Saturday, April 28, 2012

KINARA (1977)

Inspired from Douglas Sirk’s ‘Magnificient Obsession’, this Gulzar film is a love story of repentance. I just love the light hearted first half better than the second one which is quite serious and melodramatic one with its projected end. But saying this I must say that Gulzar once again let his viewers connect without any pretentious gimmicks. His gift of sensitive story telling with poise and simplicity, turning the stars of the era so naturally befits into lifelike and unadorned characters and above all natural and inartificial warmth of relationships. Where are such films today? Gulzar spent intial years of his career under the umbrella of his mentor Bimal Roy and one can see his sense of capturing the essence of nature in his films in frames and characters. If Hema Malini’s natural grace and his talent of classical dancer is exploited here so beautifully under the ace Master choreographer Gopi Krishna, the two actors Jeetendra and Dharmendra who're wasted and exploited by unproductive ugly eighties either by B grader mindless revenge violence and mediocre southern remakes. Here both seems characters than stars. Though I believe that Dharmendra is a fine and talented actors than so called jumping jack of the era but even that 'jack' tried to act as natural as possible even while stretching his limit here. Even Jeetendra wonders how unlikely to his musical star image Gulzar made him bespectacled doctor and a tutor in ‘Khushboo’ and ‘Parichay’. Gulzar also achieved fine supporting act from underrated character actor like Dr. Shreeram Lagoo; this is one of his finest one. But the film remains memorable out and out for it’s touchstone compositions.

‘With Gulzar, I would sometimes need a day or two to understand the significance and beauty of his lyrics, and then he would take a couple of days to appreciate my music,’ said Panchamda once in an interview. Pancham-Gulzar is one of the heavenly combination ever happened to Hindi film music and the combination gave some of the most soulful albums that never grow old. I would rate and include Pancham’s classical oriented score of ‘Kinara’ as one of my all-time five favorite Pancham soundtrack and it’s the hallmark of the film. Ever since first time I heard ‘Ek hi Khwab’, Gulzar’s non metric open eye dream wonderfully serenaded and strummed on acoustic guitar by Bhupinder, I just wonder does anybody able to make it such a dearest unique touch in composition or singing? That’s one of my eternal favorite Bhupinder number and he’s undoubtedly brilliant singer shadowed under the era of Kishore Kumar. The film has matchless melodies ranging from Lataji-Bhupinder’s two soulful classic duets ‘Naam Gum Jayega’ and ‘Meethe Bol Bole’ and two touching solos ‘Jaane Kya Soch Kar’ (Kishore Kumar) and ‘Ab ke na Sawan’ (Lataji). 

If for noting else one should watch the film to revisit those golden melodies where purity and soulfulness makes one linger those emotions! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

WIN WIN (2011)

Not as sublime and uplifting one as his two earlier indies ‘The Station Agent’ or ‘The Visitor’, this third film of Director Tom McCarthy is nevertheless nice feel good film where drama and comedy comes from an embarrassing fix of characters' ups and downs of life. A struggling lawyer and a part time wrestling coach Mike Flaherty in order to get monthly paycheques double cross the court to get the guardianship of his client suffering from dementia. Kyle, a weird teenage grandson who hates his mother suddenly visits his grandpa and proves out as promising wrestler for the Mike’s sucking team. As Kyle becomes a welcome member of Mike’s family, his mom returns from rehab to get guardianship of his dad and son. Paul is back to struggle now, more to cover his embarrassing bet.

