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Archive for the ‘author Kaleem Hasan’ Category

 

by Kaleem Hasan

It is not easy to nominate a film to equal let alone surpass the Leopard in the much attempted though rarely successfully realized art of translating literary writing to cinema. To remain true to two art forms at one and the same time is always a tall order and yet Visconti accomplishes this miracle in a work which is easily the director’s greatest and also one that was in some measure autobiographical for him. One of course thinks of Kurosawa’s supreme Shakespeare versions in Throne of Blood and Ran but these films are complex transpositions doing double duty in equal measure to Kurosawa’s vision as well as Shakespeare’s and therefore harder to pin down as ‘adaptations’ in the usual sense. Visconti seems a bit more modest in comparison aiming only to arrive at the best cinematic equivalent for Lampedusa’s sublime work and yet in doing so he opens up a rather intimate chamber drama into a sprawling large scale epic that captures the tones and notes of the novel to sheer perfection. The Leopard ought to stand as the very model of what a cinematic reworking of lierature ought to look like. (more…)

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http://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/obama-wins-nobel-peace-prize-in-stunning-news/

Kaleem Hasan’s Obama coverage is second-to-none on the net, and it’s high time he gets some acknowledgement at Wonders in the Dark. An enthralling thread has been building at Satyamshot with reactions from the Indian community and a number of other cross-cultural posters.  Since Obama first announced he would run in the Democratic primary, Mr. Hasan has been there with the most comprehensive and impassioned coverage on this monumental world figure.  No doubt this is a very happy day for Mr. Hasan, as well it should be.

Please click on above link to read press release and Satyamshot comment posters.

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synecdochenyfirstphoto

by Kaleem Hasan

Early on in the film a page is opened and the overture to Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is seen. Kaufmann’s own work is a messy, knotty, bracing reworking of Proustian space. There are no magical madeleines here with coherently conjured up visions. There is only memory that is at once schizoid and anarchic. And it is ultimately a film about ‘impossibility’. The impossibility of love, of art, of aging, even of death. Then there is the saddest truth of this film — the impossibility of loneliness.  

In Proust the self is constructed every single day to re-configure the always lost paradise. There are circles here, returns and beginnings anew. The self is the daily compromise memory allows. But the search is rather charming, always a little romantic, even perhaps a little fabular. The ‘play’ of/in the world never quite defeats the quester even if there is finally a quasi-spiritual sense of repose. Proust is a bit like Cervantes but Don Quixote ends somewhere; In Search of Lost Time always loops in on its finales.   (more…)

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 2004_alexander_0061

by Kaleem Hasan

To not know what happened before one was born is to always remain a child – Cicero.

I am always happy to see a Hollywood movie emerge on the classical world even if the results are less than one would ideally hope for.  The West cannot be understood without the Greek and Roman heritage.  At the present monent, our entire globe is, in a way, western.  Therefore the world becomes incomprehensible without an adequate engagement with this ancient past.  To the extent that when Hollywood movies attempt such subjects there is always the possibility that people will get interested in the subject and look to other avenues for further explorations in this regard.  In this way these Hollywood attempts provide a valuable service even if the films in question are considered intrinsically poor. (more…)

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by Kaleem Hasan

A truly magnificent work from Terence Malick and really one of the very extraordinary films of recent times. The extended cut (which is really the director’s favored one) is a revelation in every sense. One gets the true rhythm and notes of the film and with this particular director these features become especially important.

I have long considered Malick to be truly important in world terms and though he has made just four films I rate three of these (Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, The New World) as absolute masterpieces. The New World has a claim to be considered the director’s greatest. It possibly complements The Thin Red Line thematically but certainly stylistically.

Much could be written on Malick’s visuals, his sense of time, his ‘transcendental filmmaking’, his ellipses. Perhaps he is ultimately a director of das Mystische as Wittgenstein would phrase (though Malick probably comes to this a different way as an amateur translator of Heidegger) it. His work is always a little mysterious, a little about the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of language.

I do not intend to write anything remotely comprehensive on The New World here much less on the director’s oeuvre but there is one particular element of his visual grammar that I find fascinating. From Badlands to this most recent film Malick seems to have moved away from the notion of the earth as that which ultimately ‘grounds’ the human or the site of final ‘solidity’ towards a view where increasingly the earth is fragile because it is often as ‘liquid’ as water. From this perspective Malick’s evolution in terms of his visual choices could be considered an ever greater exercise in ‘liquidity’. (more…)

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