Faces of Fear.

via-clapsandboos

Half a century ago, a British film was released just a few months before the famous Psycho. It was called Peeping Tom.

It rarely peeped into anything after that. This movie is considered to be both Powell’s beginning and end to finding himself in cinema wizardry.

This is why.

Sadly ,this movie is so ahead of its time and sense that it got severely boo-ed from the theatres and into sickening dark corners of movie libraries ,where , Psycho was in the limelight and frequently borrowed for aesthetic references.

Powell subsided himself from creating anything drastic after that. It is no doubt that Psycho was a cinematic genius.

But it gets interesting when it is known that Scorsese was one of the well known,very few admirers of Powell’s work.

The early 60s paved way to great asthetic knowledge of lights and montage cinema from both Hitchcock and Powell.

Peeping Tom was reacted with such disgust since it suggested looking rather than mere watching/seeing.

Scopophilic Macabre Voyeurism.

Peeping Tom.

Mark Lewis is a shy photographer who is working to become a director some day. But as a hobby he takes pictures of hookers on top of an agent store, which sell these pictures to people for penis pleasure.

One day in his own house,he meets Helen who lives downstairs (he lets out rooms)with her mom on her 21st birthday and she nearly meets him, his heart and his deranged mind.

Mark’s dad (played by Powell) was a brilliant man.

A scientist who studied the faces of fear.

He was amidst a study of the nervous system and its stimuli for fear.He used his own son as a subject and recorded his reactions for shocks.. Such as waking him up from sleep by flasing light on him, throwing a lizard on bed etc.

Mark’s childhood miseries were recorded and voyeured to every minute sensory detail. But he is soon obssessed with the camera ,his dad gift’s him.

Its an inane part of him now.

A tool to help him continue what his dad had seen and studied.

He studies the faces of fear by killing people while simultaneously recording their faces . (He has a knife/sharp-end arrangement at the foot of his tripod)

Powell achieved intangibilty by making the audience see what he saw and this is real psyche study he has done.

Mark Lewis and Helen.

It was groundbreaking and literally made people sick not for his implied murder scenes, but making the audience enter Mark’s head and vision. Implying horror might be easy , but implying the audience into a part of a sick voyeur is ingenius.

There is a scene where Helen sees what Mark has been doing . For all this while, the camera which had been telling us a story via the screen in Mark’s room ,turns a complete curve and fetches the face of the horrorstruck Helen. We are/become Mark for that instant and witness pure horror.

The movie crosses the boundary of aesthetic rules ,and mere implications and suggestions have become a brute reality.

Peeping Tom achieves the unachievable.

Mark’s dark screening room where he sits and watches his movies is similar to the dark theatre where we sit and watch.

Films are repeated acts of perspective shifts .

Theater is the dark place where we voyuer on the people we see, we hear and listen .

We are quiet while we witness it.

Now ,even though all this was not recognised in his time ,it was repeatedly and passionately tried to revive by Scorsese.

He remastered and re-released some of Powell’s earlier lost works. Scorsese’s editor Thelma Schoonmaker (won 3 oscars) who later fell in love with him and his work , was married to him till his death.

Scorsese was/is also one of those who believe that film-making is a violent practice and that photographing someone is like taking a part of that someone’s soul.

That is why ,he makes movies as though his life depends on it. In his commentary in Goodfellas Blue ray , Thelma Schoonmaker the editor says that Marty used to worry so much about each and every thing that he rarely used to sleep.

Both in Roger Ebert’s book about Scorsese and in James Lipton’s guest in the show Inside the Actor’s Studio, he was questioned about his deep involvements in his projects physically , mentally and psychologically and Scorsese was seen quietly nodding with guilty acceptance.

This is where Peeping Tom transcends in to more than just film

No wonder why his movies release such energy. and Michael Powell was his infamous idol.

So if anyone is interested in how he managed to paint the roads of the Taxi Driver or from where he learnt his lighting tricks in Mean Streets,

Peeping Tom is your source.

“Whatever I photograph, I always lose.”

