Sunday, June 08, 2008

Happiness - The Review, and The 8 Tag

Although I have written quite a number of reviews over the years (some of them on this blog, a few on I don't claim to be a critic and a reviewer. I am not a cinema student either. I also don't like describing the plot, the characters their relationships etc. (unless absolutely necessary to drive home some other broader point about the movie). My reviews are mostly about what the movie makes one feel and think.

I have been looking for the right words to describe "Happiness" and have not been able to get too many. So I may end up using sentences that may get long and winding, very much unlike the movie itself though.
On the face of it, the movie looks sleazy and is weaved around tragic and scandalous subjects (like Paedophilia, Homosexuality, Masturbation etc). But when looked closely, its a very disturbing mirror shown to some of human realities. There is no point being driven home (or may be...?) but the extremely honest, understated, and darkly comical re-creation of what could otherwise only be described as human tragedies leaves one aghast and touched.
The humor has been weaved into the tragedy in such a way that you don't know whether to cry or to laugh. The movie is 'lightly dark', and almost mocks itself while portraying the hollowness of some of the human pursuits, and the helplessness of others.
Cinematically, its a very challenging script to pull off because of the highly sexual undertones (and overtones). But the movie deals with the situations extremely sensitively, without getting vulgar at any point. The intelligent black humor precariously balances itself between sleaze and depressing tragedy, never tending to become either!
The movie successfully manages to not pull the viewer into the depressing spiral that it creates. One may choose to look into the depth, the misery and the intensity, or just laugh through the film without getting involved with the intricate maze of ethical, moral and tragic realities that it is built upon. Thats why I like it so much, because it does solve the primary purpose of the medium - entertainment.
The movie has been so well made that its tough for me to get into any cinematic intricacies like evaluating performances or screenplay etc! Everything is just right. At least I didn't find any stark flaws. For me, the director was brilliant enough to make sure that each character was wonderfully crafted and judiciously utilised. The scenes are great because of the situations and their context. Of course, the actors have done a great job but its the director who has been able to make them do what they did by visualizing such unique yet real situations.
For eg. A desperate single guy who makes random phone calls for sex chat and shags on porn magazines all day, has the hots for his neighbor. He calls the neighbor one day, during one of those random phone-call routines, and tells her what he "imagines" doing to her. Such is her state of mind at the time of the phone call that she wants him to come over and do her. The scene when he actually lands up at her door, and both of them just end up sitting at the two ends of a sofa, is the most amazing dialogue-less scenes ever! The intricate situation and the multiple thoughts that may be going through the character's mind can only be imagined. He finally leaves and ends up sleeping (on the same bed but facing the other way) with the other larger sized lady neighbor, who has the hots for him.
Or the scene where a peadophile father answers all the questions, howsoever tough, when confronted by his prepubescent son!

I feel that people will have extreme reactions to the movie (Loved it vs Hated it). Those who hate it might say, among other things, that it reeks if looser mentality and inferiority complex. But I sense that even they would only be lying to themselves if they said they didn't relate to it. The biographies of the greatest of people are full of instances showing how they have been through both the sides of life and success. And then this movie has a chain of characters linking one looser who runs after another looser who runs after another looser and so on. (Quite similar in concept to the "Tauba tauba ve teri surat" video of Kailash Kher). Everybody, at the end of the day, is at the same level!

There is something very uncanny about the movie that I have still not been able to put my finger on. It doesn't say anything to anyone. It doesn't claim any pedestal or POV. Its just there, as a statement or a question, and yet it can't be ignored. Its too real a statement. Its not about 'What is happiness?', but its 'Is there happiness?'.