This is the kind of film that slowly takes you in stride towards the plot and the characters. And just like his earlier films McCarthy successfully gets something out of each character here whether it’s fine underdog actors like Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan or a real life New Jersey under eighteen wrestling champion teenager named Alex Shaffer as Kyle in his well nuanced debut performance. The humor and drama in some parts seems so spontaneous and in some seems inflated one. I think I would have appreciated the film better if the ending was more refined one instead of just routine happy wind up highlighting the title. As I said earlier compared to McCarthy’s earlier indies this one seems to cliché and average but nevertheless interesting enough to watch one time for its story telling and characters.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

MESRINE (2008) (French)

‘In the world of gangsters heroes don’t exist.’
Here is a crime epic which once again proves why French cinema is Master of crime wave. Here is a film that finally brought back the experience of those brilliant and powerful gangster films of Hollywood’s shifting seventies. The unpredictable violence, tension, characters and treatment instantly reminds you of Coppola, Scorsese and Penn. In fact one can see the influence of ‘Godfather’, ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Scarface’ or ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ in many of its parts. It moves with an electrifying pace and style and hooked you to the exciting thrill and action without any dull moment.  The film is biopic on notorious and the most wanted French criminal of 60s and 70s named Jacques Mesrine. However the film is not out and out record of his crime story as some of the events in the film are based on fiction and Director Jean Francois Richet clearly stated a convincing reason for this liberty in the beginning of the film- ‘It’s not possible to completely show complexity of a man’s life, which everybody perceives differently.’

There’s no gangster film which finish without leaving the impact of its main lead or character. Undoubtedly the man to watch here is Vincent Cassel and he is as awesome in form and performance as once De Niro was in company of Scorsese. One can see many mannerism and method act of De Niro in Cassale’s performance especially his expressions. Cassel put on lot of weight and did number of hairstyles and get ups to portray the criminal with many faces and also done a lot of research to make the character a perfect finish; one can see the result of it on screen. The film brought back that shocking violence on screen and story of the criminal divided between the world of family, the world of multiple fair sex partners and the world of crime.

The film is epic with duration of three hours and forty minutes and so divided in two parts. However both of them were shot together and were released the same year after a month’s break. The first part ‘Killer Instinct’ deals with the rise and making of Mesrine as the most wanted man bank robbery man of French and Canada police and it depicts the significant chronological events of his criminal life and affairs of sixties. The highlight of the first part is prison escape and violence aftermath. The second part ‘Public Enemy No.1’ shows his period of seventies where he committed some of his boldest crime  including that court room escape entitling him the Public Enemy No.1. It follows the multiple prison escapes, robberies and violence and Mesrine’s playing too much with the system that finally turned out as nemesis. It also portrays the strong surveillance, trailing and planning of French police to finish him with whatever means. The second part quite falters compared to the first compact one. 


Sunday, April 22, 2012


There’s one thing about American cinema which always made me hopeful and looking forward to and that is the spirit of independent film-making. With low budget real life locations instead of glorious larger than life production sets, common and lifelike characters instead of pretentious stars with worn expressions, natural performances rather than over the top acting and fine poise and patience of story telling than technical superficialities…there’re so much that directly connects the audience without any extra effort. Here’s once again a decent independent film which brought all these things together and trying to kindle the spirit of humanity.

When the director, actors and crew of the film don’t deliberately try to impress the audience and maintains the ease and simplicity of story telling, the film automatically connects to its audience. Director Thomas McCarthy made a decent debut attempt with ‘The Station Agent’ and he again achieved and matures that feat with this film. Walter is a lonely, reserved widower college professor of Connecticut. He visits New York to read a paper in conference and came to know that an immigrant couple is living in his own flat. He shares couple of days with the couple and forms a human connection and change that he’s missing from time being. Incidentally the immigrant man nabbed by FBI by mistake and arrested in detention centre. As the conference is over, the professor has to move back to his college soon but the unlikely situations with these strangers forms an emotional bonding that pulling him to stay in New York.  

We have seen Richard Jenkins as fine supporting actor but rarely see a film where he carried the film on his own with the performance that makes him remember for long. This film is breaking of that jinx for him. But what’s more satisfying than Jenkins are the natural and lifelike performances by all those unknown faces of non American actors that makes it so realistic than staged drama. The playing of drum is symbolic force of life’s rhythm here…it should play on with a flow of spontaneity and without thinking much about preconceived notions.

