Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Laments from the audience.....

I saw the film yesterday The Artist which has had hyped reviews after sweeping the Oscars. Well, what a disappointment it was. I even let slip a soft snore that didn't escape the notice of my best friend, who was keeping herself awake by reading aloud the dialogues that appeared on the screen. The only saving grace of the film was the dog. A delightful character that saved the film for being a complete disaster!

My complaint stems from the fact that film critics are not really doing their jobs very well, and juries that are set up to create standards of excellence via the system of awards, don't seem to get it right. As a result one goes by the endorsement of these systems only to be utterly let down by substandard fare. I was remembering the film Howard's End in which Emma Thomson and Howard Hopkins acted. A simple film that distills the narrative of two people that etch a portrayal of histories from which expansive meanings can be found.

Last evening we sat around eating fish curry and rice at home after the film,  and lamented about the decline of serious cinema. Cinema as entertainment is the equation these days. Hollywood films increasingly get worse each year and it all seems to boil down to the red carpet act where gowns and enlarged boobies parade to out do each other. 

Other than film clubs, there are no spaces that show world cinema for audiences that want more than popcorn and an outing. The craft of cinema is now mostly about the technology of special effects. Not that I have anything against special effects, but what holds my attention much more than anything else is a story line that is well defined. 

Documentaries are also a fading space. I often watch the NDTV documentaries that are often incredible stories that are very well produced. My memories of college days in the faculty of Fine Arts are of hot afternoons in the auditorium with the air thick with cigarette smoke as the projection of  films and documentaries transported us into other worlds of story telling. 

I am a snob when it comes to standards of excellence. I don't really care about what others may think.....if you are calling it GREAT.....then in my opinion you need to deliver the goods as you call it! No half measures and whining excuses. The adrenaline rush of self-critique is difficult to describe; it sorts you out and keeps you sharp about yourself. No amount of flattery can hillallowofy you into believing otherwise.....and above all it keeps you grounded. Why we do what we do finally can only be answered by us.

Today I was impatient with one of the young artists within the Collective Studio who asked a questioning knowing its answer fully well. It is in setting ones own comprehension about the things we engage with without desiring unnecessary endorsement, that finally provides a  journey of independence and quality.

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