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Uncertain waters.

Why does the Graduate make sense even after so many films made after it?
Why does it cringe you to accept its one of the best films ever made?
Why does it baffle you, everytime you see it?
You got to see it for youself .
It is such a perfect imperfect movie that it reminds you of how uncertainity can cloud the brightest times .
Benjamin Braddock is a character lived through centuries .
He ,has graduated in a respected family ,has been force-willed into doing almost anything, say here, to perform ‘daring feats’ in a scuba diving gear under 6ft in a swimming pool on his birthday in front of a crowd.
He is celebrated.
He despises it and by default has gotten , a worry.
A worry about the future he says to everyone he meets.
He dislikes to be centered and the claustrophobic camera in the family party seems to be tense and eager to get a bit of Benji.
The film sets stage for the young meat ,identified through the ‘funny feelings’ of the prey, swallowed with a drunken elegance by predating cougars,who make a subtle sticky irresistable web.

Benjamin Braddock and Mrs.Robinson.

He is soon smoothly pulled into a seduction (which has been talked about for the past forty-three years )set by Mrs. Robinson ,wife of his dad’s closest friend and business partner .
Anne Bancroft was 36 ( Hoffman 30) when she did the role but somehow she takes the effort in extending the gap, through her removing-earrings bit which was a celebrated cult in TV.
Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft.
Benjamin Braddock was/is in no doubt in doubt.
He wanted to do and not to be told what to do.
He wanted to grab the future of his age and wanted it to be different.
He leaps for it , he comes through choices but is slapped by uncertainity.
Symbolisms,
When he opens the door for a group of old exiting the Taft Hotel , he sees a group of the young entering at the same time.
He hears the sound of silence as how the fishes inside the aquarium hear.
He often plunges into deep waters in his swimming pool , into a peaceful isolation.
People watch the fishes , but rarely can they hear them.
Their cries for suicidal freedom.
He says,“I am 20 , I’ll be 21 next week” and Mr.Robinson reminisces and replies,“Thats a helluva good age to be.”
Weirdly it this crux, the film transcends to explore.
There is a scene where Benjamin asks Mrs.Robinson to make a conversation and after an useless rebuttle he figures he still got to be in the uncertain waters.
He says , “Lets just not talk anymore” and undresses.
It is the uncertain phase that the film concentrates and that has what made the film an unforgettable one.
Things change when Benjamin meets Elaine, Mrs.Robinson’s daughter.
Mrs.Robinson asks him not to take her out, so Benjamin now, has to take her out.
She tries to straddle him with fake threats of announcing the affair out-loud to make him stop meeting her daughter.
This not only angers Benjamin but just clears his reason to do what he wanted.
He falls for Elaine all of a sudden.
Falling into an illusion of farewell-hope mixed with innocent deadly love.
He wants to be normal, not to have an affair with a person twice his age.
He feels free.
He announces to his parents, “Iam going to marry Elaine Robinson.”
He himself is not sure of what he said and what he meant.
A beautiful textbook reads out loud, during the second act, where a romantic comedy unfolds with a touch of the 60s realism intervening and supporting each scene.
Allthough , what surprises me the most is how it was edited, that it would be a cult for all the hundreds/thousands of romantic movies that would come and entice you with their romantic humour , those dual dialogues and the heroine’s inevitable kiss before she leaves a lovestruck hero.
Katharine Ross as Elaine is a fellow fish in the sea, confused and dazzled at Benjamin.
A fellow ,default-rebel .
At the climax,she turns at her parents ,who curse at Benjamin when he interferes with her wedding and that is all what she needed.
She decided ,she is going to run.
Ben and Elaine.
She is going to marry Benjamin and not the make-out king.
More importantly to her was ,she is not going to do what her parents told.
The question of purpose has been eluded and the answer to her rebellion peers , celebrated.
An illusionary , senseless freedom.
The film is being worshipped and you would have no purpose in watching the latest romantic , 500 Days of Summer, not because it has loud connections with the Graduate , but because the twist in the movie was answered by the film itself without being explained.
Such is the gravity of the Graduate.
And the Climactic build was least said , a song.
It had Hoffman yawning into a clear uncertainity, again.
The people in the bus, they got on ,stare at them , like the audience .
Are they gonna make it in the future?
Is it Happily ever after?
Music , a major reason that made the film reach the cult, I would say.
Later on , Wes Anderson was one of the many celebrated artists, who romanticised/inspired it in many of their movies.
But the Graduate is still one of a kind .

