Saturday, March 14, 2009

Why bother?


I watched two movies on consecutive days. The first was the Korean movie "Old Boy" and the next was "Scent of a woman".  Even though I am sufficiently fond of Al Pacino's style of acting, I think "Scent of a woman" sucked. Here was a story that bordered on the unbelievable as regards to the almost super-human charm of an almost blind man, and all the while every viewer could've told where the story was going. The acting was hammed, the lines were cliched and on any other day this mass produced piece of Hollywood pseudo-sentiments would leave me cursing. But not yesterday.

Yes, I know that "Old Boy" won the Jury Grand Prix at Cannes and all that. Without spoiling the suspense of the storyline, let's just say that the climax is very very disturbing. I am a firm proponent of artistic freedom and the need to express stories that tread beyond the norm. However this one shook me to the core or maybe even sickened me. The ultimate topic being broached in the movie is a very natural possibility yet our society has so conditioned us that we are nauseated even at its thought. Why should in these rare cases, even true love fall under the bracket of sin just because convention says so? 

"Old Boy" takes the viewer where he wouldn't dare to venture alone. Maybe therein lies its greatness as a film. It is crisply & beautifully shot, edited down to the final "d" and brutal in its message delivery. There is so much to talk about and fictionalize about in our complicated existence but to go to the places that this movie has gone takes a rare kind of courage and morbid curiosity. Using the imagination to probe the dark corners of the mind may be the big draw for some artists but it's downright scary for me to watch the results. So watching a movie like "Scent of a woman" full of corny, romantic lines and a very very typical climactic 'courtroom' speech, made me feel normal again and I was glad for it. I was back in the conventional world where love and honour meant what we were taught when we were immature; simplified concepts of black and white that were within our limited emotional grasp. Our thoughts would like to take us to a whole lot of nooks and crannies but I think its not always such a great idea to hitch a ride with them.

7 comments:

R I T I said...

I saw a movie called 'Into the Wild' ... and I was haunted by the last photograph in the movie for the next 24 hours .. Did u see it yet ? ...and I saw a movie called "just married" after that :D ..

Kunnu said...

I saw 'Old boy' too some time ago...i thought..ok..just a movie!!

And yes..'Into the wild' is a very beautiful movie...must watch..I know you will love it!!

I have been watching Pirates of the Carribean trilogy recently...saw At world's End y'day...

Saw one more '21 grams'...a confusing and a bit slow type...like piece of puzzle.

Beanie said...

Yaaa, Scent of a woman sucked. I have put "Old Boy" on the top of my watch list for now. Got bored of watching hindi movies. I have watched a couple of Korean and Japaneese movies.

But, these days, I don't find much time to watch movies, and for the recession, multiplexes have become "Places to avoid" for me now. :D

Roy said...

Yeah, I watched "Into the wild" too. In fact I had bought an original DVD of the movie! I found it more scary than inspiring though! It doesn't pay to be so pissed off with the world. I am all for flouting some of the senseless rules of the world, but it doesn't mean you have to hate it.

@Psych: Why did u lose ur job or sumthing?

Kunnu said...

hehe....yeah..I know..but I will love to do it...may be for some time...I am all for temporarily suspending the senseless rules of the world!!

prateek said...

Well, sir u r talking almost like Arundhati Roy - "...who made these love laws...who is to be loved and how much....". Havent watched Old Boy, though would like to watch it.
But, sometimes ... our conventions are pretty vague. You cross the thin line and you end up bordering on amour...pretty confusing...

Roy said...

@Prateek: I haven't read any of her fiction yet from her essays Arundhati Roy seems to be half paranoid and half crazy (the wrong kind of crazy)! She writes well but seems to me to be too polemical. Like I said, conventions suck but it's still worthwhile to stay within their general framework.