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Three Movies that I would recommend you to……. not watch…..!!!!

April 13, 2007
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Yes, you read it right….I am going to write about three movies that I would not recommend you to watch. I am not saying that they are bad or anything…but I think, they give the whole process of movie watching a new perspective. It’s a challenge to watch these movies and after having done so, you tend to wonder…how on earth could you tolerate that!!!…so, lets start on the saga of exploring some of the most challenging movies to watch.

1. Taste of Cherry: Released in 1997, this Iranian movie was directed by the critically acclaimed director, Abbas Kiarostami. The plot basically deals with a man named “Badii”who’s driving near the hills of Tehran, always looking for something, with a purpose of his own. He interacts with few people while travelling across the terrains and asks them to come along with him on an errand for which he will be paying a lot of money. Some people agree and when they finally get to the spot where Mr. Badii takes them, they are shattered at his request. One of them runs away on hearing this request, another is too flabbergasted and starts quoting the verses in Kuran which says it’s a Sin to do such a thing. The request which Badii makes to them is,…..” You see that small hole there under the tree….I am going to lie down in that hole and commit suicide tonight. All you have to do is come the next morning at 6 and see if I am dead. If I am alive, please pull me back otherwise, throw earth on my dead body.”!!!!….And finally he meets a person who gives him a personal account of what happened to him and how the taste of mulberries changed his life…(extremely symbolic!!)…and the story ends with what happens to Mr. Badii at the end.

The reason why I say that this is an extremely difficult movie to understand is that, although it seems very simplistic that there’s a man who wants to die and wants someone to be there by his side…it’s the journey the day before that makes us ponder lot of things. Why does he want to die? Why doesn’t he stop by an average person on the streets of Tehran and take them along with him?…at one point, after he convinces a young Kurd to come along with him…he gives his explanation of how it’s the duty of every Muslim to help his fellow Muslim….he questions the Kurd’s beliefs. I guess that’s what the movie is about…it questions your beliefs…it makes you wonder why is he doing, what he is doing??…Nevertheless…this 90 minute movie depicts a wonderful landscape of the arid mountains and the signs of development in the city.
Most of the scenes are shot from within the car, so that gives a clear picture of his journey of Mr.Badii….he’s so emotionless in the movie!!…no anger, no pain…just blankness which makes you wonder, what had happened in his life which has made him what he is now….and to be honest all these questions came to my mind only after finishing the movie…because all through the movie i was cursing the pace at which the story is told….and why the hell does he drive the car so slow!!!….hehehe

2. Cries and Whispers: A 1972 Swedish movie directed by another acclaimed director, Ingmar Bergman, deals with the relationships within a family. This is the story of Karin and Maria who come over to look after their sister Anges along with the loyal maid, Anna. Anges is taken ill and she is not expected to survive for long…and as the story progresses, mysterious and often sad relationships are unravelled among the members of the family. Marie cheats on her husband and has an affair with their family doctor David. Karin is having a very unhappy marriage and Anges suffers from her perrenial illness. After sometime Anges dies and Maria and Karin who were not in talking terms with each other try to mend their relationship. Finally both the families decide that everything in the mansion would be sold and they would settle down in the nearby city.

What’s so striking about this movie is the it’s use of silence throughout the story. All you hear is a silence which is momentarily shattered by the cries of agony, of pain. Also each one’s life is full of secrets. The film is also about inter-sibling rivalry. In what is told as a series of events using the stream of consciousness technique, we come to know how each one had distanced themselves from the other. Karin says, “Mother and Maria always had many things to whisper about, but then they were so alike. Jealously I used to wonder what they were laughing at together. Everyone was in gay spirits, I was the only one who couldn’t join in the merriment,” continuing, “Yet I could not help feeling sorry for her… and now that I’m older, I understand her much better. I wish I could see her again…to tell her what I understand… of her boredom, her impatience…her longing and her loneliness.” Also towards the climax of the movie, we come to know about Karin’s hatred towards Marie all these years and her agony and pain that nobody has touched her in years….in between all this is the character of Anna, who wants to serve her beloved Anges and she does care about her like her mother…. we see there’s hope left in Anges when she’s alive…always dreaming of the days when they were happy and dreaming that, that day would come again. To sum it up all about what Anges thinks about, she quotes, ” Come what may, this is happiness…here for a moment. I can experience perfection.”

