Archive for the tag “world cinema”

Satyajit Ray Interviews Andrzej Wajda

During the Film Festival in Delhi (1965), we (Film Fare) invited Satyajit Ray to interview Polish Director Andrej Wajda. Although Ray was the interviewer, Wazda occasionally came up with the question as the conversation veered round to technique. The interview was, therefore, an exchange of ideas between two great directors. Well-known Polish critic B. Michalech acted as interpreter.

Satyajit Ray With Wajda

Satyajit Ray Interviews Andrzej Wajda


Ray- what are you working on now, Mr. Wajda?

Wajda- Going slow actually. I’m engaged at the moment in making a historical film. Not quite my cup of tea, though.

Ray- Why, then are you making it?

Wajda- Well, it’s based on a very popular book, well known in Poland, very dear to poles. After three years of waiting, doing nothing, I feel the need to be in touch with my audience again.

Ray- Oh yes, I understand that. Was “Generation” your first film?

Wajda- My first independent film. I mean, made entirely by me: my very first feature film.

Ray- I saw it in Venice, out of competition. Wonderful, I thought.

Wajda- Now, Mr. Ray, I have a question for you.

Ray- Out with it.

Wajda- You being the… well, the best known and the most brilliant director of Indian films, do you think it is possible, I mean in the future, taking a long perspective, to make films independently, films like the ones you made without the support, the strong support of some national organisation like State.

Ray- Well, I make my films without the support of any national organisation. There is no question of such support the way I make films. They are financed by private producers and distributors. As for my first film “Pather Panchali,” of course, I started with my own money, and then because funds run out, we had shelved it and actually thought of giving it up. And then somebody who had some influence with Government, persuaded them to take it up and they took it up. I mean the West Bengal Government.

Wajda- My question, I’m afraid, is more delicate. You see, for us you are the only man who is practising a sort of an excellent national cinema, truly national, and therefore I put it to you: Do you think that the way you are doing it this sort of cinema can develop in India- not only a cinema which Indian in name but which is practically a sort of national cinema?

Ray- Well, theoretically it is possible. I mean just the way I make films it is possible for another person to make films. You need first of all a man with the same sort of urge and with a certain degree of talent, also a certain degree of tenacity.

Wajda- Obstinacy…

Ray- Obstinacy, yes. Let’s put it this way. There is no bar, of course, if his films succeed. But supposing he makes one film, and if that is a failure at the box office- it may be an artistic success- and if he keeps on making failure financially, then it is difficult for him to make any headway, because after all, he depends on the producers, his backers, his distributors.

Wajda- But do you think there are a group of men in India, in any centre, who try to make the sort of films you have been making?

Ray- Well, I can speak about my own home state, Bengal. There are a number of young directors who engaged after “Pather Panchali”. Because I was new director and my films was a success, some distributors who had not backed young people, new people, before, now began backing them, and some of them have been reasonably successful. Oh, yes, there is such a young group in Bengal. Some haven’t succeeded as well as others, so they have to wait long for another contract. But there is backing for at least some people. There isn’t a big a big movement yet, not really, but there are people who are wanting to back them. It’s a healthy sign.

Wajda- Yes, but is the state itself interested in encouraging this sort of good and important- I mean socially and artistically important-productions? Does the state have an interest in encouraging such productions?

Ray- The state itself is not in a position to directly encourage them. Now we have this President’s Award in India which is an all India thing. Awards are supposed to be given to significant films. But of course they are chosen by committee all of whose members may not be experts, you see. Well, Government also gives a cash prize and a medal, and if the film gets a prize, it can get better distribution if it can be revived. On the strength of the prize, it can have a fresh start, you know.

Also there was some talk of forming a financial corporation which would be backing certain scripts which were thought suitable, but it hasn’t so far worked…but it’s in the air. It’s being considered. May I put a question to you? How many films have you made so far-five, six?

Wajda- Ten.

Ray- Let’s see… “Generation,” “Kanal,” “Ashes and Dimonds,” “Lotna,” “Samson”…

Wajda- “Sorcerers”… another made in Siberia- “Lady Macbeth of Minsk.” Then, of course, a sketch for a French film…

Ray- Oh yes, yes….

Wajda- “Lost on the Frontiers” which was a very nice sketch but I am sorry now that this subject has been put into a new film, because it is the subject of an old film. And then the film I am making now is in two parts… I mean from the production point of view it is even more than two films.

Ray- Only one film was in colour….or were there others?

Wajda- Only one… “Lotna.”

Ray- Do you like working in colour?

Wajda- It is certainly very interesting but one is handicapped by poor quality of laboratories in Poland and then not only the labs, but also the quality of the colours themselves. One can never foresee if it will work or not. So I am a little afraid of colour at this stage. Maybe because I am an artist, I am more sensitive to colour. For normal colour production, we may be all right. But my requirements are not so easily satisfied.

