The Tin Drum
Based on the novel by Günter Grass, the film (1979) is the story of a boy, Oscar who decides never to grow up. With the constant juxtaposition of a child's ‘innocence' and an adult's ‘corruption' this is one of my favourite WWII movies. It had its share of controversies but endeared to become a classic. The depiction of the world through the eyes of a young boy, the use of folktale-like narrative and the use of the ‘tin drum' all through the film keeps one mesmerised.
A simple film with three characters and little dialogue, it is the story of a young man who squats in the homes of vacationing families as if living in his own house. He fixes up the house and does odd chores. On one such stay, he realises that he is not alone. The woman turns out to be a victim of domestic violence. He returns to ‘rescue' her and they begin a relationship. A dark commentary on the loneliness of modern life, the film has few dialogues but the actors more than make up for it with their acting finesse.
Dancer in the Dark
Lars von Trier
Made by an avant-garde director, this musical received extremely polarised responses. Björk plays a young mother, with a penchant for day-dreaming, gradually going blind from a hereditary illness. She unwaveringly works to ensure the same fate does not befall her son. She is befriended by Bill (David Morse) who steals her life savings but swears her to secrecy when confronted. She keeps her promise both to Bill and her son, in the process being demonised as a communist and a murderer.
Based on Ta.Ra.Su's novel of the same name, it narrates the story of a student's travails on the path of learning. Anant Nag plays the student of music, Bhairavi Venkata Subbiah. His life and the lives of his contemporaries form the backbone of the film which is memorable for both the characters and the music (National Award for M. Balamuralikrishna). The film explores social issues of the time as well as eternal existentialist themes.
No Man's Land
Set in the midst of the Bosnian war, the film is a fictional tale of two soldiers, who trapped in no man's land between two warring armies, bicker, fight and bond in the hellish of conditions. They find another soldier lying on a landmine. He cannot move else he will detonate the landmine. There appear optimistic individuals who try to help in spite of the circumstances and incurable pessimists who sabotage any chances of a ‘happy ending'. There is, of course, an accompanying media circus.
Those that almost made it
Being There: Hal Ashby
Andrei Rublev: Andrei Tarkovsky
No Smoking: Anurag Kashyap
Cinema Paradiso: Giuseppe Toranatore
Agraharathis Kazhuthai: John Abraham
(G.S. Purushothama is a writer who loves watching films of all genres.)
Keywords: Wold cinema