Monday, October 01, 2007

2 Nights, 2 Unforgettable Movies

As the end credits started to roll, tears were streaming down my face. The end almost kills you with its simplicity. Cinema Paradiso, to me, is as good as it gets.

A now famous movie maker comes back to the town of his childhood to attend the funeral of Alfredo, the projectionist of the city's theater when he was a kid. The movie recounts Toto's journey from a movie crazy kid who spent the better half of the day with Alfredo in his projection room, to his adolescence and how finally he is convinced by Alfredo to leave the town, live his life and never look back. What follows there upon is an account of the relation between the both of them which is as touching in its simplicity as you would ever have seen. Each and every character in the movie is perfectly etched out, but of course, the little mischievous Toto tops the list. He is just adorable.

The movie is a celebration of the love for cinema, the power of relations and the fact that no matter how far we run away from them, some memories never completely go away. There's no point in me rambling about the movie though. Go watch it.

The first German movie I watched was Der Untergang (The Downfall). That was during my college days. And till date it remains one of my favourites. The Lives Of Others, too, is right there at the top.

It's the 1980's in Germany. And the Secret Police (Stasi) knows whats happening in your life. In one such operation, the Stasi 'observes' the life of a famous playwright and his actress girlfriend. And their suspicion is confirmed as the poet playwright decides to break the shackles of government regulations and express himself. Only, the man entrusted by the Police to do the job lets his human instincts take over.

Black, white and shades of gray and brown are the only colours in this movie and they quite brilliantly bring out the mood of the country as it waited on the brink of history. A single sentence spoken against the ruling government can end you career. Freedom of expression is a thing of the past and the artists are the worst hit. They have to comply with the government propaganda or face the risk of being banned forever. But then there's the human amongst all of us and this movie is a triumph of that spirit. Its the same spirit that can be seen across the three main characters of the movie. The poet, his actress girlfriend (who is stunningly gorgeous by the way) and the man who 'listens' to their lives.

What makes Gerd Wiesler, the 'listener', a hero, is the simple fact that he begins to question himself and look within . In the end, the film is also in a way, about the questions we need to ask ourselves. Everyday. About power, principles, ideology and feelings. Another must see.

1 comment:

Rohan Rai said...

Just curious when u got 2 see the two movy...Too bad if you saw it all on your own in Bangalore..Even the investigation done by the detective me was futile as I tried to look for them in your movy folder..