Movies

‘The 400 Blows’ to ‘Cinema Paradiso’: Filmmaker Mari Selvaraj picks his favourite films

For your Weekly Watchlist, we have 'Pariyerum Perumal' filmmaker Mari Selvaraj picking five classics that made him a better person and a filmmaker

Stationed at his hometown in Puliyankulam, Selvaraj is using this lockdown period to devote time for his daughter who was born when Pariyerum Perumal hit theatres. “I couldn’t spend time with her and wasn’t around for the initial few months. And then, I started working on Karnan. Fortunately, I was around when she first uttered ‘appa’,” says Selvaraj.

‘The 400 Blows’ to ‘Cinema Paradiso’: Filmmaker Mari Selvaraj picks his favourite films

The Battle of Algiers

The movie was a sharp reflection of a war period and is a wonderful commentary on revolution. It starts off with an individual’s struggle but slowly snowballs into people’s revolution, to overthrow the Colonial Government. What fascinated me was its depiction of time and how long it takes for a people’s movement to attain success. Even today, if I watch The Battle of Algiers, it instils confidence in me.

Cinema Paradiso

I keep revisiting Cinema Paradiso now and then for its nostalgia factor and the way it portrayed the age of innocence. No matter how much struggle and humiliation you face in life, when you watch Cinema Paradiso, it gives you this sense of calm and lightness. That can only be achieved through an artform like cinema. That is what it taught me. If I have to look back at my life and smile, I would rewatch Cinema Paradiso.

‘The 400 Blows’ to ‘Cinema Paradiso’: Filmmaker Mari Selvaraj picks his favourite films

Hotel Rwanda

These are some of the movies I have seen when I was an assistant director. Among them, Hotel Rwanda is one of my favourites. This too talks about an individual’s role in the betterment of society. Take the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance. It has left all of us with this lingering question of one’s role in the larger scheme of things. Everything should start from home and that is the politics I firmly believe. In fact, my own film, Pariyerum Perumal, is also about that.

‘The 400 Blows’ to ‘Cinema Paradiso’: Filmmaker Mari Selvaraj picks his favourite films

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

It was taking a long time to make my first film and I was still an assistant. That is when I chanced upon this movie. I couldn’t understand it because of my Hindi knowledge and saw it as a sports movie at first. But when I watched it for the third and fourth time, I understood its political backdrop. Like the aforementioned films, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is also about personal struggle with the exterior world and how Milkha Singh becomes triumphant against all odds at the end. The movie subconsciously prepared me for a race called cinema.

‘The 400 Blows’ to ‘Cinema Paradiso’: Filmmaker Mari Selvaraj picks his favourite films

The 400 Blows

A movie that left me numb is The 400 Blows. It held a mirror and brought out the ugly, dark side of a face that I keep hiding from society. The movie made me feel very little and taught me that anything — whether it is good, bad or ugly — can be turned into art.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 10:40:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/mari-selvarajs-favourite-movies/article31694979.ece

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