Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Update, etc.

My brother was over from Rawalpindi for a few days and he brought back with him a stack of DVDs, including:

- Sideways (B-; dark and depressing but with one or two luminous moments; the use of alcohol as a metaphor both for the character's imagination as well as his failure and subsequent dependency was well done; not sure why they called it a comedy, though)

- Million Dollar Baby (A-; stunning, with an unforgettable performance by Hillary Swank; just wondering how necessary the ending was . . .)

- Socha Na Tha (A-; a sweet and funny romantic comedy about love lost and found; ek dum hat ke.)

- Spanglish (B; another film which for some reason was marketed as a comedy but is much more than that as it deals with a tide of issues like parenting and relationships and identity; I really liked the way the characters are contrasted against each other and the delicious disorientation shown in the opening scenes as Paz Vega tries to acclimatise herself to an American family. Postscript: After watching the movie again this morning I thought about it and decided to change my review to a D and fail the film because of the crude way it dresses up simple acts of kindness in sexual innuendos. That's just not on. I think the only thing that came in my way was the chubby girl who wore braces. Every time she came on, the screen lit up with love and sadness and that redeemed the film.

In other news, I'm currently trying to get through Alan Paton's Cry, The Beloved Country. It's a good novel, written with a great deal of passion and commitment but very difficult to sink your teeth into because it's constructed not as a flowing narrative but as a series of staccato, almost journalistic observations. You can only read it in fits and spurts and the effect, albeit searing, is not very fluent.

Here's an excerpt, though:

"All roads lead to Johannesburg. If you are white or if you are black they lead to Johannesburg. If the crops fail, there is work in Johannesburg. If there are taxes to be paid, there is work in Johannesburg. If the farm is too small to be divided further, some must go to Johannesburg. If there is a child to be born that must be delivered in secret, it can be delivered in Johannesburg.

The black people go to Alexandra or Sophiatown or Orlando, and try to hire rooms or to buy a share of a house.

"Have you a room that you could let?"

"No, I have no room."

"Have you a room that you could let?"

"It is let already."

"Have you a room that you could let?"

"Yes, I have a room that I could let, but I do not want to let it. I have only two rooms, and there are six of us already, and the boys and girls are growing up. But school books cost money, and my husband is ailing, and when he is well it is only thirty-five shillings a week. And six shillings of that is for the rent, and three shillings for travelling, and a shilling that we may all be buried decently, and a shilling for the books, and three shillings is for clothes and that is little enough, and a shilling for my husband's beer, and a shilling for his tobacco, and these I do not grudge because he is a decent man and does not gamble or spend his money on other women, and a shilling for the church, and a shilling for sickness. And that leaves seventeen shillings for food for six, and we are always hungry. Yes, I have a room but I do not want to let it. How much would you pay?"

"I could pay three shillings a week for the room."

"And I would not take it."

"Three shillings and sixpence?"

"Three shillings and sixpence. You can't fill your stomach on privacy. You need privacy when your children are growing up, but you can't fill your stomach on it. Yes, I shall take three shillings and sixpence."


Blogger Crazed Teacher said...

socha na tha is such a janu movie, and the fact that its different from regular romantic movies and that the exchange is almost as if it is happening in real life makes it even better. i gave it one mark short of a distinction, mustnt go over board.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Bushra said...

Million dollar baby was coming the other day on TV but I caught it half way through. Hence didn't understand anything. Seemed a bit dark and dreary to me. Anyway I want to watch The Interpreter. Seems interesting.

1:14 AM  
Blogger baj said...

as strongly as i disliked 'sideways,' i enjoyed 'million dollar baby'. i try to watch as few adam sandler flix as i can per year. this new one he is in where the prisoners and the guards play football looks like a real winner. *cough*

4:44 PM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...


Ushi: yes it is an endearing movie. everyone who watches it seems to like it.

Bushra: on the contrary, Million Dollar Baby has an inspirational performance by Hilary Swank. Definitely worth a watch. The Interpreter alright. A little simplistic but not a bad way to spend some time.

Baji: I know, I hate Adam Sandler too but he isn't half as annoying as he usually is. Don't know what they fed him.

9:10 AM  

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