“How are you Benjamin?”

“Am fine , thank you , Mrs.Robinson.”

Boards and the Bullies.

A year back ,Kapil Sibal as his first act as the new HRD minister wanted to scrap the tenth board examination.
He made it optional , but due to the inevitable urge of each and every aspiring student , no sorry, parent, that didn’t work out quite well.
So , he then told , Marks will be there but students will be judged on grades and that has hit the jackpot.
Oh, the relief and freedom.
Women especially from where I studied ,become evil soap artists as public exams near.
Every evening you can watch Clash of the Aunties on my school road.
Just before the school disperses , you can see the silent assembly of Elite Moms .
Elite Moms are those whose Kid/Kids are topping a class for 2 years minimum continuously.
A group of hyenas silently waiting and hating each other’s presence but always together picking on that day’s model examination’s problem and wondering how her son/daughter would have tackled it.
It is a battle out there.
Yo yo yo..
“Yo Son is so fat you haveta roll over twice to get off him.”
“Yo Son is so stupid that he can’t even calculate 789*373 in his head.”
And mind you this starts during Eighth grade.
Pride is also a drug , apparently.
Hissing like snakes they avoid the other not-so-elite moms.

The inside politics is so cruel that if you have under-performed this may reflect when you are back home after school expecting a tasty evening snack and what you get is Dry Dates and a loud voice disturbing your SWAT KATS time.
True story.
But lucky me, it stopped with this.
The Toppers are the ones that get mothered.
ha!..
The Elite Moms behave in subtlety.
The most common example is the 99 crisis .
It is when you have scored 99 out of 100 in a Math paper and you had wished that this day wouldn’t come.
I mean WTF!
I have seen many of my classmates (class toppers) go beserk after seeing their paper when given out.
The teachers say, “Ah, 99 . Well done ,Arun.
And the guy gives the I-peed-in-my-pants look ,“What have I done?
Because You see ,there is no other shame worse than a 99 crisis that you can bring to an Elite mother.
It is like you are second best , finishing second in a Grand Prix.
Now, who likes that?
The next few periods he thinks of a plot.
A plot to escape the routine.
A fake stomach ache?

9th period is about to end.
The school bell rings.
SHIT.
He reach the school gates .
It is the Gates of Hell.
I am thankful for once that my mom wasn’t/isn’t the elite kind.
Still for all the 10th standard kids out there.
You ,Lucky Devils.

Seriously ,thanks to Sibal for common sense and humanity.
Phew.

Oh , these Danish .

The Danish Dogme is one of my beloved fascinations in film.
A style of film making that has managed to clear that translucent link between what is theatre and film.
The two most important figures responsible for this were,
Lars Von Trier– A Danish autuer who literally showed the finger to Hollywood when called by Speilberg to direct a magnum opus.
Thomas Vinterberg- Again a Dogme specialist.
Now what is Dogme?
In 1995 , Von Trier and Vinterberg got together and signed a manifesto called the Dogme 95 ‘Vow of Chastity’.
Preservation of Art , to keep it short.
There were a set of rules to be followed during the process of filmmaking.
  • Filming must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in. If a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found.
  • The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. Music must not be used unless it occurs within the scene being filmed, i.e., diegetic.
  • The camera must be a hand-held camera. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. The film must not take place where the camera is standing; filming must take place where the action takes place.
  • The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable (if there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).
  • Optical work and filters are forbidden.
  • The film must not contain superficial action (murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
  • Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden (that is to say that the film takes place here and now).
  • Genre movies are not acceptable.
  • The final picture must be transferred to the Academy 35mm film, with an aspect ratio of 4:3, that is, not widescreen. Originally, the requirement was that the film had to be filmed on Academy 35mm film, but the rule was relaxed to allow low-budget productions.
  • The director must not be credited.
There, What else do you need ?
Not kidding .
There,
It was a polarising move making all filmmakers think again on the purpose of filmmaking.
Energetic Hollywood bashed out on The European counterparts.
But not all,
Nicole Kidman , Willem Dafoe and Paul Bettany thought otherwise .
Embraced the practice and made films that stood out stibbornly among others.
Examples,
Dogville 2003
Manderlay 2005
Anti-Christ 2009
Allthough, one of the best Dogme’s that got global attention were,
Breaking the Waves 1996- stuns you.
Dancer in the Dark 2000 – breaks you.
Two of the very best I have watched.
People who have something against subtitles , don’t worry both are english.

