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Lemon Tree, five years hence

As some might remember, I had written a review of Eran Riklis’s 2008 film Etz Limon (Lemon Tree) for the inaugural issue of Wide Screen (1.1). I recently re-watched the film when I screened it at the University of Pittsburgh which is currently my home. I was surprised by the differences in my response to the film was this time around.

Here’s a link to the very short response piece I wrote recently: http://www.fsgso.pitt.edu/2013/02/fiver-years-lemon-tree/

Here’s a link to the original review in WS: http://widescreenjournal.org/index.php/journal/article/view/23/28

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Announcing the launch of CinemaofIndia.org

2013 promises to be an exciting year for Indian cinema as various groups and individuals are busy organizing interesting ways of commemorating the centenary of Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra, arguably India’s first film. Ostensibly as a part of this celebration, I was recently informed about the launch of a new crowd-sourced encyclopedia of Indian cinema, called CinemaofIndia.org. The site is based on the Wiki-model and is designed and hosted by the brains behind the pad.ma archive.

Here’s a brief description provided by the hosts:

“This Wiki is based on Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul Willemen’s Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema, a pioneering effort at documenting the history of cinema in India at a time when there were very few resources available and even fewer people working on the history of Indian cinema. There is now a much wider community of scholars, enthusiasts and cinephiles working on Indian cinema, and a much wider range of resources by way of films, DVDs, memorabilia and most importantly technology available that allow us to rethink how we may carry forward the encyclopedia project as a collaborative venture. The internet also allows us to link the original entries to images and movie clips thus housing an encyclopedia of cinema in the only environment that it was meant to be housed in: a multi-media environment. Ashish has very  generously offered us the encyclopedia as a starting point.”

The idea behind this project is to combine collective knowledge on various films, actors, directors, technicians etc by either creating new entries or adding to existing entries.

First-timers might need some help navigating the Wiki and figuring out how to get started. If you would like to contribute or get involved in some way, please contact Lawrence Liang lawrence@altlawforum.org or Ashish Rajadhyaksha  ashish@cscs.res.in
 For a few examples of entries which combine multi media please see the following

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Wide Screen 4.1 is now online

We are very happy to announce that after a long wait, Wide Screen 4.1, a special issue on Documentary, Art and Performance is now online. The issue has been edited by Veena Hariharan. Click on the image below to access the issue.

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Gangs of Wasseypur

Anurag Kashyap: Talking at and talking with cinema.

Films are texts that become subjects of acrimony between reviewers and fan girls and boys. The former, most often sitting in the periphery of the film world, are borderline narcissists and somewhere off centre lie the fangirls and boys. In this universe, it is almost impossible to have a meaningful conversation unless we are generally in agreement, for example Shah Rukh Khan is the best (replace Shah Rukh Khan with any actor you zealously follow). My review of Gangs… is not aimed to pander to either the Anurag Kashyap fan girls and boys and of course, it is an exercise in narcissism. [Read more →]

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Ridley Scott’s 1962 film Boy and Bicycle

BFI posted this early Ridley Scott film that starred his brother Tony Scott who recently passed away.

Access it here: http://thespace.org/items/e00000ml?t=cdhp

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Gangs of Wasseypur – review

Butcher’s cut

As much as I would have loved to review Anurag Kashyap’s epic Gangs of Wasseypur, I have decided not to. Not only because of paucity of time, but also because I have some vested interests in this film and am not really in a position to be unbiased about it!! But I did find a review that says a lot of things that are reeling in my mind about this sprawling, gritty, beautiful magnum opus. I will say that this film is definitely worth watching, for more details, read this wonderfully written review. Click here to read.

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Thinking about Fearless Nadia

Fearless Nadia: An online exhibit

In the midst of some reading on Fearless Nadia, I decided to look at the Internet to see and gather what all images are easily available. The result of this is a small, unofficial, almost random gallery of Fearless Nadia film stills and posters etc that I made on Facebook. Have borrowed them from various sources. And I can’t identify all the films.

So all help in clarifying details for this little archive will be welcome.


The gallery is available here


Rereleases in the Age of Late Modernity: Examining the Rerelease of Karnan Through the Prism of Anthony Giddens

Among the most notable events in Tamil film industry in the recent past, the rerelease of Sivaji Ganesan’s famous mythological Karnan (1964) in the month of March raised curious expectations about its fate at the box office.

Karnan Rerelease Poster In Chennai

During the same month, on March 18, 2012, the rerelease of MGR’s Nadodi Mannan also dominated the film sections of Tamil newspapers and posters across the state. [Read more →]

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Shyam Benegal at the British Film Institute

Smita Patil in Bhumika

Over the weekend of the 9th-10th June, the BFI is honouring Shyam Benegal, one of India’s leading directors. Considered one of the founders of India’s ‘New Wave’, Benegal began his film career in the 1970s. From then to this day, his work has successfully trod the line between Bollywood and art cinema. [Read more →]

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The International Film Festival Summit, Paris


As a freelance film critic looking to get involved with film festivals, I feared that talks at the International Film Festival Summit might be too specialised for me. I was one of only two people who were solely film critics, in a room of about 40 people, many of whom had vast experience founding, financing, organising and programming film festivals: about half gave keynote addresses or participated in panels to share their knowledge. In-depth knowledge of a subject can make it difficult to talk about it without going into the kind of detail that will bore the uninitiated or blind them with science. Yet most of what these knowledgeable speakers had to say was completely accessible to the novice. The name ‘summit’ also evokes a vast, potentially intimidating gathering of people, but this summit was a personal and welcoming affair, hosted in a cosy meeting room at the Hotel du Louvre, right in the middle of Paris’s first arrondissement. [Read more →]

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