Ray- Well, it is more or less the same with me. I have made one colour film. Of course this was special because it was all outdoors, all location. But I was worried because processing facilities were not adequate in India and it had all to be processed not in Calcutta but in Bombay. But I was quite surprised with the results which wouldn’t have been as good had we shot in studio. We don’t have the lights, etc. But outdoors was a different matter. And I had this special kind of a story- I wrote the story specially for the films.

Wajda- Reverting to colour. We have another difficulty. In our climate the differences in colour during the day are enormous, unlike India where you have approximately the same intensity of light the whole day.

Ray- Now in Delhi? (Laughter)

Wajda- Yes. We have in Poland, during the day, ten or even twenty colour changes.

Meeting Contingencies

Ray- Well! I will tell you how we shot the film in Darjeeling, way up in the hills. I knew there would be differences in colour because there would be clouds, there would be mist, there would be sun, there would be morning and evening. The shooting had to meet all contingencies. It was a two-hour-long story, two hours continuous, unbroken time you see…I had scenes, mist scenes and cloudy scenes and sunny and shadowy scenes. We’d be shooting a sunny scene-and then the mist would come and we would all run with the camera and take another part of another scene. That’s how it was shot.

In a way it was easy because there was no chance of costume involved. Everything happened within the radius of, say, one square  mile. As soon as we felt there were clouds coming up, we changed, folded up there, and went over the next spot for that part of the scene. And so on.

Wajda- Weather back home is so capricious. A solution would be to use several cameras simultaneously as some time, Kurosawa does in black and white. Yes, because the difference between one take and another can be sometimes quite terrible. It’ is necessary to eliminate then afterwards. Eight or ten cameras very well placed, in a carefully thought out way, could well be the solution for a good colour film.

Ray- Tell me, Mr. Wajda, do you always make films of your own choice? I mean your own subject, your own cast and everything. You have complete freedom, I suppose?

Wajda- The initiative is mine. But after the script has been chosen and accepted by me, the last word is a committee’s which has to approve of it. In a way, I have complete freedom, although someone else has the last word. This is understandable because the state being the producer has at one stage to interfere and to say yes or no. But once production starts, I am complete master. There is no interference. I may even change a lot of things, departing from the original script. Ray- Can you really?

Wajda- Yes. From the script, from the approved script, I can change a sequence here, an entire scene there…

Ray- And they see the finished film?

Wajda- The committee does, yes. But of course when the film is finished the situation is much better because the money has been expended (laughter). This is more serious, so practically nobody interferes then.

 Ray- Have you ever had to completely abandon an idea because it wasn’t approved?

Wajda- Yes, some of them. For the ten films I have made in my career. I had 35 scripts. In a way I suppose I have more experience in making scripts (laughter) than of actually making films. But not all of them, of course, have been abandoned because the committee didn’t approve of them. Some I abandoned myself. Unfortunately in Poland we do not have professional script-writers and sometimes one comes across a very good idea which cannot be well expressed in a script.

Ray- Yes.

Wajda- …And therefore I do the scripting myself, though I am not always satisfied with my own work. Sometimes is happens that the script is not bad, the idea is good, but still there is a lack of good actors for some particular characters. Here again we are handicapped because we do not have good professional film actors, only theatre actors playing in films. And always the choice is limited and then everything depends on the goodwill of an actor or of a theatre. In Warsaw, for instance, there are 20 dramatic theatres. And Warsaw is not a very big town, about a million of population.

Ray- How many takes do you shoot normally? I often have to do with just one. It’s a question of raw stock-which is rationed here.

Wajda- We try to adopt the same method. Of course, one has to have a certain idea of the shape the film is going to take. But there is a certain pleasure in shooting much more than the final requirements. The pleasure of making a film is repeated thrice-firstly, when you are writing the script; secondly, when you are editing it.

Ray- Yes. Even if you shooting with a clear cut idea in your mind, at the cutting stage there are always small things you can do.

Wajda- Right.

Ray- It is not rigid, never rigid, particularly in dialogue scenes.

Wajda- I agree.

Ray- When you are cutting back and forth you can do a lot and you can control and modify the acting.

Wajda- Yes.

Ray- So there is still a lot left, but again here in Bengal we have to be very disciplined because we can’t be spending too much. That would be disastrous. Ours is a small market.

Wajda- But you have never used some popular stars of India?

Ray- I have not used the biggest stars, but one of them whom I introduced for the first times is now a very big star, but he is still making films for me. Another I introduced has now gone to Bombay; she too is now a big star. It’s like you see. As soon as they begin acquiring mannerism, I am a little afraid of using them.

Wajda- Now may I ask you about rehearsals? I have a double technique. For young inexperienced actors, I usually do not rehearse very much because here the only thing which matters is a certain —

Ray- A certain freshness, exactly…

Wajda- But for experienced actors, rehearsals are good. For the young actor who lacks the technique it is very difficult to get a good performance during rehearsal and to continue it when shooting.

