Sep 14, 2016

18th Sept 2016; MUSTANG


MUSTANG

A film by Deniz Gamze Ergüven
2015 / Turkey/ 97min
5.45pm / 18th Sept. / Perks Mini Theater
http://konangalfilmsociety.blogspot.in/


A beautifully mounted story about the demonization of young female sexuality in a remote Turkish village.Though set in Turkey, shot in Turkish, and telling a Turkish story about the demonization of female sexuality, Deniz Gamze Erguven’s beautifully mounted debut, “Mustang,” has an unmistakable West European sensibility.

This is the story of  five orphaned girls who live in a sizeable, well-furnished home “a thousand kilometres from Istanbul,” but a century from any notion of women’s rights. With their parents dead, they are raised by their grandmother, an aunt and a temperamental uncle.
Mustang tells a straightforward story of female empowerment. There’s a certain dreaminess to Mustang that helps soften the bleakness of what’s playing out on the screen. Ergüven’s camera gravitates toward the hazy light that streams in through the windows of the girls’ house, even as it quickly becomes more akin to a prison. She revels in the sisters’ beauty, youth, and spirit focusing in particular on their long, untamed hair (a reference to the the animal in the title), as it catches the wind like a banner raised in defiance.(Source: Internet )






 Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Deniz Gamze Ergüven was born in Turkey, grew up and went to school in France. In 2011 Ergüven was invited to attend the Cannes Film Festivals Atelier to help develop her project, The Kings. While there she met fellow director Alice Winocour who was there to develop her first feature film Augustine. After Ergüven was unable to find financing for her film Winocour suggested she write a more intimate piece leading the two to begin work on the script for Mustang.

Her debut film Mustang premiered in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Europa Cinemas Label Award. It later played in the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards
Ergüven was also nominated for multiple César Awards, winning the César Award for Best First Feature Film as well as the César Award for Best Original Screenplay.




  

Sep 1, 2016

4th Sept 2016; Ozu's FLOATING WEEDS





FLOATING WEEDS
A film by Yasujirô Ozu
1959/ Japan/ 119 minutes
5.45 pm / 4th Sept/ 2016 / Perks Mini Theater

Sooner or later, everyone who loves movies comes to Ozu. He is the quietest and gentlest of directors, the most humanistic, the most serene. But the emotions that flow through his films are strong and deep, because they reflect the things we care about the most.“Floating Weeds” (1959) is like a familiar piece of music that you can turn to for reassurance and consolation. It is so atmospheric--so evocative of a quiet fishing village during a hot and muggy summer--that it envelops you. Its characters are like neighbors.

A panoramic, low angle opening montage of an idyllic Japanese coastal province defines the understated, cinematic poetry of Yasujiro Ozu: a lighthouse framed against a tranquil sea; docked boats undulating with the sweeping waves; villagers weaving lackadaisically through local shops, as much for social interaction as for commerce. 

A struggling, itinerant acting troupe arrives into town for a kabuki show, lead by an aging performer, Master Komajuro . It is a tenuous homecoming for Komajuro. Ozu expertly weaves the narrarative through Komajuro's life, his women, his son and  unexpected setbacks that he faces.

Ozu's pervasive use of low camera height provides more than just a directorial signature style in Floating Weeds. As in Tokyo Story, the atmosphere is intimate and accessible. The characters appear grounded, human, reflecting Ozu's respect for the dignity of the common man. The camera does not wander, but retains focus on the space, creating a unbiased perspective of the characters. 

Inevitably, we understand Komajuro because he is all too human: the aging actor at the twilight of his career; the leader faced with the dissolution of his failed troupe; the father ashamed to reveal his deception. He has transcended the great samurais of his struggling plays, stripped of their cosmetic facade, and is rewarded with compassion and humanity. "Nothing is constant under the sun," someone observes, and this is very much a film which acknowledges the transience of human lives.
Ozu was born on December 12, 1903 in Tokyo. He and his two brothers were educated in the countryside, in Matsuzaka, whilst his father sold fertilizer in Tokyo. Ozu developed a love of film during his early days of school truancy, but his fascination began when he first saw a Matsunosuke historical spectacular at the Atagoza cinema in Matsuzaka. Ozu's uncle, aware of his nephew's love of film, introduced him to Teihiro Tsutsumi, then manager of Shochiku. Not long after, Ozu began working for the great studio—against his father's wishes—as an assistant cameraman.





Yasujirô Ozu

Ozu's work as assistant cameraman involved pure physical labour, lifting and moving equipment at Shochiku's TokyoThe Sword Of Penitence that became his first film as director (and only period piece) in 1927. Ozu was called up into the army reserves before shooting was completed. No negative, prints or script exist of The Sword Of Penitence—and, sadly, only 36 out of 54 Ozu films still exist. studios in Kamata. After becoming assistant director to Tadamoto Okubo, it took less than a year for Ozu to put his first script forward for filming. It was in fact his second script.