Besson’s Big Blue.

Very wrong of me to review The Big Blue (Le Grande Bleu) 1988 before I did Leon , The Professional .
Both displaying stark differences of Luc Besson‘s drive for cinema.
Leon achieved cult status with 14 year old Natalie Portman bringing to the table a new entertainment tool for films. The Talkative Young Kid who is unusually smart for her age and height.
This was her audition,
But pardon me, she actually transcended more than expected as the quick wit- Mathilda.
Anyways in The Big Blue we can see Besson’s more cheesy side.
Maybe because I watched the Director’s cut.
It was a stretchy 2 hr 48 minute story.
The movie contains some retrospective elements such as alluring background score (considered gay now) was part of the mid-80s pop culture a.k.a porn music and American fascination of the French and European culture likewise.
Story about two childhood friends(Jean Reno as Enzo Moliniari and Jean Marc-Barr as Jacques Mayol) who grew up in a Greek island,
used to dive in for hobby and fun, ended up as world diving champions competing within themselves .
Besson stages their diverse relationships with the sea and how one learns from the other in the end.
In between all this we see again the French surrealism pushed upon us.
Jean Marc-Barr plays the introvert,short but the infamous Jacques Mayol and the one that is in love with the sea.
Jean Marc-Barr as Jacques Mayol
He refers the sea to a woman. His perception of the  deepest waters comes out with soul (watch out for his ‘story’ he narrates over the telephone) and he doesn’t mind spending a whole night with the dolphins.
Allthough I think there were too many dolphin hugging scenes. Seemed weird.
On the other hand , Enzo Moliniari played with so much ease by Reno is the exact opposite. Man of the hour and family. Tall, earthy and raw in his wit, reactions and energy.
Reno as Enzo
Reno might come of as someone like Ron Pearlman(HellBoy) to be cast out for moulded specific roles. But what makes him a great actor is his knack for humour with an imposing built and his rigid quirkiness which scored in Leon ,too.
Surprising to see that Besson had tried to make this a global effort.
An American news reporter (shoddy acting by Rosanna Arquette) falling for a french deep sea diver and  later on leaving her Job to stay with her lover in Oh-so-dreamy France was a little too Hip even for the late eighties.
Here The U.S. trailer,
Yes , you are right , the same old horny-american fetish for the exotic alien european.
But there had to be romance somewhere in the movie or it would have turned out weird with Jacques hugging only dolphins.
Beson also could have avoided the fake cardboard dolphins doing summersaults under the moon silhouette.
But the imagery is what should be counted, I guess.
Finally ,with some technical downs and a slack plot it is not so great , but again like Scorsese says, Content matters the most.
So I think its worth giving a shot for people with taste for sweet european cinematography and lucid imagination.
It is definitely one of a kind.
A way to soften the odd rough day.
A hypnotic voyage into blue bliss.
“What is it like down there?”
“It is like you are slipping but not falling.”

“Straight Ahead”

We were Three That day totally.

We were Three Dumbfucks to be clear.

Cycling Was on a rage in sixth grade.

Even today , For me , In NIT-T.