Rehearsing Without Props

Ray- Do you find, as I do sometimes, that it is a difficult to rehearse a film scene as a stage scene in a drawing room…you know, I find that unless I am surrounded with the right props on the set I can’t rehears, I get no inspiration.

Wajda- This sort of rehearsal, if you call it rehearsal, with the actors is very useful in the beginning. More in the nature of a free discussion with the actors.

Ray- Yes.

Wajda- Just to reconstruct some characters, indicate the general line they are following. But then, of course I feel it is not useful, it is not effective, except maybe for a film which is entirely based on dialogue, which is quite a different thing.

Ray- Yes, particularly if you are planning fairly long takes where the actors have sustain the scene, it can be quite a problem.

Wajda- Yes, but so long as the actors are not in costume and in the place where the shooting is going to be done, they are for the director a little dead, a little…(Laughter).

Ray- Exactly… It’s the same with me. That’s why I put the question.

Wajda- You see, there is a very natural interaction of all the elements on the set.

Ray- Exactly. Do you agree with, for instance, Antonioni, when he says that an actor is nothing but a puppet in the director’s hands? That the actor will have to do exactly as he says, he shouldn’t be given any initiative of his own?

Wajda- I am sharply against it.

Ray- Ah, yes. You know of course that Antonioni said this…

Wajda- Yes, yes, of course…

Ray- I think Antonioni lies when he says that.

Wajda (laughing)Maybe Antonioni thinks he can influence actors because his principal actress is his wife and therefore he has a very strong influence on her. If one were to make a film in this way one would be tapping only half the possibilities of a good performance. The actor’s own interpretation of the character gives fullness to his performance. I suppose to call actors puppets is a reaction against the star system. Films are made to suit stars. Of course, sometimes it works as in the cases of Paul Newman and Marlon Brando. All the films they have made are made round them, and still it works.

Ray- Yes it’s like a concerto.

Wajda- But I myself am interested in making this sort of film.

Ray- Because the artists get an excessive prominence, it is not part of general pattern. They stick out, you see….

Published in Film Fare, 1965


कान फिल्म महोत्सव के नाम गोडार्ड की वीडियो-चिट्ठी

ज्यां ल्यूक गोडार्ड की सार्वजनिक उपस्थति, प्रस्तुति बहुत दिनों से बड़ी खबर बनती रही है. गोडार्ड अपनी पेशेवर दुनिया के सार्वजनिक मंचों और उत्सवों से लंबे अरसो से गायब रहते आ रहे हैं. फिल्म बनाते हैं, फिल्म प्रदर्शित भी होती है लेकिन उन्होंने अपने-आपको साक्षात प्रदर्शित करने से रोक रखा है. इसे उन्होंने सैद्धांतिक आचरण का आधार बना दिया है. गोडार्ड उन विरले निदेशकों में हैं जिनका अपना सिक्का चलता है. वे बाजारू तरकीबों वाले पैसों के मोहताज नहीं रहते हैं. फिल्म उनका जीवन है, व्यवसाय नहीं. इसीलिए वे अपने इस फ़िल्मी सफ़र को बाजारू सफ़र में तब्दील होने से हमेशा रोकते रहते हैं.

गोडार्ड ने इसी साल एक बनाई है, फिल्म का नाम है- गुड बाय टू लैंग्वेज. यह फिल्म कान फिल्म महोत्सव के लिए चयनित हुयी और जैसा कि विदित है वे 68 के दौर से ही कान फिल्म महोत्सव को सैद्धांतिक तौर पर बहिष्कृत कर रखे हैं. लोगों को इस बार अपेक्षा थी कि शायद इस बार गोडार्ड के दर्शन संभव हो सकते हैं. लेकिन उन्होंने अपने रचनात्मक दर्शन से इस बार लोगों को फिर से चकित कर देने में सफल रहे. कान महोत्सव के सहभागियों और आयोजकों के नाम उन्होंने एक वीडियो सन्देश/चिट्ठी भेजी और उस वीडियो चिट्ठी का वहां प्रदर्शन हुआ. यहाँ उसी विडिओ चिट्ठी का लिंक लगाया गया है और उसके टेक्स्ट के हिंदी अनुवाद को भी चिपकाया गया है. यह विडियो सन्देश गोडार्ड  के बारे में बहुत कुछ कहता है. आज के जमाने में  वे एक ऐसे बौद्धिक और रचनात्मक व्यक्तित्व हैं जो अपने रचना-संसार की भाषा के दायरे में अपनी बात को रखने के पाबन्द हैं. वे अपनी बात को पुष्ट करने या मूर्त करने के लिए समाचार पत्रों या टेलीविजनों की तात्कालिक मसालों वाली छौंकदार आंसुओं का इस्तेमाल नहीं करते हैं. एक महान कलाकार का रचनात्मक दायरा या पीड़ा क्या हो सकती है,  इस वीडियो -सन्देश में देखा-सुना जा सकता है.

