October 25, 2007

book release
"Augustine Joseph Bhagavather , sangeetha natakathile athulya prathibha",
a book by Kutbudheen on the life and contributions of Augustine Joseph,
the doyen of Kerala's stage music and
father of Kerala's favourite singer, K.J.Yesudas
will be released by
Sri: M.A.BABY,
minister for culture, Kerala
on 27th october 2007, Saturday 4 pm
at E.M.S Memmrial town hall, Ernakulam .
Sri Kutbudheen is our Executive Committee member and well known film critic.
Sri.Pappukutty Bhagavather will receive the first copy.
Sri.K.J.Yesudas will deliver the welcome address
and Prof.C.S.Jayaram will introduce the book.
Mayor Prof. Mercy Williams will be in the chair and
Justice K.Narayana kurup,
chairman national wage board for print media ,
will be the chief guest.
Eminent personalities like
Dr.Sebastian Paul.M.P.,
Sri.Dinesh Mani.M.L.A,
Sri.C.K.Mani Sankar,
Sri. E.K.Narayanan,
Sri. A.K.Seshadri,
Sri. Muhammed Hanish I.A.S ,
will deliver the felicitations.
You are cordially invited.

October 18, 2007

in association with


monthly archive screening

on 28th october 2007,

9.30 am


savitha theatre, ernakulam

Jézus Krisztus horoszkópja (1988)

(horoscope of jesus christ)

90 min /Hungary /Hungarian with engilsh subtitles/Colour
Director:Miklós Jancsó

Writers:Gyula Hernádi ,Miklós Jancsó
Cast : Juli Básti ( Juli ), György Cserhalmi ( Jozef K. ), Ildikó Bánsági ( Márta ), Dorottya Udvaros ( Kata), András Bálint( Inspector ), László Gálffi ( Inspector ), András Kozák ( Inspector ), Ottilia Borbáth ( Matild ), Júlia Baló ( Reporter ), György Fehér ( Zoltán Merse)….

TV screens become the central feature of Jézus Krisztus horoszkópja and take on a major thematic significance which was merely latent in the previous film. The main character, played by György Cserhalmi, a mainstay of many of Jancsó's films of this period, and identified near the end of the film as "Joseph Kaffka" ( sic) goes through a series of mysterious relationships with three women—Marta, whom he may or may not have murdered; Kata, a fomer policewoman who may have killed Marta and framed him for the murder; and Juli, a nurse who is often seen being interviewed on TV about the Stalinist show trials of the 1950s (Kata's grandfather was apparently one of the victims of these).
The Stalinist and Soviet-dominated past is pervasive in the film, resulting no doubt from the new freedom to examine this enjoyed by Hungarian filmmakers in the era of glasnost. A man reads lengthy extracts from Stalin and Lenin to old men in a café; references are made to the Soviet show trials of Bukharin and others in the 1930s, and to the Hungarian versions inaugurated by the dictatorial Rákosi in the 1950s; Nikita Krushchev is seen in a mixture of actual and fake documentary footage in the context of a programme about the Soviet repression of the 1956 Hungarian revolution; and background TV screens contain interviews about political imprisonment and execution in the 1950s.

Yet, the present does not seems to have escaped totally from the terrors of the past. The film opens with an anonymous man undergoing a beating, then being questioned by a policeman and made to show his ID card. The man reading from Stalin is also asked for his ID; the hero is asked at one point, "Why are the police always after you?"; Kata is, or was, a policewoman; and policemen, often with dogs, appear throughout the film, especially towards the end.

Though the main outline of the plot is fairly clear, the details are often deliberately obscure and contradictory. After helping the victim of the beating at the opening of the film, Kaffka, who carries a video camera through much of the action, films some of the café conversation nostalgically recalling the glory days of Stalinism, then goes to a party where a woman introduces him as her "friend and lover." This woman then gets into an ugly argument where she displays blatant anti-Semitism before apologising for this. Kaffka goes to look for another woman, Marta, and finds her dead on the kitchen floor with a dagger beside her and a large poster of himself on the wall. He takes the poster and leaves the apartment.

He then turns up at Kata's apartment carrying a bunch of flowers. TV images show her being interviewed as to why she joined the police. The romantic mood is broken when she accuses him of having an affair with another woman, Juli, and shows him a video image of the two of them together. They quarrel as he denies this affair and he then talks about Marta's death, denying that he had killed her. She says that "all writers and artists lie" (he is apparently a poet) but the romantic setting returns as they drink champagne and dance. Kata then says that she killed Marta and has framed him for the crime, mentioning circumstantial evidence such as the poster. They start to make love, after which she goes to take a shower while he talks about the false accusations made against her grandfather in the 1950s. She comes out of the shower and threatens him with a gun, saying that she loves him; but then shoots herself. He screams and picks up her body (or perhaps just her empty robe), then leaves, taking his camera with him.

