Childhood memories

As we approach the biggest event of the year in Hollywood, let’s glance back at one of the movies that I was surprised to see on last year’s list of nominees – The Tree Of Life. Not that I don’t think it deserved to be there, it’s just that I am always surprised to see Terrence Malick’s films in that category (previously it was The Thin Red Line). He’s someone whose brain I would love to pick, as he’s a specific individual in the movie industry today. He writes and directs most of his films, and does so with an incredible poetic sensuality. His movies are not for everyone. In fact, I am inclined to think that majority of those who saw The Tree Of Life were bored and hated it. One has to be in a mood to see a contemplative, philosophical movie that doesn’t seek to tell a linear, comprehensive story, but represents human experience through a dreamy, nostalgic lens.

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I’ve never seen a movie that better recreated memories of childhood (and I’ve seen more than my share of films). It was like peeking into a reminiscent person’s brain (which was the intent). Filled with dispersed sunlight and dancing curtains these images are self sufficient in their beauty. They’ll make you close your eyes (after the movie is over, of course) and think back to the early years of your own life.

One of my favourite recollections is from when I was two and a half years old. My mom was in the hospital pregnant with my brother, and my dad and I went to bring her some proper food. She was in a ward where no visitations were allowed, so we went to the alley behind the building to wait until she appeared at one of the windows. As if we were in a movie, mom began lowering a rope to us so that dad could tie the bag of food to it. It was a windy day, and mom had had to wrap the end of the rope around some newspapers to weight it down. The cord was still in midair when the gust picked it up and undid the knot. I watched in awe as the freed papers danced gracefully above me like it was an otherworldly scene.

That is how I felt for those two hours while I watched The Tree Of Life.

What is your favourite childhood memory?

 

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Life Of Pi

When I first heard that Life Of Pi was in the making my lips widened into a smile as this has been one of my favourite books. My joy turned to happy disbelief when I learned that Ang Lee, also a favourite, was directing it. If anyone else had taken it upon themselves to bring this extraordinary story to life, I would question their sanity. If you’ve read this Yann Martel novel then you know that it’s one of those pieces that doesn’t translate easily from book to a movie. Practically based on introspection, wondering, inner suffering and growth, it is anything but an adventure that the trailer suggests it to be. However, if I had concerns regarding the successful adaption from written to visual, they all evaporated as soon as the main credits rolled and I put on the 3D glasses.

 

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With each subsequent scene I became increasingly convinced that Mr. Lee had done it again. By the time movie ended, it already earned a spot in my “favourite films” list. It’s not just the excellent screenplay and the mesmerizing scenes that won me over. Nope. The credit also goes to Ang Lee’s phenomenal understanding of what 3D should be all about. He applied the technology to an already beautiful cinematography to create spectacular visual pleasure. This magic is perhaps most evident in the scene in which we see Pi’s uncle swimming in a pool, because there is nothing animated in it. This was only the fourth movie which I saw in 3D, but all the others, which are so apparently animated, use the technology to draw the audience into a fantasy. Life Of Pi, on the other hand, utilizes animation to recreate creatures and scenery to bring forth the stunning beauty of our planet. Of course, in this movie, these breathtaking images are also meant to reflect Pi’s inner journey.

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It was only after this movie that I realized that I would love to watch a good European film in 3D. Would you? Or do you think that 3D should be reserved for Hollywoodian spectacles?

 

 

 

Oh, and lest I forget, let me explain why there was a three month gap in between this post and the one preceding it. I’ve spent the past few months observing the monkeys, cultivating an owl and learning how to tame a tiger, all the while participating in a wrestling match facing two opponents – Yin and Yang.

Or I can tell you a different story: that I spent my time learning the ropes at the office, practicing the wisdom of choosing my words carefully, reigning in my most characteristic trait of being open (and thus making myself vulnerable), while struggling to find balance between my professional and personal life.

You choose whichever story you prefer better.