मेरे प्रिये अध्यक्ष जी, फिल्मोत्सव के निदेशक महोदय और प्यारे दोस्तों,

इस फिल्मोत्सव में आमंत्रित करने के लिए आप सभी को धन्यवाद्. लेकिन आप यह भी जानते हैं कि लम्बे समय से मैं किसी भी फिल्म-वितरण-प्रणाली का हिस्सा नहीं रहा हूँ. और मैं वहां से भी नहीं हूँ जहाँ से आप मुझे समझते हैं. दरअसल मैं एक और ही रास्ते पर चल रहा हूँ. मैं इस दुनिया से इतर दुनिया का निवासी हो गया हूँ; कभी-कभी वर्षों तक के लिए और कभी क्षण भर के लिए. फिल्म के प्रति अपने उत्साही आग्रहों के कारण वहां गया और वहीं ठहर गया.

[फिल्म ‘अल्फाविल्ले’ के एक दृश्य में लेमी कॉशन के रूप में एडी कोंसटेंटाइन ]

 एडी कोंसटेंटाइन/ लेमी कॉशन: इस वातावरण में मैं खुद को किसी भी तरह से सहज नहीं पाता हूँ. १९२३ अब नहीं है. मैं वह आदमी भी नहीं हूँ जो पुलिस के साथ संघर्षरत था, आदमी जो हाथ में बंदूक लिए परदे के पीछे से लड़ाई लड़ा. जिंदादिल महसूस करना क्रांति और स्टालिन से ज्यादा महत्वपूर्ण था.

 एकांत का जोखिम अपने आप को खोने का जोखिम है. इस स्थिति में आदमी खुद को दार्शनिक मान लेता है क्योंकि वह मानता है कि आध्यात्मिक सवालों के सन्दर्भ में सत्य एक विस्मय है, यह एक ऐसा सवाल है जिसे हर कोई पूछ रहा है. एक दार्शनिक का तर्क कहता है कि ‘अन्यता के बोध वालों’ को बचा पाने का क्या कोई भी रास्ता बचा है, और यही वह बिंदु है जिसे हम तर्क कहते हैं.

[गोडार्ड की फिल्म ‘किंग लियर’ का एक दृश्य, बर्गेस मेरेडिथ और मोलियो हिंगवाल्द के साथ]

मोलियो हिंगवाल्द/कॉर्डेलिया किंग लियर से कहती है- “मैं अपने दिल को अपने मुंह में नहीं रखती हूँ.”

[दृश्य यहाँ से कट होकर वर्तमान गोडार्ड के पास टिक जाता है]

मैं भी अपने दिल को अपने मुंह में अब और नहीं रख पाता. इसीलिए मैं वहां जा रहा हूँ जहाँ मैं हवा के झोंकों से बजता हूँ, (कैमरे के साथ ट्रूफ़ो की तस्वीर) जैसे पतझड़ की पत्तियाँ दूर उड़ती चली जाती हैं. (याक प्रेवेर की एक प्रसिद्ध कविता के अंश).

उदाहरण के बतौर देखें तो पिछले साल मैंने ट्राम लिया जो कि एक रूपक है, एक रूपक और…

[काले परदे पर सफ़ेद अक्षर में लिखा है: हाँ, क्यूबा.]

[पेरिस में हवाना बार, ब्लैक एंड व्हाईट फिल्म का एक दृश्य  ]

१९६८ से बकाये पैसों को चुकाने के लिए आ, हवाना बार के पास वापस आ…. और अब मैं विश्वास करता हूँ कि चीजों को विश्लेषित करने की संभावना भाषा के साथ लड़ाई का एकमात्र बहाना है….और हमेशा कि तरह मेरा विशवास है कि यह असंभव है. आज २१ मई है. अध्यक्ष जी, यह फिल्म नहीं है बल्कि एक व्यक्ति के नजदीकी नियति के सचे संतुलन को पकड़ने वाला एक सरल नृत्य (वाल्ट्ज) है.

ज्यां ल्यूक गोडार्ड

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)- Playing on Discreteness : Aditya Tripathi

Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad (1961) [“L’année dernière à Marienbad” (original title) ]: Playing on Discreteness

BY Aditya Tripathi

(Prologue: Inter alia, the principal human characters in the film will be referred as ‘A’ and ‘B’ while the principal-ancillary character will be referred as ‘C’, henceforth. A is supposedly reminiscing of a meeting with B in certain state of ‘Time’ which he proposes to B, reminding her of the meeting and related incidents, its promises etc. constantly all over the film, of which B is oblivious or in a state of jamais vu, as it may appear. ‘C’ is the ‘present’ companion/husband of ‘B’ and is element of eminent perturbation of the cinematic mood/ plot-schemata.)

