Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sony DSC

This is a nifty little camera which basically comes with a lot of modes and quite a few features. Of course, the features are too little considering that it is a digital camera. Plus the configurable options of the features that it has is also very limited. So, it ends up being a very good digital camera to start off with.
I use a manual SLR for most of my photography and I usually pride myself in being able to give the right exposure for different lighting conditions but I have always felt that a light meter would enhance my photos. I never knew how much the light meter is important till I did the series of photos of the beer I was drinking (see below). All three photos were taken at the same time and the same lighting conditions but thy have been metered differently. Notice the enormous difference created by subtle changes in the exposure (of course, the focussing has also played a role in these pictures).
It has the ease of a PnS camera with the sophistication of a amateur SLR camera. I love it!
Next step, get myself the DSLR I have eyeing for quite sometime. Wondering how long it will take for me to buy that gizmo impulsively!

beer experiment 3

Originally uploaded by amathad.

beer experiment 2

Originally uploaded by amathad.

beer experiment 1

Originally uploaded by amathad.

Sony DSC

Originally uploaded by amathad.

I kept away from all those little digicams and would pooh-pooh their professed superiority but when I got one this diwali, I gladly took it as a nice way to meter scenes and that was the only way I was going to use it, which is why I took both my cameras to goa for the IFFI trip. But a few minutes with this gizmo and fiddling around with its functions, I came up with this picture.
Though I still feel that this camera was limited in a lot of functionalities, yet it is a powerful tool in the hands of someone who knows the basics of photography.
Well, enjoy this scene...
I will post more in a while.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I am so spaced out right now...

Multitasking is so hard. I never do good when I am swamped with too many requests. It takes me some time for my mind to get focused on something and when it does and then someone disturbs (and someone has been constantly bugging me for the past few days) my state of mind, I have to start again. Well, what I have go to do is what I have go to do. I really want to get out of office right now but I wont be able to until 9 PM :`(
I have come to realise that I abuse my eyes really too much. The non-stop movie watching in goa has had an adverse effect on my eyes. Last week was partcularly hard with my eyes watering and headaches, etc, which made it extremely difficult to concentrate on the task on hand. My nature of work doesnt help matters anyway.
It is better this week but by the end of the day, the headaches return. Plus, the one hour call from 8 pm to 9 pm doesnt help either...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Films Division of India

Thanks to Expiring Frog, I got this link -- Films Division of India.

There is a huge archive of films that can be watched online. They are streaming videos and cannot be downloaded onto your harddisk, unless you use some recorder software.

Right now, I am getting the films that showcase Indian classical music. They are old videos, quality is not so great but they are awesome nonetheless.

Slow posts...

I know the reviews are slow in coming. I think I will have to spend a saturday or sunday to type up all my reviews of movies I saw at IFFI...

Thursday, December 08, 2005


[IFFI] [Movie Review] My red colored grey truck

Country: Serbia
Section: Cinema of the world (COW)

It is a black comedy set in 1991, when Yugoslavia started disintegrating. An anti-war movie that brings together two people in a world gone crazy, it does a great job of creating an indelible impression of the craziness of the civil war. "Thats the beauty of civil war. You never know who is on whose side."
The movie is about a colour blind truck enthusiast who cannot stop stealing trucks fro joy rides and cannot get a license due to his colour blindness, and about a pregnant junkie who on finding that she is pregnant decides to go to the beach to chill out. The film starts in true Tarantino style with two set of two gangsters - one set of truck drivers who are transporting guns hidden in their truck and another set of middlemen who are paying the truck drivers to transport the guns - killing each other simultaneously, ie, the truck drivers stab the middlemen and the middlemen stab the truck drivers at the same time. And they all die, leaving the truck, the merc and the money just lying around, forgotten by the dead.
Our hero, who is just being released from jail, decides on another joy ride, which got him in jail in the first place, and steals the truck. Our heroine nearly gets hit by our hero and she blackmails him to take her to the beach. They come from completely different worlds and have completely different lives. She thinks him to a be bosnian peasant and for him, she is as alien as any another woman. As they travel through the war torn country, sharing the experience of truck driving and pot smoking, they grow closer and ....
Screwball comedy has always been popular but this is not just screwball comedy but with a deep, cynical statement about the world around us. For example, there is a scene in the movie where the girl rolls up a joint and convinces the hero to try it with this dialogue, "alcohol, marijuana are the light drugs. Politics, news, war-mongering, communism, democracy, etc are the hard drugs" and I was like, "this guy (the director) knows his shit". I would probably add feminsim to that list of hard drugs but would it be covered under Politics? Well, it is a political movement but it is also a very personal movement and the motto "personal is political" tells us so, doesnt it? I think it means that the personal is political and so, it should be... Shit! this guy seriously knows his shit!
After they smoke up, they dance to some light music, oblivious to the world around them that is under war and burning. "I see great balls of fire, like burning haystacks." Wonderful, wonderful!
The director also puts in touches of irony. for example, she wants to pee and he tells to go behind a bush, to which she retorts," I am not one of your peasant girls. Take me to a loo." But the loo they stop at is so dirty that it would have been far more hygenic and cleaner to have gone behind a bush! The director tries to undermine the notion that civilization has brought better things for human beings when it is really that people think that civilization has brought better things.
I would not call it a revolutionary movie but it is a very good example of how cinema can be used to point out the inanities of the world and critique the privileging of the "civilized" world. If I ever make a movie, it will be something like this one...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

