Cinema: Minimal dialogues, sans sex and violence:
Thoughts beyond the box
Local movie fans have always possessed an unquenchable thirst for
Western and Hindi films. Be it a Hollywood production by Steven
Spielberg or James Cameron or a Hindi movie by Karan Johar or Sanjay
Leela Bansali, long queues line up in front of the Majestic, Liberty,
Savoy or Regal, eager to be among the first to share their views with
Pouran Derakhshandeh. Picture by Rukmal Gamage
Sri Lankans got an opportunity to taste a new genre of movies when
the Iranian Film Week showcased five movies by Iranian filmmaker Pouran
A woman director who had made her mark in one which was once
considered a male dominant field, Derakhshandeh shared her views on the
close links of identity, culture and traditions between Sri Lanka and
Iran with Daily News ‘Projector’. A director who had thought out of the
box and brings movies sand violence and sex, it is hard to imagine how
she managed a storyline without these aspects. Not only had she won
praise from her nation but she had won applause beyond the portals of
her homeland as well. The key to her success lies in her unique
Cinema is full of images. There should be a storyline but cinema
differs from other electronic entertainment features with its typical
array of images or pictures.
I do not call a production with too many dialogues a cinematic
creation,” Derakhshandeh opined on the few words spoken by the
characters in her creations. For her action and pictures speak volumes.
“Cinema should embody a message that can trigger the social thinking
process. It should give something for them to ponder.
In other words, the dialogue after the film show could erupt
abruptly,” she explained.
She is a firm believer that the cinematic trends that any filmmaker
develops should aim at the local public first before aiming beyond the
She adds, “We should not target international acclamation. We need to
win the hearts and minds of the local fans. Let’s assume that films get
global acknowledgement first. The film directors will be praised for
their work in foreign countries and festivals but that alone is not
enough. If local people are not going to accept your creation then all
My policy is to target our audience first and then aim for the global
Candle in the Wind
Queried about the lack of sex scenes in Iranian cinema Derakhshandeh
noted that these scenes are not a necessary ingredient in making a
successful production. “There are instances that our filmmakers imply
this fact. We use symbolic methods. There is no rule that says that a
sex scene is essential for a story. We need to look at this form of art
in a deeper sense than with a narrow perspective,” she noted. Love and
harmony is a central aspect in her creations.
She employs the concept of family which is the smallest unit of
society to address what she wants.
Though Western media portray Iranian women as a suppressed group it
is not the actual situation there. Women play a constructive role in
Iranian society. They are heading in all spheres and engaging in all
forms of occupations. The role played by Derakhshandeh bears an ample
testimony of the Iranian woman’s contribution not only towards
developing the aesthetic tastes and minds of the Iranian society but
global cinema as well.
Romantic reel rides
Movies to share with your Valentine:
With Valentines around it is time to be juvenile again. It is the
time to arouse your passionate senses and put your romantic agendas in
to practice. It is the season to mend your broken hearts, patch broken
relationship or else even propose to the girl in your dreams. If not the
ideal way to lighten up your jovial spirits would be to spend the
evening with your mate and get lost in the warmth of a good old
fashioned romantic comedy.
If you are longing for an uplifting, refreshing, evening of romance
wrap yourself around 2010’s hit Leap Year.
The story revolves around Anna (Amy Adams) who goes on a daringly
radical trip to Dublin to proposing to her reluctant boyfriend on the
Irish Leap Day.
According to Irish tradition, Leap Day which falls on February 29
gives woman a rare to chance to propose to her boyfriend. Anna seizes
this opportunity and takes up the challenge to go all the way up to
Dublin to propose to her reluctant boyfriend Jeremy. Yet her journey to
Dublin was no smooth ride. On her way to Dublin, she meets Declan the
mysteriously charismatic inn keeper who helps her with her journey. With
Declan to keep her company, the journey turns on to an exciting and
adventurous ride filled with romance and passion.
The genre of romantic comedy has evolved a lot since old times. The
stories are no longer constricted to monotonous boy meets the girl, goes
through the break up and then come back together type of themes.
The genre has evolved in modern times to the extent that film
directors use it to good effect to express much broader themes as well.
