Living and Working in the Movie Business

Pop Quiz: What job, at the end of the day, hands out maps so you know how to get to work the following day? Or what occupation has a precise starting time every day but usually doesn’t ever guarantee an ending time? Or what profession has you working at a dirty tire factory in the morning, and that afternoon you’re setting up shop at the prestigious Riviera Country Club? And finally what trade keeps you flying by the seat of your pants because no matter how prepared you think you are the unexpected happens.

Our company rolled in early that morning, in complete darkness, and the Transportation Department began strategically parking the production vehicles. Parking can be a big deal as the cast and crew will be moving back and forth from the trucks and trailers to the set, etc., so the closer and easier truck access is the quicker things can go. A good Transportation Coordinator and/or Captain can save a production a lot of time and money over the course of a feature film, and our Captain was very good. He was good because when you work the set you really come to appreciate someone who cares enough to get those vehicles parked as close as possible, as the trips made between the two can be many.

On any shooting day Transportation is generally the first to arrive and the last to leave, and this morning was no different as they were setting up base camp an hour before anyone else got there; parking a couple semis, a honey wagon, and then arranging make-believe spaces in a grassy field for a couple five and ten ton trucks, a wardrobe trailer and caterer.

An hour later, after all the vehicles were neatly parked and the first signs of light were upon them, the happy drivers stood around the catering truck reliving the parking job while munching breakfast and sipping coffee.

A hundred yards away, in the purple dawn, the film’s Director, followed by a few department heads, walked over and talked quietly with the Director of Photography about the first shot of the day.

The long-haired Director then pulled out his viewer, looked through it, and began sizing up the area, which on that early morning was a dilapidated farmhouse on a wide open prairie in rural Wyoming.

He lowered his viewer, thought for a second, and turned to the show’s Set Decorator. “Is everything ready at the house?”

She nodded.

His eyes went back to the vast expanse, and he squinted. “Is anyone here from Transportation?”

Nearby, eating a breakfast burrito, the proud Captain smiled and stepped forward. “Yes, sir, what do you need?”

The Director turned to him and with a confused look on his face said, “Why are all those trucks parked in my shot?”

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage – Dario Argento’s Giallo Masterpiece

I am a big fan of Italian giallo movies, and one of my all time favourites in this genre is The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970).

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage – which was the first instalment in the Animal Trilogy, and was followed by The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972) – was also the first giallo movie that Dario Argento directed, on his way to making his own significant mark in this hugely popular category of filmmaking. Taken from the 1949 novel The Screaming Mimi by Frederick Brown, the movie would lay the foundations for the standard giallo film for the next ten years or so. And unlike the 1958 Hollywood version, directed by Gerd Oswald and titled Screaming Mimi, Argento’s offering would be much more violent and lurid, characteristics for which such giallo directors as Argento would become so famous.

The basic storyline of The Bird With The Crystal Plumage concerns an American writer, Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante) who, whilst working in Rome with his model girlfriend, Giulia (played by the lovely Suzy Kendall, whom I also loved in the other two giallo movies she made, namely Spasmo and Torso), witnesses the attempted murder of Monica Ranieri (Eva Renzi), a gallery owner’s wife, by a mysterious black-gloved attacker in a raincoat. As he is trapped between two glass doors, Sam is powerless to help the woman, and so can only watch in utter horror as the assailant makes a swift getaway.

The woman does manage to escape with her life, and when detectives arrive to investigate the incident, they confiscate Sam’s passport, deeming him to hold information that may be useful to their pursuit of a man they suspect may be responsible for several other murders in the city.

Sam and his girlfriend soon become deeply – and dangerously – entangled in the web of the killer’s deadly game. When Sam gets a telephone call from the fiend, he picks up on a certain sound, which is the cry of a rare species of bird from Siberia known as “The Bird With The Crystal Plumage” (due to the diaphanous glint of its feathers). It’s the only bird of its kind in the whole of Rome, and it is kept in the city zoo. While the police are investigating their list of suspects, Sam continues his own investigation, an investigation fraught with knife-edge tension and danger.

There is a particularly nerve-wracking scene involving his girlfriend, when she is left all alone in their apartment, and the killer breaks in. This scene is one of the most memorable and gripping scenes I have seen in a giallo movie. And as for the twist at the end… well, without giving it away lest you haven’t seen the movie, let’s just say it completely stunned me, as I never saw it coming. An awesome end to a truly awesome move!

If you haven’t yet seen The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, then I strongly recommend that you go and check it out. Not only is it a veritable masterpiece of giallo filmmaking, but it is also a movie that you can watch again and again, and there aren’t many films you can say that about.