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

The film opens up with a gluing sequence of finitely many connected shots of interiors of a compact space, i.e. a ‘dismal’ Baroque hotel inside which, later on,  ‘A’ confides to ‘B’ of a meeting which took place ‘last year in Frederiksbad …or Marienbad’, ‘B’ being completely oblivious of which. Strip remembrance, to be precise ontologically, anamnesis, of temporality and what remains of it is undecidable. Prima facie, the premise of the film is this ‘tenselessness’ of events. The two events of the so-called ‘past’ (supposedly reminiscing of which ‘A’ is) and ‘present’ are shown intermittently occurring inside the compact space of the Baroque hotel and its complement (the sparsely ‘vegetated’ avenue and the hedge-maze). Time in the film has spatial properties thus forming a four-dimensional ambient space of the state of events. Events are nearer or far away instead of ‘happened’ or happening. The ‘odd’ geometry of space is exploited to blur the kinesthetic sense of time.

The verbal and the pure cinematic narratives both follow a binary operation (the assertions by ‘A’ and complete different/opposite perspectives held by ‘B’, camera movements inside the hotel and alternatively in its complementary space). This feature of the film’s narrative is extremely important in what follows. The character ‘C’ constantly poses a game to ‘A’, a game of Nim, throughout the film. There are four rows of heaps of sticks/cards arranged in cardinalities of 1,3,5, and 7. A single move consists of taking as many sticks as the player may from a single row. The player to take the last stick loses. Throughout the film ‘A’ loses the game to ‘C’; ‘A’ happens to pick the last stick no matter what strategy he chooses against ‘C’ (or maybe he is playing wild).

Digression: Understanding winning strategies of Nim Games are part of Combinatorial Game theoretic analysis (Caveat! It is not similar to the theory of games one encounters in mathematical economics). Combinatorial games are of two kinds, Normal play and Misère plays. The kind of Nim game appearing in the film where the last movement corresponds to losing are called Misère plays/ games. Despite the simple looking structure of rules of combinatorial games, finding winning strategy for them is complicated in case of Normal play and ranging from extremely complicated to hitherto unaccomplished in case of Misère plays. For Normal play, due to The Sprague–Grundy Theorem it is established that to any combinatorial game say G there ‘corresponds’ a  Nim heap of finite length. Further, there is a winning strategy to Normal play Nim game. One has to put the cardinality of each strip (heap) in binary representation ( two digit system consisting of 0 and 1) and then run a bitwise XOR operation (i.e. the logical operation of Exclusive disjunction) on them. If the result of this direct sum is identically 0 the previous player’s strategy is winning (Game is in ‘P-position). Therefore the problem gets solved in Normal play Nim. The difficulty with Misère plays is that Sprague–Grundy Theorem does not hold (to a Misère game there does not correspond no Nim heap of any length). The structure theory of Misère games and its winning strategies is being approximated through the concept of Misère quotients which are  commutative monoids  formed by  certain equivalence classes modulo set of certain  Misère games/ positions (see any text on Abstract Algebra to understand these Group theoretic concepts), an area of current advanced research in the realm of combinatorial game theory. Certain Misère games are solved through computer simulations but a whole bunch of them are still lying as open problems, besides a complete general theory of them is still to be framed.

Recurrence of the game throughout the film is not only incidental or for the sake of sensation, the film plays on the idea of binary bitwise exclusive disjunction either inadvertently or surreptitiously so. Wherever there is a coincidence of the similar instances from the two states of referred time, that is to say the space is contracted to a point, the cinematic and verbal narrative gets the incremental impetus to move forward and remain inertial  till further such ‘fixed point’. The difference of remembrance and oblivion, space and its complement pave the way for the cinematic flux while the blurring of such differences represents the origin, the singularity.

The film’s ‘story’, if any is immaterial. Viewer’s presence is sought in the film and his engagement with the narrative would further complicate the affairs.

Influence of the Film: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is heavily influenced of the film, though not idea-wise. The influence is mostly on the cinematic side. The elaborated shots of a Baroque styled labyrinthine Hotel, camera tracking through its corridors and walls, the hedge-maze outside the hotel, the ballroom and resting area as centre of key incidents, the constant playing of organ music in the background etc.  are a few examples. Even Kubrick attempted a mental impasse by showing Jack Nicholson’s picture among others in that portrait hanging in that hotel lobby.

