If we meet again, we shall smile

I watched a movie today called Once. It’s a beautiful movie, the sort that will remain in your mind for a while after you’ve seen it. Like Before Sunrise, it is tough to describe in terms of plot or character, but equally tough to forget after you’ve seen it. You might remember that its stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 2008, for a beautiful little number called Falling Slowly.

But here’s the thing: While I was watching the movie, I realized that my mind was automatically making notes on how a scene was shot or edited. Or worse still, finding ways to describe it for my blog post. This has been happening for a while, but to a lesser extent than it is now. I don’t mind it so much when it happens with a not-so-great movie. But with this one, I was genuinely pissed off at my blogging self for intruding upon my movie-watching experience.

Anyway, the upshot of this is that I have decided to take a break from writing about the movies. I might post the occasional piece on other topics on this blog. But otherwise, for all intents and purposes, 24fps is on hiatus until further notice.

So long and thanks for all the comments. I have appreciated it more than I can tell you.

ps: Do watch Once if you haven’t already. It’s definitely worth it.

pps: Title courtesy — Julius Caesar, Act V, Scene I (Brutus to Cassius).


21 thoughts on “If we meet again, we shall smile

  1. Rajendran says:

    dei – idhu allowed illa. But I understand. This is the same question I have asked you several times over in the past.

  2. Over(W)helmed says:

    Good call. A very good call indeed, to dare to give one’s writing self a time-out for turning all control freaky.

    Now, flabbergasted as some may feel, who have only experienced one side of the story (i.e. Life interfering with writing), having also experienced the other side (i.e. Writing interfering with life, what you describe here being only one of the many insidious ways that can happen), I’m all too willing to vouch for the fact that if you don’t take it upon yourself to rein in your writing self when need be, so much of the enjoyment that could otherwise be had, is indeed lost.

    I’m certainly not gung ho about your decision or anything but second it only because it feels like the right thing to do to not want to subordinate Life (and by extension the gamut of emotions that entitle you to experience it, movies and all, to the fullest) to the writing life. For what it’s worth (and if REM is to be believed), Life *is* bigger! πŸ™‚

    P.S: BTW, Watched “Before Sunrise” purely on your recco some 5 yrs back and found it to be awesome, so no reason not to keep an eye out for “Once”.

  3. Thanks folks! As Californian Governors are wont to say, “I’ll be back.”

    Meera>> I think it just got to the point where watching the movie was simply a prelude to blogging, instead of the review being a postscript to the movie watching experience.

    Raj>> Yes, you have. You know, for the most part, it didn’t bother me either. But now it does, and this seems like a good time to take myself out of the game for a bit.

    Over(W)helmed>> You should try Before Sunset as well. Now that is a sequel that got made for the right reasons, and not just because the first movie made money. btw, what’s with the W in your pseudonyms in the comments section? Hadn’t figured you for a Dubya fan πŸ™‚

  4. oh! I so loved your recommendations! Often I would go watch some movies that I have seen and loved to see your freeze-frame moments again πŸ™‚

    Don’t write, if that is your wish, but do come and say, junta I recommend this, go watch it…

    I just saw “Once” and absolutely loved it…and the music was awesome too….loved all the songs :_

  5. Ha, I’m actually a bit tired of writing about movies as well… just coz I used to write about a whole lot of other stuff and haven’t in favor of cinema for a variety of reasons. As life starts to get back to the usual over the next month or two, I think I might have ease off on the movies a bit.

    I hope you’ll return soon – maybe we could take turns πŸ˜€

    “Hiatus” yaani you’re not gonna write about anything at all? 😦

  6. Kaushik>> Fair enough! Try Burn After Reading next. Comedy done by the Coen brothers is usually a good bet. The laughs don’t come easy, but you might find yourself thinking back to the movie and laughing to yourself at odd moments.

    Amrita>> Not really, I do plan to keep writing something. Might get back to writing short stories, which I haven’t done in a long time. The movie-related posts might be restricted to the freeze frame series.

