Tag Archive: Chinese films


Happy Chinese New Year 2018!!! The Year of the DOG 🙂    

Dog (狗) Earthly Symbol of the Dog (戌)

Today is the Chinese New Year, and the Year of the Dog starts; and it shall end on 4th of February 2019!!!!!

Click on the Image

According to legend, the Chinese New Year started with villagers wearing the colour RED, and decorating their homes with red scrolls with red lanterns being hung around the village, and lighting crackers, to keep off a mythical beast called Nian. Apparently Nian use to appear on the night of the first New Moon of the year, destruct villages and devour children. But it was afraid of the colour RED. Thus, RED is significant with warding off evil. Today, it is the biggest Asian festival celebrated around the globe!!!!

Chinese Actresses, Gong Li (L) and Ziyi Zhang (R), with their Dogs

British/Nigerian Actor, David Oyelowo, with his three rescue Dogs

French Actor, Alain Delon, playing with his dogs (in various decades from the 1950’s to the 1980’s)

Gingerella (R) & Nudin (L) @ Play (January 30th, YEAR 2018)

The Obama’s with Bo & Sunny
Former American President, Barack Obama, includes his beloved pets, in their official Family Photograph; at the White House, in the Spring of Year 2015

Amazingly YEAR 1994, was the Year of the Dog, too!!! I had no idea back then. Year happens to be the best year of my teen life (from my teenage years). ’twas a crucial turning point in my life, when we went back to live in New Delhi, India, after six years. The next really crucial turning point in my life came 13 years later; whilst residing Down Under.

Born in June 1975, I’m a Rabbit. An interesting coincidence is, that according the Chinese zodiac, the most compatible sign with a person born in the Year of the Dog, happens to be, people born in the Year of the Rabbit. So an amazingly Perfect coincidence, would be if I get someone born in 1994 (so basically someone 18½/19 years younger than me 😀 ). Another interesting coincidence is the fact that, at the moment, I’m attracted to a 23 year old, I met late last year (thus, most probably was born in 1994; unless this person’s birthday was within these two months). We happen to accidentally meet day before yesterday, and I saw a picture of this pretty creature’s latest boyfriend, who’s in Germany, at the moment. Yeah! I ought to be used to unrequited love by now  😦 . Not that I believe in astrology (yet admire it, as a form of Art), but you know; wishful thinking !!!

With a pet Rabbit, in a suburb of Paris, France (17th August 2008)

With Gingerella & Nudin, in our Front Yard, at home (6th July 2016)

Wishing every one a Very Happy Chinese New Year/Dog year 2018 ❤

 

Greetings from
Nu Wan (Sen)
(i.e. Nuwan Sen)

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The Swinging Sixties
1966 Blow-UpThe 1960’s was a very unique decade, of the 20th century, when the world changed for the better. An era, thanks to which, we live in (or rather should live in) a more open minded world, with a freer lifestyle, with lesser (or rather should, with no) prejudice. An era, which brought about Equal Rights, Feminism (Women’s Lib),  The Hippies, the second (and more worldwide) phase of The Sexual Revolution (as opposed to The Sexual Revolution of the Roaring 20’s, which was limited to certain regions in the western world), Black Pride movement, Gay Pride movement, Youth Rebellions of 68’, Woodstock of 69’, Stonewall Riots of 69’, Motown Records, Rock Music, Experimentation with Psychedelic Drugs, Birth Control Pill, Popular Music, The Beatles, The British Invasion of Pop & Rock, Ravi Shankar, Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, Pop-Art, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Martin Luther King, Jr., Socialists, Radical political influences, 32 African countries gaining Independence, The Indian ‘Hungryalist Quartet’, China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’, The Vietnam War, The American Counterculture, The Kennedy’s, The Space Age (the world put a man on the moon), Supercomputers, Sketchpads, Spacewar (first video game), Japanese Cars, Summer of Love, Flower Power, Peace, Love and anti-war sentiments.