Recommended one for everyone.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY (Japanese) (1947)

‘This is the kind of world where you need the dreams the most.’

It’s always surprise and joy discovering something so lesser known classic from Master like Kurosawa and its double surprise to see something so poignant and yet so positive love story on screen. Kurosawa’s this early post world war tale seems more under the shadows of Italian Neo Realist melodrama and it leads us to witness the heart breaking and mending moments of two concerning lovers. It instantly reminds me of that famous O Henry short story ‘The Gift of Magi’. It maintained the light and shadow of joy and sadness between two lovers as the film progresses and yet the film maintains and ends with a effective positive note.

Two miserable young lovers used to meet only on Sundays and this is one of their Sunday date but all they have between them is meager sum of 35 yen and each others company. Yes, they are opposite, the girl is too emotional and dreamy and the man is realist and a disillusioned cynic returned from war. What we witness from the beginning to the end is a day from morning to night where hope and despair, happiness and sadness keep on playing their roles one after other.  Throughout the film we see the role-playing shifted between the couple finding affordable joys of visiting zoo, concert, café or amphitheatre and how most of their little joys ended up with despair due to unfortunate economics! Their running short of money plays its tragedy in all situations and yet they keep intact their mutual dream to open a café with affordable prices for masses.

The later half of the film is so evocative one with two heartbreaking scenes. One where the couple standing in a queue to ticket window witness how the black marketers snatched their hopes by purchasing affordable B tickets and than started selling them with  high rates. Seeing her beloved crying, the man demanded one of black marketer to sell two tickets at same prize and as he refused the man angrily gave him a punch.

The ugly reality strikes again and the tussle between two ended up with many where the union of black marketers ended up beating the man.The film is not the best or stands equal compared to what the Master made in the later years but still one can see the glimpse of making of Master humanitarian here especially that two brilliant scenes- the one where the lovers enacting a mock café scene at ruined rubble followed by beautiful moonlight swing scene. And that long and the most moving highlight of the film where we witness the imaginary symphony with invisible orchestra at amphitheatre and the inner feelings played by an atmospheric opera on screen! Now that’s absolutely Kurosawa moment to witness without fail and it deserved standing round of applause for all such miserable young lovers around the world. This is Kurosawa’s no lesser film and mandatory one for all his devoted fans.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


An American student named Billy Hayes is arrested on Istanbul airport with two kilograms of hashish taped on his stomach. He tried to lead astray cops’ investigation in order to escape but the plan soon proved a disaster for him. The court trial declared him convict with possession. Though he and his family tried to get him out of the mess but all proved failed attempt and here begins one of the brutal tortured hell journey of prison. We noticed the vehement portrayal of authority’s brutal torture and remand, company of evil prison companion, a failed attempt of prison break and above all mental and physical breakdown that turned him towards the degree of insanity. He managed to get himself free on his won but he had paid heavy prize for it.

While adapting the original autobiographical account penned by Hayes himself, Director Alan Parker and screenplay writer Oliver Stone took much liberty to insert things which didn’t happened in reality. That includes that brutal tongue biting scene, attempted rape scene and the murder that gave the film over the top shocking jolts. To make drama more intense they even didn’t mind being anti-Turkish and hence one dimensional throughout the film. So at the end, they managed to brought the cruel and shocking portrayal of chaos and violence of seventies shifting Hollywood but what they missing was a layered approach to tell the story. Stone has written some of the rollicking screenplays and directed some of the brilliant Hollywood films but this time something went wrong. It begins like thriller, pulled the drama to certain extent but than crumbles as just torture manipulation for the senses of audience. Are they made the film to project courage of Hayes? If yes than where is the other side of the truth? Well he’s is American and Hollywood always love to portray their heroes and villains as equal in their films even at the cost of truth or portraying the foreign countries too one dimensional.

It jolts me, shocks me but that won’t last long once the film is over.