  7. Hey! I already saw Burn after reading, probably on the day it released…Loved the look on Brad Pitt’s face just before he was shot….worth a million that look !!!

    ya! and keep continuing with freeze frame!! I loved that the most πŸ™‚

  8. Over(W)helmed says:

    >>”btw, what’s with the W in your pseudonyms in the comments section?” – You mean aside from the wordplay angle? (Robin Wright = Penn’s wife; being over-“helmed” can leave you feeling overwhelmed, and so on. You’re telling me none of that actually came thru? Dang! πŸ™‚ )

    Hmm. Lemme see if I can think of something convincing, even if it wasn’t part of the original conception. How about a new-found love for the underdog alphabet? “W” clearly is the most dissonant-sounding of the 26 and yet, what wonderful words it whips up: Wanton, Warble, Whoop, Weft, Winnow, Weir, Winsome, Womb…What’s not to love?

    But for “W”, Grahame wouldn’t have waved his wand to send “wind in the willows” our way, nor Dahl, Willy Wonka! And don’t ask how else I’d pine poetically, after many a self-berating moment, but with a “Will, am I worth words”?

    Ah poetry, yes. “W” is proof enough that dissonance can (and does) dredge up poetry from even the most discord-ridden and wor(l)d-weary of soul-wells, so isn’t that reason enough to deserve a “no explanations needed” nod? (Now I’ll leave you to wonder why you had to wreck your happiness, asking. πŸ™‚ )

  9. Over(W)helmed says:

    Shortly after commenting here, I caught the day’s jumble in the paper and voila! Even cowboys and cars nod to “W”, says my co(s)mic correspondent (solve the puzzle and you’ll see why). Ah, I’m all piped up now to blow up any smartass who has the gall to call it all part of some grand scheme of randomness! πŸ™‚

  10. Dubya (easier to call you that)>> I didn’t get the pun until you pointed it out to me, actually πŸ˜€

    Most good poetry is about dissonance to begin with, isn’t it? Even if the dissonance is only in the poet’s head. Where’s the fun in seeing the world the same way that the other six odd billion do?

  11. (In)Dub(itabl)y A says:

    (If you insist on imposing that “dubious” distinction, I’ll take it, but on my own terms. :=) )

    Well, I don’t know about “most” and “good” but yes, I do subscribe to the Yeatsian notion of poetry being an output of the dissonance in the poet’s head (since I rarely ever write poems when my hair — on either extremity, if I may add (and you may delete for decorum) — isn’t on fire).

    Having said that, it boggles my mind how it becomes possible to achieve, with all that dissonance, such remarkable assonance, as in “that dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea.” (Yeats’ Byzantium — not the first one that came four years prior, whose first line Cormac McCarthy borrowed for the novel, followed by the Coens, for the movie. The second one.)

  12. Ma(r)ch Madness says:

    Dunno about you, but March was such a crazy month for me, cinema-wise. A delicious Delhi-6; a delightfully explored (if serously OTT, at times) dad-daughter umbilical-cord severing in Abhiyum Naanum; a pleasantly shocking Poo that, IMO, trumps most pre-established true-love tropes in Tamil cinema (and Parvati as Mari is surely Kollywood’s find of the millennium! Of course, we’ll find that she’s all but disappeared, after Poo, effectively displaced by the likes who made us shift uneasily in our seats in, say, Sakkarakatti), though that “look what happens when cousins marry” social/science message lazily tucked in there stuck out like a sore thumb in a story all but saturated with sentimental (bitter)sweetness (the kind that leaves you wanting more)…

    And then, all of a sudden, I found myself calculating Mach numbers! (what with the Simbu/Dhanush one-man army simultaneously launching multiple (human) missiles, breaking sound (and other) barriers in Silambaattam and Padikkaathavan.)

    That’s when I figured it was about time I ran into nostalgia’s arms for relief, and so I watched DDLJ and DTPH for the first time in over a decade! What a close to a crazy month — I was surprised to note that the two movies (despite SRK’s relentless hamming) still work (for me) big time!

  13. Characters like Mari do seem all too rare. But think about this: the number of times someone comes up with a character like this in a movie is slowly increasing. I don’t think it will become the norm anytime soon, but things are changing. And for that, I am thankful.

