Film: “A Fantastic Woman” (Spanish, with English Subtitles, based on a transgender woman); Director: Sebastian Lelio; Starring: Daniela Vega; Rating: 1/2 (2 and a half stars)
“A Fantastic Woman” could have been penetrating portrait of a transgender woman’s struggle for dignity after her middle-aged lover suddenly dies on her.
Marina (played with consummate sensitivity by Daniela Vega) never quite recovers from the traumatic shock. Neither does the film. It quickly goes downhill from the point of tragedy, building what looks like a shell-shocked narrative in-sync with the stupor that falls over Daniela’s soul after Orlando (Francisco Reyes) passes away.
The ensuing trauma of a ‘woman’ who is unacceptable to society for her gender and status in the life of the man she loved, is brought out like a dentist extracting rotten teeth. It is a graceless situation.And director Sebastian Lelio goes with the frown, rendering every crease in Daniela’s disheveled existence in shades of black and fright.
Daniela’s dilemma is so in-your-face, it hardly needed to be affirmed so strongly by the narrative. Her humiliation is shown in scenes in the hospital and at the police station. And we know what happens to the mistress specially when she is gender-challenged. But Marina’s behaviour post the tragedy eschews empathy. She frets, fumes, snarls and at one point even jumps on to the car of her deceased lover’s family to bounce up and down.
By this point the edgy narrative begins to look uneasily unfocused.
Perhaps Marina’s unconventional methods of protest are a cultural things. Maybe in Chile, the conventions of bereavement are played out at a pitch that seems fairly bizarre to us. Also, the fact that the film is in Spanish makes the dialogue-heavy sequences, such as the one where Marina is confronted by Orlando’s wife in a car basement, seems unnecessarily stretched-out and verbose.
“Cinema in India is like brushing your teeth in the morning, you can’t escape it..”- Shah Rukh Khan
We all are so much fascinated by movies. Like books, movies have this tendency to take us in a different world. For a long time, we observed likewise familiar stories and scripts in Bollywood Films- Hero romancing a beautiful Heroine, dancing amidst alluring and fantasizing locations or maybe giving the villian a major and dreadful defeat in the end with power-packed action! It has been so because majority of audience in India love Masala films, action films, comedy films and thriller films, But surprisingly, this is not the scenario now.
Bollywood has raised the bar apart from such films so high that now people don’t expect a ‘Raj’ to have a ‘Simran’ in every movie, or a Thakur to kill a Gabbar! People expect something new, which has given rise to “Off-Beat Cinema” in Trend. Earlier, Off-Beat cinema didn’t interest the audience. Such films had to face disappointment on the box office and didn’t recieved much revenue and foot-fall, but now directors chase Off-Beat stories because of their Newness and quality content.
Now Let us know answers of some Frequently asked questions about Off-Beat Cinema.
What are Off-Beat Movies?
Off-Beat Films are Non-Derivative films, something which the audience has never seen before. They have Stories which are unique in their own sense, Stories which are less thought and talked about. Off-Beat Films provide new experience to the users, They are presented in a manner which the audience is not familiar watching. However, Off-Beat Films may not appeal to the masses, but they can make a ginormous impact on certain sections of society.
Why are New and Aspiring Directors inclined towards Making Off-Beat Movies?
Predominantly, there have been so many films in Bollywood that have followed a certain prototype, based on staggering homogeneous movies of the past. The audience in contemporary scenario gets more or less pretty much worn-out with those films because of the same storyline which is quite predictable as well, but Off-Beat films take the audience along with them to the places that no other film has taken them before. Such films Interest the audience, mainly youth.
Which are some popular Off-Beat Films that Filmmakers in Bollywood have bought for the audience so far?
There are many Bollywood films which fall in line-: A Wednesday!, Black Friday, I am Kalam, Dev D, The Lunchbox, Hindi Meduim, Iqbal, Swades, Gangs of Wasseypur, Omkara and the list goes on. Typically, these movies have not been made with an intention of getting blockbuster success, however some Off-Beat films have gained mainstream success in Bollywood.
Is every actor and actress suitable for performing roles in Off-Beat Movies?
Only few actors and actresses are proved to be a suitable match for Off-Beat scripts. Filmmakers generally prefer actors with powerful screen presence and ability to emote Off-Beat roles apart from glitz and glamour. Few actors and actresses have had arduous success in such films, among them highly notable ones are Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ayushmann Khurrana and Richa Chadha. As there are unconventional Movie Genres and scripts in Off-Beat Cinema, actors like them can contribute to the success of such films with relative ease and insightful role-plays.
How has Off-Beat Films Helped Indian Filmmakers to think Out of the Box for making Films?
India is a Nation that thrives on cinema. How the masses consume content has changed significantly because of the newly emerging perspectives and ideas, especially among the Youth. Now with the introduction of Off-Beat content, the filmmakers have got more interested in bringing out these fresh perspectives, content and creative Aesthetic on screen that force people to look at things which only existed among the society and were never brought up. The stereotypical formula started getting vanished and a space started getting free for more creative freedom to be used by the Filmmakers.
Cinema being the ultimate pervert art didn’t gave us something to desire, but it Indeed made us capable of thinking- How to Desire!
There’s still a long way to go for Bollywood in terms of more content oriented Off-Beat Films. It is well understood that the Indian Film Industry is the largest in the world. The Power for making unconventional, unusual, quirky and idiosyncratic films vests in the hands of only Indian Filmmakers, which people tend to see more in near future.