Friday, April 13, 2012

KANAL (Polish) (1957)

With opening titles of the film we follow the bombs destroying the old ruined buildings and as the titles end, it introduces the battalion of moving soldiers and we hear the narrator’s voice, “These are the tragic heroes; watch them closely in the remaining hours of their lives.” The film draws us to the Second World War’s first and one of the most tormented victim country. What we follow in the film is survival account of Polish resistance army battalion of soldiers struggling against well equipped German forces in 1944. They knew very well that they inevitably lost the war and they won’t last long to see the day after tomorrow as the city is captured by German military and innocents civilians were butchered. Their only hope of survival is long and murky sewer tunnel. They get themselves into that underground canal seeking the way-out. Poor fellas wouldn’t know that one hell of maddening disillusionment lurking in that darkness! Unlike those expressionistic underground sewers of Hollywood noirs, no canal of the world cinema hit me as hard as this one! What we see for the rest of the film is unforgettable tragedy where horrors of the war bringing not only physical but also psychological doom.

Rare anti-war films make his audience an engrossing experience keeping the authenticity of war tragedy both collectively and personally. Andrzej Wajda’s ‘Kanal’ is undoubtedly one of the most uncompromising and striking anti- war document ever made. It brought to screen an unforgettable war tragedy where we witness that how war brought disillusionment over all sorts of idealism and patriotism. It’s enlightening to know that the film authentically portrayed the personal war accounts and experiences of many of actors who faced the real horror as war as soldiers including director Wajda and the cinematographer Jerzy Lipman.  Needless to say they made us felt us the authenticity of the war on frames with striking frames. This is my second Wajda film after his brilliant ‘Ashes and Diamonds’ starring Zbigniev Cybulski; Wajda’s most beloved and an iconic rebel Polish actor equivalent of James Dean. Will try to dig more of Wajda this month, keep watching this pages…  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

ARIEL (1988)

Back to the working class world of Kaurismaki! This second installment of his proletariat trilogy has typical Kaurismaki traits and props with plot of society’s marginal characters facing existential and circumstantial survival problem in their homeland. Freedom always costs them separation from their motherland. An unemployed mine worker tries to seek work with a blessed convertible cadillac and saved bank money. Hard luck befalls with money but luck befalls with his encounter of a working class single mother. The irony lies in work, where the lady works in multiple jobs in multiple shifts, the man didn’t find anything suitable for him! With an accidental tussle with a ruffian, the man thrown to prison. He meets a helping friend who eventually lead him towards prison break followed by bank robbery that leads towards final escape route to a ship named Ariel.  

The typical Kaurismakian downbeat and sardonic mood, the deadpan expressions of characters and the drollness of atmosphere and setting has faded charm of its own. Here  he juggled so wonderfully with moments of crime and survival, tragedy and black humor, hard luck and positive note all running hand in hand. This is one of his those films where he’s at his best in minimalist approach and many of the scenes curbing the things the audience wanted eagerly to see- especially that bank heist sequence. Besides what I always loved about Kaurismaki film is he always managed to achieve all these effects with a minimalism in time duration too; the length of this film is less than one hour ten minutes!  


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

ALICE IN THE CITIES (German) (1974)

‘The more opinions you have, the less you see.’ - Wim Wenders
How beautifully and sublimely this New German cinema’s auteur captured this self quote into a visual medium! A German journalist roaming with his Polaroid camera into mundane cityscape of America and experiencing emptiness around. The mental block let not finish him the offered task as per the deadline and so he decided to return his homeland. While booking tickets at airport he encounters a German lady and her little daughter Alice. The chance encounter turned into friendship and company but soon it puts him into an unwanted responsibility to take care of the girl as the mother left both of them all of sudden one fine morning. During the journey the innocent and sublime relations with sweet Alice keeps breaking the sullenness of man towards life and himself. It turns out as the journey of odd company in quest of her grandmother’s house but it also proves as something so fulfilling experience for him washing all those dark clouds of bleak nothingness.