[IFFI] [Movie Review] Warm Spring

Country: China

Section: Competition

The first movie that I saw at the IFFI immediately after I received my delegate pass was Warm Spring, a film made by a first time female director. This is a simple story about a waif who is found starved and unconscious by a villager. It is rural china and like all rural places, money is tight and nobody wants to adopt an extra mouth that would need to be fed. Some comment that they would have done it if the child had been a male. Yup, thats right, the male child is privileged in China too. If you did not know about this, then you might know know that women in china used to bind their feet to from childhood to make it smaller (the chinese apparently had a fetish for small feet). Anyway, the child is eventually adopted by this old man who is kind hearted and very near the age that qualifies as old geezer. But he is Zen personified and that makes him the most blandest character in the film. Dont get me wrong, I like the character but I also see it as a sure fire way to ensure zero character development.
The old man has a son with a barren woman who sees the little girl as an insult to her barrenness and tries to get rid of her a couple of times but she is unable to do it. The kid is a sweetheart, who is as kind hearted and innocent as children ought to be. She is also mature far beyond her age, perhaps going by the philosophy that children who face hardships mature faster. She does a lot of housework, helps everyone, is nice and polite, etc, etc. She also has a great zeal to learn and learns to read and write on the sly.
The rest of story is about how she manages to win everybody's heart and how she becomes the first kid from that village to go to college.
It is a great feel-good movie with a strong feminist undercurrent. The wife of the old man's son is stronger than her husband and one time manages to push him and pour water on him when he tries to get her to obey his order. She and another woman in the village, both suffer from insomnia for very different reasons. The former cannot sleep because she dreams of a beautiful baby boy and the latter cannot sleep because she has three naughty boys. Also, a girl becoming the first one from the village to get so highly educated and coming back to teach in the rural village makes the point that girl childs are not only for making babies and taking care of the family but they can better boys in terms of education and achievement in the world.
The cinematography is very good, though the camera work seemed to be a little on the amateurish side. In many landscape scenes, the cameraman does not obey the 1/3rd rule, and that makes the scene lose quite a lot of its potent. A case in point is the final scene which starts out with the outline of the mountains right in the center of the frame and as the scene progresses, it comes down to the bottom third line. In the foreground, the grown up girl and a bunch of kids are running with a kite in hand that trails behind them. As the outline of the maountains comes down, there is a dramatic increase in the impact of the scene. I know you should not be bound by rules too much but in general, the 1/3rd rule is very powerful and it should only be broken when you are making some statement.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Street Harassment in Bangalore

A close friend of mine raised a pertinent question - "do you know if there's anything being done about eve-teasing in Bangalore?"
And I had to confess that I did not know anything of that sort being done but it did make me do a little googling and I came across this ---

Black Noise Project

This is a blog by a woman who is constantly working to create awareness about street harassment in bangalore!

This post that basically is a comment by some person exemplifies the Indian attitude towards eve-teasing. For more details, read the blog.


Update -- This post and its comments are really frightening...

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