Certain films just leave you dumbfounded. You are left feeling numb. These are films which never lose their charm. No matter how many times you watch them they completely zap you on every count. They reassure or rather increase your love for the movies. The films discussed below did exactly this to me:
Black Friday- My love for cinema took root primarily after watching this film. Based on the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993, Black Friday tries to convey how irrational the ‘rationale’ behind the barbaric act was. Directed by Anurag Kashyap, the film can be called a docu-drama and a top class one at that. The movie unfolds as an investigation into the blasts by the Mumbai Police. As a few of the accused are caught, we come to know about the entire modus operandi in flashbacks through them while they are being interrogated by the police. The utter sincerity, detailing and ruthless realism with which the film is made is mind blowing to say the least. Despite its long running time, the taut screenplay and the brilliant acting by practically all the actors grips you and doesn’t let go till the movie finishes. Based on a book by the same name, I feel it is one of those rare occasions where the film adaptation outshines the book.
Head On- This is a romantic film like no other. Yes, a boy and a girl fall in love but here ‘the boy’, ‘the girl’ and also ‘the love’ is simply unparalleled. Sibel(the girl) and Cahit(the boy or rather a middle-aged man) both Turkish immigrants in Germany get married for reasons other than love. Cahit needs somebody to keep his untidy and dirty house in order and Sibel wants to marry any man but only of Turkish origin as her parents would approve and won’t get her forcibly married to somebody of their choice. Also Sibel and Cahit won’t share a sexual relationship but she would get to sleep with anybody she wants. Everything seems to be going smooth post-wedding but just when they begin to fall for each other Cahit’s rowdy behavior leads to events that creates a big void between them. Writer-director Fatih Akin, a Turkish immigrant to Germany himself, structures his film almost as a quintessential Three Act narration. Further, there is also a traditional Turkish band playing folk songs on the banks of the lovely Bosphorous in Istanbul all of which makes you feel that this modern love saga is nothing but an age-old tale. Gross at times, but fascinating nonetheless, Head-On is one film which would certainly remain etched in your mind.
Lebanon- A film made from personal accounts of the director Samuel Maoz this one is a war film based on the 1982 Lebanese invasion by Israel. Amazingly, it is shot entirely from inside a tank. We see the outside world only through a lens through which the aimer of the tank locks in his targets. An anti-war film, Lebanon is pure cinematic brilliance. With words ‘The man is made of steel. A tank is only a piece of iron’ engraved inside it, the film also has an engrossing bit of human drama involving the four members of the tank and also a varied type of visitors. A minimal background score and an awesome sound design elevate the film to an altogether different level. The film makes us feel as if we ourselves are in the tank and can almost smell the sweat, urine and other foul odours in that enclosed armoured vehicle. Samuel Maoz, who was 20 when he was inside this tank during the 1982 war, has with audacity and craft made us live those dreadful moments through the medium of cinema.
A Separation- Mahatama Gandhi said ‘Truth is self-evident’. Iranian Asghar Farhadi’s ‘A Separation’ is like a quest for this self-evident feature of truth. In the film, Nadir and Simin( husband and wife) are going for a divorce as Nadir won’t go with Simin and their daughter to live abroad as his Father is an Alzheimer’s patient and needs his help. Simin decides temporarily to live separately and hence Nadir has to hire a caregiver for his Father who happens to be a pregnant woman. One day when Nadir returns home he finds his Father tied to a bed for a reason which we aren’t told and also isn’t Nadir and thus in anger he fires the caregiver and literally pushes her out of the house. The caregiver in turn accuses Nadir for the death of her baby. With this plot, A Separation makes for a compelling and deeply layered human drama. The director doesn’t take sides and is empathetic of his characters. He touches so many aspects like the incompetence of the Iranian law system, rich-poor divide, misogyny, blind faith in religion etc. with such subtlety that you can’t help but nod in appreciation. Also, astoundingly, the story unfolds like a thriller making us form are own versions of the truth. A Separation is a film with everlasting relevance and merit. Gandhi, who thought quite lowly of cinema, might have changed his mind after giving this film a watch.