Wim Wenders’ this early road film is like an attempt to let you feel silence in the world full of noise. The first half of the film reflects the juxtaposition of two sensibilities and cultures with typical Wendersian road film camera portraying American skyscrapers and industrial structures, commercial mass television and capitalist and consumerist driven world against the inherent European artistic mindset and sensibilities of a German reporter. With every Polaroid shots he took he tried to compare the photographic image with one which is real but didn’t get the feel. He maybe lost artist suffering from cultural block. His mandatory company and odd responsibility with the little girl led him towards the stretching journey from one destination to another and helps him to come out of his existential disillusionment. Wenders fascinatingly captured not only road journey of car but also views from train, airplane and boat too! The final shot pulls out and away from Munich Express scene is something that gives it lingering feel…Just beautiful!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

THE DOORS (1991)

‘Let’s just say I was testing the bounds of reality. That’s all. I was just curious. I always preferred to be hated like Eric von Stroheim in the movies. The man you love to hate. It’s meant to be ironic like courage wants to laugh. Essentially, a stupid situation! I go out on the stage and howl for the people. In me they see exactly what they wanna see. Some say “lizard king,” whatever that means. Or some black-clad leather demon, whatever that means. But really, I think of myself as a sensitive intelligent human being but with a soul of clown that always forces me to blow it at the most crucial moments. I’m a fake hero. A joke that God’s played on me.’

James Douglas Morrison was absolutely larger than life icon that last century ever witnessed and he's  the man with many faces and myths- a wannabe film maker, a poet, an iconic rock star, an extravagant  rebel, self proclaimed lizard king, a self indulgent degenerate, Neanderthal prima donna or a child who didn’t evade the ghosts of that childhood accident and blown away his own versions to it. Whatever he was, the man and the band is something so groundbreaking thing that happened to the history of rock music. Oliver Stone’s film version of this legendary Mojo Risin’ is not only one of the finest and captivating bio-pic worthy to watch but also a homage document portraying that counter culture of sixties. Drugs, psychedelic rock, Vietnam war, anti-government demonstrations, political activism, public nudity, hippie culture, Che Guevara, Martin Luther King Jr, Muhammad Ali, Godard, Brecht, Dylon, Hendrix and Warhol!  It was the age of rebel…the age of anti establishment culture and the age of youth. And amid all this came the mythical super-rise and fall of ‘The Doors’.

Stone almost honestly captured the film with linear narration and almost covered all significant events and personal accounts of the band highlighting the main Dionysian protagonist Jim Morrison. It features that three infamous controversial gig incidents of his career- the earlier one where he’s making out with a fan on backstage followed by mess up with cops and his last gig where under heavy intoxication and stoned condition he kept blowing things out of proportions and directly insulted his audience with profanity and lewd behavior; including that infamous show up of his private part to live audience. The overdose of booze and drugs runs throughout the film and Stone set the tone and mood of the film with hypnotic and hallucinatory imagery including that Indian that keep floating on surface of Morrison’s sub conscious. The soundtrack keeps running throughout the film playing all those chart busters Bill board hits of the band including that rare concert where Morrison shared his poetry on stage.

But it wouldn’t be the same without the performance of Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison. This is his act of life-time and he portrayed one of the effing brilliant method act I’ve ever seen. The hysteria, his show off on stage, his love and hate relationship with his beloved Pam and his inherent untamed self is something Kilmer brought to the screen with brilliant detailing and he absolutely deserved award for this one. As a bio-pic it’s epical in length but Stone was the writer-director and master technician who knows how to keep his audience hooked without a pause but than what’s more epical than the man named Jim Morrison!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

ETERNITY AND A DAY (Greek) (1998)

‘Time is a child that plays dices on the shore.’