And one thing I can't forget ever is the "climax" of the film. I think the most apt final words ever spoken were said at the end of Happiness, - "I came".

~~~~~~~~~~~~end of review~~~~~~~~~~~~

Goonj tagged me. I'll keep it short.

8 things I am passionate about - Exploring Physics/Probability/Working of the mind/Will, Sensible Cinema/My movie collection, Cricket, My woman (Whoever she may be), Performing satisfactorily in my work (Whatever I do), Writing (lately), Understanding and Arguing.
8 things I want to do before I die - There is nothing that needs 'completion' or some kind of a time-frame. I am already doing all that I am passionate about and more, so even if I die today, I'd die a happy man.
8 things I say often - Right. Ok. Hmm. Fair enough. Cool hai. Relax. Bitch. Sorry.
8 books I have read recently - Shadows Of the Mind - Roger Penrose, Chaos - James Gleick, Fooled By Randomness - Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The God Experiments, My Experiments with Truth - Gandhi, Love Story - Erich Segal (3rd time), Remember Me (A chick-lit. Don't ask why. But loved it.), Just So Stories (Rudyard Kipling). "Recently" is quite a deceptive term here! These books have been read over 8 months.
8 songs I could listen to over and over - Drops Of Jupiter (Train), Afterglow (INXS), Hey You (Floyd), Trouble & Fix You (Coldplay), Turn The Page (Bob Segar version), One (U2), Top Gun Theme (Joe Satriani)
(I had done a similar post on Avanoo about, if my life were a movie then what would the soundtrack be? Check the link.)
8 things that attract me to my best friends - I have just 1 best friend and it would take me an eternity to come up with even 1 things that 'attracts' me to him. I am honestly completely truly repelled by the idea! There are a few more close friends, who are my friends inspite of what they are! :) Thats about it.

Most of the people have already done the tag and others will do it soon. So, I tag no one.


Beauty and the BEast said...

'Happiness' does sound even more intriguing after reading your review..

It also reminded me of yet another movie - Little miss sunshine. Of course the two movies are worlds apart but they have the same take on it. Of weaving humour in tragedy, such that the tragedy does not blow you over, but leaves an impact..

I so wish I was watching it this Sunday.. but have to push it to the next weekend now :(

About you answering the tags..

PPKZZH!! (like you taught me:P)

not because of the content.. but because it was as you stated it would be - a quick wrap!

Macadamia The Nut said...

Interesting... I think i'll go check it out for myself. :D

P.S. Why did we ever have a tiff? Weird! Been learning more about you each time I visit.. all nice. :D

gunj said...

8 things I want to do before I die - There is nothing that needs 'completion' or some kind of a time-frame. I am already doing all that I am passionate about and more, so even if I die today, I'd die a happy man.

waow!! im so jealous of u for that!!

n a brilliant review there!!

Crimson Feet said...

@ beauty -- ya... i can see why you are connecting it with Little miss sunshine. that was another very good movie and is similar in its "feel".

... its good to live up to your words! ;)

@ nut --- thats good to hear that u been learning nice things about me :)... the tiff has been completely forgotten... so don't worry! i understood where u were coming from.

So tell me again, what was it about chocolates that u took offence to? ;)

Crimson Feet said...

@gunj --- thanks girl!... and it was fun reading all the things that YOU'd want to do before dying!! :)...

Cinderella. said...

The things you wanna do before dying are really something !!!

Nice tag.

Sutta said...

Temme temme temme where n how can I get this flick.

I downloaded "Emule" also but somehow I didn't knew how it works or what. :P

And after reading the review you have no idea how DESPERATE I am to catch it. :P

We have alot of similarities in the quirk thingy. :)


Haven't seen the movie.But i liked the theme.Happiness.It is always interesting to search what it is.Is it sensual?It is very interesting to read "phantoms in the brain"...hundreds and hundreds of nuerons lit together, like a megapolis in the night...or a mideaval city waging a holywar..millions burning arrows in the sky...mmmm great theme man...
one more great idea..

Crimson Feet said...

@ cindy... :)... thanks