One such fine example would be 2009’s box office hit The Ugly Truth.
Robert Luketic, the director who amused you with hit movies such as
Legally Blond and Monster in Law brings The Ugly Truth, a movie which
makes a very amusing, witty, hilarious and enlightening discourse on
modern day relationships. The movie while highlighting the ugly truth
behind the most romantic affairs, also questions the stereotypic,
skeptical attitude we have towards the modern day relationships.
The story revolves around the popular television talk show host Mike
Chadway(Gerald Butler). Mike is presented as stubborn, self-conceited,
arrogant talk show host who wouldn’t shy away from expressing his
honest, radical ideologies when it comes to matters of love. At one
point he bluntly says, “Women would have us believe that they are the
victims; that we break their hearts for sport. They say they want
romance, they say they want true love, but all they want is a check
list. Is he perfect? Is he handsome? Is he a doctor? Money over
substance looks over soul, polished over principles.
No gesture, no matter how real or romantic will ever compensate for a
really impressive list of credentials.”
Then we are introduced to rebellious Abbie (Katherine Hiegl), who
after watching Mike’s show tries to express her own ideas against Mike’s
She challenges Mike to prove his theories. Mike surprisingly takes up
the challenge and helps her to win the guy that she likes, only to
discover that he himself has fallen for the Abbie’s charms.
However the film not only amuses you with both rib-breaking and
subtle laughter, but also makes your mind ponder on some controversial,
stereotypical views about modern day affairs.
Probably it might even help you to look back and have a good
understanding about the state of your own relationship as well.
Wildlife and environmental films from across the world will be
showcased at the Wildscreen Festival which will be held at the British
Council from February 14 to 18. Some of these films are winners of the
Panda Awards, nicknamed the green Oscars. Around 12 filmmakers from the
UK will be coming to India and Sri Lanka to take part in the event. Some
Sri Lankan documentaries will also be screened.
The Wildscreen Festival was founded by Sir Peter Scott in 1982 and
has been organised every alternate year for the past 25 years.
It is the world’s largest and most prestigious wildlife and
environmental film festival. Held in Bristol, the world’s centre for
wildlife filmmaking, it attracts hundreds of delegates from around the
globe who work in film, television and the press, as well as those
actively involved in working to conserve the environment.
The Wildscreen Festival came to Sri Lanka in 2009 when it toured
Colombo as a part of a touring festival covering Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata
The program included nine filmmakers, 18 workshops, and 17 film
screenings across five cities.
This year the festival will visit Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata,
Bhubaneswar and Colombo. The two day event on February 17 and 18 will
comprise free master classes on various aspects of filmmaking by three
UK filmmakers Amanda Theunisseen, Dolmic Weston and Martin Elsbury and
Wildscreen UK co-ordinator, Charlotte Ackrill.
These will cover topics such as Trends in Wildlife and Environmental
Filmmaking, The Magic Art of Storytelling, Short Films and Film Editing,
Award winning films on climate change and wildlife will also be
screened during the festival. They will be joined by three Sri Lankan
film professionals – Taya Diaz, Delon Weerasinghe and Anoma Rajakaruna
who will also conduct master classes and share the Sri Lankan
perspective on documentary film making and their case studies with the
audiences. The UK and local filmmakers will share their views at a panel
discussion on ‘Differences and mutual challenges in Asian, American and
European productions/film making’, which will be open to the public
free-of-charge and will be held on February 17 at 5.30 pm at the British
On February 19, TVE Asia Pacific will present a selection of films on
environment and sustainable development drawn from their global
catalogue, which includes some Sri Lankan and South Asian titles.
The Department of Wildlife and Conservation in Sri Lanka will also
present a series of short documentaries on local flora and fauna
including wildlife sanctuaries.
Wildscreen Chief Executive Richard Edwards said, “We are delighted
that Wildscreen is returning to India and Sri Lanka again this year to
further develop our relationship with local audiences and filmmakers.
India and Sri Lanka are key destinations for Wildscreen’s Outreach
Program because of the region’s rich filmmaking heritage, and because,
like many other areas of the world, the natural environment is under
threat from rapid economic development and climate change.”