What turns out as running reel of a personal motion picture when one’s body and mind is confronting death? The memories of past runs through stream of consciousness providing the floating surface of life-time invoking contemplative picture that remains either half content, unfulfilled or incomplete. Theo Angelopolous’ ‘Eternity and a Day’ is one of that evocative film that gives you that experience. It demands your patience for watching mature and sincere cinema showing you the juggling journey of life shared by two exiled souls- an old poet going to die and an illegal immigrant boy without much of future. Both are haunted by memories of their exile.  

This is once again poetry on screen bringing the resonance of life in its all subtlety. Here is a poet who abandoned his projects incomplete and having a single day to live. He encounters a scared boy on traffic and gives him lift to protect him. The journey of the day continues with the boy to make him reach his destination till the day ends. And along with that journey it brings the memories of lifetime that is at time shifts between present and past. Rather than bifurcating the narration of past memories and present with use of flashback as in most of conventional films, this one makes it one with use of brilliant magic realism like jump cuts that switches back to memory and present of the poet’s life where he rewitnesses his past in present for whole day. Since memory is something that stays with your present and not just ghost of past! The memory here focused on three important women of his life- the daughter, beloved wife and mother. Similarly the illegal immigrant boy is also haunted by past with loss of his friend. 

The only film which invokes me something so close of an experience blending magic realism and memory is Fellini’s ‘8 ½’. That journey in the bus with company of torn lovers, a tired political activist and musician playing symphony and above all that alter ego of poet reciting the poetry ‘Life is sweet’, the letters by his wife, the hug shared between two unlikely exiled souls and the introspective visual metaphors with Angelopolous’s trademark long and slowly moving camera creates a journey so enriching and fulfilling to soul.   

Ah it’s always memorable watching Bruno Ganz on screen…the man who always made me speechless whether I watched his ‘Wings of Desire’, ‘An American Friend’ or ‘Downfall’. I can hardly imagine any other actor than him here! And what can I say about this modern visual Greek Philosopher named Theo! Once again he transported me to the world or place which is something so beautiful, life affirming and grows me as a better viewer. How beautifully in the end he summed up the title of the film! The words have its felt echoes that left with their reverberations in mind- My little flower…stranger…Me…So Late!

This is just timeless. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

GUMNAAM (1965)

It’s Hitchcokian beginning for Hindi film! A man gazing from window a planned car accident killing a man on street, for a moment shows wry smile on his face and starts calling several of his syndicate members that the job has done. We don’t see the faces of his associates though, in the very next scene we witness the gun down of that man. Run the titles and we are thrown into a hotel where eight sophisticated man of society win lucky tickets for a tour. Now we see the faces of the cast- quite an assortment mixing suspicious with surprise! The next day a private plane land them to a strange cut off territory surrounded by sea, forest and an old mansion like building. They received a butler in the house waiting for guests. As soon as they finished their dinner, they come across a diary explaining that they’re all trapped together and one by one all of them get eliminated as they all are responsible for one man’s death. Needless to say that the rest of the film follows series of murders, tension of whodunit and suspicion shifting from one member to another!

The film became super hit musical-mystery of the year and my reason to revisit it is after almost fifteen years or so is obviously eagerness to watch the Indian popular screen adaptation after finishing one of the mind-blowing murder mystery on which the had its seeds. While adapting Agatha Christie’s one of the brilliant mystery of all-time ‘And Then There Were None’, director Raja Nawathe and screenplay writer Dhruva Chatterjee didn’t pay any heed to give credit to the Queen of Mystery like most of Hindi cinema filmmakers. But what is more frustrating is they messed the original novel on screen terribly in the second half changing its revelation of climax nemesis just for the sake of giving it happy ending by keeping our hero-heroine scot-free from crime and also making them alive. In Christie’s engaging book the revelation after the death of all its players is something so brilliant. Unfortunately while adapting it for Indian mass cine going audience, the director-producer didn’t resist the temptation to use those gimmicks of Hindi cinema’s typical thrilling trait- ‘White Saree-Haunting melody repetition’, the taken as granted romance of hero-heroine and the Musical numbers throwing enough songs desirable for audience eyes and ears but absolutely undesirable for the plot and genre.