The Pros And Cons Of Streaming TV Shows And Movies Online

For years, you won’t find a home that didn’t have cable or satellite TV. With such services, you can get your fill of your favorite TV shows and popular and classic movies. Of course, you have to be mindful of the time they will be shown and scheduled replays, if there are any, so that you won’t miss them.

Nearly all people relied on these services in the past. However, this number has been gradually reducing over the years due to another option that allows people to watch their favorite TV shows and movies in the comforts of their home and basically, anywhere they are at any time of the day or night: online streaming.

By subscribing to an online streaming service and connecting to the Internet, you can watch your favorite TV shows and movies on your device. Aside from your TV set, you can use your computer or laptop, tablet, and smartphone to view your show or film of choice.

Although online streaming offers various perks to a TV and movie buff, there are still some disadvantages to this service as well. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of streaming TV shows and movies online:

Pros

• Personalized viewing. With a streaming service, you can choose which shows and movies you want to watch anytime. As long as it has been shown on the big and small screen, you can view this when you log on to your streaming service account. With the right subscription, you can watch shows without any annoying and disruptive commercials. Most online streaming services will also recommend movies and TV shows that you might like based on your viewing history. Of course, you have the option of watching them or not.

• They are affordable. Cable and satellite service providers can charge you hundreds of dollars for a year’s subscription. Online streaming services, on the other hand, are less expensive; depending on the service you choose, you can pay for a month’s services somewhere between ten to twenty dollars.

• Their services are flexible. Lastly, cable and satellite companies can lock you into strict annual contracts. Online streaming services are very flexible. You can sign up for and cancel your subscription anytime without paying for any termination fees or penalties.

Cons

• High-speed Internet is important. If you want to have uninterrupted viewing without the video constantly buffering, you will need to have good, fast Internet connection all the time. If you currently have a slow one, you may have to upgrade your plan to something that is faster and more expensive.

• You have to make sure you have the right device. Although you may already have a desktop computer or laptop, a tablet, or smartphone which you can use, if you want to watch your favorite shows and movies on a large screen, you will have to check if your current TV set has Internet connection capabilities. If not, you will have to invest in a new one.

Famous HVAC Air Duct Scenes in Movies

HVAC air ducts have provided protagonists and antagonists means of escape, sneaky entrances, and surprise attacks in movies. While the scenes in these movies may not be completely realistic to real life standards, they’re still enjoyable and entertaining to watch. Below are a few scenes in which an HVAC air duct was used in a crafty way by movie characters.

Mission Impossible

Perhaps the most infamous scene from the Mission Impossible series is Tom Cruise’s character being lowered into the white control room at Langley. Given the tight security surrounding this mission, Tom Cruise’s character can’t simply waltz through the front door. The air duct gives him access from the ceiling to retrieve the information without triggering any alarms. During the scene we see his accomplice lowering him down from the safety of the immensely strong and study air duct above.

The Fifth Element

In this wacky sci-fi movie, an alien is transformed into a human female. After her transformation is complete, she’s completely bewildered, confused, and scared. In order to escape those trying to capture her, she leaps head first into an air duct. There she navigates the tunnels searching for a way out. This character also tries to escape through an air vent in the climax of the film, but soon realizes the vent is circular and there’s no way out. Needless to say, ventilation sure comes in handy when this otherworldly creature is looking for escape.

Alien

Alien is unique in that the antagonist (the alien) is the one using the ventilation system to navigate and surprise her prey. This scenario stretches the truth to its limit, since we can guess that the alien likely weighs near one ton and spits acid. These two factors combined make it highly unlikely that the alien could be properly supported in this fashion, but then again, it does make the film thrilling and suspenseful.

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club inserted a bit of truth into their HVAC air duct escape scene. After rebellious character Bender is locked away in the broom closet for misbehaving, he escapes through the duct above the hallways. Once he’s over the library, where all the other students are, the duct caves and he falls through. Since most airways likely can’t support the weight of a human, this is the most realistic scene on the list. The collapse also provides a funny punchline for Bender’s unfinished joke.

Resident Evil

A group of agents enter an underground facility that’s been shut down due to a virus outbreak. Once the group realizes the virus has turned the dead into walking zombies, they scramble for a way to exit the underground facility safely. Navigating through hallways, laboratory rooms, and utility tunnels, the group finally makes their way through an air shaft to reach safety and evade the hungry zombies.

Though escape through an HVAC air ventilation system isn’t likely your best bet in real life, it makes for a thrilling and entertaining escape in movies. We’re likely to see many more sneaky crawls through airways to come in the future.

How (Why) to Make a Movie

It was 1969, I was 22 years old, and all things seemed possible. Yes. Possible. I didn’t know all the nuts and bolts to making a good movie at that time but I should have made the attempt anyway.

