Tag: movies

A Society Under The Influence

So yes this is a reactionary post(sad, always like to be proactive).

I have not seen Arjun Reddy/ Kabir Singh; even when I see it I am sure to dislike it(prejudice alert), but that is because I dislike most movies, it also because we make a lot of dislike-able movies. 

But there is also something to like in all films. What I take away is my own.

As is usual a certain section of well meaning, focused on the future types telling (yelling) about the values of the leading man in the films above mentioned. They have also qualified saying that this is not just about the values but also because the Sandeep Reddy Vanga film ‘glorifies’ such disgusting values.

Somewhere in these cautionary posts of value education would be the mention of the over influence of movies as a whole on society. As a constant movie watcher I would like to agree that movies are influential to the individual, but what these activist uncle types don’t get is that source of influences are multifarious and never really pinpoint.

<I like to use the word uncle a lot, this is not something I picked up from the movies, but maybe because I like to use uncle because I don’t like to use swear words. I dunno, I don’t want to psychoanalyze myself to death, so whenever I use uncle it can be substituted to a word of your choice>

So yes, uncles think there is some kind of linear relationship between the content (or malcontent as they would say) in movies and the depletion of our value system.

Again, they have only good intentions, but they get only linearity, maybe they did social sciences. So they immediately get enraged and come to conclusions that if guy watches a certain actor’s films and stalks girls then surely movie only gave him the idea, where in reality it could be multiple inputs of different magnitude for a person to make any action.

Guy treating gal badly-hey stop showing such things in movies- sooo toxic etc- but guy could have watched his father do it.

Influences are multifarious and come in different sizes and their impact too.

Second question to uncles is that would you really want movies to be the moral compass for the next generation? 

If you really are so concerned about falling values then you must be in a position of greater influence to tell next gen of what good values are and more importantly tell them to avoid movies with bad values.

But here of course, uncles want to just shout at filmmakers for having bad values, not realizing filmmakers themselves are under multiple influences and their values are a resultant.

A good activist uncle who truly believes in the values he wants next gen to have will work himself to become a bigger influence than the movies that he so hates, or he could put trust in his upbringing system and in the next gen wards to choose the best for themselves.

Unfortunately, uncles will do neither, they seem to have understood that movies are soft targets and probably gain from taking moral high ground. Uncles also want to be seen as commentators on art etc. Lool, that’s another long post.

I believe that deep down people know what people are doing(mostly with their own code), so I also have a code to illustrate this. Simplified in the form of three truths.

1. Movies are movies

2. Life is life

3. Uncles will be uncles.

See, three distinct things, no confusion. It is perfectly possible to bring up the next generation with the simple notion that movies and life are different things seldom do they intersect.

But hey, movies are fun. The problem lies only when in social studies driven shixx analysis of it. 

The manual of which is below:

“Every comment on a movie should be a statement (socio-political), every movie should be about some big social theme. Even superhero movies must have some substance”

Social studies analysis be like

X/Y movie is very important because it deals with social factor Z in which director A has infused political theory B but using modern & commercial elements to illustrate the stigma around C

or a trashy analysis would be like

X/Y the movie should not exist (because toxic something something) in the first place now A/B has tried to remake it in some other language. It’s all very toxic and people are clapping in cinema halls and I fear they will these people will turn into mobs and collectively bring down our society etc. X/Y movies must be banned.

Social studies driven shixx analysis has effectively ruined whatever fun movies had little in them for me and I effectively try and avoid reading much into them. At least I am not calling for a ban on social issue based analysis of film- I only say it is an easy way to analyse any art because there will always be problems in society. Unlike  how some uncles are intolerable of movies that show bad values. 

If I want to know about social issues and human suffering( no I really don’t, call me anything) I won’t reach out for a movie because I have encoded values which immediately shout into my ears

Movies are movies

Life is life

and in a much softer tone ” go read a book or something”

A note on Chinatown

Chinatown is one of my favourite films, I also consider it (from my limited understanding of film) one of the greatest films ever made.

It’s got a great cast, Jack Nicholson playing a Marlowe type detective who gets sucked into situations far greater than his doing. Made in the seventies and in colour, but is very much a fascinating take on film noir- a great score, brilliant visuals, a twisted screenplay and a climax that shocks me every time I see it. 

Oh Chinatown  is also about the politics behind water,abuse of power, city corruption and red tap-ism in Los Angeles.

Why did I go off tangent with Chinatown? Ah yes-the need to learn ‘good’ values from film cannot be imposed. Vice versa- bad values too are not immediately lapped up.

Everyone takes home something different from it(that takeaway could be something even the director or writer did not intend), many could very well miss the societal aspects of Chinatown and some could miss its hat-tips to film noir. 

Chinatown is not great because it tackles these social issues, it is great despite it. 

It is great because it tells a great story. That’s what great movies are all about.