The beginning of the 60’s decade, and the latter part of the 60’s, were so different, as if they belonged to two terrifically different era’s. This was a period that globalisation actually took place. Added to which fashion, art and music, travelled beyond borders. The Beatles were influenced by Indian music, especially the sounds of the Sitar. Short Indian Kurta’s, Hindu beads, African Batik styles, South American Poncho’s, were loved by the Hippies. Similarly western geometric styles, and bright designs, were adapted to Asian clothing. The era was famed for, mini-skirts, of swinging London, and skin tight Salwar-Kameezes, in India (inspired by the western tight skirts). A very glamorous decade, with it’s massive bouffant hairstyles, tight clothes and short skirts. And as the decade proceeded, the hairdo’s went higher, as did the hemlines.

Bollywood superstar, Sharmila Tagore, became the first Indian actress to don a Bikini on the cover of a glossy magazine, in 1966. This was an Independence Special issue.

Bollywood superstar, Sharmila Tagore (though not the first Indian to wear a Bikini), became the first Indian actress to don a Bikini on the cover of a glossy magazine. In the Year: 1966. This was an Independence Special, issue of Filmfare (August 1966).

The modern Bikini, though invented in 1946 (prior to which slightly bigger, two piece swimsuits, baring the midriff, existed), gained popularity internationally only in the 1960’s. Prior to which, general women preferred traditional, one piece, swimwear, though a lot of glamour girls were seen in tiny Bikini’s in magazines, films, et al. Yet young men, were quite comfortable, in tiny swimming trunks. Today it’s the exact opposite.

And in Cinema: 1960’s

The invent of the Merchant Ivory Productions took place, making Indian English Language films, avec a highly international standard (started by a trio of well (western) educated friends, Ismail Merchant, James Ivory & Ruth Prawer Jhabvala). They brought something new to Indian Cinema, in the 60’s & 70’s (unlike the Western Orientalist craze for Bollywood today, and the assumption that all Indian Cinema falls under the category of Bollywood, whilst Bollywood only makes Hindi Language films (out of the 122 major languages, and many more sub-dialects, spoken in India), and is mostly associated with commercial cinema, mainly with song & dance), and a special, new-found, global admiration for mystic & spiritual India. The Hippie culture had a major influence in India and Nepal.

In the west, the 60’s, revolutionised Cinema. In Europe, Art Cinema, especially The French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague), brought out a modernist (non-commercial, yet loved by modern intellectual youths) form of film, as never before; with François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard at the helm. Elsewhere, Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, Chilean film director Alexandro Jodorowsky, Polish film directors Roman Polanski & Wojciech Jerzy, Italian film directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini & Pier Paolo Pasolini, Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and Indian film directors Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen & Ritwik Ghatak (all in the Bengali language) brought about their own masterpieces of Art Cinema, with an International standard, in their respective countries.

Sandy Dennis, George Segal & Elizabeth Taylor, in a scene from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Sandy Dennis, George Segal & Elizabeth Taylor, in a scene from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Hollywood wasn’t far back, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), was America’s answer to the European Art House. Directed by Mike Nichols (this was his directorial debut feature), starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal & Sandy Dennis, and based on a play by Edward Albee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is today, considered a culturally relevant, a historically noteworthy, and an aesthetically significant, masterpiece of the American Art Film.

Movies also began to break taboos of sex, nudity and violence, with controversial directors like Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini & Bernardo Bertolucci (in Italian Films), Roger Vadim (French Films), Roger Corman (American Films) and Raj Kapoor (Bollywood – Hindi Commercial Films), to name a few. The 60’s are also remembered in conjunction with the Spaghetti Westerns, a short lived trend, begun by Italian film director, Sergio Leon.

