Indian Cinema Class (11/11)

The cards are stacked against me this semester– unfortunately I cannot make it to class next week as I need to leave earlier than expected for a conference I am presenting at on Friday. I’m going to be covering the notes for our Indian Cinema lecture this week and the following week. I’m posting our notes on Blackboard tonight. I’d like for you to view the film we would have screened on your own– this can be done in the library, or you can view a fairly decent version on YouTube. The only hitch is that it is divided into 9 parts– not ideal, I realize, but it can be quite difficult to find a decent transfer of this film commercially. I’ve got links to the YouTube version here.

I’ll be showing the following links in class, but just in case we run short on time, or you happen to miss them, here are some highlights.

From Mother India (1957): a delightful group song and dance number in the cornfields. This is one of the only moments of happiness in the film, before tragedy, poverty, natural disasters, and violence rip this family and community apart….

From Apna Desh (1972):

I’m cheating on the dates for this number, but it’s one of my all time favorites. This song is AMAZING, the visualization defies logic, and Mumtaz (the female lead)– there are no words. I can’t find the title sequence online, but will play this in class to give you a sense of the narrative and moral for the film. In short, the upstanding, traditional young hero, aided by his love interest, local coconut salesgirl Mumtaz, embarks on an undercover sting operation to expose the corruption of their local government and business leaders. In this number, they pose as Western, wealthy rock-and-rollers, proposing a crooked business deal, complete with fish tank and dancing girls.

I’ll fill in the details in class….

Playtime in 70mm– what a treat!

One of my favorite movies of all time is playing at the Museum of the Moving Image this week– in glorious 70mm! What does this mean? It means the size of the film frame is literally twice as big as standard 35mm film. Thus the projected image will be big, lush, and have twice the resolution (it isn’t being enlarged as much). Playtime, by Jacques Tati, is a comic critique of modern society, circa 1967– very little dialogue, a million sight gags, and more amazing 60s French modern fashion and architecture than you can handle. I’d highly recommend this as an extra credit option… Friday and Saturday, showtimes here:



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