Aditya Tripathi

Aditya Tripathi

Aditya is a post graduate in Economics from Delhi School of Economics and an emerging film critic. He can be contacted at

वेलरियन ब्रौव्चेक: प्रगीत विधा का जीनियस फ़िल्मकार

By उदय शंकर 

(यहाँ फ़िल्मकार का कोई मूल्यांकन करने या या उसके फिल्मों को विश्लेषित करने की कोशिश नहीं की गई है। बल्कि एक ऐसे फ़िल्मकार को जिसे भारी उपेक्षा और एक स्तर की बदनामी झेलनी पड़ी उसको याद करने भर की कोशिश है। अभी उसकी फिल्मों को ठीक से पुनर्संयोजित भी नहीं किया जा सका है। अधिकांश फिल्में प्रोड्यूसर के गोदाम में पड़ी बर्बाद हो रही हैं। इधर कुछ जागरूकता बढ़ी है और लोगों ने खोज-खबर लेनी शुरू की है। देखते हैं कितना कुछ बचाया जा सकता है।  लेकिम एक ‘फतवा ‘तो दिया ही जा सकता है कि वेलरियन ब्रौव्चेक जैसा ‘हुनरमंद ‘यूरोपीय सिनेमा के इतिहास में न के बराबर हुये हैं। निम्नलिखित टेक्स्ट के बाद उसकी  शॉर्ट फिल्मों के  कुछ लिंक भी दिये जा रहे हैं। )

walerian Borowczyk

walerian Borowczyk

 एक जीनियस फ़िल्मकार कैसे ताउम्र एक ‘पोर्नोग्राफर’ फ़िल्मकार का खिताब ढोता रहा, उसका एक अद्भुत उदाहरण है- वेलरियन ब्रौव्चेक। वह इस तमगे से कैसे पीड़ित रहा होगा, हम इसकी सिर्फ कल्पना कर सकते हैं क्योंकि इस बावत उसका कोई रक्षात्मक बयान भी सामने नहीं आता है। हालांकि उसके बड़े कैनवास की फिल्मों को ही लोग सिर्फ देखते रहे और आलोचित करते रहे। लेकिन इसमें भी सच्चाई नहीं है। जिस न्यूडिटी को बर्गमैन जैसे फिलकार एक आध्यात्मिक दिव्यता के साथ प्रस्तुत करते हैं, उसी दिव्य-दृष्टि की ‘हिंसक अन्तर्रात्मा’ को पूरी नग्नता के साथ बेलौस होकर वेलरियन ब्रौव्चेक अपनी फिल्मों में प्रस्तुत करता है। यूरोपीय सिनेमा (सोवियत ब्लॉक) का अतिप्रचारित बहुलांश ईसाइत से अनुप्राणित आध्यात्मिक संवेगो से चालित चालाक राजनीतिक फिल्में हैं। इन फिल्मकारों की कम से कम तीन बिंदुओं के आस-पास सहमति थी। मैंने कहीं और भी लिखा था, उसे यहाँ भी दुहराना आवश्यक है-

  • उनमें एक सोवियत विरोधी टोन हमेशा मौजूद है।
  • ईसाइयत-घटाटोप से लैस एक तरह की आध्यात्मिकता भी अधिकांश में आभासित होती रहती है।
  • इनमें म्यूजिक-कंपोजर की भूमिका बहुत ही महत्वपूर्ण है, जिनके ऊपर पश्चिमी -संगीत का व्यापक असर है क्योंकि ‘अभिजात’ अवसाद बिना इलेक्ट्रॉनिक म्यूजिक और सिंथेसाइज़र के भरा-पूरा नहीं लगता है।

इन विशेषताओं को एक-एक फिल्मकारों के लिए हम सामान्यकृत भले नहीं कर पाएं लेकिन इनके कारण जो एक भरा-पूरा माहौल बनता है उसकी सामान्य विशेषताओं में मैं इन्हें जरुर पाता हूँ।

इस मायने में वेलरियन ब्रौव्चेक एक सीधा-साधा और नीडर फ़िल्मकार था। राजनीति उसे उतनी ही आती थी जितना किसी भी सामान्य प्रगतिशील इंसान को आती है। उसकी राजनीति के दो बिंदुओं को कोई भी बहुत ही स्पष्टता से पकड़ सकता है-

  • कैथॉलिक चर्च द्वारा सामाजिक जीवन को प्रभावित करने की जो धार्मिक राजनीति थी, उसका वह आजीवन घोर विरोधी रहा। कैथॉलिक चर्च का उतना बड़ा आलोचक यूरोपीय सिनेमा ने दूसरा कोई और नहीं दिया। उसकी फिल्मों में नग्नता का बहुलांश इसी विषय के इर्द-गिर्द वाली फिल्मों में दृष्टिगोचर होता है। क्योंकि आर्थिक संसाधनों पर जब से पूंजीवादी राज्य-शासन-प्रणाली का कब्जा हुआ है तब चर्च जैसी धार्मिक संस्थाएं सांस्कृतिक कार्यव्यवहारों तक सीमित हुयी हैं और उनके इस सांस्कृतिक पूंजी पर सबसे बड़ा हमला अक्सर प्रगतिशील/प्रेमिका महिलाएं करती रही हैं।
  • युद्ध की विभीषकाएँ, परमाणु बम का हमला और किसी भी तरह की सैनिक कार्यवाहियों का एक रचनात्मक विरोध उसकी फिल्मों की बड़ी विशेषता रही है।

