it feels like the oxygen has been sucked out from the air he breathes. Heart-broken, Vishnu decides to give up dance and leave Mumbai forever. However the night before his departure he witnesses a most amazing sight – a group of dancers preparing for the upcoming Ganpati Dance Battle – an annual festival that pits Mumbai’s best dance groups against each other. Watching the raw talent of these amazing dancers helps Vishnu arrive at a decision – he will take this disparate group under his wing, help them overcome their personal rivalries and past demons and turn them into India’s best dance squad!. From India’s biggest film studio, UTV Motion Pictures, and renowned choreographer & director, Remo D’souza comes India’s first dance film in 3D– a spectacular entertainer that proves yet again that if you dare to dream, impossible is nothing!

KAI PO CHE!

Release Date : 22nd February

Producer : UTV Spotboy

Director : Abhishek Kapoor

Music Director : Amit Trivedi

Cast : Sushant Singh Rajput, RajKumar Yadav, Amit Sadh, Amrita Puri

Synopsis : Best friends Ishaan, Omi and Govind – young, ambitious and restless – are trying to make a mark in the India of the early 2000’s. These are exciting times – a new millennium has just dawned, India is a nuclear power and ostensibly shining – a perfect place for the 3 Ahmedabad boys to start a business that could be their ticket to fame and riches. In a country where cricket is religion, they hit upon a brilliant plan – to start a training academy that could produce India’s next sporting superstars! What follows is without doubt the greatest adventure of their lives, as they attempt to navigate the big hurdles in the path of fulfilling their dreams. Based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestselling novel “The Three Mistakes of My Life”, Kai Po Che (meaning a triumphant yell in Gujarati) is an unforgettable ode to friendship and the magical moments one shares with one’s closest pals – celebrating festivals, drunken dancing, watching cricket matches together, strategizing on how to catch the attention of the cute neighborhood girl, being there to watch each other’s back in troubled times and to celebrate one’s successes by screaming “Kai Po Che”!

HIMMATWALA

Release Date : 29th March

Producer : UTV Motion Pictures and Puja Entertainment

Director : Sajid Khan

Music Director : Sajid Wajid

Cast : Ajay Devgan, Tammannah

Synopsis : The biggest remake of the 80s Bollywood cult classic “Himmatwala” is a story of a poor and wronged mothers son who comes to the village to avenge his father.

GHANCHAKKAR

Release Date : 21st June

Producer : UTV Motion Pictures

Director : RajKumar Gupta

Music Director : Amit Trivedi

Cast : Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan

Synopsis : When Sanju (Emraan Hashmi), a suave, master safe cracker wants to retire from a career in crime, he decides to team up with two dangerous criminals to commit one last heist. A bank robbery that will ensure that he never has to worry about money again! Everything goes according to plan. Sanju is given the task of hiding the money till things cool down and the booty can be split. Two months later the associates return to collect their share of the loot, but Sanju refuses to even recognize them! What dangerous game is Sanju playing? Ghanchakkar is a crazy, quirky rollercoaster suspense ride that will surprise, shock and entertain the audience at every turn.

SATYAGRAHA

Release Date : 15th August

Producer : UTV Motion Pictures and Prakash Jha Productions

Director: Prakash Jha

Cast : Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee

Synopsis : The film deals with the movement of the middle-class to re-negotiate democracy. It’s the story of a man who is a firm believer of Gandhian principles, an ambitious entrepreneur who represents the modern India shining philosophy, a social activist who aims to be a politician, a fearless political journalist and a wily politician who uses every means to break the system.

CHENNAI EXPRESS

Producer : UTV Motion Pictures and Red Chillies Entertainment

Release Date : To be announced

Director : Rohit Shetty

Music Director : Vishal Shekhar

Cast : Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone

Synopsis : The story is about a man’s journey from Mumbai to Rameshwaram and what happens during the journey.

TAMIL

SETTAI

Producer : UTV Motion Pictures

Release date : February, 2012

Director : R. Kannan

Music Director : S. Thaman

Cast : Arya, Anjali, Santhanam, Premji Amaren and Hansika Motwani

Synopsis : Settai is a remake of the 2011 Bollywood comedy, Delhi Belly.

IVAN VERAMADHIRI (He is different)

Producer : UTV Motion Pictures & N. Lingusamy of Thirrupathi Brothers

Release Date : June, 2013

Director : M. Saravanan

Music Director : Sathya

Cast : Vikram Prabhu and others

Synopsis : It is about a common man’s anger on the criminals and demonstrating the commitment of youth to reform the society

SIGARAM THODU (Scale the peak) December

Producer : UTV Motion Pictures

Release Date : December, 2013

Director : Gaurav

Music director: D. Imman

Cast : Vikram Prabhu, Sathyaraj, Yamini Gautam and others

Synopsis : It is about father & son’s relationship. A son’s desire to fulfill the desire of his father.