Wednesday, February 4, 2009

[screenings] Working Class Hero

“Four dollars? You know what four dollars buys today? It don't even buy three dollars!”

- Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Hard luck is at your front door, blues are in your room
Hard luck is at your front door, blues are in your room
Callin' at your back door, "What's gonna become of you?

- Charlie Patton, Father of the Delta Blues in Bird Nest Bound

Opened my wallet early morning today. It was empty save for three flies. Two promptly flew straight out the window. The one that remained, the wisest, by far the most street-smart one, who knew the ways of the cruel, uncaring world outside, buzzed right into the lonely, unwashed glass of yesterday’s stale liquor. There she sat for hours, till the sun climbed the day from a pale, uninspiring morning to an oppressive, sticky noon. Then she called out to me, sounding just like my dear sweet wife who recently left me for a job in the UN. ‘Wake up lazybones. Get me outta here. Can’t you hear me’, she said. I tilted the glass let her and went back to watching TV when they pulled the plug on my electric connection. About time, I guess, considering the unpaid and generally way-back-due condition of my bills. So I sat there in my lonesome room, soaking in the harsh noon, pondering and pondering- a year ago when things were so happy, then the bad times, the tough times, the rough-and-tumble times, the cruel world. Just as I was about to ponder the future, the fly, who by now is so intoxicated, she can’t walk let alone fly a straight line buzzes a tune that I remember my old mother used to play on her tape recorder. I got all sentimental and then, it came straight from the heart. I decided to name her ‘Lata Mangeshkar’.

Bangalore Film Society presents Working Class Hero, 3 films that show-case and serenade with the rhythm, the poise, the dignity of the down-and-out and eternally hopeful.

Friday 13th February, 2009 Time: 6.30pm

Salesman (90min/1968) Dir: Albert & David Maysles with Charlotte Zwerin

‘It’s a question of the sour apple spoiling the basket,’ chews out the tough-talking boss at the sales convention of door-to-door Bible salesman in one of the most riveting scenes of the classic documentary ‘Salesman’. The intention is crystal-clear. Make the cut or else you are fired and not even God can save you. Renowned documentary film-makers the Maysles brothers along with Charlotte Zwerin track the trials and tribulations of four salesmen nicknamed- The Badger, The Gipper, The Rabbit and The Bull as they smooth-talk their ways from door to door peddling the word of God, desperate to make the cut and retain their jobs. Cinematic in execution, the camera plays fly-on-the-well as it brilliantly captures the day-to-day rhythms of four ordinary men who literally have their entire lives pegged on the ‘mercy of the Good Lord’.

Saturday 14th February, 2009 Time: 6.30pm

Chop Shop (84min/2007) Dir: Ramin Bahrani

Premiering at Cannes Film Festival’s Director’s Fortnight, Ramin Bahrani’s second film, the no-name, low-budget ‘Chop Shop’ was an absolute revelation. The simple tale of a tough street kid trying his ingenious best to hustle out a better future for him and his 16 year old sister among the junkyards and auto repair shops of the industrial sprawl Willet’s Point, outer New York was praised as ‘miraculous’, ‘sublime’ and invited comparisons ranging from ‘City of God’ to early works of Kiarostomi to master Vittorio De Sica. ‘Chop Shop’ not only toured the most prestigious of the festival circuit- Toronto, Berlin, London wowing audience and picking awards all across but announced Director Bahrani as a one-of-a-kind cinematic genius whose work is infused with that which is rare in cinema today, the color and rhythm of life.

Sunday 15th Febrary, 2009 Time: 6.30pm

Sweet and Lowdown (95min/1999) Dir: Woody Allen

Jazz guitar legend Emmet Ray has lived one helluva life. Nightclubs, back alleys, train yards, gangsters, heady highs, rock-bottom lows, money, poverty, women, loneliness- He has seen it all. And he can play a tune like nobody’s business but perhaps maybe the great, great Django Reinhardt would like to differ on that. 30 years in the making from idea to final conception, ‘Sweet and Lowdown’ was director Woody Allen’s passion project. A mock biography of a jazz great set in the 1930’s jazz scene as America went through the motions of depression and the only thing that brought on the sunshine was the music. Featuring fantastic Oscar nominated turns by Sean Penn as the titular troubled genius Ray and Samantha Morton as his mute lady love Hattie ‘Sweet and Lowdown’ is witty, bawdy, oddball, melancholic, whimsical and all together, an intoxicating experience.

Venue: Ashirvad, 30, St. Mark's Road cross, Op. State Bank of India



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