Wednesday, January 18, 2006

here and elsewhere

  • As you might be well aware, Zach Campbell had a wonderful post up on his blog in which he explains his feelings about why Sátántangó (or extremely "special" films in general) should not appear on DVD. I can totally understand his perspective on the matter, especially his sentiment on the viewing of the film being an "event", but as someone who experiences his cinema mostly on the video format, I have to say that sometimes one's geographical location leaves one no choice but to come down to the inferior format (and Zach does acknowledge this). I did see Sátántangó on video months ago with a couple other similarly-dedicated friends (the whole experience qualifying more as an "event" than countless other films I've seen on 35mm), and made it to the end with few disturbances (the obligatory couple of breaks, et al). I'll probably never know what it'll be like to see it on 35mm - and I say that with some certainty since a theatrical screening here is not very likely - but I treasure what I've managed to glean from that not-so-ideal viewing.
  • Seeing a couple of Shabana Azmi films on Acquarello's "Pillow List" of 100 films has made me a little nostalgic, and this means that I'll try to get back to watching some classic Bollywood and Parallel Indian Cinema (I had a huge phase a couple of years ago when I went through several Hindi-language films to broaden my exposure or simply catch up with films that I'd only seen while growing up), and for whatever reason the project trailed off. I'll try to get back to it, and hopefully post some thoughts here sometime in the coming weeks. Filmmakers whose work I'll try to track down (from my local Bollywood video library, which actually has a respectable selection) are: Rajinder Singh Bedi (Dastak), Saeed Akhtar Mirza (Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai?, Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan), M.S. Sathyu (Garam Hawa), Bimal Roy (Bandini, Sujata), Shyam Benegal (Trikal, Samar), Basu Bhattacharya (Teesri Kasam), Raj Kapoor (Mr. 420, and several more to revisit). Sadly, they don't have any Mani Kaul films, nor Kumar Shahani's Maya Darpan, which is my most-wanted-to-see Hindi film right now. (Why just Hindi? Because most of these videos are unsubtitled, and I don't need subtitles for Hindi dialogue!)


Blogger Zach Campbell said...

Mubarak, I mentioned you in a comment on my blog, and as I said there, to me you'll surely get more out of a video screening of Sátántangó than many will on 35mm, so ...

As for Bollywood, thanks for a list of titles (I'll add them to my to-see list). Indian DVDs over here seem to come almost always with English subtitles ... though I do have a copy of Navrang boasting subs but, once played, displaying none. Or the DVD of Guide whose last 45 minutes or so inexplicably lack subtitles completely ...

1:35 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Mubarak--Perhaps you blogged about them, but I'd be very curious to know which of the movies you saw during your "Bollywood phase" that you might recommend. I'm making a little to-see Bollywood list.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Martin Degrell said...

Re: theatre vs home screenings - you do what you can, don't you? As you are well aware, I'm exactly in your kind of position when it comes to availability and whatnot. Do I curse that fact? Sure. Does it stop me from enjoying the stuff I actually get my hands on? Of course not. What can I do - can't just pack my bags and move to Paris. Your Sátántangó experience is a perfect example of making the best out of it. (Still haven't seen it, btw. Shame on me.)

Zach has a very good point too.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

Zach - thanks muchly! That post really is one of the most stimulating things I've read around the blogosphere lately, perhaps second only to the 'Showgirls Orgy' posts :) (Oh, and what did you think of Guide, if you did finish it? It's reputation as an "essential" Bollywood film kinda perplexes me).

Martin, you got Empathy!

Girish, I'm on it. Will jog my memory and post the list here shortly.

2:14 AM  

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