Utpal Borpujari

July 12, 2009

DVD Review: The Page Turner / 2 Days in Paris

By Utpal Borpujari

The Page Turner; dir: Denis Dercourt; Excel Home Videos/NDTV Lumiere; Rs 399

Denis Dercourt, who teaches the viola and chamber music in the National Conservatory in Strasbourg, sure knows how music can create crests and troughs in the listener’s mind. It shows in The Page Turner (La Tourneuse de pages), the French language film directed by him. Dercourt not only uses music as a leitmotif in his film but also uses it to heighten the thrill quotient.

Shown at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section, it is all about revenge, and Dercourt uses both music and silence to great effect to enhance the mood. The storyline is quite simple actually – young Melanie (Deborah Francois), whose hopes as a child to have a musical career gets destroyed unwittingly by piano maestro Ariane (Catherine Frot), wants revenge. But the execution of this plotline has been carried out in such an understated style that viewers are left shaken by the intensity of the finale.

What makes the film a great watch is the unpredictability of the story, as Melanie adjusts and re-adjusts her plans to get revenge depending on the situation at hand. The resultant twists and turns make the viewer wonder how much of the happenings are due to Melanie’s own plans and how much because of her ability to grasp opportunities. The highly competitive world of classical music provides a perfect backdrop for this thriller.


2 Days In Paris; Dir: Julie Delpy; Excel Home Videos/NDTV Lumiere; Rs 399

Directed by Julie Delpy, who has acted in films by Jean-Luc Godard, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Jim Jarmusch, 2 Days in Paris (Deux Jours A Paris) is a romantic comedy that, needless to say, has Paris as the backdrop. Some critics have pointed to the similarity between the story of this film, in which a French photographer and her American partner are trying to rekindle their romance during a vacation in Paris amidst distractions created by her family and string of former boyfriends, and Before Sunrise and Before Sunset films that also starred Delpy.

 Delpy seems to be inspired by the Woody Allen school of filmmaking, as she delved into a study of relationships beset with problems created by cultural differences and individual preferences, using similar comedic treatment. Marion (Delpy herself) and Jack (Adam Goldberg), in their mid-30s, go out of and back into their relationship as both learn new things about life through their journey.  

While there have been much better films on similar themes, including those by Allen, Delpy comes up with a work that is able the charm the viewer quite a bit. The film connects with the viewers through its everyday situations and characters, and also with the effervescent handling of the theme. A pleasant viewing this one is, if nothing more.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 12-07-2009)


June 14, 2009

DVD Reviews: Slumdog Millionaire / I’m Not There

Slumdog Millionaire (Collector’s Edition); English; Shemaroo; Rs 499

There is hardly anyone who has not seen Slumdog Millionaire on the big screen, thanks to the tremendous hype it generated during its release. Now is the chance to take this movie home, and while there is a normal edition too, this Collector’s Edition is worth every rupee you spend on it.

The two-DVD set not only gives you the chance to savour the movie again and again, but also takes you behind the scenes, including into the mind of director Danny Boyle, as he shares his vision behind the film in a special chapter titled “Slumdog Dreams by Danny Boyle”.

You also have on this DVD access to a number of deleted scenes, and it is always interesting to watch scenes that are more often than not riveting but get chopped off on the editing table. Added attraction are the segments “The Making” and “The Premiere”.

The Jamal-Latika love story, the details of which are too well known to be discussed here, and which fetched its makers eight Oscars, seven BAFTAs, four Golden Globes and 90 other awards is worth bringing home.

I’M Not There; English; Excel Home Videos/NDTV Lumiere; Rs 399

Who, rather what, is Bob Dylan? Musician, balladeer, poet, social commentator, star, enigma, hero -what exactly is he? For all his fans, he is all of this, and maybe much more than this. And fans he has in legions all over the world.

So, when one plans a movie on the living legend, how does one approach it? – as a straight-forward, linearly told biopic, or as something that will capture the spirit of what Bob Dylan is all about. Todd Haynes chooses the second path, and comes up with I’m Not There (2007), a dramatic telling of Dylan’s life story through seven characters who in a sense are various phases of the singer’s life itself.

Cate Blanchett, who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for her role, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Richard Gere are in the cast that delivers a memorable performance in this film that uses Hollywood paraphernalia but develops its own identity beyond a studio venture.

I’m Not There is a film that is more about the spirit of Dylan than Dylan the person, and that’s where it scores.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 14-06-2009)


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