But, But.

The Three decided to walk that day, not that anything would have changed.

ADVENTURE !, We franchised it in our amazingly small brain.

Well, It was 10 A.M i think. When we decided to walk our way to the Fourth Dumbfuck’s house.

To play football.

(Actually the fourth did not turn out to be a Dumbfuck, @ present HE is doing his E.C.E in I.I.T Chennai.)

I told my mom that he lives in the street adjacent.

Surprisingly my Mom Bought it!

This made it even more attractive .

There is a map behind this story which was personally sketched with accurate scales .

The Map was supposed to guide us to HIS house.

Instead it flew away to the nearest puddle, ten minutes after we started.

So we lost the map , Gradually our way too.

We didn’t know where we were heading .

We called HIM from a number of P.C.Os.

“Come straight ahead after the signal and take a left after the temple”, he said.

“Remember straaaaiigght ahead”, he said before we hung up everytime.

Clearly we did not follow that.

If you are asking why, WE Were nowhere near the signal that time.

We had Twenty rupees all three put together.

It felt two hundred for us that time.

We were like three rich adventurers.

Enough to this . The time flew . We didnot have any idea about time.

But wait!, Ive got my Stone Cold Shhhteve Austin SKELETON watch which opens from the front!

And that my friend ,sadly does not work. It was a strange feeling for me to realise there standing with the TWO staring at me.

I said it was 2 o clock.

Arbit.

It was 5 .

We still have not reached anywhere near the signal.

After a lot of sweat, water packets and stone throwing, We were left with 5 rupees and a signal staring at us !

Oh god.

We felt like Tom HAnks in CAST AWAY.

“Look both sides before you cross”, my dad used to say. Even now he says to tell the truth.

Never once followed.

We ran Straaaaiiiggghht Ahead, We barely realised that all three could have been killed right at that very junction.

@ 6:30 we reached his house.

I called my dad. He picked me up @6:45.

Football , my ass.

My dad was ready to play football wit my ASS.

We had walked 20 kms thinking it was 2.

We had walked for 8 hrs thinking it was 4.

We thought we did a lot of things. somethings still are true though.

Like the Football Experience that my Brother witnessed later that night.

The Aura.

Today is the day,
filled with silent farts that explode your nostrils and those BLACK hairs inside cry out “If i cood, i wood bust yo’ ass”.
filled with such amount of joyous hatred pouring from those innocent judgemental eyes of those around you, that you decide, “O.K. now let me perform too.
So as of now, i really am living it if u put it that way.
Permeate from that transluscent vision and lets live it . shall we?
I got to blabber before i start off, sorry.

There are somethings which happened in the recent past that i wll never be able to forget ever in my lilfe. Its more like a
Fucked-up tatoo you got on your belly , once done ,you cant erase it. and after that you cant share it wit anyone,

‘Cause

1. its fucked up.

2. No one will understand it ‘cause you yourself dont ‘cause..

3. everything seems to be upside down, the way you see it.

4. its even more fucked up than you first thought which leads to..

5. trying to blog for your “tatoo” interpretation.

So, there you go.

Back to the fart thing, you might be wondering Why the “blog” did I say that.Happens everyday but peculiar that silent farts are deadlier than the normal funky ones and

Yesterday i was trapped in the worst place you could possibly realise this, A LIFT. Yes my friend. yes, and not just strangers , my Relatives!
Apart from judging THE AURA unfortunately mixed with the numerous air jets of perfumes and deodarants, I had to shut both my mouth and nose without my hands and that led to a precarious grin . Man! Who the hell was that? The worst part was evryone seemed tobe smiling for No Reason .As usual . Courteous.. My ass.
Anyways i had to return the smile. and it was tough ,believe me. Try holding your breath(both nose and mouth) and smiling at the same time.

Inflates your nose for a second .

Before the lift just opened i was left gasping, sucking in all the air in the lift.

Bad timing. Bad place.
P.S: By the way , THE AURA is a spanish thriller i really enjoyed.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0420509/