Admission to film screenings and master classes is free and open to
the public. Participation in master classes requires prior registration.
To register and for details call Thushara or Lakmaal on 4521583 or
Le Voyage en Arménie at AF Kandy
Voyage en Arménie (Journey to Armenia), a French movie with English
subtitles will be screening on February 19 at 3.30 pm at the Alliance
Francaise de Kandy. Directed by Robert Guédiguian, the movie runs for
nearly two hours.
Barsam, Anna’s father, is seriously ill. Before he dies, he would
like to bequeath something to his daughter: a sense of doubt. As he
flees to Armenia, he leaves several clues in his wake so that Anna can
come after him. For Anna, this journey she is obliged to make in an
unknown country becomes what her father wanted it to be: an initiation,
a sentimental journey, a second adolescence… She finds him in a little
village, lost in the Caucasian mountains, seated dreaming under a
blossoming apricot tree... She will come to doubt her identity, her
relationships and her commitments...
Foy casts spells
Season of the Witch hits Majestic cinema:
Claire Foy is a major talent. She is a fantastic actress, strikingly
beautiful and she has an amazing personality. Best of all, she is
starring opposite Nicolas Cage as “the Witch” in Season of the Witch.
While she may be appearing opposite thespians, Claire steals the show
with her wild and terrifying performance.
Here are excerpts of an interview with the talented leading lady of
What brought you to this role?
My evil side [Laughing]… I mean, I don’t know. I did the audition,
they liked my take… and then I got the job. That was it really. It was a
shocker to me as much as everyone else. I’m very grateful because it
turned out to be a really great job and I loved it.
How did you approach this role as
opposed to something like Little Dorrit or your
work in Going Postal?
Well it’s all pretty much the same really, for me, weirdly I suppose;
Little Dorrit was more of a stretch than Season of the Witch, in a weird
way. Because Amy was so internal and with Season I felt I was able to do
more and with Amy it was about doing less all the time. But just in
exactly the same way you take every character on its own merits in the
same way. I did just the same amount of work for them as I did for
Season of the Witch, lots of research and it has to all come together…
What kind of research did you do for
It was just reading things about witchcraft and watching videos and
that sort of thing. Or finding out about the time and what the
circumstances would be like. Familiarizing yourself with the time and
the circumstances of the character. Which all helps when you get kind of
set in the world there.
What was the best part of playing
this kind of character for you; the witch type, powerful, bad girl must
have been fun?
Yeah, all the things you said really, playing such a powerful
character. Playing a character that was making things happen, and mainly
in control of an entire group of men. And for once, be the character
that is completely in the know about everything. There is nothing that
she doesn’t know. Nothing is a surprise. And she is able to deal with
every single situation that arises the way that she sees fit. And I
think that was quite refreshing to be able to play a character that
wasn’t entirely beholden to everyone else. And to play a masculine role,
because it really is a masculine role.
And you get to work with Nicolas Cage.
Of course. It was brilliant. From day one he was so lovely and so
supportive and so kind. iamrogue.com
Hanks to present Oscars
Tom Hanks will be one of many celebrities on hand to present at the
2011 Academy Awards which will take place on February 27.
Hanks is a governor of the Academy and won consecutive Best Actor
Oscars in 1993 and 1994 for his work in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.
The actor also lent his voice to this year’s Academy Award-nominee for
Best Picture and Best Animated Feature, Toy Story 3.
Others set to present at the 2011 Academy Awards include Hugh Jackman,
Robert Downey Jr, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Marisa
Tomei and Oprah Winfrey. Anne Hathway and James Franco are set to
co-host the ceremony, which will take place in Los Angeles. OTRC
Sundara Birinda returns
A scene from Sundara Birinda
T Yoganadan’s 1960s movie Sundara Birinda had been recomposed by
Tissan Nagodavithana at Dil Studio, Thalangama.
Now movie buffs will get the opportunity to see Ravindra Rupasena,
Leena de Silva, Ananda Jayaratne, Claris de Silva, L M Perera, Rita
Ratnayake and others in action again. Jabeer A carder is the producer of