Charulatha is a 1964 release in Bengali, from the stables of veteran director Satyajit Ray. Based on Rabindranath Tagore’s novella Nastanirh (The Broken Nest), the movie features Soumitra Chatterjee, Madhabi Mukherjee and Sailen Mukherjee in the lead roles. It deals with the emotional and physical abandonment faced by a young wife who is married to a rich man. The movie uses beautiful poetry penned by Tagore as its background score. Tagore’s song ‘Fule fule dhole dhole’ was later referenced by Pradeep Sarkar in his movie Parineeta (2005) in a song. The film’s fabric is rich with emotions, music and ideas and reflects the political climate of Calcutta in the 1880s It won the Golden Lotus Award for the Best Film at the National Film Awards in 1965 as well as the Best Director Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in the same year.
Kill Bill is a two-part 2003-2004 movie which tells the story of a woman and her resilience against all odds in life. Written and directed by Tarantino, the movie stars Uma Thurman in the lead and progresses around her life as a hired killer for Bill, the title character. Tarantino travels with the female psyche and never tries to push in male chauvinistic ideas in the guise of women empowerment. This movie was also referenced by Aashiq Abu as an inspiration, among others, in the credits of his 2012 Malayalam release 22 Female Kottayam.
Big Fish came with a tagline ‘An Adventure As Big As Life Itself’ and lived up to it in every sense. Directed by the renowned Tim Burton, Big Fish is a 2003 release which is based upon Daniel Wallace’s novel with the same title written in 1998. The movie stars Ewan McGregor, Albert, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, and Marion Cotillard in the lead roles. The theme of the film is the reconciliation between a dying father and his son.
The movie is a classic example of the potential of magical realism on screen. Written with brilliance, the movie was shot in Alabama evoking a culture of Gothic fantasy. The film received award nominations in multiple film categories, including an Oscar and a Grammy Award nomination for Danny Elfman’s original score.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Scripted by Steven Zaillian, the movie is a thriller based on the Swedish novel of the same title written by Stieg Larsson. Starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, the film deals with Mikael (Craig),a journalist and his investigations about a woman belonging to a wealthy family who disappeared 40 years ago. Mara plays the role of Lisbeth Slander, a computer hacker who helps Mikael with the case.
Empowering, but depressing at the same time, the movie talks about how the male psyche uses women they find unconventional. The movie was nominated at many prestigious award ceremonies and did win a few as well.
My Week With Marilyn
My Week With Marilyn, a 2011 release written by Adrian Hodges, is a film based on a film. It depicts the filming of The Prince and The Showgirl (1957) which had Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier in the lead roles. This movie deals with the one week Monroe spent at London while shooting for the film. Michelle Williams plays Monroe in the film and pulls it off with excellent sync. Laurence Olivier is played by Kenneth Branagh. The plot thickens as Monroe spends time with Collin Clark, played by Eddie Redmayne, an assistant who works on the movie.
The movie alternates between the sophistication and loneliness faced by actors in the film world and beautifully etches out a story of ambition, desire, and loss. The film was a huge success at the box office and earned praise from the critics as well as many accolades at award ceremonies.
Those that almost made it
Before Sunrise – Richard Linklater
Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen
Ides of March - George Clooney
Thoovaanathumbikal - P. Padmarajan
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Michel Gondry
Sukanya Shaji is a student at the School Of Legal Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology. She also works with the Lokadharmi Centre for Theatre Research.