Archive for the ‘Films 2 See’ Category
Sooni Taraporevala's film Little Zizou -- which can be watched for free these days on Hulu -- always makes me yearn for my first true love: Bombay. Because Little Zizou represents the perfect template of the city known to outsiders as Mumbai but beloved by insiders forever as Bombay, the craziest, most chaotically beautiful place on earth, the one single spot that invades my senses and dreams even as I write this, lands away and miles apart. While it is ideal for cinema to transport its audience to other worlds, it's not often that a film manages to do it quite as well as Little Zizou. The story is wonderfully simple: Xerxes (played by Jahan Bativala), or "Little Zizou," is a young boy who prays to his late mother to send his soccer idol Zinedine Zidane on a visit to Bombay. His elder brother Art (Imaad Shah, who is also featured in Mira Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist) is a prolific cartoonist, a romantic with a fantastic imagination and a group of friends determined to achieve the nearly-impossible, while the boys' father Khodaiji (played by Sohrab Ardeshir) is a religious leader of sorts, with prophetic aspirations and a flair for the dramatic. Because of Khodaiji's fanatical convictions, the boys spend most of their time at the home of their father's archrival, Boman Presswala (a treat for lovers of Indian cinema as he's played by Boman Irani, a beloved star), a principled newspaper man with a loving, kind wife Roxanne (played by Zenobia Shroff) and two girls. While Art pines for the elder one, the younger Liana (Iyanah Bativala) resents the presence of Xerxes, who is tended to with care and attention by her mom. It is a modern fairy tale, with a story as old as love itself. Little Zizou does tell a story that is unmistakably woven into the tightly knit Parsi community to which Taraporevala herself belongs, but this film is also about any child with a deep sense of longing for his mother, any teenager trying to grow up in a world where dreams are difficult to hold on to, any woman who has enough love in her heart to spread to more than her biological children and any man who believes that the freedom of speaking the truth is worth fighting for, at any cost. Far from ever preaching or teaching, Taraporevala manages to infuse the film with humor and charming inside jokes, like the newspaper headline at the beginning of the film declaring "The Namesake wins Oscar for Best Film!" Yes, because while Little Zizou is Sooni Taraporevala's directorial debut, she is best known as the screenwriter of such Mira Nair hits as Salaam Bombay, Mississippi Masala as well as adapting Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake for the big screen. Ever since sitting in the audience for the unforgettable film's premiere in 2008, I've come to spend quite a bit of time with Taraporevala and her wonderful family. Turns out the Taraporevalas and Bativalas (both Jahan and Iyanah, who play the central characters in the film, are the filmmaker's children in real life) are even more fantastically brilliant than the characters of Little Zizou, but watching the film comes in a close second. For a great interview with Sooni Taraporevala, check out the full piece on The Huffington Post.
On a recent trip to Dubai, I sat next to two invasively gigantic men, who took up way beyond their assigned seat in width, and vocal tone. Arms flailing, conversing excitedly about the most idiotic things, just so they could be heard (and worst, seen) their every movement annoyed me. I admit, on a plane, I need calm. But instead of getting up and bopping them upside the head, which turned out to be a strange fantasy game I played out in my head, I turned to the entertainment system in front of me, and found solace within Bradley Cooper. If a man can wear a garbage bag this well, he can basically sell me the NYC phone book on film. Yet strangely enough, Cooper is not only stylish and good looking, but also talented at picking interesting, soulful projects in which to star. On the way over, while I sat next to the two Neanderthals, I watched The Words and on the way back, lounging back and eating chocolates while no one in sight annoyed me, I watched Silver Linings Playbook. Both excellent films, both great excuses to watch some serious male eye candy, albeit with magnificent acting skills. So, this week, Cooper is my style icon. Not a woman this time, but someone equally at home -- and strangely stylish in each -- wearing Hefty or Armani. And don't even get me started on how eagerly I'm awaiting the next installment of The Hangover... Watch the new trailer for The Hangover 3 on the HUFFINGTON POST
It is said that girls are always looking for a knight in shining armor -- and perhaps that's true. But from the looks of a few recent cinematic projects, it seems we are all, men and women alike, looking for a superhero. In a current Kickstarter campaign -- which was brought to my attention by recent interview and artistic maverick Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki -- filmmaker Brett Culp delves into the wonder of Batman and all the great positivity the superhero has always inspired in kids, big and small, everywhere. Culp's fascinating documentary is titled Legends of the Knight and offers a touching look at how the myth of Batman helps heal and triumph, even in sometimes seemingly impossible situations. And by the looks of how many current Kickstarter campaigns feature superheroes, I'd say Batman, Spider-man and the likes are definitely here to stay as man's favorite fantasy confidants. At the Dubai International Film Festival back in December, I watched Bekas, a film about two young orphaned brothers living in Kurdistan during Saddam Hussein's rule. Zana and Dana are children of the land made infamous by Hussein's atrocities, but they lean upon the legend of an unlikely ally to help them survive their difficult surroundings and miserable situation: Superman. Or, as the brothers call him, "Zooperman." When they surreptitiously watch the superhero in action through a hole in the wall of their local cinema, they decide to go to Amrika (America) to find Superman and live within the shelter of his super life. "Does Zooperman have a father?" One asks the other. "Yes, his name is Super Dad!" (Continued) Read the entire piece on the HUFFINGTON POST