Painting Life – Dr.Biju

‘Painting Life’ is what you’d call a serene film. One that is set in a remote but picturesque Himalayan village away from the presence of modern technology, mobile towers or luxuries, and at the mercy of nature for travel and transport.
The film takes you through fairy tale colours, painting an exotic picture of the real and bare truths. It surrounds a team of bollywood filmmakers who reach the village for a shoot, partly by air and the rest by road. As they await the rest of the crew, a landslide leaves them isolated and cuts off their final hope of connection with the outside world when they realize that not only their electricity, but also their landline has failed. This is in stark contrast to breckneck life they have been leading with their projects and gadgets. What follows is primarily the transformation that the filmmaker goes through, helped by another woman who lives in the adjoining room with her husband.

‘Painting Life’ does not offer anything new in terms of its theme or rendition. In fact, the human touch perspectives in certain places are one of those old hat tricks common to these genre of films. But the film does do justice to its title name, and to those who’d like a getaway, an exotic location.

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Djam -Tony Gatlif

Even when you see the soil beneath your feet slipping away, can you still live in the hope and happiness of existence? Can you accept uncertainity as simple as the life that has to go on, come what may ever?

That was Djam. A simple and beautiful story that speaks of the poverty and looming bankruptcy in the Island of Lesbos in Greece, and yet does not send you home with a heartbreak. The movie introduced me to the to the lovely greek traditional subculture of rebetiko music. The movie itself, set in Greece and Turkey, begins with one such song sung by Djam, an exuberant and vivacious girl who lives with her stepfather Kakourgos. She is sent to Istanbul by Karkourgos to fetch a lever that will repair their boat and ensure their livelihood. There she befriends Avril, a French woman who came to Turkey to work with the refuges, but became stranded without any belongings in the process. The rest of the movie follows their journey through and the stark realities they encounter on the steps of poverty. Djam meets every hurdle with her rebetiko songs and enthralling steps, which is her way to deal with difficulties. However, we get a glipse of the pain she holds in her towards the end, when she threatens the bank officials who have come for the bankruptcy proceedings. Even then, her stepfather holds her back, and as they sail in their boat which is now repaired, he shouts ‘we exist’ laughing and enjoying another rebetiko number.

The movie was a pleasure to watch, the one that you’d call a ‘feel good’ film. But it involves some nudity, and while that may not be a big deal, you may want to reconsider taking your kids along, or anyone else who may be uncomfortable by the same. That apart, Djam is a musical pleasure and one to relish.

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Ee.Ma.Yau (ഈശോ മറിയം യൗസേപ്പേ) – Lijo Jose Pellissery

Ee.Ma.Yau is set it in a fishing village amongst a christian community. As much as the title suggests, the story has to do with death. Not death in its philosophical kaleidescope, but with the death of a man whose was promised a grand funeral by his son, and the adverse events surrounding the funeral process that reverse the promise in vain.

Vavachan is promised a grand funeral by his son Eesy when he dies, when Vavachan reminiscences about the majestic funeral that his own father received. When Vavachan dies unexpectedly, Eesy scampers about to fulfill his promise. But unforseen hurdles beginning from gossipmongers who raise suspicion about the possibility of murder, to the presence of a second wife and family, and Eesy hitting the priest, he slowly slips into the realisation that he will not be able to keep his word. This seemingly plays with his sanity, and he finally digs a coarse grave for the man who he loved dearly.

Ee.Ma.Yau is a fine film that is much more worth than a watch alone. Though there is much noise and hullabaloo in the characters, the film progresses without creating any emotional pinch for the audience. Definitely one to be given a try.

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Bilathikuzhal (English Barrel) – Vinu Kalichal

Is there an object in your life that becomes a primal obsession and stays that way? Something that becomes a fixation or your security blanket?

Bilathikuzhal (Security Blanket) is a films that deals with such an obsession in the life of Kunhambu through two stages- one as a child and the other as an elderly. The obsession in Kunhambu’s life is an English barrel that he sees with Chindan Muthappan. As a child, we see him fantasizing about the gun, and finally getting to learn the basics from Chindan Muthappan. The film then abruptly moves to the aged Kunhambu, who lives a silent life with his children and grand children, his only engagement being frequent visits to the police station to reclaim his gun that he deposited there a few years ago. A disquiet in his own family being the real reason for him being unable to get back his gun, Kunhambu is a repressed joke of his surroundings.

While there is no definite storyline as such, Bilathikuzhal succeeds in capturing the emotions of the boy/elderly man, who outwardly seems to be in peace with his fate, silent and calm, but actually encounters turmoil from within concerning a single object that is tugged to his deepest dreams and wants. However, the film is quite slow paced in various shots, which while may be an attempt to get the audience into the actual feel of the film, can also be trying at various points. Especially when there is nothing to follow, not even the theme in is actual sense. Yet, the attempt is appreciable in its own terms.

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Cold War – Pawel Pawlikoski

Set against the backdrop of post-war Poland, Cold War is a story of passionate yet tumultuous love between two people of polar temperaments. The antipode is set not just across the disposition of Wiktor and Zula, but across the countries that reject and accept their elemental passion. As much as it is verbally scant, the fervor, lust and love that is almost paroxysmal is visually mesmerizing. The lovers tell much of their tale through their music, that looms upon them in light and in dark. To the very end, they hold on to their hope, knowing well how much they have each other, and yet how fragile it is.

Beautifully crafted in black and white.

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