My cousins and I wanted to make a movie. The theme escapes me now. Today, the production from that time would have been laughable, considering our level of expertise.

We had none. Now, forty odd years later, it is too late. While it isn’t too late to make more movies it is too late to make that one. For starters, not everyone in the original cast is still alive. No, we can’t travel in time to our past, but, if planned properly, we can bring the past to our present.

Well, we had not planned properly. That window was never opened. Our technology back then would have been an 8mm camera and a tape recorder. Synchronizing the two would have been difficult. Yes, it would be laughable today, if only we had made it.

Isn’t a camera a type of time machine? Doesn’t it bring the past to ‘life’?

Have you ever found yourself engrossed in an old movie, when, all of a sudden, it hits you?… ‘No one in this movie is alive today’. But they sure are ‘alive’ on the screen.

Whatever your aspirations, whatever level of competence you strive for, remember that even our most base attempts at film making are a ‘time machine’, a way of once again seeing the past unfold before us. Moments captured in the lives of our families, our children, our aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents, can be relived. These precious moments can ‘live’ once again.

My mother was no ‘movie’ maker, but she sure made a lot of home movies over the years. All soundless, all in 8mm, and all my most prized possessions today. Sure, I wish I could hear the voices of my departed family members again, but she made do with her times technology.

Today, especially in the realm if video, she could have captured so much more. Her limitations didn’t stop her, however, and her amateurish attempts with her old 8mm camera, which I still have today, are for me, priceless.

Take a look around you, at the colors and sounds of your life. Capture some of them.

Open a window from your time to the senses of future generations of your loved ones.

I have, on my refrigerator door, attached by magnets, an old picture of my great grandfather, lifted from an old newspaper from his time when he was around 25 years old. That’s all I have of him, just one very poor photo of a man I wish I had known.

Wouldn’t it be marvelous to hear your great grandfather’s voice? To see him move? To bring his time to ‘life’?

You have available, today, the tools to turn these dreams into reality, for not only yourselves, but especially for your grandchildren. What a gift to leave him or her. If a picture is worth a thousand words then perhaps a ‘moving picture’ is worth a thousand stills.

Today, this choice is open to you. Amateur, intermediate, or professional, film making is possible. Each day you hesitate to act is another day lost forever to time. Whatever your aspirations may be; whatever level you wish to climb on the ladder to professionalism, get started today. Pick up a video recorder and hold a ‘time machine’ in your hands. You can achieve what you desire, open as many windows as you like, become a family chronicler or reach for the silver screen Anything is possible. The most important step? Getting started.

How To Watch Online Movies

Tired of paying dollars for watching online movies? I will tell you in a very easy way about how you can watch movies for free online on your own computer or laptop.

There are many ways from which you can watch movies, but the best way is YouTube, it is a video streaming website and currently world’s no.1 video streaming website where you can watch loads of videos of other people where they are uploading various kinds of videos like animals, songs, music, tutorials, internet tips and more.

But this is only the beginning believe me, you can even watch online movies on YouTube for free, this is what the best part is, you only have to be really creative and you’ll have to search the right keywords on YouTube if you want to watch movies right on your computer screen, Basically YouTube offers a search engine where you can type keywords about what you want to see, and if there is any video which matches with your keyword term, it’ll show up. Now if you want to watch a movie like say: High School Musical, you’ll have to type something like: high school musical dvd rip, high school musical part 1, or anything which matches with the movie title.

In case if you aren’t able to find any movie there, try going on to DivX Videos, where you can watch movies for free in a great quality, which you can’t find easily anywhere else. Similarly, you can visit forums where there are Free Online Movies streaming, and more like that.

So these are the multiple ways for watching movies, videos, music videos and more, although these are only the few websites which are offering streaming, there are thousands of more on which you can stream videos and watch.

Observing the Mama’s Boy-Daddy’s Girl Relationship at the Movies

Did you know you can attend a mini-workshop on romantic relationships in the comfort of your own home for the price of a rented movie and be entertained at the same time? That is because this “at-home workshop” uses movies that you might already own!

This article, which is an excerpt from the book, “Getting Back to Love: When the Pushing and Pulling Threaten to Tear You Apart” (Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved), shows you how to pay attention to the Mama’s Boy/Daddy’s Girl dynamics in certain romantic relationships found in specific movies. It even shows you the movies where you can find evidence of Father’s Sons and Mother’s Daughters.

Mama’s Boys are tied, either consciously or subconsciously, to the influence of their mothers. They believe they get their power from the women in their lives. For systemic reasons, they did not get the chance to bond with their fathers in their early teens. Mama’s Boys are naturally attracted to Daddy’s Girls who are complimentary to them in the male/female dance of life.

