Spike Jonze’s Her

The intricate relevancy of Her in all its brooding loneliness asks us to modify our perception and our yearning for intimacy. When Jean Paul-Sartre wrote, “Nothingness lies coiled in the heart of being – like a worm.” It’s true that to exist, which in the times of Her, could be intuited as a nauseating act, humans would feel, live, and be as trapped in the maze of technology as can be.

The unending reassurances of love to emerge out of nothingness. Although there are hardly any empty spaces in the world of Her – people are swarming everywhere – but then you see Theodore’s and Amy’s empty home. This, to me, symbolizes the distance between any two people. Is it a possibility to love and live through a system that is perhaps more equipped at handling heartbreak or disappointment or misery better than you?

The operating system that names itself Samantha reflects the ambiguousness of our own christening. Samantha possesses a consciousness so it evolves at every stage. It feels love, jealousy, indifference, nostalgia, and yearning. Tell me, how is it any different than the essence of being human?

In the film, Samantha says she can understand how limited perspective can look to the non-artificial mind. It made me think of the why and how of the possibility of a non-human mind. And in all its ability to process information, to perceive, to relate, to feel emotion, can there be the same humanness of a self that transcends nothingness and yet is so acutely defined by it? Is it the same proof of life that completes a human being from birth to death that would define a computer?

The use of red, which in other films like Enter the Void or We Need To Talk About Kevin, harbored a frustrated and pessimistic unease, in this film, felt sympathetic and positive. The film urges you to understand an acute relation between things. The relationship between people, objects, places, memories, and words. They exist in a disquieting and foreseeable realm. Within reach but still out of one’s complete and solitary possession.

Ronny Sen’s Cat Sticks

Shot in cut-throat black-and-white, it’s hard to shut your eyes to Ronny Sen’s inviting, bold, and definitive film about addiction. Capturing the solemn streets of Calcutta where time seems out of focus against the stinging effects of the night that inhabits it. Cat Sticks follows a structure that is not limited to the dark and abandoned alleys. It extends out to the lives of the people wandering these very lanes. All of which strikes a solid and memorable emotion. Somehow, the cinematography portrays the streets of Calcutta as more familiar and beguiling than one’s own home. .

The film is not artistic in that it doesn’t exalt the world it creates. It is merely there to reflect it. Strip away the red herring and show what’s real. From the start of the film, you feel the humor and detachment in your bones; you quickly identify with the darkness, cutting shadows, and heaviness of the silence. Which forms the recesses of how you experience the film.

Out of many, there is that one scene that portrays the striking fluidity of human life, its nakedness, and fragility. Then there is one that portrays the ridiculousness of human life, its humor, and impassivity. Once you watch the film, you understand which is which. And if you don’t, well, you’re meant to watch it again.

The Hateful Eight: Just A Murder

A bold and cruel movie, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight comes off as unhinged and even provocative. Quentin makes a conscious effort to show it just as it’s named: hateful. Though the violence and graphic display of blood and brains seemed a little over-the-top, the movie does comprise of a few noteworthy scenes.

It’s slow-paced, at first, and sort of ambiguous in its expression. But it does quicken once you get to know the characters and their temperament. It’s the kind of film that will keep your eyes glued to the screen. Not because of Tarantino as a filmmaker, but the characters themselves compel you to anticipate a disastrous and defining ending.

The dialogue and the screen time that each character shares. The way the camera captures every facial twitch just in time to build suspense. All your anticipations about the film evaporate through nasty provocations and oftentimes unpleasant slurs. You know it’s about to come to an end but you’ve got to know how.

The cinematography, though confined to a cramped cabin, is stimulating. The film reads like a book with talks about the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s letter, and Maj. Marquis Warren’s savageness. Tarantino leaves nothing to guesswork. It’s a story about how a group of men use words under the same light as artillery, in order to kill and be killed.

Irreversible: The Brutality Of A Crime

By refusing to follow through in a chronological format, Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible deflects one’s perspective on violence, sex, and crime in films. The film is frank, explicit, and ironically, reversible in every sense. It has structure, definition, and motive in both ways. Though watching it irreversibly, or as it is, is undoubtedly more cerebral.

The film places plenty of emphasis on expression. Expression by sound, light, and the spaces in between. It’s fast-paced, all-pervading, and unwatchable. Never have I seen such a repulsive film with such strong a message; that violence, when seen through the lens of revenge, is ugly and non-censored.

And the crime, which is one of the most disturbing scenes of the film, manifests as physical pain, unflinchingly felt, through spasms and bouts of shock, disgust, and anger. You’re cornered to a point of no return where what is at stake is how much you can endure and if you do watch every second of the film, there’s no way to recover from what you’ve just seen.

Irreversible recoils in time. It possesses extremity in sight, sound, and rhythm. It lacks the blurriness that we’re generally conditioned to in films and so the cinematography really puts one in an uncomfortable spot. It argues what reality can be when denied of its televised and printed privilege. That one can’t exploit crime when it’s right in front of you. So what if a film makes it moral – without allowing you to shut your eyes.

Spirited Away: Hayao Miyazaki’s Magnum Opus

Spirited Away strips quintessential animated films of its emphatically exaggerated genre. While Miyazaki brings this film a little more down to earth; embracing a mystical and profound manner. The film draws its essence from its monumental conception. The stringing together of microscopic elements; a brilliant stroke of genius in imagination and creativity.

Spirited Away considers the universe as it is. And that is in its infinitesimal and varied format. It’s a film about sensibility, empathy, and philanthropy. A reverie which reflects the generous aspects of human nature up against the most repulsive. Untranslated feelings, a dictionary of characters, and lyrical affectations later, this film holds its lighthearted tone from beginning to end.

If you allow it, this film can fill you up with a sense of whimsy and wonder. Sometimes explicitly, sometimes in whisperings, and sometimes in anguish. Spirited Away has a way with both its characters and words. It’s like paying attention to the night sky spotted with stars; each star demands attention so you can never forget their luminous glow even if it’s not a part of this world… or yours.