@ sutta --- when u install it, the wizard will take you to an option where you have to either allow UPNP to set up ports, or if it fails, you have to check existing ports by clicking on "test ports" button. You can do this by going to the options>connections panel in the main window also. For your emule to work at sexy speeds "your TCP and UDP ports must succeed"!!... if they don't then copy the port numbers, and send them to your service provider. They will open it for you. Hathway guys did it for me. once the ports are open you connect to "servers" and "Kad" on the main panel. check for a globe sign with 2 arrows in the lowest band of the software. Both the arrows must be green for download to happen well. If they are yellow, download will be slow. if red then u are not connected.
go to search and start searching under "global servers".. you'll get everything. porn content rarely shows up on other searches and is very low on eMule. unlike limewire.
Also, make sure that you share upto 1000 odd music and video files of your own in order to get a high rank in download queus.
Finally, you must keep it on for long before download starts at good speeds. i have a hathway plan where i have unlimited download capacity from 11pm to 9am. my emule is running ALL this time. if you don't keep it on for long hours downloads are slow.
u can easily have upto 10 files in download at one go. and maximum total download speed can go as high as 80-100kbps.

hope this helps.

enjoy :)

K.C. said...

Your reveiw has made me want to see the movie...

Also loved the fact that you said that one of your favorite songs was the "Top Gun" theme. Haven't thought about that one in forever... :) KC

Keshi said...

I had to check out who this sweet sensible smart guy Im here :)

Hi Crimson!

Happiness to me is a lie too.


Crimson Feet said...

@ KC... thanks! :)... that song has some sweet memories for me!

@ Keshi -

Hi Keshi!

how nice to have the happily cynical, vibrant, sensible girl on my blog!! ;)
Thanks for the nice things u said!

happiness is only as much a lie as pain and sadness! :)

Crimson Feet said...

@ man in painting---

oh! u have read phantoms in the brain?.. i just bought the book!.. looking fwd to it!

and thanks for the words!!

rantravereflect said...

i haven't watched the movie.. but ya review gives me one helluva an inspirtion 2.. humor n tragedy- i guess the best humor grows out of a deeply dark situation, because that's when one really needs to smile- n so the humor better be ingrown, fresh n good :)

loved the regular guy's incident- tat was a good twist.. sexual under/over tones :) haaaaaa- man, as far as i 'm concerned, even if we always run away from it, sex is always in the background (frontground);)

tauba tauba ve ter surat--> tat was funny!heee

i will get my handon the movie :)
n please keep donning the critic hat!- ya're gooooooooooooooooooooooood :)

abt the tag, haaaa :) the 'attraction'bit-->geeeee..

8 books in 8 months :)tatz not all tat bad..

ciao crimson-->waityn for updates on jru:)

rantravereflect said...

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh tat 'stroke' ehhh???\buahhahahahah- it had been lost on me :(:(:(
no longer :):)\

heeeeee is ta why sachin is called a master 'blaster'??? ;)

n is tat why ya\re a master-'mind\-ya masturbate with ya mind ryteeee- all those awesome jru trilogies?? :):):)

so ya\d prefer the stroke or the mind crimson???

Keshi said...

**happily cynical

ur right abt that! ty for the WARM WC ;-)

yes everything is an illusion except the illusion itself. :)


Keshi said...

**There is nothing that needs 'completion' or some kind of a time-frame. I am already doing all that I am passionate about and more, so even if I die today, I'd die a happy man.

u r so spot on there! I wish more ppl were like ya.


Tyro said...

I read your answer 42 on some post ,....finally I have finished 17 pages of Duglas Adams fabulous masterpiece and I couldn't stop giggling on that comment ....Boy
you can give some comment :) :) .

I read this of yours , good simple
choices .Ya da I deleted my old blog posts .

Crimson Feet said...

@rrr :)... LOL... thanks yaar... !! its fun just reading your comments! :) .... what jru?

regarding the stroke - i usually prefer "mindstrokes"!!... however a "mindless stroke" is also fun at times! but a "strokeless mind" is what i always stay away from ;)

@ keshi... thanks girl!!! seems you are like that too! :)

@tyro ... thanks dude and yes! that book (and the series) is a masterpiece!!... what imagination, what interconnections... amidst all the seeming senselessness EVERYTHING falls in place so beautifully and meaningfully :)


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