Distill that even further, that’s what movies are about. They can be good or bad irrespective of theme or issues addressed or abused. 

“Forget it uncles, these are just movies”

A short note on values 

I have my own or whatever I believe in, three of which I have shared with you already; similarly social values is a collective of all our individual values that doesn’t mean all our values are the same. 

It is also that these values do undergo a lot of change over time. 

Just because a movie is seen by a lot of people does not increase the responsibility quotient of the filmmaker, he/she has the same responsibility like everyone of us. What he conveys is his set of values and what we take away is based on ours. 

Do not forsake important things like values to films and filmmakers and expect to learn from them. 

Summary for some

  1. Influences are many for any action
  2. Filmmakers are easy targets 
  3. Filmmakers have the same social responsibility as the rest of us (not more) 
  4. It is easy to overestimate the influence of movies and underestimate the influence of other factors.
  5. Movies are movies
  6. Life is life
  7. Belief in law is more effective than belief in outrage
  8. Keep watching movies, they are fun

Fin. 

FRS: AAA

AAA1 copy

 

So, you guys are quite familiar with what FRS is right? Right?

We have no idea why we keep asking this, but it cuts the cackle and come to the osses’.

Yes, that is a phrase.

It is a phrase like how AAA is a movie.

+500: This movie got made, absolutely. Like if you are screenwriter, which means you are also the director here and if you walk up to a financier and say that this is going to be my movie, we don’t know; maybe there a lot of risk hungry financiers out there or let’s just call this Avant-garde art film( we have no idea what it means, but if you are in a written quiz this phrase will fetch you part points somewhere), because none of us are equipped to even classify what AAA is.

What is AAA? Let’s find out seekers of the truth, let’s find out.

-5: above phrase has repetition, to add effect.

-389.108: narration irritations, like seventy years of movie making and people can’t kick this habit and in AAA we don’t even know who is narrating, some old fellow somewhere in dubai etc, the whole film is narrated in his POV but then again scenes are not written from his POV which means that we are shown things that he has no way of knowing, this is simple boss, why should we keep saying these things. Who is this narrator guy anyway? Troubling.

Just start with something like you guys know what FRS is right? Right? People who know will follow, others will find out, if they want.

-10: Dubai

-25: If hero goes to Dubai he will become a Don only (not oxford don, underworld don)

This is of course an extension of the rule, if hero goes to X location, he will become an underworld don only. No other occupation is worthy of the Tamil movie hero, he is either simpleton farmer, urban agitator or underworld don.

He protects the masses in all cases. Of course, gets the girl also.

Introducing let’s blame it on Godfather clause, ever since Coppola’s movie came out, every other filmmaker thinks it is the best profession for mass hero which results in over romanticising of illegal activities. Like have u guys seen Goodfellas or not?

-15: Madurai

If hero is from Madurai he will not be veterinary doctor, he will be ‘veritanama killer’ only, also obviously, he will work for a don there, like not even freelancing.

-30: Movie made with the assumption that even killing a life is justifiable, as long it is done by a hero.

+50: Hero syndrome: In AAA hero’s friends believe that Madurai Michael is special, but example of his speciality is ever displayed, yes he kills people for living, but then friends be like “Wow da dei super da, semma da”.

In real life, real friends assess you and bluntly put out your lack of talent in stuff out in the open.

Like how our friends tell us all the time that we suck at writing, but we continue to, maybe we should get some cinematic friends who praise even the shite that we write.

Nevertheless, this is becoming too emotional for us.

-10: Hero’s friends have no reason to be alive expect to sing praise of the hero.

Update to the reader: 500 words and we haven’t even come to the opening song sequence yet

We try and improve our vocabulary once in a while, like hey, we are writers you know and the new word we are using here is: demure.

-12: Demure lady falls in love with demolishing hero trope. Also, if you are contract killer in Madurai, you have enough time to do romance and all. Must be good profession.  But no work from home option available since it is an on the road job. Hmm.

+50: Opening song, hero claims that he is no one without us. (not the Laureate, us here refers to the audience at the large). Which is true because we buy tickets.

-17: Why will a town celebrate a contract killer, who like weekly kills one of their own is a big question that needs answering. Unless of course Madurai Michael and STR are used interchangeably.

-25: Heroine’s father portrayed like a stupid man who has a ‘thing’ for switches, the sad state of heroine’s father is a sorrow song in the history of tamil cinema.

Notice how Y Gee Mahendran has Bhiarava wig.

Everybody has a wig in Madurai, hair raising city.

-10: Mouth to mouth resuscitation which can bring back a life in emergencies is used for comedy effect

-10: Something something happens and we end up with an old STR who is an ex-underworld don but now in Chennai feeding pigeons under the alias Ashwin Thata.

Yes, really.

<Insert Interval Block here>

 

-12: Thata means not really thata, Simbu looks more like middle aged only, but I guess at this point in the movie they don’t really care.