  लेकिन जब इस राजनीति के इर्द-गिर्द वह रंग भरता था और उसको गति देता था तो कृष मार्कर जैसे बौद्धिक फ़िल्मकार को भी वह चकित कर देता था, खासकर छोटी फिल्मों में जहां उसकी कला अपने चरम को छू जाती है। उसकी फिल्मों से बौद्धिक उत्तेजना कितनी मिलती है यह बताना पेशेवर बौद्धिकों का काम है। लेकिन हम इतना जरूर कह सकते हैं कि भावना की तारों को  झनझनाने वाले फ़िल्मकार रेयर ही हुये हैं और उसमें वेलरियन ब्रौव्चेक का नाम सबसे पहले सम्मान के साथ लिया जाना चाहिए। कृष मार्कर जैसे बौद्धिक फ़िल्मकार के साथ उसकी दोस्ती मूलतः बुद्धि और भावना का ही योग है। अकारण नहीं है कि पोलैंड से फ्रांस आ जाने के बाद उसने पहली फिल्म Les Astronautes(1959) कृष मार्कर के साथ बनायी। वेलरियन ब्रौव्चेक के प्रति सोवियत संघ कोई उदार था, यह नहीं कह सकते हैंक्योंकि उसकी फिल्म Goto – Island of Love(1968) कम्युनिस्ट पोलैंड में प्रतिबंधित हो चुकी थीं। लेकिन, अभी तक के अवलोकन से मुझे नहीं लगता है कि उसकी फिल्मों का टोन सोवियत विरोधी रहा है। जैसा की मैंने पहले भी कहा कि वह सीधा-साधा कलाकार था और  लेफ्ट बैंक के फ़िल्मकार कृष मार्कर की अपेक्षा बहुत ही कम राजनीतिक था फिर भी उसका मित्र था। लेफ्ट बैंक की फिल्मों को प्रोड्यूस करने वाले ARGO ने उसकी फिल्मों को प्रोड्यूस किया। वह पेंटिंग, लिथोग्राफी, पोस्टर मेकिंग, कॉमिक्स-राइटिंग में निष्णात था। इसलिए वह छोटे कैनवास की फिल्मों का उस्ताद था। जैसे कृष मार्कर की बौद्धिक डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्मों की विधा को निबंध/लेख कहा जाता है, वैसे ही वेलरियन ब्रौव्चेक की छोटी फिल्मों को प्रगीत की संज्ञा दी जा सकती है, सुगठित और अपनी मारक-क्षमता में अचूक, लिरिकल फिल्में।

The Astronauts (1959) का एक दृश्य

The Astronauts (1959) का एक दृश्य

Once Upon a Time (1957)


School (1959)

The Astronauts (1959)


Games of Angles (1964)

Theater of Mr and Mrs Kabal(1967)

Une Collection Particuliere (973)


 उदय शंकर

उदय शंकर

जेएनयू से पीएचडी के लिए शोधरत। तीन खंडों में आलोचक सुरेंद्र चौधरी के रचना संचयन का संपादन। सांस्‍कृतिक आंदोलनों से जुड़ाव। उनसे पर संपर्क किया जा सकता है।)




Tzameti: A Thriller about Thrill: Gazala Meena

 13 Tzameti is an acclaimed and highly talked over  film. This film occupies first position in the list of  Director Anurag Kashyap’s top ten favourite films. Anurag has requested all to watch this great cinema work before dying. Gazala has written this analytical commentary on 13 Tzameti for Tirchispelling.

By Gazala Meena

A thriller about thrill Tzameti (13), the directorial debut of Gela Babluani, spins our senses through lethal rounds of Russian Roulette leaving the irony of chance and the perversion of pleasure to unfold. The narrative, at the onset, engages with desperation; the desperation of a Georgian immigrant Sebastein living in France, who is struggling to make ends meet doing irregular construction jobs and the desperation of Godon, Sebastein’s temporary employer, a morphine addict whose monetary savings are on the verge of exhaustion. While, Sebastein’s immediate dependence is on the payment from Godon; Godon hopes to make a large sum of money by doing something which he defines as “It worked last time. That was last time”. However, Godon is unsure whether the opportunity to do that ‘something’ will come by or not. This ‘something’, an apparent mysterious job is what gives motion and suspense to the narrative involving games; the game of chase and the game of chance (gambling). With Godon dead due to an overdose, an anxious Sebastein steals the letter concerning the mysterious job which is also of immense interest to the police authorities. Following the leads from the letter an oblivious Sebastein embarks on an unknown quest for sudden riches, dodging the authorities on the way. On his arrival to the destination Sebastien, is no longer Sebastein, he is Tzameti, the Georgian word for 13; a number not a living being. To his utter horror the mysterious job unravels as a deadly game of Russian Roullette where expensive bets are placed on and placed by men. A shaken 13 realizing that he is on a one way track, lines up in a circle with other numbers, most of whom are on a high dose of morphine to be able to withstand what is being asked of them, that is, to shoot or get shot; on a stage like setting, a platform walled on three sides, as the audience wait for the bulb to light and the shots to be fired. Between pointing a gun to someone’s head and a gun pointed to one’s own head the players grapple with conflicting emotions: the ethical question of killing someone and the fear of being killed. It’s all a matter of a few minutes before the moment comes when one’s own life and the other’s is not in one’s hand. It all is a matter of chance, luck and fate as the cylinders with bullets less than their capacity are spun and shots are fired. Multiple rounds are played before the unlucky numbers fall to the ground with bloodied heads and the lucky number becomes the sole survivor, disillusioned on what to react to: winning the gamble, having killed people or just being alive. Irony is underlined as 13, which for irrational reasons is considered an unlucky number, turns out to be the lucky sole survivor, however, in the end becomes a victim of greed and is shot and left to die on a moving train.