Days Of Youth (Wakaki Hi, 1929) is Ozu's earliest extant picture, though not especially typical (and preceded by seven others, now lost) as it is set on ski slopes. Stylistically it is rife with close-ups, fade-outs and tracking shots, all of which Ozu was later to leave behind. Three years later came what is generally recognized as Ozu's first major film, I Was Born, But... (Umarete wa Mita Keredo..., 1932). This moving comedy/drama was a great success in Japan both critically and financially. It was one of cinema's finest works about children. Thirty years into his filmmaking career Ozu was making films which, like Kurosawa's Ikiru (1952), questioned the sense of spending your whole working life behind a desk—something that many of his audience must have been doing. Ozu's films represent a lifelong study of the Japanese family and the changes that a family unit experiences. He ennobles the humdrum world of the middle-class family and has been regarded as “the most Japanese of all filmmakers”, not just by Western critics, but also by his countrymen.

Aug 25, 2016





Embrace of the Serpent 
A film by Ciro Guerra
2015/  Columbia/ 125 minutes /
 5.45 pm /28th Aug 2016 / Perks Mini Theater


The ravages of colonialism cast a dark pall over the stunning South American landscape in “Embrace of the Serpent,” the latest visual astonishment from the gifted Colombian writer-director Ciro Guerra. Charting two parallel journeys deep into the Amazon, each one undertaken by a European explorer and a local shaman, this bifurcated narrative delivers a fairly comprehensive critique of the destruction of indigenous cultures at the hands of white invaders.

“Impossible to describe in words its beauty and splendor,” the Dutch explorer Theodor von Martins wrote of the Colombian Amazon in 1909, and no words are needed in light of David Gallego’s majestic lensing, his widescreen compositions capturing a lush rainforest setting in sharp, exquisitely subtle shades of monochrome. 



The film’s central figure is A young shaman named Karamakate, last survivor of the Cohiuano, an Amazonian tribe killed off by the rubber barons. He is no innocent, noble savage but an angry, morally complex individual with a heart full of grief.  It’s sometime during the early 1900s . Theo a German explorer with his local guide is searching for the Yakuna, an exceedingly rare flower that could heal him of his sickness with the help of Karamakate.

Every so often, the film jumps 40 years into the future to join a rugged American named Evan  as he enlists an older Karamakate  to retrace his steps on a hunt for the same flower plant — snaking together these parallel journeys into a mesmeric call and response. Towards the end  the film moves to mystical higher ground, as abhorrence expands into awe. Shot in dreamy black and white, spoken in nine separate languages, and told with an unerring devotion to authenticity this film is a fitting requiem for the ravages of white hegemony  (source: Internet)




Ciro Guerra

Colombian filmmaker Ciro Guerra wove magical realism into stories of his native country and its people into a trio of award-winning features, including the Oscar-nominated "Embrace of the Serpent" (2015). Born February 6, 1981 in the town of Rio de Oro, Colombia, Guerra studied film and television at the National University of Colombia before directing a trio of shorts - the live action "Silence" (1998) and "Alma" (2001) and the animated short "Intento" (2002) - and "Documental Siniestro: Jairo Pinilla, Cineasta" ("Sinister Documentary: Jairo Pinilla, Filmmaker," 1999), which focused on the eponymous Colombian cult director. 

In 2004, Guerra released his first feature-length directorial effort, "Wandering Shadows," a drama about a disabled man whose Dickensian life in a Bogota barrio is improved by a mysterious stranger. "Shadows" won the Films in Progress award from the San Sebastian International Film Festival, and paved the way for his second feature, "Los viajes del viento" ("The Wind Journeys," 2009), with Colombian musician Marciano Martinez as a folk musician who embarks on a journey to return his accordion - an instrument supposedly won in a duel with the Devil - to his former master. Another critical success, the film earned Guerra the Award of the City of Rome at the 2009 Cannes Film 

Shot on location in a remote corner of the Amazon River in Colombia, and photographed in stark black-and-white imagery, "Embrace of the Serpent" concerned a four-decade search for a legendary plant with alleged healing powers conducted by a shaman - the last member of his tribe - and two scientists. Based on the diaries of the real scientists, "Serpent" was hailed by international critics, and earned a slew of laurels, from a 2016 Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film to the Art Cinema award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. 


