Shekhar Deshpande, Arcadia University

Kothanodi/The River of Fables: an exercise in magic and the occult! IFFLA 2016

| April 11, 2016 | 0 Comments
Kothanodi/The River of Fables: an exercise in magic and the occult! IFFLA 2016

Bhaskar Hazarika’s debut feature received funding from Busan’s The Asian Cinema Fund and premiered at the BIFF in October 2015. The film is an important event for Assamese cinema, which remains less visible on the landscape of multiple language cinemas in India. For the film’s narrative, Hazarika went to the folk tales of Assam, particularly […]

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Vetri Maaran’s Visaaranai (Interrogation): Popular Cinema of Intervention- IFFLA 2016

| April 10, 2016 | 0 Comments
Vetri Maaran’s Visaaranai (Interrogation): Popular Cinema of Intervention-    IFFLA 2016

I have been watching police thrillers made by John Woo and Johnnie To for a while now. They have reinvigorated the police-crime dramas by instilling into them a cinematic style and finesse of mise-en-scène. They inspire filmmakers from around the world, Martin Scorsese among them. The trope of police corruption is quite common in cinema […]

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Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair’s Ottaal (The Trap): Tragic, Wise, and Dignified! IFFLA 2016

| April 10, 2016 | 0 Comments
Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair’s Ottaal (The Trap): Tragic, Wise, and Dignified!     IFFLA 2016

  Anton Chekhov’s short story, Vanka, is a memorable portrait of an orphan who longs to return to his grandfather and the early days of childhood. Nine-year old Vanka finds cruelty in the labor for a local shoemaker. The trappings of Moscow appear to him too cold and inhuman. His village back home breathed life, […]

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Island City: A Prelude to a Future We’ve Already Lived Through!

| April 7, 2016 | 0 Comments
Island City: A Prelude to a Future We’ve Already Lived Through!

Ruchika Oberoi’s debut feature is a three part anthology, a bold move that broadens the palette to portray the deep seated alienation and schizophrenia of life in Bombay. In varying style and narratives, she deepens the pain of the prosperous future we see and the suffering that never leaves us. The film speaks to the […]

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Anup Singh’s Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013)

| April 19, 2015 | 1 Comment
Anup Singh’s Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013)

One of the earlier passages of Walter Benjamin’s elegiac meditation on the art of storytelling captures the essence of the cherished art form.   The fourth “stanza” of that piece begins with an observation: “An orientation toward practical interests is characteristic of many born storytellers.”  The pragmatic dimension of narrative is not reduced to providing explanation, […]

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True Love Story (2014), Gitanjali Rao- L. A. Premiere, IFFLA-Apr. 10. 2015

| April 9, 2015 | 1 Comment
True Love Story (2014), Gitanjali Rao- L. A. Premiere, IFFLA-Apr. 10. 2015

I watched Gitanjali Rao’s Printed Rainbow (2006), in India when it was just released in Cannes, winning Best Short Film Award in Critics Week. It was a stunning discovery of a film and an artist. The film is not merely a masterpiece in painted image, propelling an entirely new aesthetic and bright new parameters for […]

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Chauranga (2014), Bikas Ranjan Mishra-North American Premiere-IFFLA, April 9. 2015

| April 9, 2015 | 0 Comments
Chauranga (2014), Bikas Ranjan Mishra-North American Premiere-IFFLA, April 9. 2015

Over the past two decades or so, world cinema has seen emergence of a film that anchors itself in a local idiom, bears its cultural signature and then positions its appeal to the larger, broader audience outside of its specific contexts of origin. This kind of film is one of the hallmarks of the new […]

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Titli (2014), Kanu Behl– IFFLA, April 9, 2015

| April 9, 2015 | 0 Comments
Titli (2014), Kanu Behl– IFFLA, April 9, 2015

There was always some taint to the notion of poverty in India. Shameful for the rabid nationalists, it was a sign of the struggle in postcolonial times; a difficult problem for representation since poverty for the “foreign eyes” was always different than what it meant to the people living in the slums and villages. The […]

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Haraamkhor (2015), Shlok Sharma- World Premiere, IFFLA, Apr. 8, 2015

| April 9, 2015 | 0 Comments
Haraamkhor (2015), Shlok Sharma- World Premiere, IFFLA, Apr. 8, 2015

Shlok Sharma’s Haraamkhor gives a snapshot of parallel moralities in a small Gujarat village. Shyam, a married teacher has a relationship with Sandhya, his student, who just crossed the threshold of puberty. Sandhya negotiates her relationship with divorced father’s new girl-friend. Young Kamal is infatuated with her as his accomplice Mintu prods, nods and plots […]

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Charles Chaplin+ John Berger+ Sight and Sound

| December 16, 2014 | 0 Comments
Charles Chaplin+ John Berger+ Sight and Sound

January 2015 issue of Sight and Sound magazine carries a piece by John Berger, called “The Lost Art of Falling.” Recalling Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s prophetic words that his friend Charles Chaplin was “undoubtedly the only one of our time who will be talked about a century from now,” Berger proceeds to diagnose the tramp’s trajectories […]

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