Wednesday, January 24, 2007

LaVA

For a month starting mid-December, Kashi Art Gallery, Mattancherry, hosted artist Bose Krishnamachari’s Laboratory of Visual Arts (LaVA), an installation comprising a collection of books and DVD’s freely accessible to all visitors. The generous facilities included half a dozen wide screen LCD TV’s and many portable DVD players.

Work prevented me from spending all my waking hours at the gallery, which is just 3 km from home. Nevertheless the weekends were a treat, with the following films resurrecting the cineaste in me:


Dont Look Back: a documentary by D A Pennebaker covering the ever fascinating Bob Dylan’s mid-60’s tour of England.


L’Atalante: a classic romance considered the masterpiece of 1930’s French filmmaker Jean Vigo, who died at the age of 29.


The Decalogue – Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4: I could manage to see only the first four chapters of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s series of hour-long films made for Polish TV in the eighties, based on the Ten Commandments.


Jules et Jim: the classic film of the ménage à trois – a very French film by Francois Truffaut.


La Jetée: Chris Marker’s brilliant experimental film is high-concept science fiction – a highly original meditation on images and memory. Such a big punch in less than half an hour.


Aparajito and The World of Apu: Two and three in Satyajit Ray’s renowned Apu trilogy. Straightforward storytelling, lyrical cinema. Love Apu, love life.


Un Chien Andalou and L’Age d’Or: Luis Buñuel may be the baddest of cinema’s bad boys. Wild, crazy, offensive, exasperating, nonsensical. In other words, Surreal. With help from Salvador Dali.


The Seventh Seal: Ingmar Bergman proves that cinema can be the vehicle for the profoundest meditation. If the theatre has Hamlet, the cinema has this b&w beauty. Awe-inspiring.


Paths of Glory: Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant, passionate (anti-)war film.


Meshes of the Afternoon: Maya Deren’s short film is as avant-garde as they come. The higher mathematics of cinema – not for me.

Short Cuts: Robert Altman’s masterful adaptation of Raymond Carver’s assorted short stories runs an exhilarating three hours plus. The screenplay is a tour de force.

The Matrix Revolutions: Eyecandy/mentalfloss, by the brothers Wachowski. Third in trilogy.

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