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Monday, February 27

Emotions in Motion Page III

Concluding from Part I and Part II. Unforgettable scenes from movies around the globe, this time from Hollywood and World Cinema.

Film: Once Upon a Time in the West
Year: 1968
Director: Sergio Leonie
Cast: Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson
Scene: The Final Duel. Frank learns about his shadowy, nameless nemesis on his very last breath. The film is being heralded as the finest of the Wild West genres, and many sequences have cult status even after 40+ years.  'Once upon a time in the West' and its peachy scenes are being celebrated like no other. The legendary Ennio Moricone and his groovy background score added to the tense aura of this climactic reel. What more to say, Bollywood's own colossal film Sholay is visibly inspired by this movie, especially the Frank introduction and massacre at the beginning of the film. Pure class.

Film: Pulp Fiction
Year: 1994
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman
Scene: The Mia Wallace adrenaline shot scene and build-up. Pulp Fiction is a movie 100% filled by unforgettable characters and legendary scenes. Picking one from this fantastic hip-hop film was quite an effort, but for me the sequence of resuscitating the OD-ing Mia takes the cake. A tense, rip-roaring sequence, absurd at times, but somehow the director managed to load some outrageous humour in the reel, if fact Tarantino has overloaded it with whimsicality. The near-clinical expressions of the characters need special mention, as if it has been a extensively rehearsed scene. Pulp Fiction is one hell of a dark humour-film, without any direct stand-up comedy. Butch, Marcellus Wallace, Pumpkin, Honey Bunny or Vincent Vega, I just can't get enough of PF!

PS: What's it with Pulp Fiction that has made the film a modern epic? I still get my monthly dose of PF on one lazy weekend beer o' clock or late night. I never get tired of it while my wife can't understand what is there in the film that obsesses me. Well? Probably it's a man-thing baby, its a man-thing!

Film: Forrest Gump
Year: 1994
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright
Scene: Forrest meets his son for the first time. Tom Hanks lives the perfect role as Private Gump where he exhibits his surprise of finding out that Jenny is a momma, and the shock that he is the dad, followed by the overwhelming anxiety if his son is smart or "like me" and the incessant relief that he was "one of the smartest kids". The ambiguity on how to approach the situation, the overwhelming emotions taking over and the initial attempt to bond with his offspring, "the most beautiful thing in the world" according to him. Subtle scene, great direction and riveting performance. Forrest Gump is one film you must not miss for any reason.

Film: The Shawshank Redemption
Year: 1994
Director: Frank Darabont
Cast: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
Scene: Andy earns his first serious points with the vicious Sergeant, on way to the Supt, not to mention his mates. The classic movie, out-winding in the foreground of a captivating Morgan Freeman's (Red) voice-over, celebrates what the essence of  'hope' could do to human spirits, even in the distressing and ruthless stetting of a penitentiary. Andy has a purpose behind every single move he makes, not known to anyone except him, even Red, and unleashing the meticulous plan only in that stormy, uncomfortable night at Shawshank, 20 years after he was convicted. 

Film: The Dark Knight
Year: 2008
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Dale, Micheal Caine, Heath Ledger
Scene: Joker crashes the mob 'group therapy'. Heath Ledger's unforgettable performance as The Joker was the USP of the Nolan Batman franchise II. Honoured post-humously for the mind-blowing portrayal of arguably the most sinister villains in Hollywood, Heath gave the comic-book character some bold new mannerisms, ruthlessness and coldness. This scene, where the Joker starts off with the 'pencil trick' to lay his cards on the mob table, in their own courtyard, is just a culmination of the evilness Heath could attribute to Nolan's Joker.

Film: Shutter Island
Year: 2010
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo
Scene: The point where Andrew 'snaps'. One of the most disturbing meters of film in World Cinema. The Bipolar Dolores drowns the kids in the lake by the house and waits for Andrew. Andrew's universe collapses around him after seeing the cold, lifeless bodies of his angel-like kids. Andrew loses it, shoots his wife and turns into the monster that he became. 'Shutter Island' goes back from there, though the deep, dark and disturbed labyrinths of Andrew's (Teddy) lost mind and the Psychiatrist's attempt to bring it back to reality from which he was deliberately running away. The kind of mind-f**k movie which warrants more than one viewing to gather all the tangled threads.

Film: Amores Perros (Spanish)
Year: 2000
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Scene: Anticlimax. The 3 threads reach their reel end. El Chivo decides he's had enough, leaves the sinful brothers to their ambiguous fate and returns to the previous self after 20 long years. The transformation is quite remarkable; almost unrecognisable from the wretched image prior to it. In the meantime Octavio waits in futile for Susana who was never going to turn up, and leaves the city probably for the last one time. And as El Chivo departs his squalor, the massive, sexy hoarding of Valeria is being brought down, probably leaving her with the lone faithful companion in life: her dog Richie. This coming-of-age Mexican movie tells the tale of love; that of the treachery of man and the honesty of dogs. In fact dogs play a vital role in all the three threads in the movie. Love's a bitch. Amores Perros.

Film: Amelie (French)
Year: 2001
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Scene: Amelie finds and returns the long-lost childhood collection of 'Bretodeau'. Amelie's search for small pleasures in life reciprocates to her finding 'absolute harmony'. In the backdrop of the fair city of Paris, which is a strong character in the film, Amelie is a whimsical feel-good movie of everything good in life, not of the Utopian category, but of ordinary humans leading extra-ordinarily simple lives. The fast-paced, clippy movie rushes through the virtuous protagonist's search for goodness-rich life which culminates in her finding true love.

The list is potentially unending, and I had to leave out some of my all-time favourite scenes from Inglourious Basterds, An Officer and a Gentleman, Father of the Bride etc. Rest assured, cinema still is the most influential medium of entertainment in the new age just because it's been most successful in realistically portraying and transferring basic human emotions from the stage to our hearts.

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