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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

iranian oscar film a separation

The Best Foreign Oscar film reminds life is not separate from who live it.

‘A Separation’ is about the gulf between necessities and luxuries, responsibilities and aspirations, and lives that are torn between truths and lies. The religious, economical and gender dichotomies and disparities play a crucial role in this dramatic Iranian social labyrinth that deserved the Best Foreign Film Oscar this year. More than a couple’s separation – the issue here is to leave Iran for the sake of a child or reamin for the sake of the father. A battle between tradition and modernity, the film is full of questions captured in the daily routines of life. The audience is the judge. Life is at first manageable and easy going, as Nader the protagonist seems to think, but he encounters problems and issues along the way, making life as rough as a sandstorm.

The writer-director Asghar Farhadi scans a few lives that are ultimately inseparable and he seems to say Tehran – with its bustle and beauty – is not very far from us. Along with Iranian film gems Makhbalbaf and Panahi, Farhadi builds his sequences cleverly forcing us to go back to the early scenes to see who said what. There is a conflict between ‘I ought to’ and ‘I want to’ among the characters, who range from an upper middle class banker to a cobbler and a pregnant maidservant. The film takes an empathetic tone with the 11-year-old sixth grader, who is sandwiched between her poles apart parents even when the film ‘narratively’ tries to be neutral.

A contrasting study is well sketched between the apparently well to do, city-dwelling young girl and the most-of-the-time silent daughter of the home nurse, who hails from the countryside. There are undertones that are fully baked but half served – like the deeply religious woman who keeps secrets from her husband, a sick old man who gradually loses the ability to speak, and a dominating husband who is also a 'self-beater'.

This self-inflicted pain is part of the film’s structure. As the film gently progresses, the audience is doomed – not negatively – to witness the accounts of the suppressed feelings of the characters. In one scene the hero, separated from his wife and frustrated by the maid, bathes his frail father and sobs uncontrollably without the old man noticing.

The wife is also seen crying to an unresponsive father-in-law – he suffers from Alzheimer’s – saying ‘he never asked me to stay’. The veiled beautiful faces of the young generation seem like candles – lighted but burning within. Watch it if you would like to be showered in that candle light.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

കണ്ണുകള്‍ (വീഡിയൊ) ----------------------
തൊട്ടേനേ ഞാന്‍ മനസ് കൊണ്ട് കെട്ടിപ്പിടിച്ചേനേ എന്ന ഗാനത്തിന്‍റെ വിരുത്തത്തില്‍ വയലാര്‍ അത്ഭുതപ്പെട്ടു: നീലക്കണ്ണുകളോ, ദിനാന്ത മധുര സ്വപ്‌നങ്ങള്‍ തന്‍ .. പാതിയടയും നൈവേദ്യ പുഷ്‌പങ്ങളോ! അനുരാഗകഥകള്‍ കൈമാറാനുള്ള വഴിയായും ചിമ്മിയും പിടഞ്ഞും ഇടഞ്ഞും കണ്ണുകള്‍ ഒരുപാട് ഗാനങ്ങളിലൂടെ കൂമ്പിയും കളിയാടിയുമിരുന്നു. 'ഈറന്‍പീലിക്കണ്ണുകളില്‍ ശോകം വീണ്ടും മയ്യെഴുതി' എന്ന് മമ്മൂട്ടി ഒരു പടത്തില്‍ മാധവിയോട് പാടുന്നു. കണ്ണുകള്‍ നിറഞ്ഞുതുളുമ്പുവാനും തൂവാനും കൂടിയായിരുന്നു. ഉല്‍സവമല്‍സരമേളകളില്‍ കണ്ണുകള്‍ സുറുമയും ചാന്തുമെഴുതി. മാനുകളും മീനുകളും മയിലുകളും മിഴികളില്‍ എഴുന്നു വന്നു. സര്‍വോപരി സ്വാമിക്ക് ഓടിയെത്താനുള്ള ഇടവുമായി കണ്ണുകള്‍. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ഈ വീഡിയോ ( ) എടുക്കുമ്പോള്‍ ഇത്രയുമൊക്കെ എന്‍റെ കണ്ണിലുണ്ടായിരുന്നു; കണ്‍മുന്നിലും.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jahra's young stories

