This had been in my Desktop for like two months now. A notepad file that I had typed in during a drunken night. Or maybe I was sober. Don’t know. Anyways, thought I’ll put it up. Real arbitness follows, kindly avoid if you are not interested.
Sometimes when so many people are around you ,it becomes relevant (I call in interesting ) when many hearts and minds are at constant work of survival. It is hard to ignore people’s faces , the things they say with intentions and sometimes no purpose except for their own security and ego sheild. People feeding on people’s ego. It is quite interesting how different minds work. All though the finality in every conversation and experience you have with them can be decided by you and only you and whether it has an impact on you, is discovered by your own response and that is when you see for yourself who you really are. You put your own heart and mind at work , to try to understand and try to feel. The recent times for everyone living in their respective present , past and a hopeful future if holds any relation to the occurances of others , a society emerges. It might be intangible in the sense that it is an invisible contagion, be it the happier times, a party , a reminiscent binge with your closest friends or the dreamiest conversations with your dearest or the worse times with yourself and others. What happens to them seems to vicariously experience within you . A relationship forms , a mirror to see others while you are at your own self. But more than the How , What and Why , it is this non-present interrogative verb that holds this entity together. An unanswerable question and an unquestionable answer. What is the difference between the closest and the farthest in your life, in this ever changing chaos? The whole cycle of logical justification of your feelings entering the realm of philosophy and later a vanishing thought into an abyss of forgetting well. Life just seems to go on. It most probably would go on, whether or not an account is made of it. So little that it actually matters to ponder about it. So big there is not a single day that everyone craves to be recognised. Everyone wants a piece of others and there by themselves.
Ah, such earthly matters , you think ,don’t you ? Ah, such pleasant comfortable futility you feel, don’t you?
Its almost a test of character when it comes to even think of writing about films such asLe Samourai. What do you say ? Do you surrender and endorse yourself in your lucrative advertisement or criticize it with your constructive memories which destructs the reader’s salvation from emotional free flow? Or rather criticize it without personal opinion but only academic/technical intent and have a take at the film cold-hearted in its heart. Temenuga Trifonova sums it as a cult film due to its cool existential gloom after much dissection on Jef’s character nemesis, a ritualistic suicide and its relationship with earlier Japanese and American films. You need to think for a word before you think of a word. This film in its redundant uncanny behaviour of putting you in a spell, makes you realise where you are, who you are and more importantly it gets you thinking, just like how this angel of a hitman questions his own belief when he finds out a witness for his murder had helped him . It is not enough said when I tell that almost every scene in this film is near perfection, but to specify the beginning 10 minutes of the film is the most talked about on screen minutes, ironically so, that none of the characters that come and go around Jeff’s silent but silently moving life, DO NOT talk.
Melville makes you think and convinces you that it is mere suggestive exposition that cinema does in it’s best form. A man. Taciturn. Plain faced, with eyes that seem to have the need to talk when he looks at the mirror everytime, but is willing and more than happy to make others talk. A hat. A caged bird. A room , a room where a man seems to live or maybe caged. No, he mostly smokes and drinks water. Again, the hat sits on the stand unless its on his head. Creased by fingers that pull the trigger more so often than you would believe. It is a practice. A pattern of perfection , that suggests in you on who you would be watching for the next 1 and half hours or so.But why the gun? Why does that pop in your head? In fact why does he need to be bad at all in the first place. Anybody can live alone in a room drinking water and smoking cigarettes. Does the silence make you curious ? Or does your curiosity make what you look ominous/dangerous? Even without earlier 1930 noir templates, Melville’s Le Samourai suggests compulsively in our deepest emotions. Curiosity.
Even so for not the trench coat and hat, Melville makes Jeff Costello horribly visible for someone who needs to be invisible in an unrealistic way, yet so believable which makes the film and Costello in it ,walk and talk like a dream. He throws him out there in the streets of his beloved France (Paris) that the man walking with the trench coat and the hat does belong to the streets but in an alien manner. His street dull blue and building grey makes the brown and chestnut of Costello’s legend almost like a 3D character coming out of a postcard Paris. Yes, the silhouettes and the subways just got added to your Noir dreams. This film was anticipatory of Taxi Driver. But does Bickle‘s soliloquy run across Jef’s mind? No, ’cause Jef’s job as an assassin defines who he is rather than a motive or a higher socio-economic status he aspires to.
It is quite obvious the variations that had followed Melville’s films considering the incredible inspirations (Tarantino to John Woo) in terms of pacing and cinematography, but Le Samourai still makes you think it might’ve just been the most unique film you had watched proving yet again the creativity’s scope is unlimited for the treatment and not the material. The confrontation scene where Costello gets shot is action in its primal form. No unnecessary cuts. It is brought to screen to be witnessed by a passing train. Among these intermittent genius,were those extra few seconds that linger, those heavy shadows lovingly left to sink in, those Alain Delon’s eyes, those Nathalie Delon’s eyes and hair, that slimy cop and yes that Piano Player. Its almost magical. In reference with the final scene, it makes you believe that in this world, people who are intimidated are habituated in being calm and composed. A similar scene when Costello again confronts the guy who shot him –
“Nothing to say?”
