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Blog // Thoughts
April 23, 2005

Small Thoughts on Film

My thinking on film has stalled somewhat over the last 18months, in part from being outside an academic envronment, but also in part because of the paucity of interesting interesting western films available here. We rely on a stream of DVDs and only last month saw Eternal Sunshine. I’ve yet to see the much discused […]

My thinking on film has stalled somewhat over the last 18months, in part from being outside an academic envronment, but also in part because of the paucity of interesting interesting western films available here. We rely on a stream of DVDs and only last month saw Eternal Sunshine. I’ve yet to see the much discused films of the last year, such as Mar Adentro, Vera Drake, or even Ray.

However, one compensation has been the exposure to the best that Bollywood has to offer. The Indian film industry is massive and in many ways a genre-unto-itself. Last night we watched the recent hit, Veer-Zaara on DVD. This was a deeply moving an memorable film with an apposite political undercurrent. It was not a conventional big-production Bollywood, but rather was made with a degree of restraint that gave it real poignancy.

By contrast this afternoon we endured the risable and disenchanting animated film Robots. This film comes from the same production house that brought us Ice Age. However, Robots lacked both the charm and playfulness of their previous effort. It is a shame that a little of the excellent production values that went into the design and animation of this film (both of which were excellent) could not trickle down into the narrative and dialogue, which seldom rose above feeling contrived and tedious.

However, the greatest ill-ease I felt was with the “adult oriented” comedy. The makers of these films always include comic elements and motifs designed to go over the heads of children but appeal to adults. It is a standard device and aprt of the magic of films from the Pixar (Incredibles, Shrek, Toy Story etc). Ice Age also managed to handle this well. watching Robots I felt perhaps the most profound experience of not being “target market” that I have felt in a long time. It was just a case of the jokes being geared towards a different sense of humour. Rather, the whole mood and direction of the narrative seemed geared towards a different worldview, one that was disctinctly small-town, anti-progress, underacheiving and well, contented. I feel certain this really merits further unpacking and I hope to come back to this film in more depth soon.

[tags] Bollywood, Robots [/tags]

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