The Year: 1966

Tunisian-born Italian actress of Sicilian parentage, Claudia Cardinale, on the cover of (the July 1966 issue of) LIFE magazine

Tunisian-born, Italian actress, of Sicilian parentage, Claudia Cardinale, on the cover of (the July 1966 issue of) LIFE magazine

1966 saw, the Acid Test (a series of parties, in the mid-late 60’s, centred around the use of the psychedelic drug LSD, a.k.a. Acid) take place, at the historic music venue in San Francisco, California, The Fillmore. These acid trips lasted throughout the rest of the decade. The spy-plane, SR-71 Blackbird (which had it’s first flight in 1964), started operation. Cabinet Member, Robert C. Weaver, became the first African American to hold a cabinet position in the United States. Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, was elected Prime Minister of India, making her the first, and only, woman Prime Minister, in India, to hold office till date. She was also the second longest serving Prime Minister of India. Luna 9, an unmanned spacecraft landed on the Moon, making it the first controlled rocket-assisted landing. Later same year, Luna 10, was also launched, by the Russians. The Lunar Orbiter 1, the first U.S. spacecraft to orbit the moon, was also launched, much later, that year. A head to head space race. The Australian Dollar was introduced. John Lennon made the controversial remark, that ‘The Beatles were more popular than Jesus’; which, though there were no problems when it was first published in the United Kingdom, got him into trouble with Christian communities in the United States, when it was republished in the States. The Crown Princess of the Netherlands married a German, which sparked protests against the Groom. Meanwhile demonstrations were held, across the United States, against the Vietnam War. The opening of the Parliament of the United Kingdom was televised for the very first time. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were finally convicted, for the murder of three children, in UK. In New York, thirteen square blocks of low rise buildings were cleared for construction of the World Trade Center (Twin Towers), and groundbreaking for the construction began.

Superstar Sophia Loren on the cover of LIFE (September 1966 issue) YEAR: NINETEEN SEXTY SEX

Superstar Sophia Loren on the cover of LIFE (September 1966 issue)
YEAR: NINETEEN SEXTY SEX

Star Trek (1966-1969), a sci-fi series, made it’s television debut, in America. The Black Panther Party was founded in USA. Japan introduced the Toyota Corolla. Chinese students were chased out of the Soviet Union. The Mothman was introduced, when a couple reported that they saw a strange moth like creature, in the States. Author Truman Capote, hosted a lavish, Black & White, masquerade ball, which was credited as being the Party of the century. Jack L. Warner sold Warner Bros. to Seven Arts Productions; And Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan, was elected, as the Governor of California.

Sadly, 1966 also saw the demise of greats, such as; famed Swiss Sculptor Alberto Giacometti, notorious American gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, iconic Silent Film-star Buster Keaton, neo-classical Italian Artist Gino Severini, American Artist & Illustrator Maxfield Parrish, British Author Evelyn Waugh, German Expressionist Film producer Erich Pommer, Hollywood method-actor Montgomery Clift, American Poet & Art Critic Frank O’Hara, French Writer & Poet André Breton, Canadian Beautician & Entrepreneur Elizabeth Arden, and Cartoonist Walt Disney (the most prominent figure of the animation industry worldwide); to name some.

Now let’s have a look at some of the films that were released in:-
1966: The Year dubbed as Nineteen Sexty Sex!!!

Hays Code was almost nearing it’s death (the dreaded censorship laws that could have, but thankfully didn’t, kill off, the cinematic arts; with it’s silly rules and regulations), and Hays (the man who implemented these rules) himself had already been dead for just over a decade. The world was going through a new found sexual revolution, as was the film industry, especially Hollywood. And the out-dated production code by William Hays, was getting impossible to enforce (which was finally, completely, abandoned in 1968).

Boeing, Boeing (1965), was a quite hilarious comedy, with Tony Curtis &  Jerry Lewis in the lead. Though released in 1965, it's film posters, hinted what the following year should be known as.

Boeing, Boeing (1965), was quite a hilarious comedy, with Tony Curtis & Jerry Lewis, in the lead. Though released in 1965, it’s film posters, hinted at, what the following year, should be known as.

In April 1966, at the 38th  Annual Academy Awards, the family entertainer, Sound of Music (1965), grabbed the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar, winning five out of it’s ten nominations. Fred Zinnemann’s, A Man for all Seasons (1966), a historical biographical movie, based on an excellent play by Robert Bolt, ended up bagging six Oscars, the following year, including for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Actor’, at the 39th Annual Academy Awards. Thus making it the best film of 1966. Love the movie, love the play. But let’s have a look at some of the movies, that defined the 60’s, and more specifically, Year: Nineteen Sexty Sex.

