Charulata

Satyajit Ray

Madhabi Mukherjee plays Charu, a Bengali homemaker who leads a boring and lonely life with only a pair of binoculars and few books to keep her company. Charu’s husband, Bhupati, empathises with her and asks his cousin brother, Amal, to spend time with her and encourage her to improve on her writing skills. But Charu unwittingly falls for Amal’s boyish charm. Amal realises this and leaves the house in order to not cause any discomfort for Bhupati, who just found out he was betrayed financially by his brother-in-law. Bhupati learns about Charu’s feelings for Amal and it throws the family into a state of disarray. Charulata is a timeless Indian classic and a fine example of Satyajit Ray’s brand of filmmaking.

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset

Richard Linklater

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset, directed by acclaimed independent filmmaker Richard Linklater, is a classic boy-meets-girl story. But then that’s all there is to it. No drama. No twits. Just pure fun, love and affection between the lead characters. In Before Sunrise, an American tourist (Ethan Hawke) convinces a French girl (Julie Delpy) to spend an evening with him in Vienna before he takes a flight home the next morning. The movie ends with both of them agreeing to meet each other in six months. After nine years, in Before Sunset, they run into each other in Paris and decide to spend the day together, with frustrations about the past and questions about their future lingering in their minds. The dialogues and the scenes are very natural and free flowing.

The Man From Earth

Richard Schenkman

Professor John Oldman is shown packing all his belongings in order to move to a new place. His colleagues, comprising an anthropologist, a biologist, a historian and a physicist, are anxious to know why John is leaving town all of a sudden. John gradually opens up and reveals that he is a surviving caveman who is over 14,000 years old. He also claims that he had spent time with some of history’s most well-known personalities. While everyone is initially sceptical of John’s claims, they gradually begin to believe in him as he addresses all their doubts. But his final claim leaves his audience in total shock and pain. The Man from Earth is a science fiction movie like no other.

Duel

Steven Spielberg

Before Steven Spielberg made movies that grossed millions the world over, he made Duel, which still remains one of his finest creations. The movie begins with a salesman, trying to be on time for a business appointment, driving his car into the Californian desert. Frustrated at being stuck behind an old and slow truck, he overtakes it and continues on. But the truck driver, who turns out to be a psychopath, decides to bully the car driver and ultimately kill him. The loneliness of the desert, a rusty truck, a face-never-shown truck driver and excellent camera work — all add up to a great edge-of-the-seat experience.

Let The Right One In

Tomas Alfredson

Eli is a young looking vampire who moves into an apartment with her guardian. She befriends her neighbour, 12-year-old Oskar, and encourages him to confront his bullying classmates. Meanwhile Eli is left on her own to pursue her victims after her guardian dies in trying to provide blood for her. Oskar finds out that Eli is a vampire but gradually gets comfortable with it. Would Eli be able to free Oskar from his broken family and troublesome classmates? Would Oskar be Eli’s new guardian and help her escape the community’s wrath? The climax of the movie is as smooth as the rest of it. Let the Right One In is a masterpiece in the vampire sub-genre.

Movies that almost made it

Kattradhu Thamizh: Ram

High and Low: Akira Kurosawa

Rear Window: Alfred Hitchcock

My Left Foot: Jim Sheridan

Sherlock, Jr.: Buster Keaton

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days: Cristian Mungiu

Karthik Manivasagam is a Coimbatore-based entrepreneur who enjoys watching independent films.