Daddy’s Girls are tied, either consciously or subconsciously, to the influence of their fathers. They believe they find fulfillment taking care of the men in their lives. For systemic reasons, they did not get the chance to bond with their mothers in their early teens. Daddy’s Girls and Mama’s Boys draw each other like magnets! Each of them senses in the other what was missing from childhood and believes they can find the missing pieces together. Their relationships begin with a lot of chemistry and happiness. However, when they reach a certain level of commitment, they risk falling out of love unless they can learn to be together as adults, rather than as parents and children.

On the other hand, Father’s Sons did get to bond with their fathers in their early teens. These men know they get their power from within themselves. Similarly, Mother’s Daughters were able to bond with their mothers in their early teens. They know that fulfillment comes from within.

An effective way of observing Mama’s Boys and Daddy’s Girls in action is to be on the lookout for it in movies and on television. That removes the subject far enough away from oneself to be both entertaining and educational!

The most recent classical Mama’s Boy on television can be found in reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. Raymond and his brother are so tied to their mother’s apron strings that it can be both repulsive and hysterical to watch. Raymond’s wife, Debra, is a typical Daddy’s Girl too, as she barely tolerates Raymond’s behavior and bosses him around. Routinely, the most tension-filled moments on the sitcom happen when Ray has to choose between his mother and his wife. Invariably, he does his best to choose both, disappointing both women every time!

One of the more painful depictions of a Daddy’s Girl is found in Funny Girl. As depicted in that movie, Fanny Brice very sweetly takes care of her husband, Nick Arnstein, as though he is a boy and not a grown man. Out of love for him and without realizing what she is doing, she demeans him over and over again, chipping away at his masculinity and destroying what is left of their love. She doesn’t mean to, but she can’t help herself. She is desperate to hold on to him. The option of letting him handle the consequences of his own actions must have felt like a sure way of losing him. But taking care of him made certain she’d lose him. If you or someone you love is at risk of jeopardizing their relationship because of this kind of caretaking, Funny Girl can be an effective, if painful, mirror to help encourage yourself or someone else to make a change.

In movies like Sex, Lies, and Videotape, or Enough, or Hanging Up, the depictions of Mama’s Boys and Daddy’s Girls are equally obvious. In Enough we find a depiction of a Mama’s Boy who tries to get his power from his woman in abusive ways. In it, Slim and Mitch Miller are newlyweds apparently in love and with an abundant future ahead. The honeymoon is quickly over, though, when Mitch turns abusive. He becomes more and more controlling of their environment and their child, isolating Slim from her friends and potential support. He eventually begins to have an affair. Between finding out about the affair and Slim’s desire to protect their daughter from Mitch’s abuse, she leaves their home with their child only to have Mitch pursue her relentlessly. Mitch’s obsession with controlling and belittling his wife, his having an affair and apparent feeling of entitlement to that affair, are all symptoms of a Mama’s Boy who uses abuse to try to get his power from women.

What about getting to witness a Father’s Son and a Mother’s Daughter on film? Are any of those available? Yes!

In the movie You’ve Got Mail, you find a Mother’s Daughter and a Father’s Son in action. Kathleen Kelly is her mother’s daughter, having followed her mother in ownership and management of her mother’s children’s bookstore. Joe Foxx is his father’s son, having followed his father in ownership and management of the family business, Foxx Books.

The next time you watch You’ve Got Mail, pay attention to how Joe and Kathleen manage their relationships. Joe neither pushes against nor pulls on the women in his life. And the women in his life don’t treat him like a little boy. Kathleen doesn’t take care of the men in her life as though they are little boys. Even though Frank, the man in her life when the movie begins, may in fact be a Mama’s Boy, Kathleen doesn’t take care of him in that way. And when life throws her a serious curve ball, with the loss of her business, she reaches down deep and takes care of herself. The movie makes it clear that the resource she taps into is her relationship with her deceased mother.

In Open Range you’ll find a character who is likely a Father’s Son. Charley Waite is a middle-aged cowboy and former gunslinger enjoying the final years of grazing his cattle freely in open country. He is a man who has never been married and who, apparently, has not had a great deal of contact with the opposite sex. When he meets and becomes smitten with Sue Barlow, he doesn’t quite know how to go about letting her know of his interest and growing love. His attempts to tell her he finds her attractive are awkward, yet appealing.

