Saturday October 21, 2017

Kurosawa Film Screening Festival: Four days of thrill

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By Atul Mishra

Akira Kurosawa Film Screening - Poster(1)

“The term ‘giant’ is used too often to describe artists. But in the case of Akira Kurosawa, we have one of the rare instances where the term fits.”
-Martin Scorsese

Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese filmmaker and an influential figure in the history of cinema. To celebrate his legacy, The Japan Foundation, Delhi started the four-day Kurosawa film screening festival today.

Born in 1910, Kurosawa was a painter before endeavoring into films having gotten highly influenced by Dostoyevsky and Maxim Gorky. Kurosawa is known for maintaining an unwavering humanism in his films in spite of Japan’s turbulent modern history. Kurosawa’s films are a depiction of ordinary humanity and modest heroism displayed through humor and redemption in the face of ennui and depression. His films have left their mark on generations of audiences and filmmakers. akira_kurosawa_copy

“Akira Kurosawa is one of the greatest directors ever to work in the cinema,” according to Francis Ford Coppola, “his films meant an enormous amount to me when I was starting my own career.”

Among his many brilliant masterpieces that include Seven Samurai, High and Low and Rashomon, four films have been chosen by The Japan Foundation to be screened for four days. The festival started with multitude of Kurosawa’s fans arriving on 24th August at 6.30 PM to watch his Ikiru, a film partly inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s 1886 novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

When the purple lights in the Rabindranath Tagore Hall at The Japanese Foundation went off, the reel projector started to roll and click. Ikiru started. The dialogues and music of the movie with the clanks and clicks of the projector gave the feel of classic 40s and 50s. And then it was all Kurosawa’s magic. The hall was hermetically sealed with people, most of them occupying the seats, many sitting on the floor and many standing. And yet, all the eyes were glued to the screen ahead. People of all ages had come to enjoy the brilliance of one of the greatest film makers of all time.throne1

The seriousness and excitement was so mesmerizing that on getting to know that seats were full, a couple said, “No problem, we can sit on the floor, just allow us to enter”. The passion to watch Kurosawa’s films was shown not just by young people but old ones as well. Five minutes into the film and an old man said to a fairly young boy, “Could you please keep it inside your pocket? The brightness is disturbing”, while the latter had his phone in his hand.

Misako Futuski, director of Arts and Culture Department, on being asked what did she think drove so many people to watch Ikiru said, “Even though Kurosawa is Japanese, his films have a universal message that touches entire humanity. And we organized this screening festival on a very popular demand”.

Deepanshu, a Kurosawa fan, said, “For the film ambience and atmosphere and the feel you get while watching this kind of film with other Kurosawa fans and enthusiasts.”, on being asked, “why did you come to The Japanese Foundation for a film that you could have easily downloaded and seen at home?”

Undoubtedly this festival is worth visiting and present a great opportunity especially if you haven’t seen Kurosawa’s magic yet.

The festival concludes at 8.30 PM on 27th August. You must go for the rest of the screenings. And yes, be there before time as there are many Kurosawa fans in the city and you don’t want to miss your seat. The schedule is –

24 August: Ikiru

25 August: Seven Samurai

26 August: Throne of Blood

27 August: Yojimbo

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The Invisible Coolie Shines in ‘The Cutlass’ (Comment: Special to Newsgram)

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The Cutlass
Dr. Kumar Mahabir

Aug 21, 2017: “Coolie” is the name of the character played by Narad Mahabir in the play directed by Errol Hill titled Man Better Man.

The local play was performed at NAPA in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in June and an excerpt was staged in August during the premiere of the CARIFESTA festival. Mahabir was given a minor role as the lone Indo-Trinidadian (Indian) villager in the musical which was laced with humorous dialogue, Kalinda dances and calypso songs.

Except for recent plays written and directed by Indians like Victor Edwards, Seeta Persad and Walid Baksh, Indian actors and actresses have been given minor roles or none at all (“invisible”) in “national” theatre and cinema. In this context, The Cutlass is a movie with a difference. And indeed, the tagline of the movie on the cinema poster is “A breakthrough in Caribbean Cinema.”

Surprisingly, Arnold Goindhan is given the lead role (by the non-Indian TeneilleNewallo) as of the kidnapper named “Al” in The Cutlass. Paradoxically, he is given only a fleeting presence in the film’s trailerHe is the only Indian actor and the only character who is Indian, in a movie that is based on crime, race and class.

As a villain, Al is portrayed as an evil Indian Hindu. A calendar painting of the anthropomorphic Hindu god, Lord Hanuman (The Remover of Obstacles) is captured fleetingly on the wall of Al’s forest camp. In the film world of poetic justice The Cutlass, light must overcome darkness, whiteness must overwhelm blackness, and Christianity must conquer Hinduism. The pendant of Virgin Mary in the hands of the white kidnapped victim must overpower Hanuman.

Goindhan is a full-time Indian actor from Malick in Barataria who also sings and plays music. The “Island Movie Blog” on August 11 noted that when Goindhan “keeps his portrayal subtle, he really shines.” The July/August edition of the Caribbean Beat magazine stated that The Cutlass has delivered “compelling performances” to audiences.

The kidnap movie premiered to a sold-out audience at the T&T Film Festival in 2016 received rave reviews. It copped the T&T Film Festival’s Best Trinidad and Tobago Feature Film and People’s Choice awards. The Cutlass was also screened at international film festivals such as the Cannes Film Mart at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

The last time an Indian was chosen for a major role in a local feature film was 43 years ago in 1974. That film was titled Bim which featured Ralph (Anglicised from Rabindranath) Maraj playing the role of Bim/Bheem Sing. Bim was based on the composite life of a notorious assassin, Boysie Singh, and aggressive trade unionist and Hindu leader, Bhadase Sagan Maraj.

