Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Fall

Finally I watched the movie The Fall...

Last year when I had a fall and fractured my leg, a friend suggested me to watch this movie. when I asked what is it about all he said "It is an experience not a film. you must watch it" So I desperately started hunting for the dvd. It took me more than a year to find the dvd of the movie The Fall(2006) by Tarsem (Singh)

So how you understand the word fall. You fall down and break a leg? you fall in love or you fall out of good will of others? or as market fall(s) water falls a fruit fall or simply a free fall. Word fall has lot of metaphoric connotations suggesting primarily 'gravitational activity' and can be interpreted in multiple ways. Director Tarsem uses this word metaphorically leaving viewer for a free interpretation the experience of the movie.

Set in early 1920's in a film studio set of Los Angeles, the story of the Fall shifts back and forth from hospital bed to exotic locations of East Asia. Little five year old Alexandria(Catinca Untaru)is recuperating in a missionary hospital for a broken arm, meets a fellow patient, stunt man Roy walker( Lee Pace) who has broken his leg in a stunt action. Roy is broken either ways as his girlfriend has 'fallen out of love' with him. He is been contemplating suicide when he meets lively Alexandria.

Roy befriends Alexandira, and entices her with stories, provided she steals morphine tablets from the hospital dispensary. Fromm then on, story unfold in a spectacular visual dramas (like Arabian nights) in exotic locations creating a tension between real and mythical or illusionary world of Alexandria. Relationship between little Alexandria and Roy/Bandit too grows in an intense emotional web. I must give full credit to the director for handling the child actor Catinca so well and getting best of her acting ability. However film does not end in any climax but just fades in mundane end which is anticlimax of the whole movie experience. And that could be the script writers "fall'.

Director Tarsem singh, weaves world geographies seamlessly; to recreate archaic and mythic images in a modern context. Over all film is a visual pleasure where each frame is meticulously crafted for a visual experience. The movie will definitely go on to become a cult classic.

The Fall is the second film of director Tarsem singh. (The first being The cell that featured Jennifer Lopez.) His music video for the band REM( losing my religion ) won him many awards including MTV award. In short Tarsem singh gives a fresh outlook to the world of international cinema making it a truly a global language. So if you are tired of watching Hollywood style film making with sex violence and revenge kinda movies and longing to see truly poetic, mystical and romantic view of the humanity than he is the director to watch for. I am eagerly waiting for his upcoming flick Immortals(slated for release in 2011) based on the Greek hero myth of Theseus and Phaedra.

The reason I write about this movie, because such movies hardly get released in theaters or talked or written about. They remain hidden and undiscovered. Unless someone tell you one day to go and see it.As I beleive real "good art" is never found in fairs , biennials or gallery walls but discovered in unexpected venues and spaces. So is good cinema.

All I want to say is Thank you my friend "it was an experience."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

7 days in the Art World

World is a funny word! It means many things to many people and yet it is the same world. I and you live in the one world and yet may mean nothing to each other. Therefore 'one world' and "world apart" makes perfect sense.

So what does 7 days in the art world mean? Talking about the book by Sarah Thornton who attempts to 'explain/experience' the art world in seven chapters. Written in simple lucid English( surprisingly there are no jargon) this 280+ pages book you can read on the move, and in one go. The seven chapters- The Auction, The Crit, The Fair, The Prize, The Magazine, The Studio and The Biennale tries to give you the insider's view of the art world centered primarily around New york and London in case you don't know .

More or less as an artist one does know some of the components this world and yet some of the chapters really open up new vistas to the existing realm. For instance importance of The crit- or collective critique as part of the art education is seriously missing in 'our' part of the art world. Such a student - artist - academician interaction is not only needed but is vital to any aspect of pedagogy. Something you lament for not experiencing it while you were student.

The studio was particularly engaging specially when you know that you may never get to see Takashi Murakami's studio. So when you read that he functions more in boardroom environment than a studio that hardly surprises you. But his bedroom does. Studio visit is an important ritual of the art world that helps promote artist's mind more than his work.Therefore when Murakami with his company Kaikai Kiki functions like an corporate house design company , it only strengthens my argument in my earlier blog.

Author, an art history graduate and doctorate in sociology approaches the art world more like an anthropologist, and writes the account from the 'participant observer's view'. She tries to investigate questions like What is an artist? what is a collectors? what is an auction ? or what does a magazine mean to art world?etc etc. In the bargain she collects some 'smart quotes' from the people who control this world. For instance she observes some collectors having a "plastic approach" to their collection - a sense which relates to the pursuit of youth and to be determined attempt to rejuvenate oneself through ongoing novelties". Or John Baldessari's quip, " you have to make new works to sell the old ones".

Book tries to entertain you and at the same time gives you a peep hole view of the current art world. As you complete reading it you know that the world out there has changed. So is the art world!!