“Not with a gun on me”
“Is it a principle?”
It makes you ponder on Tarantino‘s confession on why he makes film, because he loves making films. Its simple, honest love. Two cops entering the room when the silent ,Samourai wasn’t there, is highly personal and the care with which the scene floats makes you fall for film. A bigger, more identifiable listening device is fixed ,then the policeman think through just like the audience ,understands the intelligence of the Samourai in question and replaces it by a tinier device. Whether it would do justice is another question, but what care and what love.
The more interesting thing about Le Samourai is how dynamic the film is, with its pace almost non-existent physically but hiding behind your ears and whispering intent slowly like a close friend/well-wisher in these dark times for you and of course from him, Jeff Costello. Why did the Piano Player help by not identifying him at the witness gathering ? If the people who hired him are paranoid of his existence maybe she is with them keeping an eye for them , a pity for him. Or maybe not. Maybe there is a bit of that unrequited love omnipresent. These are the questions that built the genre of noir, the questions that have been made as moving images , transformed into many sub-genres alike and different. The questions drive the dynamic of the character and thus, the film. As Costello figures out , you figure out that you have already fallen for this dear film, making you think and more importantly making you care even after all these years of film that you’ve watched and lived by.
People have compared the film with many, but, I sensed it as something close to Antonio’s arthouse exhibition in Blow-up. Jane’s (Vanessa Redgrave) carefree head and shoulders when the Jazz tape plays seemed to Thomas (David Hemmings) as a reflection of questions for the murder he might/might not have witnessed, but here almost polarisingly different but in the same doubt is Jeff for the witness , the piano player is carefree playing the jazz piano setting up a surreal climax in “But why , Jeff?”. This would remain the eternal interrogative. The perpetual haze of all those dark nights the Samourai suffers in living, finding souls for prey and searching for an unforgettable memory and unattainable love.
So here finally after a long break , many films gone by and totally changed/discovered paths.
The Oscars are done , as predictable as ever and this time you could actually see the rebellious idol in Franco’s presence , totally bored out of the whole damned process and yes there were hilarious spoof-ups that he was actually stoned and Anne Hathaway was on a LSD trip. If only that was true , Enter the Void would’ve received atleast a nomination. Heh, to actually look back that Void made to the top 66 foreign films in itslef is satisfactory achievement by the Academy.
King’s Speech winning was as predictable as an enthusiastic cinephile’s claim that he/she is an ardent Scorsese fan, like common get over it! My only regret (not much of a regret but a small wish) could’ve been that The Fighter could’ve won the best picture just because of the crew’s effort in making the film. Predicted Portman came and did her piece of on-stage drama , now you really can imagine Franco watching all this and not mentioning co-hosting with a cheery loud noise @ his side the entire time. Pity him. Seriously what was “the drag act” all about ? What were they thinking?
The month ended as predicted but “Uncle Bonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” , directed by the Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul would remain in my mind for atleast a decade or so. A meditation of sorts to your senses and the eyes in particular that photography plays an important role in this stand-out director’s images. The film was a spectacular find last year and gaining critic attention this year to dumbfound everyone by its constant nature to find more and more as you watch it more and more. It works in amazing ways.
Believe me it is quite tough to top the Koreans when it comes to the dish-best-served-cold. Bedevilled unfolds in the most mundane rude manners of a Seoul corporate chick looking to chill out in her friend’s island. Truths unfold in uglier proportions than you would expect and a close knit familial revenge is justified in BokNam’s (the Chaser victim) sorry state. A clear must watch.
If the previous was must watch , then what do I tell about “I saw the Devil”? It is the director of “Bitterweet Life” again wielding this time a legendary rapist killer, Geongchul Jang’s (Played by Min-sik Choi of “Oldboy“(plays Oh Dae Su) fame)torturous ride of soul searching experience in an operatic, yet slowburning format that sure is to reach cult status in no time, especially the close-up body combats. Min-sik Choi is almost 50 and still puts the evil so easily through his devil eyes. Running time almost 2 and a half hours and still you would dare not leave your seat. This time its the “Catch and Release” torture ploy, the protagonist’s fulfilling search for a complete justified revenge quench.
It is said that “Battle Royale” is clearly the most revolutionizing film ever. Atleast in its intent that it gathers by putting a group of middle school students in a deserted island to defend themselves by forcefully killing their competition is not quite the fun to digest nor watch as a story that builds to a unacceptable climax. But what Fukasaku’s film does is to explain in one-liners what a surreal film it wants to be. A beautifully disturbing watch, in fact there is a bit of humour hidden in every scene.