Archive for November, 2010

Nov 20 2010

Comments on Indian cinema

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When I was reading A Brief History Of Bollywood “Film Songs” by Nasreen Munni Kabir, I was thinking whether I had watched any Indian movie before. And at that time, Slumdog Millionaire and The Darjeeling Limited (I personally love Adrian Brody!!!) came up in my mind because these are the only movies that I have watched and could be related to India.

*** Slumdog Millionaire (2008) is directed by Danny Boyie and Loveleen Tandan.

***The Darjeeling Limited (2007) is directed by Wes Anderson.

Honestly, I had a discussion with my classmate and we expressed our thoughts about how one should define film in term of its nationality.

1. Can we say Slumdog Millionaire is an Indian film based on Loveleen Tandan is an Indian (while Danny Boyie is not)?

2. Or should we define a film in term of its nationality by where the shooting takes place? (But I think this is less important.)

3. Should we think about where the financial support for the film comes from?

4. Should we think what the style of the film is? ( “Bollywood Style”? “Hollywood style”?)

 

Slumdog Millionaire takes place in India and it has dance and songs in the film; it also used Bollywood dancers. In A Brief History Of Bollywood “Film Songs” ,“ [Indian romantic movie] often follows a set pattern in which young lovers cannot be united until they overcome various obstacles” (41). I think this is one of the styles of Indian cinema. I don’t know if there is such thing as “happy ending” in Indian cinema but I think a “Hollywood style” film would definitely have a happy ending and no matter what happen, the bad guys would be punished eventually in the end of the film. In Slumdog Millionaire , Jamal and Latika are lovers and they are eventually united after they have escaped from gangsters and Jamal’s brother, who is one of the gangsters, is dead at the end of the film. I really find difficulty in defining whether Slumdog Millionaire is a Hollywood film or Bollywood film.
 

I am really surprised that playback singers are popular and respected in India because I think the situations in the United States or Hong Kong or any other places are different. Playback singers in those places would be unknown.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfjnEqMbBpg

Based on the clips that showed in the class, for me, I don’t really like Indian music style and I totally don’t get it despite the fact that I don’t know Indian… Its rhythm is very different from American pop songs’ and its tempo is very fast. Certainly, the dance in the clip is good and successfully draws people attention but at the same time, I wonder what the style of Indian cinema could be if we ignore those dance and songs. I also want to talk about the other clip in which people singing in the field, I think we have something similar in Chinese cinema:

People in the film sing their thoughts and love out to each other.

The film we watched in the class is so boring…(Sorry but it‘s true for me.) I almost fell alseeeep! And I don’t even know the name of it. Although I like the documentary-like style of it but it is toooooo long!!! I thought it would be ended finally after the good news have some from the father but it wasn’t! I think it’s great to show Durga’s mother tries to do everything to avoid Durga catching another cold, but I think the scene overemphasizing too many details and thus makes the scene too long and also the tempo of it too slow. I feel lost when the daughter is dead because the way it shows her death is implicit.

I think the best scene of the film would be the mother biting the fabric because I think Indian traditional women are just like Chinese traditional women in a way that their emotions cannot be so obvious in old days and at the same time, I think the sadness of losing the one you love is something cannot be verbalized and thus through biting the fabric, the mother expresses her sadness of losing her daughter.

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Nov 12 2010

Horror but fun

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Psycho is a film by Alfred Hitchcock. Though I have heard him since I was a kid, I have never really had a chance to watch his movies until the media class.

At the beginning of the film, the camera shows us the city where the story takes place and the music gives me a feeling that everything is possible in this seem-like-normal city.

It is no doubt that there are different kinds of gazes in this film, but sometime I find it difficult to define whether it is “spectator‘s gaze” or just a normal angle. The most obvious scene for me that it is “spectator‘s gaze” is that the camera is focusing on the money in the bed while Marion is changing her clothes and then she put the money in the suitcase. Shooting what Marion is doing from her back is like we are gazing at her secretly from behind and she doesn’t know that she is being watched.

“Eye scenes”

In the film, there are two “eye scenes”. One is when Norman peeking Marion from a small hole and the other one is when Marion is dead and her face falls on the ground.

Both of the “eye scenes” gives me a sense of time is condensed and so is the atmosphere. It is like everything beside what Norman is doing has stopped, even the time and I think that would be a feeling when a person who is fascinated with his/her hobby. Then when Marion is dead and she falls on the ground. It really makes me feel like “Oh! This is how a life ends…” and life is so fragile and short. I was not even breathing when these “eye scenes” were screened.

How “M” is related to “Psycho”?

I remember that Prof. Herzog mentioned that Hitchcock was influenced deeply by Fritz Lang and so when I was watching “Psycho”, I tried to link “Psycho” and “M” together if there was any evidences in film that could be able to show Lang’s influence to Hitchcock and I found something! I noted that they both use music to show a character’s inside and his/her dark and ugly desire. A series of medium long shot, medium shot and medium close-up is used for indicating that a character is getting closer to some event or the truth.

 

This is when Lila is getting close to the house and the truth.

Pictures:

 

I don’t think this is low-key lighting, but I don’t know what I can use for describing it. But this scene shows the darkness of Norman!

 

The difference between the reactions towards fear of men and women for me is that when men are scared in the film, they are not able to scream and maybe it has something to do with masculinity and men’s image.

 

Women scream when they are scared.

 

Everything is all happened in the blink of an eye.

 

Both of them have intensive facial expression in this scene. I like how they look like…

I found many mysteries in this film. For example, when the officer first shows up, I thought he would be one of the key character in the film since there were many close-ups of his face and his sunglasses but turns out he’s not! It doesn’t make sense for me when there are many close-ups for a guy who is not a key character in the film! And I don’t know why the film keeps shooting the shower head when Marion is enjoying the shower. It made me think that there would be blood come from the shower head instead of water later, but at the same when I was watching the film I kept reminding myself it was not a ghost film!

I still don’t see how voyeurism is related to femininity. From the small hole, I can see that Marion is taking off her clothes. So does it mean that Hitchcock tries to show that women are born to be watched?

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