it was during reading ‘the amazing adventures of kavalier and clay’, coincidentally that i bought ‘zot!’ by scott mccloud. the escapist helps in kavaliers reprisal against evil nazis making him one of the most popular superheroes in world war 2 new york. the loveliest scene for me for the love scene between the beautiful blonde actor and sam clay at democracity- the ideal new town of the future with flyovers and flashing lights at the worlds fair. pure magic. democracity is almost zot’s world – a parallel universe whose perfection is seductive to the teenagers who have walked through the portal to the other side. my rising interest in graphic novels led me to read ‘understanding comics’ a step by step proposition to read the comic book as serious art. me? i believe! especially after going on this massive downloading spree of graphic novels.
one of my favorite was the intertwining and completely silent ‘the system’. stories of the everyday lives of new yorkers play kho-kho with one another through dissolves and sudden juxtapositions in a narrative of steeped in the paranoia of a post terror world.
in alezandro jodorowsky’s future landscape of a planet/city mad of layers that rise from the bottom sewers where the mutants live to the middle where the red light area glitters to the very top where an elite with haloes rule. the other story was about the rise of the metabarons- a race of fantastic mercenaries.
the other crazy fictional landscape was the one in ‘aetheric mechanics’ whose early 20th century landscape is populated with semi-fictional heroes and detectives including an almost holmes/watson team. these science fiction landscapes of the future. some of the other stories were ‘death – the high cost of living’ where death is this hot girl in search for someone’s heart and ‘the sandman chronicles- the dream hunters’- where a fox falls in love with a monk and saves him from a merchant who has cast an evil spell over him.
i have also gone completely crazy watching animation films. 'my neighbor totoro' is miyazaki’s sweet story about two sisters and their strange friend totoro who lives in the tree in the backyard of the new house. a far cry from the charm of that film was ‘perfect blue’. a teenage pop star who is intent on changing her image to become a more serious adult actress is haunted and hunted by a vicious innocence until the difference between dream and reality blurs beyond recognition. ‘voices of a distant star’ was a love story where time stand still on one end of the universe while at the other end of an sms a waiting lover grows older and older.
complete non stop madness in 'duck soup'. the marx brothers save freedonia from defeat in complete mayhem. the one liners come fast and furious and the physical comedy is hilarious. 'chandni chowk to china' is terrible- in spite of deepika padukone. saw it on an airplane from delhi to bombay.
in the american documentary ‘home movie’ 5 strange ways of living are followed through a day. there was something annoying about the ease by which the domestic space was made into a narcissistic fantasy space. one becomes a tree house, the other a futuristic machine, another is taken over by cats while a fourth is a bunker under the ground. it seemed so easy. get inside your house and detach yourself from the world. one of the character who lives on a houseboat explicitly says this too.
the music in 'dhrupad' is sublime. so is the architecture that is shot so lovingly. from mandu to fatehpur sikri to the final shot when the camera meanders long on an aerial shot of the city blurring away and fading to white. my mother was delighted seeing her teacher sing and play the veena. one of the best films i have seen on music. the city in which 'los olvidados' takes place feels like a bombay. ruins in which the runaway child finds a place to live and the construction sit where the good boy is murdered. like an old raj kapoor film on the city but with no happy ending.
there are some incredible scenes in ‘shakti’. every one of them has dilip kumar in it. he eats up the competition- amitabh bachchan included. when smita patil comes t meet the estranged parents of vijay i sobbed away as i did when rakhee dies and amitabh comes to meet his father from the jail. some great city shots too- the fight sequence in the train and at versova fishing village should be on the cinema city map, as should the father son confrontation at bandra fort.
the last film of this post is ‘blowup’. as the egoistical photographer enlarges the photograph it reveals more as it enlarges into pixels- a pointed gun and the fallen hand of a body behind the bush. i had somehow expected more. or maybe i did not get it.