In the end he comes to her, hat in hand, offering her marriage and a kind of leadership as a husband that is old-fashioned and chauvinistic. Sue is also middle-aged and has never been married. She is too wise and courageous about life to attempt to pretend she will be fulfilled being the little wife whose husband protects her from all harm. She challenges Charley to meet her as one adult to another. He is man enough to meet the challenge, and the movie ends with the promise that their spirited romance has only just begun.

Speaking of spirited romances, Bull Durham gives a viewer a robin’s eye view into a Mama’s Boy and a Father’s Son in pursuit of the same woman! In this movie, there is a love triangle that forms around Crash Davis, a seasoned baseball catcher, Annie Savoy, the team’s best fan, and Nuke LaLoosh, the new young rookie on the team.

Even though Crash and Annie test their attraction for one another in the beginning of the movie, Crash quickly steps aside for Nuke and Annie to do their thing. He is too seasoned, both on and off the field, and too self-contained to waste his energy competing with the highly strung “puppy” that Nuke surely is.

Annie is in the habit of taking on one ball player a year whom she helps mature. She says, “There’s never been a ball player who slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career…there’s a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds…I make them feel confident and they make me feel safe and pretty.” As such she puts herself in the position of Mama to her chosen ball player and lets him be her Boy.

The first night she meets Nuke and Crash, she invites them back to her house where she sits them down and explains the rules. “I hook up with one guy a season. It usually takes me a couple of weeks to pick the guy. It’s kind of my own spring training. And, well, you two are the most promising prospects of the season so far. So I just thought we should try to get to know each other.” Crash stops her right there. He wants to know why she gets to choose. Why not one of the men? She goes on about quantum physics and how no one really ever gets to choose anyone. Crash gets up to leave. Annie asks him where he’s going.

Crash responds, “After twelve years in the minor leagues, I don’t try out. Besides, I don’t believe in quantum physics when it comes to matters of the heart.”

“What do you believe in then?” Annie asks.

As he puts on his coat to leave, Crash answers her with one of the most famous movie speeches that ends with these words, “…and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. Good-night.”

Annie breathes, “Oh, my.” She then chases him out the door to say she just wants to date, not fall in love. Crash tells her, “I’m not interested in a woman who’s interested in that boy. Good-night.”

When Nuke makes it to the big leagues and leaves town, Crash makes himself available to reconsider the chemistry that was and still is evident between him and Annie. At that point he requests she show up as one adult to join the dance with another adult. It is a stretch for her, but she’s woman enough to take the challenge.

Movies are a great way to attend mini-workshops to witness the ramifications of being blind to the Mama’s Boy/Daddy’s Girl dance and the relative ease of the Father’s Son/Mother’s Daughter dance!

An Introduction to Satyajit Ray, The Celebrated Movie Director With Synopses of His Masterpieces

I had already read something about movies of Satyajit Ray, doyen of Indian movies. The first film I saw was Pratitwandi (The adversary) in 1971. I was employed in an all India job and had the opportunity to work in all the metro cities of India. Wherever I went, I never missed to see Ray movies. It was a pleasant experience of life to watch his movies.

This article contains the impressions which the films created in me and I hope that readers will agree with my observation that he is a poet, artist and a sculpture among the film producers/directors. Also a synopsis of each film has also been given so that readers may have an understanding of the theme of the film under discussion.

However, a word of caution is that it requires a sense of appreciation of fine arts to enjoy movies of Ray. One should necessarily be a connoisseur to appreciate his movies. There are adverse critics also for some of his movies that he portrayed the poverty of India abroad. The fact is that he was bold enough to highlight which other producers were afraid to touch.

Synopses of some of his best movies in the chronological order of my viewing them are as follows:

1. Pratitwandi- The adversary:

Pratitwandi which means Adversary remains to be the first movie of Ray seen by me. It was a pleasant Sunday morning; the hall which screened the movie was most modern with high class equipment. The film Pratitwandi was a new release and the print of the film was very good. The moment the tiles started running on the screen, I was engrossed in the movie.

The story was about an educated, unemployed lad, whose mind was tilted to the path of violence gradually. The year 1971 witnessed a great exodus of refugees from Bangladesh (Erstwhile East Pakistan) to Calcutta. From South (Andhra Pradesh) a new violent movement called Naxalbari movement founded by Charu Majumdar started spreading and its loyalists were known as Naxalites.

Famous writer Sunil Gangobadhyaya wrote the story and Mr Ray portrayed it in an exemplary manner.

The hero’s name was Siddhartha. He was a calm and quiet lad whereas his younger brother chose the path of a naxalite, wedded to bomb culture.

The essential part of the film was to explain how Siddhartha’s mind was also tilted towards violence because of unemployment. He started brooding violence in his mind gradually and finally when a mob was seen mercilessly beating a cab driver responsible for an accident, he joined them in beating the driver even without knowing the reason.