Jul 13, 2016

Konangal pays tribute to the great Iranian master 
ABBAS KIAROSTAMI


THE WIND WILL CARRY US
A film by Abbas Kiarostami
1999 /Iran / 113 minutes
17th JULY  5.45 pm / Perks Mini Theater



"We're heading nowhere," a disembodied voice complains as a battered jeep crawls up a winding road through harsh, scrubby terrain. So begins The Wind Will Carry Us—one of the great films by Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami.

A busy video producer/engineer Behzad from Tehran is sent to a remote Iranian village to capture an obscure burial ceremony. But the 'subject' of his film , Mrs. Malek is ill, not dead, forcing the man and his production crew to slow down, linger in the village, and mingle with the local families. Along the way, the engineer encounters a radically different lifestyle than his own, with different priorities. In doing so, his perspective on the natural world is changed.

Behzad recites a poem in the film , a poem by Furugh Farrukhzad (1935-67), one of the most extraordinary Persian or Iranian female poets of the twentieth century, which gives the film its title and which treats the central conflict in the film, “life in the face of death.” In Iran, people at all social levels know poetry and quote it to each other constantly, for all sorts of reasons Poetry and Sufism. Both are useful coordinates for anyone trying to get a fix on the intent behind this gorgeous, semi-opaque film, The Wind Will Carry Us
This film is remarkable in its sustained pace, perspective, and ability to focus so sharply on a single character without revealing too much of that character, allowing him to retain a sense of mystery and delightful ambiguity. In the title sequence of The Wind Will Carry Us absences define presences in numerous ways. In fact, many major characters in the film -- including Mrs. Malek, Youssef, and all three members of Behzad's crew -- are never seen. Most of the sequence unfolds in semidarkness.

The Wind Will Carry Us offers an intricately constructed spatial world that's as breathtakingly beautiful, as various, and as cosmically evocative as a Brueghel landscape -- a world teeming with diverse kinds of life and activity -- and it teases us whenever we want to get to know this world better, seducing and evading us at the same time. If you're open to the possibility that the world is bigger than you typically give it credit for, and you're willing to invest some effort in letting go of your usual way of seeing, this film will be a revelation for you. (From Internet)




Abbas Kiarostami
June 22, 1940 - July 4, 2016

Abbas Kiarostami, the Iranian filmmaker who is widely considered one of the world's greatest living directors has written and directed some 41 movies since the early 1970s, and has been compared by critics to such titans of international cinema as Ingmar Bergman and Akira Kurosawa.

In her survey of recent achievements in film, Susan Sontag declared, “Iranian cinema has been the great revelation of the last decade.” Surely one of those largely responsible for this phenomenon is the screenwriter and director Abbas Kiarostami. Few new films draw comparisons to classics like Mr. Bergman's "Wild Strawberries," Michelangelo Antonioni's "Red Desert" or Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt." Mr. Kiarostami's movies not only evoke such parallels; they also seem to infuse the beleaguered art-film traditions with fresh urgency.

Born in Tehran in 1940, Kiarostami worked as a commercial artist and children’s book illustrator until he was invited to lead the department of cinema at the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults. Given this background, it’s not surprising that many of his projects feature children. Kiarostami is a graduate of Tehran University’s Faculty of Fine Arts in Painting

Mr. Kiarostami's own filmmaking began at the end of the 1960's when the loose-knit movement later labeled the Iranian New Wave was just gaining steam. One hallmark of Mr. Kiarostami's work is its esthetic consistency. "Bread and Alley," the first short he made, in 1970, has qualities that distinguish his films up to "Taste of Cherry": a lyrical but concrete feel for the particulars of place and visual atmosphere; a way of eliciting strikingly natural performances from nonactors; and stories in which an anecdotal surface disguises a rich substratum of philosophical, allegorical or social concerns.

Mr. Kiarostami did not consider leaving the country during the Iranian revolution of 1978-79, he said, "because of a revolution going on in my own house." His own marriage was failing. Pierre Rissient, an executive with Ciby 2000, the French company that handles worldwide sales of "Taste of Cherry," says that Mr. Kiarostami "proceeds the way the Greek philosophers like Heraclitus do, or Chinese figures like Laotzu, or Japanese Zen poets like Basho -- the poetry is completely linked with philosophy."

The protagonists of his films are the ordinary people who surround us. Their lives represent no more and no less of what constitute ours. Their presence in films provides us with an opportunity to think about the everydayness of our existence and relationships; an opportunity to see them as a mirror that reflects the depth of our human feelings and thoughts.

Abbas Kiarostami's films seek to uncover the deepest human emotions in the most ordinary events in life. His works are a demonstration of the significance and relevance of these emotions to the restless, captive, and tormented individuals of the twentieth century.