  14. Over(W)helmed says:

    “I discovered Nina Simone by accident” courtesy an obit that begins with these exact words. (It was published some six years back but I only read it recently).

    And yesterday, I rediscovered Simone courtesy the last few scenes of Before Sunset (yeah, I decided to check out the movie based on your recco, up at #6).

    In the scene where Jesse plays the Simone song (was it Just In Time?) on the CD player and Celine counterpoints with anecdotes from her concert (my favorite scene in the movie!), I found myself replaying a line from that obit that seemed to now read like a parallel narrative. “She was after all just a one-album wonder to me,” the writer recounts, as Celine, in the scene preceding, plays a song on the guitar, to Jesse, which recounts their one-night stand from several years ago…

  15. Nobody Nose says:

    (Since “Obscurity-sanctioned Scentsibility” seemed kinda longish, for an assumed name. πŸ™‚ )

    After Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu, I’m now completely convinced all good things “Mari” come in counts of three: Parvati, Vishnu, and that bite-worthy biscuit from Britannia (with the “e” tacked on)! Have you seen the movie yet?

    P.S: BTW, here’s an amusing anecdote related to No.3 on my “Mari” list: Back when I was in eighth std., I wasn’t allowed to drink tea but I could, on occasion, dip Marie biscuit into my parents’ cuppa. During one such episodic ablution, I ended up dunking the biscuit a trifle too long and…kersplat! Yup, half that Marie wound up in the teacup instead of on my tongue!

    It must surely be my sunny-side-up disposition, for I turned this unfortunate occurrence into my favor by promptly declaring that Britannia owed me an apology (instead of me owing dad an apology for messing up his tea!), because, sticking out of the half-biscuit that I ruefully held, was a strand of string! And, oh yeah, I wrote a longish complaint letter to the company stating how entire generations in our household have been weaned on the Marie, and how we’ve never had reason for complaint in years, and now…a string…an actual STRING! IN the biscuit. How preposterous! How could they?! Whatever happened to Britannia Quality?

    And of course, the proof, the offending string (still peeking purposefully from the half-biscuit) went right into the envelop, along with my letter, and voila: Two weeks later, a rep-on-a-TVS-50 showed up at our door, asking for, ahem, ME! πŸ™‚ And what did he bring, aside from a longish letter-of-apology from The Biscuit Company? Goodies, of course! A briefcase full of Good Day, Nice, Milk Bikis…not to mention the rolls and rolls of Marie!!!

  16. One too many! says:

    To add to the steady stream of “One”s coming my way in the last two weeks (including those referenced at #17), is yet another “One”: One-Time Pairing!

    This was the desi program weekend-special songs “theme” from Saturday morning:

    1. Dil Chahta Hai (Aamir, Preity)
    2. Fanaa (Aamir, Kajol)
    3. Hum Dil de Chuke sanam (Salman, Ash)
    4. Khakee (Akshay, Ash)
    5. Lage Raho Munna Bhai (Dutt, Balan)
    6. Krissh (or is it Krishh?) (Hrithik, Priyanka)
    7. Ashoka (SRK, Kareena)
    8. Don (SRK, Priyanka)
    9. Partner (Salman, Lara)

    And to think I once hated lists! πŸ™‚

  17. I watched Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu a few days ago and absolutely loved it. A bit earler, I had also watched Kalloori, the movie that convinced me that Tamannah Bhatia deserves much better than the tripe she gets to play in movies like Padikkadhavan.

    Something is happening to the village cinema. While there are still all those ovies involving upstanding nattamais and morai maamans and what have you, one bunch of filmmakers have decided to train their cameras on villages as they probably are (or were, as in the case of period films like Subramaniyapuram). To hijack a Bharathirajaa phrase, you can smell the mann vaasanai in their work. I generally can’t imagine someone like the villagers Sarath Kumar plays actually existing in real life. But people like Mari? I’d be willing to wager that I could go to Madurai and get onto a random bus going out of town and encounter someone like him on the way.

    It’s sort of like what Bharathirajaa did in the seventies, in movies like 16 Vayathinilae before the genre was hijacked by his imitators who learnt the words but threw the music away.


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