“Individual Bengali is a poet, but a Bengali crowd is a violent mob”, this is a famous proverb and it was proved well by this scene.

The last scene was about an interview. Dozens of youth were called to attend. But there was no seating arrangement, no drinking water and only suffocation was there. One by one, the candidates started swooning for want of water and air and the hero entered the cabin with a bang. In a spate of anger he threw all the papers on the faces of interview board members and got out of the chamber. Naxalite thoughts were running over his mind along with portraits of Naxalite leaders..

‘That is how a naxalite is created’. This was the message of the film…

But the picture ended with positive note. He did not turn into a naxalite. He got a small assignment of a medical representative and he had a sweetheart who influenced him to be a normal youth, shunning the way of violence. There was place for love also in his life..

The Impressions: The directorial touches were excellent in various scenes. One important scene was about the naxalite turned brother. When he was an urchin he was unable to tolerate a chicken being killed by butcher, but later he used to kill mercilessly by throwing bombs. What a dramatic irony!

I could never forget the facial expression of the school child sitting inside the car, watching the violence with bewildered eyes, when the car driver was beaten to death by the mob.

After coming out of the hall, I was unable to go to my residence. The whole day, I was wandering around the city, the contents of the film lingering upon my mind.

No doubt, it is one the best pictures of Indian Cinema.

2. Teen Kanya- Stories of Three girls.

The next film I saw was Teen Kanya, a story of three girls. Three independent stories of three girls were clubbed into a single movie and perhaps might be the first such attempt in India. The names of the three stories are, ‘Post Master, Monihar and Samapti’ respectively. The story was by the great Poet Rabindra Nath Tagore. Though the film was produced in 1961, I saw it only in 1972. It was an old print and images were not clear. Yet I was able to appreciate the movie because of its rich contents.

First story: ‘Post Master’ was about a young person posted as the post master in a hamlet. The only fellow who was to help him was a young orphan girl child. Gradually good friendship blossomed between them He took personal interest to teach her to read and write. Alas, when she started learning something, he got a transfer and had to leave.

Impressions: Words could not explain the despair in the girl’s eyes, when the post Master left the hamlet.

Two scenes are worth mentioning. The post master got severe fever. When he was hesitant to swallow the tablet, the urchin grabbed the tablet and started chewing on his behalf to demonstrate how easy to swallow a tablet. In another scene, he had an encounter with horrible mad fellow. The whole night he was sitting before him sleepless out of fear. But, the next morning, when the girl visited him she just shouted ‘go, go’ and the ‘horrible’ lunatic ran away.

The second story was about a beautiful, rich and married lady who had an un-natural death and haunted a villa. Unfortunately, this portion was not available to view.

The third story was about an un-willing young bridegroom wedded to an immature girl who was not aware of marital relationships. How she came in term with her husband and started loving him was told in a jovial manner. This episode was later produced as a full length Hindi movie.

3. Pather Panchali- The Roadside Song:

Pather Panchali was the first film produced by Ray (in 1955) with the financial support of Government of West Bengal. But it took five years for me to view that film after I saw first a Ray film. I could vouchsafe that it was an experience of life. The recognition and awards given to the film were too little compared to the greatness of the movie.

The original story was written by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, a famous Bengali author and the screenplay was by Ray himself. The music was scored by Pandit Ravisankar, a famous sitar player.

The story revolved around a poor family of five from a village viz: The family head

Harihar, his widowed sister, wife, daughter Durga and son Apu. The film was about their poverty and yet they used to find pleasure in enjoying the small pleasures Nature provided them with. The children walked kilometres from the village to watch a moving train. The scene could easily be compared to the train scene of Dr Zhivago.

Mother had the weakness of stealing coconuts from the neighbour’s garden. One day the neighbourhood lady lost her bead necklace and the blame fell on the daughter. But she firmly refuted the charge. The father left the village and went to an unknown town for betterment of his livelihood. The family entered into utter poverty. The girl Durga fully drenched in rain water was severely attacked with viral fever and without getting any medical relief she was dead. The house is in utter ruins.

After some years, the father chose to return to the village. He was shocked to see the ruins of the house. However, he started showing the valuables, he brought from town. When he was in search of Durga his wife fell to his feet and started crying. He also started crying after realising that his daughter was no more alive.

They decide to leave the village for good and started moving in a bullock cart.

The film ended with a totally touching scene. When clearing the old vessels. Apu found the neighbour’s once lost necklace from a mud pot. For one second he was perplexed, but the next moment, he threw it into the pond and joined the bullock cart.

