Movie: The Apu trilogy
I know I suck at reviewing movies, which is why I usually stop at just recommending them. It's all the more hard to describe the beauty of something as uncomplicated as the Apu Trilogy. Finally I understand why they esteem Ray so highly. He doesn't seem to do one thing wrong. Although he made this movie in an age when it was necessary to exaggerate every emotion on screen (remember Annavru and Shivaji Ganesan?), he gets the actors to trick you into believing that they are not acting at all. There are especially the scenes of Apu and his bride "learning" to love each other, like it happens so often in arranged marriages; the honesty in the portrayal of that romance is mind-blowing. And the humour of a smart observation, while not making you laugh aloud, can still be so satisfying. The music is great too, except on a couple of ocassions when it seems to resort to an emotional arm-twisting that the movie itself refrains from doing. Kinda like a laughter track telling you when to laugh, sometimes the music seems to tell you "now you are supposed to cry". You can tell the impact of a movie by how long you linger in the experience after the movie has ended, and judging by that alone, this ranks high up there. I had watched these movies when I was too young to appreciate it. While I didn't remember anything from the first viewing, watching it again brought back pleasant memories of more innocent times when all members of my family could agree on one channel to watch. Not that we had a choice, of course!
Book :East of Eden
For a tale set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in America, the story is held together by a very unusual character; a cook of chinese origin named, surprise surprise, Lee! The cooking is just a livelihood for him. He has enough original philosophy to give Confucius a run for his money. The Lee of my imagination looked like a portly version of one of my chinese colleagues, and it was a struggle to allow him to talk proper english. Lee seemed more realistic talking plopel english, if you know what I mean. And oddly enough, thats the same kind of prejudice that Lee finds himself fighting several times in the novel. Made for a very interactive experience. Lee is like Lord Henry of Dorian Grey, he gets all the good lines. When Cal, one of the protagonists hints at ending his own life, he remarks "Suicide! Its the cheapest form of self indulgence".
Song:Dinosaur by King Crimson
Alright, wipe the tear traaks!