Tuesday, April 20, 2010

[screenings] One Day in the Life of K.

“Everyone wants to be a perpetual motion machine
We all try harder as the days run out”

- Modest Mouse, Perpetual Motion Machine

“Alas,” said the mouse “the world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when at last I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these walls narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already , and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into.” “You only need to change direction,” said the cat, and ate it up.

- Franz Kafka, A Little Fable

The search was for a certain Mr. K. Anyway, that was how it all began, with all the tantalizing mystery of the heavy fog and streetlights variety. All one gets to start wth is a picture of what is supposedly the back of his head and a few words on his characteristic elusiveness. Even if they didn’t go to the trouble of pointing it out to you, the first week of thumb-twiddling vexation and worn-out Florsheim soles would convince anyone that presences of Mr. K were located precisely in his absences, a ghost taunting you with ‘K was here’ graffiti everywhere you looked. And the paint is always fresh. At first, it’s enough to get you excited, you are prepared to be hurled down, always a cigarette handy and always a bar next door, that web of intrigue, deceit, sin and the other coming attractions that the trailers keep screaming out rococo-style. But once the initial euphoria begins to wear thin, there’s no point is romanticizing it all. You have a job to do and you do it. One could always use the money. The despair of the day in, day out, all in a day’s work, as they like to put it is never the chest-beating type but a slow burn that you can feel at the core of your being. You can imagine your heart looking more or less like, a bleak shoe. And by the time you have found your man, the twist ending doesn’t really count. So you finally discover that Mr. K was no one else but you, all along. It’s a job well done. And you have another one waiting for you in office tomorrow. Its best if don’t lose sleep over these kind of things.

Yes folks, it is indeed a torrid summer of much drudgery at the BFS. With no respite in sight. If it’s not heat, it’s the dust, if it’s not dust, it’s the power cuts, if it’s not that, it’s the remains of the game of cricket… you can always count on something these days that will pull you down. Where does one turn to in moments where the irrationality ends only where the despair begins. We’re looking for some perspective here. Well, to the movies, we say, the classics, to Ritwik Ghatak, Ermanno Olmi and Stuart Cooper. Bangalore Film Society proudly presents ‘One Day in the Life of K.’, some perspective on the absurdity of the world as rendered by the masters in comedy, poetry, tragedy.

Friday 23rd April, 2010 Time: 6.30pm

Ajantrik (B & W/1958/102min) Dir: Ritwik Ghatak

Ghatak’s ‘Ajantrik’ is, to paraphrase John Lurie, ‘strange and beautiful’, all at once. The chronicle of a small town taxi driver and his broken down old jalopy which Ghatak unfolds as a heartbreaking love story, is made of such achingly human stuff that it screened to a mesmerized audience in Venice 59’ inspite of lacking all subtitles. A tragicomedy in the best sense of the word, one of the order of Chaplin, ‘Ajantrik’ is to put it quite simply, one of the all-time greats.

Saturday 24th April, 2010 Time: 6.30pm

I Fidanzati (B & W/1963/77min) Dir: Ermanno Olmi

It would be a shame to repeat ourselves but we really don’t have a choice. Olmi’s ‘I Findanzati’ is to put it quite simply, one of the all-time greats. This weekend, we’re outdoing ourselves. The terrific Mr. Olmi has always been a favorite since we screened that beautiful waltz of a film- ‘Il Posto’. ‘I Fidanzati’ is one of those rarest of films, the one’s that tick with the rhythm tuned right to the heart. A tale of a couple separated as the husband moves to the city to work, Olmi orchestrates a sweepingly told tale of love, longing and all that is inexplicably lost in between. Winner of the OCIC Award at Cannes ‘63.

Sunday 25th April, 2010 Time: 6.30pm

Overlord (B & W/1975/83min) Dir: Stuart Cooper

Stuart Cooper’s ‘Overlord’ is… well you know it. It really is. Stuart Cooper may not be a Ghatak or an Olmi and may have spent most of his life making dreary stuff for the television, but ‘Overlord’ was his finest moment. An evocation of the wastelands of war, seamlessly blending documentary footage, newsreels, staged scenes and surreal sequences, Cooper chronicles a young man being trained in the lumpenizing machinery of the army and executes it all with a poetry approaching a dream/nightmare. Absolutely humanist and extremely personal in its approach, ‘Overlord’ ends where the ugly spectacle that was ‘Saving Private Ryan’ begins. Winner of the Silver Bear, Berlin ’75.

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


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