Utpal Borpujari

October 4, 2009

DVD reviews: Internal Affairs I-II-III / Manon of the Spring

By Utpal Borpujari

A masterly cat ‘n’ mouse story 

Honk Kong director Andrew Lau directed the first installment of this series in 2002, instantly giving the world a captivating crime thriller, so much so that Martin Scorsese remade it into the multiple-Oscar winning “The Departed” in 2006. The three films are about changed identities and deceptive appearances in the backdrop of the never-ending battle between the Hong Kong police and the infamous Triad. The story begins with undercover cop Chen infiltrating the Triad even as Triad member Lau infiltrates the police. Both have the same objective, to continuously feed their organisations with invaluable information about how the enemy is moving. But both sides get the whiff about the presence of a mole in their midst, leading to a deadly game of survival. The second part actually is a prequel to the first and shows Chen was chosen as an undercover cop to infiltrate the Triad, while Lau is climbing the ladder in the police force. The third part focuses on Lau, who is now trying to forget his past and become a good officer. The series, especially the first film, is a delight for any lover of thrillers, and the director shows his grasp over the craft by coming up with plot twists where one would have thought none was possible.

Internal Affairs/Internal Affairs II/Internal Affairs III; Hong Kong; Palador/Moser 
Baer; Price not mentioned


A sequel as grand as its predecessor
Manon of the Spring is a brilliant sequel to Jean de Florette, one of the best
French films ever. Based on a two-part novel by Marcel Pagnol, it is about Manon,
the daughter of Jean who had suffered a tragic end in the first film while trying
to fob off a crooked duo. Ugolin, one of the duo, falls hopelessly in love with Manon,
who has grown up to be a stunning beauty, but she despises him as she knows that
Ugolin and Cesar, the other half of the vile duo, had a role in the death of Jean
and thus her misery. To take her revenge on villagers for their indirect role in her
father’s death, she blocks the village’s source of water, and this leads to the
dramatic finale. The grand scale of the masterly story is definitely better grasped
if both the films are watched together.
Manon of the Spring; Dir: Claude Berri; 108 mins; Rs 349; Shemaroo World Cinema

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 04-10-2009)


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