Sunday, October 27, 2013

MetaCritic : The Fifth Estate

                                     Image Courtesy: Hindu, Oct 26, 2013

This blogpost is not really to attack anyone; not any person definitely. This is probably to attack a trend in film review, especially reviews in Indian media.

A review of the just released Fifth Estate calls for some introspection. For a long time, past Cahier du Cinema, almost no popular newspaper or magazine indulged in such reviews.

Review, as I see it descriptively, has become a personal liking of the film and a musing over that taste. Inevitably that includes the plot structure, a one liner and the USP of the film.

But is that all about Cinema?

The Fifth Estate may not be a great film. It may not even be a mediocre one. But, that should not be the reason to start the review as the CNN-IBN film journalist has started; The film doesn't tell us anything we don't already know.

Why should a film necessarily tell us anything that we do not know? Is it like an investigative journalism?

Mumbai Film Festival has just ended. After watching 3X3D, a student asked me, "What is the moral of the story?"

I do not see any need to answer this. Why should there be a moral of the story? What makes one think that only one kind of cinema is possible? 

This is a gradually prevailing notion among the student filmmakers of the country - that film should have a social message.

Making cinema a vehicle for social messages can be one approach. But, why must that be all about cinema?

That would be the same as saying all music should be hard rock. 

However, when a trend becomes too monolithic, it says something about the society.

In a monolithic society, there is no choice. The idea of choice itself is mostly absent.

That happens when there is rarely any space for breathing.

Especially, in a city like Mumbai, where people cram themselves with others in a small room for decades, and see that as a very normal existence, choices cannot exist.

I cannot be normative, saying that such a thing is not good for the society. 

But, I can certainly say that Cinema is not monolithic. It is pollysemous, multilevel and multilayered, just as any other spontaneous or consciously crafted form of expression.

There would be revolutions when watching and talking about Cinema become too predictable.

This is the time for that revolution!