No doubt, the film richly deserves the ‘Best Human document’ award in the Cannes film festival of 1956 and it remains to be one of the best films of the world. This is first of the three films known as Apu Trilogy.

4. Charulata, The lonely wife:

This is the story of a young married girl. The lonely wife was disillusioned with her husband who was a workaholic, always busy with his publishing works, not finding time to take care of her. The bewildered wife got solace in the company of brother of her husband and fell in love with him. Because of the extreme love and affection, the brother had for his elder brother, he gently rejected her love and nothing untoward happened. However, when the husband knew about the intention of his wife, the couple were psychologically separated.

Impressions: The woman watching the innocent brother in law from a swing was a very popular scene known as ‘the swing scene’ and the change in her mind from affection to love was very powerfully depicted. In India, a sister in law (brother’s wife) is considered equivalent to mother. It is very difficult to portray a woman otherwise which Ray did powerfully.

The story was by Rabindranath Tagore and reported to be a reflection of some incidents in his life.

5. Ghare Baire, Home and the world:

It is an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s story with the same title which means Home and the world. It powerfully exposes the pseudo patriots (swadeshis), who cheat local Indians saying that they are fighting imperialism and promote local economy.

The story was about a broad minded vicar who gave total freedom to his wife. He invited his friend, supposed to be a ‘Swadeshi’ (Patriotic Indian leader) but really not so. The leader, by his cunning ways won the heart of vicar’s wife who wished to take part in the freedom struggle. When a communal fight with huge violence (involving local Hindu-Muslim population) occurred in the village, the leader fails to face the situation, whereas, the vicar, supposed to be a selfish rich man, went and met the violent crowd. There was a sound of distant gunshot indicating that he sacrificed his life. His wife got disillusioned and it was too late. The screenplay was in a flashback narrated from her angle.

Impressions: It requires lot of boldness to write and to portray such an off-beat story exposing pseudo leaders. This film received sharp criticism from local leaders (Naturally).

6. Devi:

The story: A father in law got a peculiar dream that his daughter in law was none other than Devi (Durga, The Goddess) and started worshiping her. Soon people in and around the neighbouring villages started pouring in to worship her. When her husband returned from studies, she never allowed him to touch her since she was afraid of offending the Divine power. However, finally he was able to convince her that she was only a human and they were able to escape the village to go to a faraway place and live a normal life.

Impressions: The scenes, when people were converting her as God incarnate and she herself believing it are worth remembering.

7. Ashani shankat (Distant Thunder)

Ashani Shankat is another movie depicting the 1942 famine in Bengal taken in the style of Pather Panchali. This is a 1973 movie, in colour. It is a powerful depiction of human psychology subjected to poverty and hunger.

8. Seemapadha (company Limited).

This film, though only in black and white, is one of the most modern themes of Ray. It portrayed how an executive did all the cunning tricks in getting a coveted promotion. He engineered even an internal strike by creating artificial fight. He was ruthless, made one of his poor staff getting physically hurt to get a strike proposal materialise. Finally he got the promotion by hook and crook.

But in this process, he lost the great respect and appreciation his young and beautiful sister in law had for him who was disillusioned with her brother in law that he would stoop down to any level to get his promotion. A realistic approach indeed!

9. Jalsa Ghar (merriment room)

The story: Jalsa Ghar means a house or a hall reserved for merriment. The story revolves around a Zamindar (landlord, vicar) who lost all his wealth in independent India to be taken over by the Government. Unfortunately he lost his only son also in a ship wreck. What he retained was only his palatial building and a faithful servant and lived only in the past spending most of the time in the empty Jalsa Ghar in the palace which was a permanent reminder of his hay days.

But, a friend of him, who was a mediocre, became a millionaire by political influence and getting huge contracts. He invited the vicar also to join him in the business to mint money but he firmly refused considering his past prestige. The respect shown by the friend reduced day by day and finally he refused even to recognise his presence.

Enraged by this, the land lord ordered his servant to sell his personal belongings, renovate the Jalsa Ghar and ordered to have a merriment day at least once to celebrate the past memoirs. On that day, fully drunk, he drove the horse to beach side, lost control and fell down to death.

The servant took a drop of his blood from his forehead and cries “Khoon” meaning that ‘finally the blood is same red for all’.

Impressions: The picture very powerfully portrayed the feelings and emotions of a king who lost his power and lived in past glory, ingratitude of the Government, the cunning ways of politicians, and finally the tragic end of a ruler who wished to have his past glory at least for a single day and to have his Swan song. To some extent it portrayed the situation prevailing in post Independent India wherein ex-rulers were thrown into mud and Neo-politicians took their position by crooked means.

The story was by Sri Tarashankar Bandopadhyay and the lead role was powerfully played by Chabhi Biswas.