The director skilfully creates a cold, dark, grim and real world in minimalist fashion and manages to dramatize malicious thrill and helplessness in a contained manner. Throughout the film, the director keeps the camera close to the actors, primarily using close up, medium close up and extreme close up, because it is the actor’s bodies where action takes place. The viewer is put in close proximity of the actors so that he/she is forced to read the gestures and feel the emotional fluctuations. Crafted in black and white this film goes beyond the anticipation, anxiety, adrenaline rush, forcing the viewer to the edge of one’s seat; it compels the viewer to acknowledge the irony of chance, question the nature of entertainment and the mocking limitation of choices and above all forces the viewers to reflect upon the cruel culture of gambling. The quintessential element of this film is its black and white colour which symbolizes a dichotomy. The dichotomy between win and loss, life and death, owner and owned, choice and no choice, “haves” and “have-not”,  thrill seeker and thrill giver, pleasure and pain so on and so forth. Tzameti situates this dichotomy within the context of entertainment, a particular kind involving a game of chance (gambling) which is bloody and brutal in nature.

13 Tzameti (2005)

13 Tzameti (2005)

Gambling on blood sports, like horse racing, dog fights, cock fights, bull fights, and gladiatorial combats has been going on since time immemorial. While, tracing the nature of gambling during various historical periods with their specific social, political and economic structures; the similarity between the outcome, volition and choice of the actors and the similarity between the audience (gamblers/bettors) becomes evident. In slave societies a slave was the personal property of the property owning class (ruler, nobility) and was coerced to participate in gladiatorial bouts; he had no will (he had to play even if he did not want to), neither did he have a choice (he had to kill to stay alive) and the outcome was either life or death. And this cycle would continue until the slave dies. Under feudalism a serf though not the personal property of the property owning class (ruler, nobility, landlords) was ultimately tied to their property for livelihood. A disproportional economic system co-opted the serf into gambling games leaving him with no will and no choice, while the outcome for him was either death or life with temporary and limited material gains. In a capitalist society emerged an unequal economic system which thrives on the exploitation of labour of the working class by the class that owns the means of production. Possessing nothing but their labour (life), the existence of the working class is reduced to the one of instability and uncertainty which propels them into being pawns in a game, without any will or choice, the pleasure of which is the prerogative of the elite few. While the outcome that these pawns are left with is similar to their historical antecedents, that is, either death or temporary and limited material gains. However, this outcome is less a matter of one’s fate, rather it is rooted in the fate designed for them by the existing economic realities.

Tzameti delves into the dynamics of a deadly game of gambling in a capitalist society, where there are two classes of players involved. One is the active participant who plays for his life; and the other, the passive participant who puts enormous amount of money at stake while, playing for the experience of a vulgar thrill. One participates as the actor/entertainer and the other as the audience/entertained. While, one group struggles with ethical questions, mental and emotional trauma and fear of death; the other group’s senses are tickled with the perverse revelry induced by the performance: a performance in which fear and guilt simultaneously dance on ghostly faces to the bone chilling music of rotating cylinders and deafening bang of gun shots and the stage turns red with blood vomiting bodies and faces turn white of those still standing frozen. While one group has nothing to gain (except the so called lucky one who wins an amount of money which comes with an expiry date) but their lives to lose; the other group has money to win/ money to lose; but above all a sadistic pleasure to relish. The film ends with the lead actor, Sebastein, after being shot somehow manages to sit on a window side seat of a moving train, which it seems is taking him to his death. The moving train is symbolic of a cruel system which moves on even with the burden of dead bodies.

 “Gambling is the son of avarice and the father of despair”


Gazala Meena

Gazala Meena

Ghazala Meena is a PHD research scholar in School of International Studies in JNU, New Delhi. She is currently residing in  Japan for her research work.

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