Monday, October 24, 2005

Turtles can try

After watching a Hindi movie a week , I decided it was time to savour the best of Asian cinema at the Asian Film Festival currently running in Mumbai. The deal looked paisa vasool. At Rs.300 you can watch almost 20-25 movies in a week. Moreover Inox with its movie ticket price of Rs.150+ was one of the venues. Not bad at all... and the first 3 movies I saw were just that..not bad.
Frankly I had high expectations from a festival like this. I had expected movies with dark undertones and metaphors that would remind me of the days when DD used to show the NFDC movies in various languages where the protagonist would spend fifteen minutes eating rice and fish and the camera would stay on the morsels dropping from his mouth, sticking to his moustache etc etc. I realized that my overdose of Bollywood and Ramus dark underworld movies were not exactly the benchmarks to compare. But I realized one thing, good cinema is about the simplicity of story-telling rather than over-emphasis on technique. And story-telling is about characterization and direction is about making the actors respond to stimuli, environment and be true to their characterization.
The best movie I saw was "Turtles can Fly" based on the the story of an orphaned boy who leads orphans in Kurdistan, an orphaned state. As the villagers wait for the Americans to overthrow Saddam's oppressive regime, we are treated to the leadership and resourcefulness of a 14 year old boy named Satellite who runs a neat racket collecting American mines and selling them for the utility of other American goods like satellite dishes to watch CNN and arms for self-defense. As the world crumbles around them with no future in sight, Satellite with his zeal and genuine compassion creates a future for the band of boys with a smartness now very much part of his generation. (witness the scenes where he installs the satellite dish but first watches the banned channels before tuning into news and his usage of English words in between to show off).
In between he finds time to get infatuated with a young girl who wants to kill her child , an outcome of a brutal rape. The girl's brother is a boy possessed with powers to see the future that Satellite discovers and marshalls to help the village and his band of boys. But as the Americans finally occupy Iraq, the war finally has no winners. Satellite loses his leg trying to save the young girl's kid. The girl succeeds in her mission of killing her child and commiting suicide. The boy who could see the future finally cant save his own kin. And finally economics overtakes bonhomie as Satellite's close friend leave the village for the city with the promise of America bartered peace benefits.
The movie creates an adorable hero, provides the learning of making the best of adversity, looks at humour even in grave situations but at the same time elevates human spirit above the parochialism of politics and greed. Amazing direction by director/writer Bohman Ghobadi and great performance by the kids.


At 10:16 AM, Blogger Parth said...

awesome. I am glad you took out the time to try something like this. I remember those NFDC movies on DD. In fact, I used to spend a lot of time watching the regional language movies on Sunday afternoons :-)

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Hey jazz, I too have attended an International Film festival conducted at Trivandrum in 2002, at my next door venue. Saw quite a few movies from hungary, france, Iran, Norway, US and our own Bengal... Was an enriching experience. Gives you different perspectives, viewpoints and introduces you to the culture of the places.. Have fun. Continue your reviews...


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