Blow-Up (1966), a near excellent British Film, by Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni, is no doubt the perfect insight into the latter half of 60’s decade. Fashion, fashion photography, and sexy sizzling costumes of Swinging London, it encompasses the late 60’s to perfection. A very 60’s, Sexty Sex, film, set in the world of modern fashion, with a modern, youthful and open-minded, insight into the changing world.

Blow-Up (1966) - a movie that defined the 60's!!!!! TOP LEFT: Sarah Miles TOP RIGHT: Veruschka von Lehndorff & David Hemmings BOTTOM RIGHT: David Hemmings & Veruschka von Lehndorff  BOTTOM RIGHT: Topless/Shirtless Vanessa Redgrave & David Hemmings

Blow-Up (1966) – a movie that defined the late 60’s!!!!!
TOP LEFT: Sarah Miles
TOP RIGHT: Veruschka von Lehndorff & David Hemmings
BOTTOM LEFT: David Hemmings & Veruschka von Lehndorff
BOTTOM RIGHT: Topless/Shirtless – Vanessa Redgrave & David Hemmings

The plot deals with a fashion photographer, who one day accidentally takes shots of something, he shouldn’t have, in a park. Then a mysteriously beautiful woman walks into his life, under very suspicious circumstances. David Hemmings played the photographer, and Vanessa Redgrave, the mysterious beauty. The film also features a line of breathtakingly talented beauties, including Sarah Miles, Jane Birkin and German born fashion model, Veruschka von Lehndorff (daughter of a Prussian Count who was involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler, and thus killed for it), to name some. In addition to that, the film has some notable cameo’s by several well known personalities from 1966. Especially, worth watching out for a performance, by English Rock-Band, The Yardbirds. Hemmings’ character was inspired by the real life, Swinging London, photographer, David Bailey.

Blow-Up dared to be quite sexually provocative, especially for that era, and when it was released in the United States, it was in direct defiance with the ridiculous Hays Code. In fact, Blow-Up’s subsequent critical, and box-office, success, was a crucial cinematic-historical moment, leading to the ultimate elimination of the out-dated production code, in 1968.

Next let’s have a look at Sexty Sex’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which I mentioned earlier. One of my favourite films ever, which also happens to be among my own TOP-10 all time favourite movies (See my list Why I love …. from November/December 2012 on IMDB). Love the movie. Love the Book (Play).

My favourite film of Year: Nineteen Sexty Sex

My favourite film of Year: Nineteen Sexty Sex

The film is about, a miserable middle-aged couple, who regret their life together, having not achieved all they had hoped and desired for, when young. Set within one night, the older couple invite a younger couple for drinks, and play out their disappointments, with one another, at the younger couples’ expense.

Elizabeth Taylor, who was still in her early 30’s, at the time, is successfully turned into a bitter old frumpy woman in her 50’s. Yet, this violet eyed beauty, oozes with sex appeal, and easily seduces the younger married man. Taylor’s character, Martha, not only seduces the younger man, but the audience as well, openly, in front of her weak willed husband (played by real life husband, Richard Burton). Especially, watch out for her re-entry, after she changes her clothes; as the old woman, walks into the living room, in a low-cut, deep cleavage bearing outfit; she is still a far superior sexual being, than the mousy little wife of the younger man, Nick (played by George Segal), Honey (Sandy Dennis). Showcased with a shadowy outline, suggesting a sexual act in progress, seen through a bedroom window, this is another 60’s movie, which not only revolves around sexual human relationships; the older husband & wife, the younger husband & wife (a marriage based on a “hysterical pregnancy”), and the adulterous one night stand; but their vulgar tongued bitterness, is blatantly thrown at audiences, quite unapologetically. It’s an excellent movie, meant for mature audiences. Not just mature in age, but maturity of the mind, is a necessity, to watch an intellectual movie like this. Beautifully filmed in Black & White, the film is a complete psychoanalysis of the young and the old. The 60’s dared to release a movie like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which surpasses time, and can be relevant in any human relationship, in any era.