-51: failed prosthetics is failed only. Gurunathar Michael Westmore will not be happy.

+34: Ashwin Thata wears good clothes that even IT employees don’t get to wear on fun Fridays.

If you don’t know fun Fridays, then you are better off not knowing.

+5: Tammanna aka Tammy plays a social worker who life mission is to bring happiness to the lives of elders.

+6: Since Tammy is doing this social service, we hope this will be followed by millions of youth

+11: Heavy duty Tammy dancing, not Devi level though

-57: All songs whenever, wherever, most mimic STRs previous films, tune setting everything

+5: veteran Nilu calling up STR and addressing him as Machi. LOL

Suddenly Tammy & thata become expert painters of portraits, when and where did they learn this art, do underworld dons go to summer camps with kids to learn water colors?

Interesting questions, no answers

A repenting ageing don, seeking to colour the rest of his life by joining a summer painting class. Now that’s a movie there. Go make it,  ideas are not only bulletproof, here we give it for free.

-91: Director thinks mere presence of Mottai Rajendran and Kovai Sarala will make us laugh like anything, like they need to do something hai na?

+100: Director gives three to four movies for the price of one, in fact AAA is an assemblage of all STR films put together, there is a monologue like VTV about love, there is the age difference love matter from Vallavan, there is the I will do anything for my friends thingy also from Vallavan, there is the “Dei all girls will ematify boys” from Manmadan, heck there is even a recreation of Thallipogadey from AYM with Mottai Rajendran and Kovai Sarala.

The last bit is a must watch for sophisticated GVM fans.

Yes, all of this is there in this one movie, in fact all of this happens in the second half which means that this movie has taken controlled randomness to a different level.

You know something is going to happen, but you don’t know what, but you can guess it is from an earlier STR film.

AAA itself is an existential film where STR lays out all his glories and worries right before the audience and asks them to choose what path he must take, it is really deep that way.

-56: Three four fights happen, but we didn’t really get what was happening

-26: Two hours into movie and director cannot decide if the movie is romance, gangster or comedy

-71: Tammy thinks (or director wants tammy character to think) Rajni+Kamal=STR (actual line, not extrapolated by FRS fact checking team)

-34: Hero spends two minutes explaining to everyone the ill effects of drinking.

Starts drinking next second

+68.91: Thikku Siva LOL Spoilers LOL

-145: General discourse on how boys and how girls are….yeppa yawn

<Insert cue for part two>

<Yes there is more>

Until then it is goodbye from

THE FRS Team

Subam

Vanakkam

They Who Need Not Be Named

Parking Lot Notes 2: Maanagaram

Maanagaram

Adhavadhu(that is…),
humanity’s greatest achievement is not the great wall of china or moon landing or the moon landing tapes, but cities.

We weren’t meant to live in caves, or in forests or spend our lifetimes working with crops and pests and pesticides, notice how we came from all that into this density of human life, simply called the city.
(Density, city rhymes, +5 marks, self evaluation as they say in some industries)

But not everyone, mostly not those originally from a city seem to like life in one, they prefer rural silence to urban violence, the slow pace to a rat race. Also non-citizens (here meant to denote those not from a city) tend to think that there is some sort of moral loss that happens in a city and that this loss is communicable.

Mainly this idea has been spread by Tamil(also others?) cinema.

Innumerable movies talk about the helping tendencies of the rural-ites, their hardworking-ness and their ever helpful nature. Cities however are the polar opposite, if a village can be compared to the character of a hero, then a city is the serial rapist villain who has bald thug named ‘Peter’ who spits Pan Parag in railway ticket counter corners.

Nevermind.

Like all things in reality, cities are inescapable, for me they represent human life at its aggregated best; a place where differences blur because everyone is pushing against each other towards an unknown center.

Without cities, we would be even distant islands of self image and comfort. Without cities we would still be somebody. See, because one of the best things that a city offers you is anonymity!

Like rain water, sewage etc etc making it to the sea, we all make it to the city.

It doesn’t matter who we are and where we are from.

Maanagaram is what knowledgeable people call a hyperlink film in which multiple characters pursue their own stories but are united in the core theme of the film, which is ofcourse about the city.

But wait, this is not Ayutha Ezhuthu, this is better( hi to all Madras Talkies), with much likeable characters, pulsating music, open your mouth in amazing disbelief kind off opening titles, swear words and their social context, broken beer bottle into your neck kind off action and generally Chennai by night( which is the biggest plus)

Underneath all this is a thread of that of the kindness of strangers, how far will someone go for another man(or woman); invisibly connecting all the characters that inhabit this city, I mean film.

Maanagaram, one of the best films out there this year ( coughs and says Gaudam, “what does your instict say”) not only because of its extreme filmmaking and exciting characters but also because Maangaram gives the best that every big city offers: anonymity

Untill next time.

 

{Parking Lot notes initially appeared as a Facebook post somewhere}