I was able to recognise the feelings of the ruler and emotions and my heartfelt sympathies went with him.

This film remains to be my most liked movie of Ray.:

I have recorded my impressions of 9 movies produced and directed by Mr Ray. There are some more films which impressed me very much. Some of them are:

Shatranj Ke kiladi (Chess players) the only Hindi movie,

Nayak (The Hero),

Aranyer Din Rat (Day and night in a forest) with typical Ray touch.

Kanchan Junga (A Himalayan Peak)

Since they have themes of fantasy, they were not recorded here.

Now I will record the tribute I paid him. I have never attended the funeral of any political leader nor film personality though there were several deaths in places where I lived. But I broke the rule and in 1992, when Ray breathed his last, in Calcutta I went to the place where his body was kept, waited in the queue for hours and paid my last respects.

This is the greatest tribute a common man like me would be able to pay to an artist whom he admired most.

The Entertainment Value of Good Movies

As many regional language and Hollywood film makers keep coming up with new releases, and those who wish to watch new movies easily get their selection information either through television advertisements or through internet websites, which promote advertisements in the form of trailers. This method of choosing movies is very convenient and useful for people to get entertained. Good movies provide lots of fun, comedy, entertainment and recreation for the viewers. Many viewers seek suspense stories or family films which are suitable for all age groups of people.

With movies being the biggest source of entertainment these days, people find great satisfaction and happiness by watching both older and more recently released films. For instance, Shrek and Chicken Little are animated movies which earned a great amount of revenue at the box office during their initial release. These films continue to get telecasted on the television channels and viewers continue to watch them and never get bored. Therefore, good entertainment can be found in the form of good, quality films. Ghost Rider is a thriller and there is a lot of action storyline in the movie which had led to its success.

Sherlock Holmes which is a detective movie is being hailed as an all-time successful movie with millions of people around the world watching it, contributing to its excellent rating.

Based on this, good films have lots of benefits and the movie industry is steadily working on new releases to please hungry viewers.

In every part of the world, movie viewers can now have access via the internet and other mediums to DVD movies, VCD movies, and made for television movies. As technology advancements are made, the benefits of movies are expanding and they are offering increased entertainment to movie viewers.

At this point, it is important to say that working and college-going young people can draw a lot of enjoyment by watching movies further contributing to the industries success. In the past, and in the present massively successful movies continue to be released.

Audiences always receive a good solid message from good, quality films which continue to earn favor from the them. Based on this, if you get bored or would like to relax, you can always watch a good movie after ensuring that you like the storyline. You can share it with your friends and neighbors and can even rate the movie on internet. In conclusion, it is recommended not to miss the experience of watching good, quality movies.

Movie Reviews For Christmas Town

This is a charming-magical movie about the age-old topic of believing in Santa Claus and the magic of Christmas.

It stars the lovely Nicole De Boer (Cube, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) as Liz McCann a Real Estate Agent who doesn’t believe in Christmas but sees it just as any other holiday, and would rather be working.

However she is a single mother to young Mason, played by Gig Morton, who is eagerly in the festive spirit. While at work Liz gets a phone call from her father played by Gary Chalk (Stargate SG-1), inviting her and Mason to come along and pay him a visit at Hollyville and celebrate Christmas with him, she initially declines as she remembers her dad never celebrated Christmas.

It so happens that her dad phones again while they are at home, and asks her a second time, Mason happens to be around, and not wanting to dash his hopes she agrees.

On their trip they are unable to find Hollyville, until the car breaks down and Mason spots a reindeer in the woods, Liz doesn’t see the reindeer and dismisses it, while she runs after Mason they both see Hollyville lighted up in the midst of all the trees.

On arriving at the town Liz is extremely surprised to find her father working at the local restaurant where everyone seems so happy, she has never seen her father so happy and friendly, and at one point she asks him “Who are you and what have you done to my dad”?

It so happens her father would like to make up for all the years he was never any good at making her happy especially during Christmas, and he would like to make this Christmas special not just for his grandson but for his daughter too.

Mason on the other hand has found some surprising discoveries, the quiet town is home to N.P. Enterprises short for North Pole Enterprises, whose business seems to be transport all over the globe.

There is also the case of a mysterious sleigh the local mechanic is fixing that is considered top secret, and characters that could easily be ascribed to those of elves. Of course Liz finds all this hard to believe, but Mason is eager to prove his mother wrong and make her a believer, while there is potential for some romance for Liz from Kevin (played by Paul Muldoon [Starship Troopers], his mannerisms are a lot similar to Rob Lowe), the boss of the diner her father works at.

It is a lovely magical movie the entire family will enjoy.