The scene then switches to a room filled with TV monitors, on most of which Juli is being interviewed about the 1950s. Kaffka enters another room, also filled with TV monitors, picking up the poster as he goes. On one of the screens a long panning shot takes in some of the men at the party earlier, including Kaffka himself. An abrupt cut shows him accusing another man of killing Marta; the man replies that he (Kaffka) will be the next to die. In a brief outdoors scene in the courtyard where the film had opened, the newcomer, sitting in a Volkswagen, repeats his threat, saying that Kaffa will "come to a bad end" because he can't accept the world as it is.

He is then seen in Juli's apartment, in a room dominated by huge bank of TV monitors showing her interview; he turns these off with a wave of his hand. Another monitor repeats the earlier shot of Kaffa and other men at the party. Juli and he start to talk about astrology, the end of the world and extreme and unprecedented weather conditions—a theme that is taken up by a speaker on one of the televisions. They embrace and drink champagne and the scene begins to resemble the earlier one with Kata, especially when she starts to take a shower and he, half-naked, waits outside the glass door.

Suddenly a masked man bursts into the room and shoots him; she screams loudly as she covers his body, again recalling Kata's death. She is then seen leaving the building and running towards the Volkswagen, where she finds his body. She goes to a phone booth and, while she is phoning for an ambulance, one arrives with unnatural speed and the body (which may now not be his) is removed.

She is then shown being sedated, in a room where TV monitors continue the discussion of extreme and unpredictable weather changes—"we have reached the limits of human knowledge." She gives a friend of Kaffka's, seen earlier, the cassette showing scenes from the party, but, as the camera scans the men present once more, Kaffka's image has disappeared. It is at this point that she first gives his name—"Joseph Kaffka."

Returning to the courtyard, now filled with police cars, Juli is comforted by a policeman as she says she is afraid to go inside the house. Meanwhile horsemen seen earlier, dressed in showjumping costume, circle the scene, as do the police cars. When Juli is next seen, her house is no longer there and the Volkswagen is now a burnt-out wreck. The man who had threatened Kaffka says he plans to build on this spot and, when she says she recognises him, he denies this. She gets into a police car, as the camera circles this and the constant rain continues. She says again that his name was Joseph Kaffka and gives his address and ID number. The police check this and say that there is no record of him having existed. When she disputes this, she is told that their computer can't prove that Christ had ever existed either.

The police cars and motor cycles enter a large streetcar garage; she gets out and kneels beside one of the tramlines. The horsemen ride past and guitar music is heard as the wind blows dust over her.

The end of privacy
Talking in interview during the production of the film, Gyula Hernádi, who adapted the script from one of his short stories, stated that "in the film, it is not the story that is of interest, but its presentation, its form." [3] Beginning relatively realistically, though with some obscure and ambiguous incidents, the film moves towards a resolution that cannot be explained in rational terms. Did Kaffka ever exist or (like out-of-favour Soviet politicians) has his image, and identity, simply been erased from the historical record? Is he a murderer or someone who is framed for other people's crimes? Is the contemporary world capable of being rationally understood or explained? How relevant is a commonplace murder mystery when (as the scientists on TV warn) the world may be heading blindly towards imminent catastrophe?

The formal structure within which these questions are explored is dominated by the ubiquitous TV and video images that proliferate everywhere—indoors and outdoors, in private and in public spaces— apparently recording (and perhaps controlling) every aspect of the characters' lives—in chilling anticipation of the recently stated aim of security services in the US, Britain and elsewhere to record every phone call or e-mail message sent by their citizens.

As in Szörnyek évadja, but to a far greater extent, the monitors rarely simply record the action taking place, but provide alternative viewpoints, repeat scenes or show incidents from both past and, possibly, future. Often the cinematic image and the video image contained within it blend seamlessly so that characters move smoothly from one level of "reality" to another without a break and the dreamlike effect of several scenes is accentuated by quietly atmospheric music and by the strange time disjunctions and apparent impossibilities, especially towards the end (Juli leaves Kaffka's body in her house, then finds it in the intact Volkswagen; in the same scene the house disappears and the car becomes a wreck).

The overall effect is to suggest that privacy is no longer possible; official surveillance is everywhere and, on a metaphysical level, even visual evidence of our existence and identity can easily be erased. Even the title of the film contains a logical impossibility: as Jancsó explained in the interview already quoted: "According to the church, Jesus Christ could not have a horoscope, because then the position of the stars would have determined his fate, and not God's will."