Amid all the assembled cast of baddies like Pran, Madan Puri, Manmohan, Hiralal; a  comedian like Dhumal and brilliant Mehmood; a fine character artist Tarun Bose and Hindi cinema's an eternal vamp- Helen; it also has company of Dilip Kumar aping Manoj Kumar with Nanda but none of them manage to score attention as much as the talented Mehmood used as relaxing comic agent in this noir like entertainer. With his Hyderabadi accent, mannerisms and attire (loongi with striped T-shirt) he’s the only man to look forward.

For all those nostalgic Hindi film music lovers, the film has some worth to mention tracks from versatile duo- Shanker-Jaikishan. Along with Lata’s haunting ‘Gumnaam hai Koi’ or light melody like ‘Is Duniya mein Jina Ho’ to Rafi’s sensuous rendering ‘Jaane Chaman Shola badan’ or mass favorite ‘Hum Kale hai to Kya Hua’; but my favorite track would go to that foot tapping night club Rock & Roll Rafi track came in the beginning ‘Jaan Pehchan Ho’.

Gumnaam is indeed a fine mystery if you’re watching it for the first time and surely a nostalgic revisit, the only disappointment is my expectation of watching an equally engaging screen adaptation!  

Monday, April 2, 2012


The film opens and we see two kids- a little boy and his pre-teen sister running together emerging from darkness of hazy city lights of night. They pose in front of camera and we heard their whispering tones- ‘Are you afraid?’ said she to her kid brother. ‘No, I’m not’ replied the boy. Suddenly crossing the road they reach towards a train station. Camera remains steady for moments and then it slowly follows them. The train arrives but they remain standing still. We heard the remarks of one of the daily wager man on platform, ‘You’re here again! But why do you come here every night?’ The train stops at the platform, both of them keep watching it for a moment or two. Before they enter into train, the door shut down and the train starts moving ahead. Both kids remain standing still on the platform and the train passes away.  

With this very first scene of the film, it let you suck into the journey that follows in the film. I won’t ruin the film by narrating its plot but trying to share only my reflections about this masterpiece. In the following of the film we witness these two innocent protagonists who’re stepping into the world, discovering and experiencing the life lessons full of light and the darkness. They keep witnessing the hard truths and disturbing lies of life and what it shares with us is the introspective reactions that move us into something so abstract to define! What a poise, maturity and positive spirit of film making! As soon as I finish the film, I feel like giving a long hug to Theo Angelopoulos for gifting such a beautiful and rich film to witness. It’s so sad that the maker of such a sincere and touching film died in an accident early this year. 

My god what a controlled expressions of visuals this man had; like he knew damn well when to keep camera exactly still and when to make it move and how much. The use of camera is poetry to experience. Watch the film to feel the effects that also captured the stunning and evocative visuals. That dying horse scene where we witness the juxtaposed human emotions in foreground and background, that long controlled pause of frames where we witness the innocence of the girl is robbed (it literally made my eyes wet), that gigantic sculpture hand floating from the sea to sky reminding me Fellini’s opening of ‘La Dolce Vita’ and that last tree frame after heartbreaking farewell scene…all with equally soothing company of background score. There are moments where it demands the patience from audience but that patience is worth every fraction of moment for something so sublime like this. This is the cinema worth having original DVD in collection without even watching its price tag.

Highly recommend is the understatement for films like this. 

P.S.- Certain frames of the film reminds me another moving cinema- ‘Grave of Fireflies’; an absolutely masterpiece of Japanese animation. What a queer surprise that the film also released the same year, and its also the same year that gave us another brilliant film where the child’s POV remains central to cinema… ‘Cinema Paradiso’. Isn’t that something so fascinating about the year itself to ponder about?