Everything in Kiarostami's films speaks to the matter at hand. His films direct the spectator toward central human problems. He has deeply-held ideas and feelings. He wants to say certain things about life. So he doesn't waste his time or ours. Nothing has been done merely for effect, to impress the spectator, to enhance the director's reputation. There aren't so many artists like that around, unfortunately.

Kiarastomi passed away in Paris on 4th July thus year. He was later buried in a private ceremony in northern Tehran. Thousands of Iranians bid  tearful farewell to their country’s greatest filmmaker.



Jun 15, 2016

19th June 2016; Pavel Lungin's THE ISLAND


THE ISLAND
A film by Pavel Lungin
2006/ Russia/ 112 minutes
5.45 pm / Perks Mini Theater
http://konangalfilmsociety.blogspot.in/

 Russian Orthodox monk Anatoly lives on a remote island in the frigid White Sea, where he is tormented by guilt from a cowardly “sin” committed years ago under Nazi coercion.  Anatoly shovels coal briquettes and pushes wheelbarrows across rickety planks to repent for his iniquities. He considers himself as “stained” by sin, and accordingly neglects his body till it is as unkempt as his soul.



Anatoly doesn’t bathe (despite his soot-coated accommodations), much to the dismay of his fellow monks.  The sailor-turned-saint hopes said reason will cleanse him of sin when his time to leave the world does come.  Other monks—including superior Father Filaret—find Anatoly an obnoxious prankster who speaks in riddles and “cultivates superstition” among laypeople.

The Island is a study of forgiveness (of oneself and others) whose title—poet John Donne might agree—references one man’s inner isolation as well as his geographic remoteness.  And while arctic environs are harsh, director Pavel Lounguine collages some beautiful imagery (all symbolic) here—from craggy rocks and lichen-covered hills to raging waters and charred timbers.  (From Internet)




Pavel Lungin 

Pavel Semyonovich Lungin s a Russian film director.  Lungin worked primarily as a scriptwriter until given the opportunity to direct Taxi Blues at age 40. Lungin was awarded the Best Director Prize at 1990 Cannes Film Festival for the film Taxi Blues starring Pyotr Mamonov. That same year he took up residence in France, while making films in and about Russia with French producers. Two years later, his next film Luna Park would also compete at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. In 1993 he was a member of the jury at the 18th Moscow International Film Festival.

Lungin’s last film Ostrov (The Island, 2006) is a penetrating drama of sublimation of the soul. According to the official site of Lungin Studio, in the mid October the film-director finished another feature film under the title Cruelty. In 2007 Lungin is going to release Vetka Sireni (Lilacs), a life story of Sergei Rachmaninoff.



Jun 1, 2016

5th June 2016; Kenloach's KESS


KES
A film by Ken Loach
1969 /UK / 110 mins
5th June 2016
5.45 pm / Perks Mini theater
http://konangalfilmsociety.blogspot.in/
 Director Ken Loach’s masterpiece Kes is the moving and stark portrait of a young boy, Billy, who finds, befriends, tames, and trains a kestrel, aptly named Kes. This boy and this bird, and this film, do not attain, nor do they even seek to begin with, the sort of sentimentality that a movie about a child and an animal can typically denote. It’s much more than that, much more honest than that.

The film follows Billy as he tries to make his way through the grim and at times quite aggressive world of his downtrodden, working-class English town, seeking solace in his time with Kes, finding a refuge from the hostilities of family strife, torment at school, and an otherwise stagnant existence; shots of the bird soaring freely through the overcast skies stand as sharp contrasts and perhaps as sources of envy for the boy who seems to find abuse and confinement at every turn.



Contrasting the desolation and spiritual poverty of Billy's oppressively confining environment against his liberating, almost meditative ritual of kestrel training in the open field, Loach creates a sublimely transitory, yet indelible image of natural communion, existential purpose, and transcendence. 



 
 

KEN LOACH

Kenneth Loach (born June 17, 1936, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England) British film director whose works are considered landmarks of social realism. Loach studied law at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, but while there he became interested in acting. After graduating in 1957, he spent two years in the Royal Air Force and then began a career in the dramatic arts.

Loach continued to address social issues on television and later in theatrical releases as well. In the 1960s Loach directed several docudramas for a television series called The Wednesday Play. One of the productions, Cathy Come Home (1966), explored the disintegration of a working-class family and examined the intertwined issues of unemployment and homelessness. In doing so, it helped bring the discussion of homelessness into the British mainstream. He has been honored with awards and praises for  all over the world ever since.


One can but admire Loach for relentlessly sticking to his task, repeatedly championing the underdog by revealing the hardships and struggles of those at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Few directors have been as consistent in their themes and their filmic style, or as principled in their politics, as Loach has in a career spanning five decades. Without doubt he is Britain's foremost political filmmaker.