Jahra's young authors 'unleash' their stories
'Thirty years ago a woman was divorced from a rich man' - begins a story 'Lost Lima', penned by Turki Abdullah, a 7th grader. In the 20-page story (set in Mexico) Lima the 15-year old daughter of the divorced woman who grew up in an orphanage home, ran away and was rescued by a kind old woman. Events unfold through strange and odd episodes until we find Lima living happily with her parents and the old woman. From happiness, cooperation to environmental care and animal husbandry, emotions rule the stories written by the students ranging from grade 1 to 9 as part of the writing month conducted at Kuwait Bilingual School. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 'What is better than kissing your child when he is crying', goes a line in a story. The school organized an exhibition of kids' books for the public where many parents came and read to their surprises, their children's and other kids' stories. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Poverty, violence, drugs and other forms of evil also find their place in some stories. 'Protecting Program', a gory story, authored by 9th grader Abdulrahman Assad tells about a storekeeper who married the daughter of a poor widower. He then sells his child, much to the anger of his wife, (and to the agony of his English teacher). He was brutally killed at the end by his wife who leaves no proof for the police to arrest her. When asked why their stories sound so unfamiliar, both Turky and Abdulrahman said they wanted imagination take over their day to day reality. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "I had many delightful moments going through 500 plus stories", agrees Susan Jenkins, the English coordinator at the school. This is more than I expected, she said. Their imagination is soaring; voice is varying and perspective changing. To look from a different point of view is not easy with today's kids, she added. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stories of high morals were the most found genre in the two-day young author exhibition. Tamara Mubarak's character, Abdullah throws soda cans and plastic wrappers from their car on the way to the beach. The environment unfriendly Abdulah also smashes a bottle on the beach before he goes for swimming. When he comes back from the water, 'Agrhrr!!' writes Tamara, 'the glass piece went into Abdullah's feet.' The story ends when Abdullah later learns his lessons at the hospital. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ In another moral story, one of the fighting boys ends up in jail 'when they continued to fight even in front of the police'. Other environment themed works were plays collectively written by Grade 5 girls. “They brainstormed the idea, formed and named characters, including narrators”, said their teacher Meghan Bigwood. One play talks about a competition on taking care of the environment. "A dry topic like environment would be ignored. So we put some element of competition in it", said one of the young authors. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kid characters who are happy when they are sick because they don't have to go to school; A kid who poisons her math teacher and makes the teacher dance; A bug traveling through London, Madrid and other places through the days of the week; A poor worm that was accidentally stamped by a child; The pirate who kills people by his sneeze, and realist fiction like community helpers also found their way to the imagination of the kids. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Earlier, the school had month-long activities on writing. Anagrams, puzzle-jokes (Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from the burger shop!) both in English and Arabic were put up on the bulletin boards where students had to find crazy solutions. The classroom doors were decorated with details of an author as part of the 'Author of the Week' activity. Classes were given topics in English and Arabic before the students went bang with a flood of stories. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KG children also took part with their single character - one-page picture story about samak (fish), asad (lion), pat (duck), arnap (rabbit) and a girl who is eating salad. The nursery teachers stood by the wall mounted stories of the little authors to explain 'This is a tree, this is a bear', inviting and invoking the Alice in Wonderland in us. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And for more serious readers, here is a story on recession - 'A Spanish citizen goes to the US, learns English and goes back to his country equipped with a skill' is the theme in a story written by 8th grader Abdulaziz Mamdouh. The title he gave to his story is open to more conclusions: 'Untitled'.

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