October 11, 2007

Andrzej Wajda


The Bad Boy (Zły chłopiec, 1950)
The Pottery at Ilza (Ceramika ilzecka, 1951)
A Generation (Pokolenie, 1954)
Towards the Sun (Idę do słońca, documentary on Xawery Dunikowski, 1955)
Kanal (1956)
Ashes and Diamonds (Popiół i diament 1958)
Lotna (1959)
Innocent Sorcerers (Niewinni czarodzieje, 1960)
Siberian Lady Macbeth (Powiatowa lady Makbet, 1961)
Samson (1961)
Love at Twenty (L'amour à vingt ans, 1962)
Ashes (Popioły, 1965)
Everything For Sale (Wszystko na sprzedaż, 1968)
Roly Poly (Przekładaniec, 1968)
Gates to Paradise (Bramy Raju, 1968)
Hunting Flies (Polowanie na muchy, 1969)
The Birch Wood (Brzezina, 1970)
Landscape After the Battle (Krajobraz po bitwie, 1970)
Pilate and Others (Pilatus und andere, 1971)
The Wedding (Wesele, 1972)
The Promised Land (Ziemia obiecana, 1974)
The Line of Shadow (Smuga cienia, 1976)
Man of Marble (Człowiek z marmuru, 1976)
Rough Treatment (Bez znieczulenia, 1978)
The Maids of Wilko (Panny z Wilka, 1979)
The Orchestra Conductor (Dyrygent, 1980)
Man of Iron (Człowiek z żelaza, 1981)
Danton (1983)
Love in Germany (Eine Liebe in Deutschland, 1983)
A Chronicle of Amorous Incidents (Kronika wypadków miłosnych, 1985)
The French as seen by... (Proust contre la déchéance, 1988)
The Possessed (Les possédes, 1988)
Korczak (1990)
The Crowned-Eagle Ring (Pierścionek z orłem w koronie, 1992)
Nastasja (1994)
The Holy Week (Wielki Tydzień, 1995)
Miss Nobody (Panna Nikt, 1996)
Pan Tadeusz (1998)
The Condemnation of Franciszek Klos (Wyrok na Franciszka Kłosa, 2000)
Broken Silence (Przerwane milczenie, 2002)
The Revenge (Zemsta, 2002)
Katyń (2007)

Man of Iron won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1981. Three of Wajda's works—The Promised Land, The Maids of Wilko, and Man of Iron—have been nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign-language film. In 2000, Wajda received an honorary Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as the 3rd Pole who received the Award after Warner Brothers and Leopold Stokowski.
Andrzej Wajda
Andrzej Wajda is a directorial star in the firmament of film history and stands as Poland’s foremost director. With a keen eye for balance between intellect and emotions and always provocative, Wajda has been a barometer of Poland’s political and economic trajectory for the last 50 years. He is one of the great storytellers and a most versatile director who created romantic films, comedies and epics, as well as dramas.


"Wajda belongs to Poland, but his films are part of

the cultural treasure of mankind."
- Steven Spielberg

Wszystko na sprzedaz [Everything For Sale]

94 min /1969/Poland /Polish with English subtitles/Colour

Director: Andrzej Wajda

Screenplay: Andrzej Wajda

Director of Photography: Witold Sobocinski

Music: Andrzej Korzynski

Cast: Andrzej Lapicki, Beata Tyszkiewicz, Elzbieta Czyzewska, Daniel Olbrychski and others

Intensely personal, Wajda created an homage to deceased Polish actor Zbigniew Cybulski. A blurred line of fiction and reality creates a playful quality, with many in the cast playing themselves.

Andrzej Wajda on Wszystko na sprzedaz :

I had always wanted to work with Cybulski whom, although he starred in only four of my films, I also had the pleasure of directing twice in the theatre. Zbyszek was more than just an actor: he himself was a character worthy of being transferred onto the screen.

One evening in 1967, in London, I was discussing the idea of such a film with David Mercier. He knew Zbyszek well, so we had a great time remembering all the numerous anecdotes around which we could build the screenplay. Late at night, when I returned to my hotel room, Roman Polanski called to tell me that Zbyszek was dead. His death on that particular night seemed to me utterly unreal, like another episode from the planned film and it took me some time to absorb the truth of the finality of it: Zbyszek would never again act in any of my films.

Prior to beginning work on Everything for Sale, I shared my doubts with readers of the monthly magazine "Kino":

I can use neither his name, nor a photograph of him, not even fragments of his films. I used to think that the one great film that would crown Zbyszek's acting career was still before him. The characters in my film follow in his footsteps, quote anecdotes about him, brush against his props and the places that are still warm from his touch. He had entered their lives - our lives! - somehow disturbing and shaking them up. We had always sensed his passion and his violent intensity. All who worked with him found him an exceptionally inspiring personality with a gift for inventing countless spectacular episodes. He was a bit of a dreamer. I hope he will turn out like this in my film.

