Monday, June 11, 2007


After realizing that I actually do have time to watch movies, I made it a point that I watch a recommended movie at least once a week. First came the story of the 9th symphony, in Copying Beethoven.

There's a lot of poetic licence used, for no effective reason at all. Most of the historical facts about Beethoven have been distorted and the new lies created are neither poetic nor climatic nor interesting. The movie compresses the symphony in 10 minutes (which is actually an hour long work). The cutting of such a free flowing sheet is a challenging task, but the musicians have scored perfectly there. Conducting actions by Ed Harris are also pretty close to the actual ones. As the legend goes, the completely deaf Beethoven didn't realize that the symphony was over and kept on conducting while the crowd burst into tears and applause. That particular effect is magnificently captured in the movie where all you can listen to is Beethoven's heartbeats and the crowd is heard only when he turns his back to the orchestra. The rest of the movie is quiet ordinary.

Roshomon :

I'd read the story In a groove some time ago, and this is a movie based on that. It's a black and white Japanese movie directed by Kurasawa, and is a must watch. The story is an account of 6 testimonies about a murder (including the murdered spirit). Every person describes a slightly different tale so that his/her own ego and self is preserved. The story is nice and haunting and the movie in the least adds lots of other dimensions to it.

Throne of blood :

Inspired by Macbeth and directed by Kurasawa, another Japanese black and white movie. The lady here is far more villainous than lady Macbeth. The story revolves around a castle in a dense jungle and might get creepy sometimes. This one is not as good as Roshomon, but it's a wonderful film considering that it was made in the late 50s.

Amadeus : Epitome of poetic licence. This was the movie which made me watch Beethoven and because of this, I had so high expectations from Beethoven. The movie dates back to 1833, just years after death of Salieri, Alexander Pushkin wrote a play called Salieri and Mozart. The play was put onto opera by Rimski-Korsakov (the Bumble Bee fame). It was converted into a play first in 1978 by Peter Shaffer, and later made it onto Broadway. A movie was made which was slightly altered from the play (and thus 5th generation deviation from reality). The basic plot revolves around Salieri's jealousy about much talented Mozart and his plans to kill the man. Apart from the story and the acting, an obvious strength of the movie is the background score which relies completely on Mozart and some parts on Salieri (on second thoughts, he's not that bad!)

Finally, I accidentally watched this animal rights movie. Most of it only strengthened my current stand, some of it was highly emotional and drifted away from facts. There was a nice quote at the end, commenting on the natural origin of human cruelty.

As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.

-Leo Tolstoy


Karthik Shekhar said...

I watched Amadeus again a couple of days ago in full length. It was again moving. Some parts were so intense that they held hostage every muscle on my face and stirred every cave in my heart. I haven't heard much of Mozart and nor am I capable of discerning the oboe or a clarinet in a symphony. I cannot even count the notes. But as Morrison would put it, Don Giovanni inflamed my temperament. And like in Salieri, the requiem created an unfulfillable longing.

Roger Waters said...

So true, but with a little knowledge of music, whatever comes onto your ear, splits into parts.

Then each part seems beautiful, the oboe, the arpeggios on violins, you wonder, what are they doing here! isn't this a requiem? And on the top of it, the ghastly cries of Rex! Within a split second, they all merge together and as a general rule of economics, the sum of parts is always greater than the whole :-)