Friday, May 25, 2012

Two films about photography and photographers

The Strange Case of Angelica (2010)

When I was in my teens, and at a romantically impressionable age, one time, I went to flea market that sells books of all kinds. It was ofcourse far away and I had to take a bus. I have always loved Russian literature, probably more than anything other, for some reason that is elusive to myself even today. So once there at the market I found a book by Alexander Pushkin. I did read Pushkin before, but not this one. It was a collection of stories I never read. The book itself was very beautiful, bound in red colored faux leather and was engraved with golden leaves. I might still have it on my attic. Have to see. So the book had a story 'Queen of Spades'. Its the story of a German named Herman  and how his obsession to gambling relegates his life into a strange predicament. I might have read the story a thousand times, may be even more. That story ultimately lead me on a introspective meandering as to what an obsession can make a person do and the things that he is normally not capable of. 

Recently when I was seeing The Strange Case of Angelica, I experienced the same undercurrent of macabre, strangeness and veiled horror. It is directed by Manoel De Oliveira, who is a kind of very niche, avant garde film artist. The film actually has the pace of a book and the characters gradually become a part of the story which is for a change relaxing than the regular hollywood fare. Personally I could draw a lot of parallels between the Countess and Angelica, how they are related is beyond my understanding, but somehow they feel the same. 

Btw I couldnt really make out what camera was being used by the protagonist. It looked mostly like a Leica, may be an M6 or M7

If you are looking for a silent sleeper film with veiled horror and sudden jolts then probably this film will appeal to you. Make sure you watch it without any expectations, only then you can understand the fine nuances of the film. And remember 'Herman is a German, that is all'.

The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

To begin with, I did not read the book but I have always been a great fan of Clint Eastwood. I heard about the movie a long time back but couldn't get the opportunity to see it until recently. I personally have a fond preference for movies that were made from novels - Seven Years in Tibet, A River Runs Through it,  Out of Africa, The Horse Whisperer. 

Nikon film SLRs are exclusively featured in the movie. So no prizes for guessing. Its actually a bunch of two or more cameras of I am not wrong. Ofcourse all of them Nikon.  

Excepting the story (which is excellent ofcourse), the performances, music, locales and especially the dialogues make this movie a very memorable one.  Two strangers are thrown together with a twist of fate and neither of them can come out with anything better than to ultimately part.  Francesca is tied to her commitments as a family woman and Robert kincaid is  a wandering nomadic photographer. Would their pair work?. Who knew may be, if they had run off, forgetting and leaving everything behind, but she bows to her situation and thereby ending what could have been a long overdue and interesting journey. 

As an amateur myself, I wonder sometimes, if I will one day leave everything behind, pack my cameras and run off to some place, to find a beautiful and fascinating medley of stories, some where, far far away,  in some strange no name country.  

--Viisshnu Vardhan---


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