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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Monsoon Mania

War and Peace (2002)

Anand Patwardhan

Filmed over four years in India, Pakistan, Japan and the USA - War and Peace is documentary journey of peace activism at a time of global militarism and war. Triggered by macabre scenes of jubilation that greeted nuclear testing in the sub-continent, the film is framed by the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. Fifty years later memories of Gandhi seem like a mirage that never was, created by our thirst for peace and our very distance from it.

Bombs for peace. The ultimate oxymoron.What could be more twisted and warped than that? The nuclear test is successful. ‘The Buddha is smiling’. But Anand Patwardhan reminds us that this time the joke is on us."

Firaaq (2008)

Nandita Das

Hindi political thriller film set one month after the 2002 violence in Gujarat, and looks at the aftermath in terms of the effects on the lives of everyday people. It claims to be based on "a thousand true stories". Firaaq means both separation and quest in Urdu. The film is the directorial debut of Nandita Das. The film has largely been well received, both locally and internationally. It won three awards at the Asian Festival of First Films in Singapore in December 2008.

After the Deluge (2010)

Nizam Rawther

Kasaragod district has cashew plantations extending to 5600 acres, spreading through habitations, water bodies and hills in about 11 villages. The plantation corporation has been aerially spraying with the chemical pesticide Endosulfan since 1976, regularly till 2001. Following public out cry and intervention, Endosulfan spraying was stopped from 2003. Their battle began on December 26, 2000, when 43 activists of the Punchiri Muliyar marched to the PCK unit in Periya to block a helicopter from taking off for aerial spraying. A police cordon stopped them. They produced a documentary on the aftermath, After the deluge.

The Great Dictator (1940)

Charlie Chaplin

Like most Chaplin films, he wrote, produced, and directed, in addition to starring as the lead. Having been the only Hollywood film maker to continue to make silent films well into the period of sound films, this was Chaplin's first true talking picture as well as his most commercially successful film. More importantly, it was the first major feature film of its period to bitterly satirize Nazism and Adolf Hitler.

At the time of its first release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Chaplin's film advanced a stirring, controversial condemnation of Hitler, fascism, anti-Semitism, and the Nazis, the latter of whom he excoriates in the film as "machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts".

The film begins during a battle of World War I. The protagonist is an unnamed Jewish private (Charlie Chaplin), a barber by profession and is fighting for the Central Powers in the army of the fictional nation of Tomainia, comically blundering through the trenches in a tract of combat scenes.

Fire (1996)

Deepa Mehta

It is the first of Mehta's Elements trilogy. It is followed by Earth (1998) and Water (2005). Starring: Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das.

The film is loosely based on Ismat Chugtai's 1941 story Lihaf (The Quilt). It was one of the first mainstream films in India to explicitly show homosexual relations. After its 1998 release in India, certain groups staged several protests, setting off a flurry of public dialogue around issues such as homosexuality and freedom of speech.

At first glance, you see a happy middle-class family going through the normal paces of everyday life. However, as the layers are slowly peeled back, we find a simmering cauldron of discontent within the family, with almost every family member living a lie. Both marriages in the family turn out to be emotionally empty, without love or passion.

Monsoon Wedding (2001)

Mira Nair