Greetings to everyone.
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for the responses, opinions and thoughts following the first issue. All of it have been encouraging and helpful in a number of ways. The second issue of the MCPH film club journal continues with the original objective of bringing together ideas about different spaces in cinema – across theory and actual practice – and tries to explore the variety and intricacies of these spaces as much as possible.
Akhil’s essay, ‘Exile and Self-Reflexivity in Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s The Cyclist’ looks at how self-reflexivity is employed in Makhmalbaf’s ‘The Cyclist’ by showing a contradiction that is present in the Afghan refugee situation in Iran. This contradiction brought about by camera angles, sets up a resistance against cinema objectifying the exiled figure. In his letter, Aravinda talks about how films can be made more accessible for the blind so that they can enjoy the aesthetics of such art forms. Using examples and his own personal experiences, he expresses his thoughts on the art of visualisation and the experience of engaging with an art form like a film. He addresses a fundamental issue concerning the cognition of cinema and suggests a serious reconsideration of what we mean by ‘making a medium accessible.’ Bill makes a case for why the Casablanca can singularly be the movie that had the biggest influence on American culture in ‘The Casablanca Test.’
If the tag ‘new generation cinema’ represents a breakaway culture in movie making, Jenson’s article ‘Film Aesthetics of Control Society: On Amen (2013) and Traffic (2011)’ looks at the ways in which a control society operates through ‘decentralised and distributed’ modes of power by using examples of the narrative and camera techniques in Traffic and Amen. As power operates in decentralised ways, Vipin presents a similar scenario in which he shows how capitalism reconfigures tradition within its logic through the example of Ustad Hotel. Meera’s essay ‘Exploring the presence of god: On-screen to off-screen,’ shows how contemporary movies of a particular kind resists atheism by drawing from the grand narratives of religion from the past. Although these movies do not employ the representation of God’s magic and grandeur directly, the existence of God is effected through other means as the essay shows. Shafeeq writes about how space and visuality is configured beyond structures of class difference in a detective narrative in Malayalam cinema. Samata’s ‘A tale of wonder’ is a review of Sahaj Pather Goppo, a 2017 film,
Tatiana writes about cuisines and food culture and their representations in Indian cinema in ‘In search for identity, pleasure and good memories: Food and cinema.’
There are two book reviews. In Madras Studios – A Review, Archana reviews the book Madras Studios, written by Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai and in The Rise and Fall of the Ramsay genre of horror in Indian Cinema, Ashish reviews Don’t Disturb the Dead: The Story of the Ramsay Brothers by Shamya Dasgupta.
In the Profile section, we have Dayal Paleri’s interview with Shijith V.P. on his recent documentary Nakusa: Unwanted is My Name. Dipto’s interview is with Director Nitin Chandra about his movies.
‘Making homes everywhere we go’ by Diti is about her experience of cinema during the Film Appreciation course at FTII, Pune and Nikhil’s article is a comical and philosophical take on consciousness and identity narrated through the words of John Locke.
Regarding the structure of the journal, we also expect to have a little more balance in the subject divide between theory and practice. There is no apparatus section this time, and we have come to realise it is not so easy to access or to gather information and write about such not-so-visible aspects of cinema. To cover these spaces is something we feel essential in keeping the journal’s objective intact and so we’ll be looking forward more emphatically into possibilities that could bridge this gap in the forthcoming issues.
MCPH Film Club Journal