As an actor, Ralph Maraj was preceded by Basdeo Panday who became the first Indian in the Caribbean to appear on a big screen in Nine Hours to Rama (1963). The movie was about the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Panday also acted in two other British cinematic movies: Man in the Middle (1964) and The Brigand of Kandahar (1965).

But the Indo-Caribbean actor who has earned the honour of starring in the most movies – Hollywood included – is Errol Sitahal. He acted in Tommy Boy (1995), A Little Princess (1995) and Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004).

Valmike Rampersadand Dinesh (“Dino”) Maharaj is rising stars to watch. Originally from Cedros, Dinesh is the lead actor in Moko Jumbie, a new feature film by Indo-Trinidadian-American Vashti Anderson. Moko Jumbie was selected for screening at the 2017 LA Film Festival.

Dinesh acted in the local television series, Westwood Park (1997–2004). His cinematic film credits include portrayals in Klash (1996), The Mystic Masseur (2001) and Jeffrey’s Calypso (2005).

Nadia Nisha Kandhai is the lead actress in the upcoming screen adaptation of the novel, Green Days by the River.

There is a real danger in marginalising Indians in theatre and film when they are in fact the largest ethnic group in T&T according to the 2011 CSO census data. Cultivation theory states that images in the media strongly influence perceptions of the real-world. This theory was developed by communication researchers George Gerbner and Larry Gross of the University of Pennsylvania in 1976.

The Cutlass can transmit the following wrong perceptions of reality: (1) Hinduism is evil, (2) Indians are one percent of the population, (3) there are few Indian actors, (4) Indians constitute the majority of kidnappers, and (5) the majority of kidnapped victims are white.

I presented a research paper in 2005 based on 40 cases of kidnapping in T&T. My findings revealed that 78% of the victims were Indians, and according to the survivors, the overwhelming majority of the kidnappers were Afro ex-police and army strongmen.

Watch Trailer: The Cutlass

 

The Writer is an anthropologist who has published 11 books


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Indian American Animator Wins the Prestigious Award from Accolade Global Film Competition

The animator had also won ILDA 2007 Artistic Award in Laser Photography

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Indian American
Accolade Global Film Festival is a prestigious award for filmmakers and animators. Wikimedia
  • Manick Sorcar is an Indian American living in Denver
  • The exceptional laserist and animator has won the Accolade Global Film Competition Award
  • Manick is the son of the popular and legendary magician P.C Sorcar

Denver. August 2, 2017: Denver-based, Indian-American laserist and animator Manick Sorcar has won the prestigious Award of Merit from The Accolade Global Film Competition for his animation “Beautiful Mess”.

Also Read: Indian American Lawyer Neomi Rao to lead White House Regulatory Affairs Office

The Accolade recognizes film, television, videography and new media professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change.

This is not the first laser animation of Sorcar that got international recognition. He won the ILDA 2015 Artistic Award for ‘Light Art in Shower Ocean’ in Innovative Application of Laser category from the International Laser Display Association.

Sorcar had also won the ILDA 2007 Artistic Award in Laser Photography category for his laser art “Reflection” and the ILDA Artistic Award for Best Use of Lasers in Live Stage Performance for his “Enlightenment of Buddha”.

According to the Accolade, in winning this award, Sorcar joins the ranks of other high-profile winners of this internationally respected award, including the Oscar winning production of “The Lady in Number Six” by Malcolm Clarke, the talented Dave Bossert of Disney for his short documentary, and “The Tunes Behind The Toons”.

(IANS)

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The Story Behind the Rise of Emojis and their Family

Even in barriers to communication such as language, a simple Emoji is powerful enough to dictate the entire message

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Emojis
Emojis originally became part of daily use in Japan. Wikimedia Commons
  • The use of Emoji can be traced back to the language of the term; Japanese
  • In the terminology, ‘e’ means picture while ‘moji’ means written character
  • The word Emoji won the award for ‘Oxford Word of the Year 2015’

July 30, 2017: Emojis are added entertainment to our conversations. Living subtly in our smartphones, the Emojis have come a long way from once where they started.

The first use of Emoji was in Japan. Emoji is a Japanese term where ‘e’ means picture and ‘moji’ means written character when translated into English. The popular characters emerged in smartphones before coming to social platforms.

Also Read: Obsession with the term ‘food Porn’: How it has become an Industry on Social Media!

In the 1990s, there was only a total of 172. People loved and encouraged them right away. However, the technology at the time did not support them. Communication issues persisted even as Emojis became widely popular. Among the different operating software, a consistent emoji was never established.

Emojis were given hope when they were adopted by The Unicode Consortium. The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit company from the Silicon Valley. But, Unicode needs to be convinced that a particular emoji is needed. A certain guarantee of their popularity has to be estimated. Moreover, they should be unique and not specific to few number of people.

As of May 2016, 1624 official Emojis exist on multiple platforms. From Japanese nationalism, Emojis have become global citizens used in different countries. Emojis represent the diversity that exists in the global village.

Various stereotypes have been exhibited through these tiny little friends. There have even been social movements criticizing the absence of equality, after which additional emojis were created. Now all genders and communities are represented in all aspects of life. Professions, sports and other activities are gender expressed and multicultural.

Unicode standards provide the Emojis with a ‘glyph’, or a unique code. The expression is consistent throughout platforms, however, the final presentation of the emoji is entirely in the hands of the platform. For Example, the laughing emoji is different for Apple, Samsung,  Microsoft, Android, Google and more. The basic expression of laughing is expressed in different ways.

Today, Emojis stand universal. Even in barriers to communication such as language, a simple Emoji is powerful enough to dictate the entire message. Emoji won the award for ‘Oxford Word of the Year 2015’ and it was the first time that a picture character won the award.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.