Everything for Sale is not a film aimed against actors. It is a film about people who make films.

The fact that the actors appear under their own names is not accidental. Why should I change their names when I had asked them to speak their own words? They say what they want. I knew from the very beginning who would act in my 'jumbo sale.' The only problem was who would play the film director.

To tell the truth, for quite a long time that I thought I should play the part myself, but finally decided not to. Not being an actor, I would not have played it even half as well as Andrzej Lapicki. (...)

AFSPA, 1958

52 min /India /Manipuri / English /Colour/2006
Writer: Director : Haobam Paban Kumar

At the beginning, there is a "simple" event: The Manorama Devi, a 32-year-old woman is arrested by soldiers of the "17 th Assam Rifles" Regiment from her home. Later she is found dead under suspicious circumstances, her body raped and shot. In the region of Manipur, one of the "seven sisters", seven smaller federal states in the very northeast of India, events like this are usual. But the desperate fate of The Manorama Devi was the last straw. It provoked protests throughout the state against the excesses of the so-called "security forces". This people's movement was very strong and spontaneous. There was no leader, no political party behind the protestors, nobody forced them to do what they did. After a few days, and after the indifferent reaction of the federal government, as well as after new army excesses, the protest grew into riots and the aim of the demonstations was not just the case of The Manorama Devi, it was the general conditions in Manipur and the "Armed Forces Special Powers Act" which had been in effect since 1958, and which gave special rights to the army.
The young filmmaker Haobam Paban Kumar, born and raised in Manipur, and studying film-direction in his final semester at the SRFTI-film school of Calcutta, immediately went to Manipur, when he heard the news of the riots. From the first days, he followed the protests with his digital camera. His fabulous documentary AFSPA, 1958 is the first exciting result of this journey; with astonishing footage, this promising director shows a part of Indian reality, which has been hidden for years. Kumar gives a voice to the mute, to the ordinary people of his home region.
One remarkable aspect is that the film shows that the movement was led by women. They were the first to spontaneously react to the rape-murder. Stripping in front of the army headquarters, they shouted, "Here we are, rape us too". They forced the authorities to react and mobilized the population. They were the first people, who embarrassed the new Indian government in such a manner. Also in Kashmir, where, in the past, there were many cases of molestation, rape and murders. But in the north-eastern part of India, the matriarchy works very well. In the demonstrations, the men are always behind the women.
Even more thrilling is the material in the second part of Kumar's movie. He shows the brutal reaction of the challenged military, and the very common and almost incidental brutality of the daily life in Manipur. Even when we can see that some soldiers help and save people from their army comrades, we see others molesting and beating the people without any reason. We knew it in theory, now we see in practise that the troops in the border areas of India molest, torture, rape and sometimes murder. These pictures are extraordinary, they show events which are still dangerous to shoot and to publish. So it is a huge cinematographic accomplishment for the director, but it also honours the 9 th MIFF-Festival of Mumbai for giving an important international platform to a movie like this, despite some political pressure and attempted censorship in the past.
So, AFSPA, 1958 certainly deserves the award of the International Critics Jury for its humanistic approach and its obvious human rights engagement, just as much as for its point of view on women's empowerment, its encouragement of women standing up against the repressing forces of society and for its open accusation of the army's crimes over the people of Manipur. With an international award, it could come to the notice of the entire world.
But that is not all. When judging a film, some political and humanistic guidelines may play its role, but in the end a FIPRESCI-jury should always give the award for cinematic qualities. And cinematographically, AFSPA, 1958 definitely convinces in its approach and style. The movie is a raw, frank, direct piece of cinema verité.
Director Haobam Paban Kumar narrates and observes. He knows the difference between a film and a political manifesto. Besides his personal partisanship and engagement, he is, as a filmmaker he always stays behind the camera. Overall, Haobam Paban Kumar's AFSPA, 1958 is an impressive piece of cinema.

-Rüdiger Suchsland

(Rüdiger Suchsland lives in Munich and Berlin. He is a regular contributor to the German newspapers "Frankfurter Rundschau", "Tagesspiegel" and "Berliner Zeitung" as well as to the magazine "Filmdienst". He also works for other German newspapers, radio and TV-stations, for the film festivals Mannheim-Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen, and is the correspondent of the "Critics Week" in Cannes for German speaking countries. )

( the film will be screened at cochin media school, near south over bridge, panampilly nagar, ernakulam on 17th october 2007 , 6 pm )