What makes me so impatient about this movie is it’s use of long gaps of silence…makes me impatient to quite an extent. Also, the use of the colour Crimson Red for the majority of the scenes has a great spiritual meaning to it….no wonder it is rated among the Top 100 Spiritual movies of all time…..

3. Nostalghia: Imagine a Russian director who’s way beyond anyone’s understanding living in an exile…what do we have??!!!….The answer is “Nostalghia”…made in 1983 by Andrei Tarkovsky. The theme of the movie is more or less longing, your yearning for someone whom you love, something that you miss because you are so far away from it. The main protoganist, Andrei comes over to Italy to study about a 18th century musician who used to stay in Bologna in Italy. Accompanied by a translator named Eugenia, both of them meet a person named Domenico whom the villagers believe to be totally eccentric. But Andrei begins his conversation with Domenico and before leaving he kind of understands the feelings and the reason for Domenico’s eccentric behaviour. Eugenia over a period of time develops a soft corner for Andrei but he doesn’t respond, so she leaves to Rome to meet another man of her dreams. Before leaving Italy, Andrei remembers the promise he made to Domenico that he would try to carry a lit candle across the dried up pool in the village. At the same time, Domenico comes to Rome to deliver his speech about the imporatnce of dreams in one’s life and in a shocking ending, he immolates himself….the story ends with Andrei successfully crossing the pool with the candle and him dreaming of his home.

Have to say, this has by far been the most difficult movie for me to understand…and quite frankly i still don’t to a great extent. The whole movie is interspersed with surreal and dream like sequences which depict Andrei yearning for his loved ones in a far away land. What’s more terrifying is that, it virtually throws a challange to those who watch it….challenging them to understand what is being depicted. Because it’s so difficult….added to that, some merely unbelievable long shots…sometimes extending more than 5 minutes without any editing!!!….but nothing beats the last scene where Andrei crosses the pool…it’s an uninterrupted 8 minutes and Forty Five seconds scene….it really gets on to your nerves after those 116 minutes of abstract stuff. Every dialouge uttered has got a deeper meaning to it…and sometimes it might take a great amount of research to know what the character is saying. Tons of symbols are used in almost every possible scene…and how can I forget Water….there’s water in almost every scene imaginable!!!….All these makes me wonder how does he do it!!!….How does he do it? Where does he get all these thoughts and ideas from??…it’s like a gift which rarely people have…can’t really write much about the movie, because I guess it has to be seen to be understood…words just cannot measure its style of filming.

Having seen all these three movies…I can say that, understanding the respective director’s psyche changes your perspective of watching their movies….beacuse each one of these movies…cannot be understood…they have to be felt!!!….That’s exactly the reason why I would not recommend them to be watched as movies….I guess after reading the whole thing, you would agree with me that these are no movies at all!!!!….These are not movies….these are dreams brought onto the screen by wizards of creation….these are like paintings and modern art which cannot be explained to others…they have to be felt and interpreted…And that’s the reason why I would not recommend these movies to be watched just for the sake of watching a movie…because that way, let me tell you they might seem to be so boring…that it’s difficult to go past the first 15 minutes!!!…..so, understand the psyche of the director and prepare yourselves……fasten your seat belts and get ready to travel in a dreamland….a dreamland of immense philosophy, a different way of looking at life and ideas way beyond expression….and emotions way beyond words….because that’s what this is all about…..Trust me, if you survive this, you will hear the power of silence!!!

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