Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I've always had a bit of a grouse with the Ramayana because of the way Rama treated Sita. I can not understand how a man becomes maryada purushottamma with the way he treated his wife. I understand this is way before women's lib and colonialism but something about abandoning your pregnant wife in a forest is quite inhuman. I've always felt for Sita, maybe even pitied her a bit. For all her love and devotion all she got was a kick in the behind. I know right wing Hindutvadi's will disagree but let me be clear here, culture, religion and mythology just like literature, art and film are always open to interpretation, they belong to everyone and no one at the same time. Ergo no one has the right to claim supremacy of one version over the other.
Many might consider Nina Paley's version to be rather irreverent to the Hindu epic that it is based on but I think like every piece of art, it is curious, it questions and prompts one to think about what it is to be a woman and what it is to be a woman who loves a man too much.
Originally I was a bit surprised that a piece of art like this came from an American woman. It was a bit jarring initially but once I got over that bit, I think Nina Paley has done justice to the story of the Ramayana. She has not belittled Hindu Culture but has understood what is at the heart of a great story and has appropriated it.
I think bits like the clip below can bit quite funny to some (me included) and quite blasphemous to others. Irrespective it is a fascinating piece that is at once, honest, ironic, sarcastic and genuine.
The use of Jazz music is rather interesting. Personally I find it lends a beautiful transferability to the story so that no matter where in the world you are, you can feel for this woman. It takes an essentially rooted story and makes it universal.
Now Sita Sings the Blues is a part of the copyleft movement and therefore is available online at great resolutions for free. You can also watch it in its entirety on Youtube.
For more information - or if you are just plain curious visit the website.
Now I know a lot of people will disagree with what I've said. All I have to say is please do watch the film in its entirety before you form an opinion.
Monday, September 13, 2010
The music video for KanyeWest is a visual portrait of Power as described by its visual artist director Marco Brambilla. From the moment I saw it, I was stunned at what the director has managed to accomplish in 90 seconds. The concept is deliciously simple yet stunningly complex. The camera zooms out to reveal more and more until you see the entire picture. However the nuances of the image, the movements synced to the music are all amazing.
Conecptually the video is designed to make a statement on the sexuality of celebrity and power, and manages to redefine the way we look at all things "epic".
For everyone who is curious about how Brambilla technically managed to shoot a video like this,
"I shot images of the casting, people who came in as dancers and models and actresses in the various poses, and then it was put together as a photograph originally," Brambilla said. "We had very little time to shoot it. We only had a day to shoot it, so I basically know exactly how each element would look, where each element would go and how the whole piece would choreograph, because there's about 24 layers of video in the piece, and they are all interconnected. So it's almost like a visual ballet in a way, and it had to be pre-planned in a very specific way to make it cohesive and to make it work. That was the most challenging part of it: how to [translate] it from a still, a painting, and then make the painting come alive into the filming and the photography."
ALso - for anyone interested in the Symbolism of the video -
MTV Cheat Sheet and another entertaining analysis that has Kanye West as a Masonic initiate - Go figure :P
Some more buzz on Power :
Pretty Much Amazing ,
Pigeons and Planes,
Friday, September 10, 2010
Ideologically, the film is every feminist's wet dream and worse nightmare combined. As each woman successfully navigates and negotiates with centuries of tradition to create their own rules, they also succumb to the constraints of womanhood with their own love of fashion and all things outwardly feminine( wheres the sporty girl in sweats ? and why is the bra-less nanny a lesbian?). While The film is an ode to third wave feminism - it begs the question as to how we see ourselves - as women first or just as human beings. Now one can hardy dismiss gender as irrelevant but Sex and City at once tries to redefine what it means to be a woman and while being caught in the traps of of traditional gender roles.
I would have loved to see Miranda, yell at the boss and file a sexual harassment law suit. Quitting and running just seemed to lack spirit and almost seemed to endorse letting men get away with sexism. I would have preferred Carrie with a little more maturity and little less materialism. Charlotte and her inability to handle her children even with help was a big wtf moment - you have a nanny and your husband bathes the kids !!! Samantha was just perfect !!! She stole the show with her unashamed sense of self and her defiance of everything the world has ever told a woman she must be.
Theres just something about movies like Sex and the City 2. I'm not sure if its how you can enjoy them with all your girl friends, how riveting everything on screen is or just how much you've grown to love these women over the years, whatever it is - it re-affirms my faith is the magic of the movies !
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Here is a little tidtbit I found online that really make you ponder the production values of Aisha.
"Though makers of Aisha feel that Abhay Deol is the perfect choice but it seems the actor is not satisfied with the remuneration and length of his role. As reported Abhay was upset that his remuneration for the film is lesser than Sonam Kapoor's hair and costume budget. "
Why on Gods earth am I supposed to love Aisha ? The girl is seemingly stupid, arrogant, stubborn, selfish and filled with a sense of self entitlement. I can't find a reason to love this girl, let alone wish all through the movie that she gets the guy. That is after all the reason why we love rom-coms, we get to root for the girl and then we begin to believe in happy endings when the protagonist gets hers. I didn't want Aisha to get her happy ending, in fact I could not think of a single character less deserving of a happy ending. It felt as though not only the cast but even the crew had been high on weed that Aisha's friends smoke all through the film. Maybe next time invest a little bit more on the nuances of a good story such as character motivation, and audience involvement - or even better, next time leave film making to the pros.
I understand romantic comedies are not made to be intellectually stimulating but please do not make a mockery of human intelligence as you do when you make films like Aisha.