Sunday, June 26, 2011

stranded ships : juhu beach

grant road skywalk

the green hornet . x-men first class. pina . salesman . ecumenopolis . strike . ready . shaitan .hallelujah the hills. derek . whisper of the heart

disappointing this descent into hollywood clich├ęs for madman michel gondry, in spite of the twist involved in making the sidekick kato- the chauffeur with the karate skills- way more heroic than the hero. less disappointing, but no spanking new reboot, was the new x-men film. more action film than the others and way less darker. the only real charisma came from magneto. the rest was big explosions and chases.
in london, with sachin and chintan, we saw the new wim wenders 3d film on pina bausch- 'pina'. performing on stage, on streets, in gardens, some of bausch's most famous pieces including the stunning opener- 'the rite of spring'. beautiful to watch- in spite of the headaches that 3d gives me. the other film in london was at the bfi- eisenstien's 'strike' with its the last sequence in the apartment building with the killing of the baby and the slaughtering of cattle accompanied by live piano.
at the sheffield film festival we saw only two other films besides 'vertical city'- 'ecumenopolis' that was paired with mukul's film turned out to take some of the themes in vertical city and expand them in istanbul's sprawling landscape. with some spectacular aerial views of the city we see bridges that are being built to create new real estate, slums that are being demolished, absolutely no public transportation and the city meanwhile continues to be spectacle and speculation. the other film was 'salesman' the maysles brothers film on the life of bible salesmen in1960s america. with nicknames takes from their selling style, the men ingratiate themselves to middle america to saddle them with expensive editions of the bible illustrated with images by the 'masters'. surprisingly un-judgemental about the profession and warm to its protagonists.
in 'ready' salman khan perfects the swagger. the film is easy, confident and funny as hell like only early david dhawan was. the dialogue crackles with everyday humour and salman khan delivers them with a panache that reminded me of the timing of a govinda. asin manages to keep up. must watch. and so high was i i with the joy of 'ready' that i had the energy to walk into 'shaitan' directly afterwards which turned out to be too cool for me.
last week i also saw the american independent film 'hallelujah, the hills' by  adolfas mekas, a free spirited, exuberant ride through the episodes (real or fictive?) of a love triangle where the men play goofy games in the landscape with and without the object of their affection (who is played by different actresses for each of her suitors). the film winks at film history throughout lovingly and in some jaw dropping gorgeous black and white sequences.
'derek' was a homage to derek jarman that collected his thoughts on his films and his life chronologically, interspersed with tilda swinton considering their relationship and her admiration for him. the film gave me a good frame of reference to watch the rest of his work- and the films i have seen again. it is too bad we could not get to dungeness this time in the uk.
and to end this survey of recent films, my anime obsession is back. i am watching the twisted tv drama 'deathnote' after i have finished reading the whole manga. a notebook falls from the hands of the death gods into the hands of a precocious young man who takes it upon himself to change the world by killing all the criminals. his nemesis is the brilliant and elusive investigator 'l'. the twists dont stop. miles away is studio ghibli's 'whisper of the heart' - a coming of age drama where a young girl grows up fast during the summer as she discovers her first love with a young man aspiring to be a violin maker; and her own inner desire to be a writer. the super realism of anime distorts the everyday into fantasy- the gesture of a hand as it feels the side of a wall, the dappled sunlight in a garden, the sky over the city and the sound of crickets in the night. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

the one night in amsterdam

between the station and nandini's house... evening and the next morning


the old towns in Europe with their cobbled stone cleanliness and tourist traps, have all started looking similar to me; as have the new cities around the world with their random collection of glass clad office towers and one or two pieces of star architecture (in Sheffield this was 'award winning' the railway station area as it was being spruced up by creating a plaza in front) but, what struck me more was the emptiness of the modern city core with its twin landmarks of the town hall and the city hall and the gothic cathedral. hollowed out in the evenings- the glittering facades and the desolate streets in the long twilight; or the devastation of the post-industrial city- hollowed out industrial warehouses being converted to swanky apartments or student housing. these landscapes exist on the eastern and western edges of the city while the centre of town sits on top of a hill with spectacular views across the countryside caught between vistas

st pancras:

sheaf square

the museum

john ruskin gallery

winter gardens

inside the town hall

odeon screening

sheffield hallam architecture school


victoria quays

david maysles

oxford market
city hall / peace quare

 party 1

 city hall