Sex on the Dance Floor: Liz Taylor & George Segal

Sex on the Dance Floor: Liz Taylor & George Segal

Then there is a really seductively intimate dance number, between Taylor and Segal, which is pure sex on the dance floor. My favourite movie from Nineteen Sexty Sex, Mike Nichols’ directorial debut, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is a must watch, for any film buff, students of Cinema Literature, and students of Literature in the print form.

Natalie Wood was seen in two sexy releases, that year. One was the near excellent comedy, Penelope (1966), in which she plays a bored rich kleptomaniac, who robs her own husband’s bank (thus, the film/character namesake – is tagged as being, “the world’s most beautiful Bank-Robber”); and the other, a more serious, sizzling with heat, and female sexuality, movie, set in the depression era, in the Deep American South; This Property Is Condemned (1966). Another excellent masterwork of adult cinema. The latter film flaunts it’s female lead’s sexuality, thus feels more at-your-face sexual, than the comedy mentioned here. Also see my post Condemnation of a woman during the Depression era of the American south and Mai May Movies 2015 from May 2015.

Scenes from This Property is Condemned (1966)

Scenes from This Property is Condemned (1966)

Whilst the west, was coming to terms with exploring sexual topics in cinema, in the east, Indian cinema, specifically Bollywood’s commercial cinema, was starting open up topics of sex themselves. In Aakhri Khat (1966), we see a ditched beggar woman, die on the streets Bombay. Originally from Kulu district, of the state of Himachal Pradesh, she comes to Bombay, bearing child, to find the reason for her sufferings, Govind (Rajesh Khanna), a sculptor. Once the woman dies, the toddler is left on the buzy streets to fend for himself.

Directed by Chetan Anand, majority of the movie, is filmed with a hand-held camera, following a 15 month old infant, let loose in the city, taking in all the city sounds, under the cinematic direction of cinematographer, Jal Mistry. It’s an excellent movie. Am not going to go deep into the film. The implication of pre-marital sex wasn’t necessarily something new. But there is one beautiful scene, I’d like to mention. As the lost hungry child roams around the city, unaware of the death of his mother, he comes across a semi-nude statue of his mothers’, made by his father, Govind. The child at once recognises his mum, but doesn’t realise, it’s just a sculpture. The hungry crying child, is now delighted he found his mum, he feels safe, and slowly climbs it and tries to drink milk from her breast. That scene is so sad, so touching, your heart lets out. In one way there is a sense of eroticism, seeing a child trying to drink milk from a statue, but it’s also a heartrending moment in the movie. Aakhri Khat is an excellent movie, and this was superstar, Rajesh Khanna’s, very first role.

Vyjayanthimala in and as Amrapali (1966), based on the true life tragic story of a courtesan in 500 BC.

Vyjayanthimala in and as Amrapali (1966), in this historical epic, based on the true life, tragic story, of a courtesan, in 500 BC.

Bollywood actress, of southern Indian ancestry, Vyjayanthimala, appeared in two sexy roles, in 1966. One was, where she played a Princess, in Suraj (1966). An enjoyable enough movie, with beautiful songs, and an average story line. An OK venture, showcasing Vyjayanthimala’s sexy gait and bewitching beauty. But it was the historical epic, biographical movie, about a real life courtesan, Amrapali (1966), which was one of the best films she’s ever done, and encompasses her sexuality to the utmost. The concubine, mistress, of a tyrannical King, her dances, the beautiful body, is pure eroticism, and pure art. Set in 500 BC, under the rein of King Ajatashatru of Magadha empire, this is one of my favourite Bollywood films, and one of my favourite historical/Biographical epics. Amrapali was directed by Lekh Tandon.

Both these excellent Bollywood movies (Aakhri Khat & Amrapali), were selected as India’s official entry for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category at the Academy Awards, but neither were selected as Oscar nominees.

Besides these Bollywood commercial films, 1966, also so the release of the Indian Art House Film, from the state of Bengal (in Bengali); Satyajit Ray’s Nayak (1966). A feminist writer, played by Sharmila Tagore, and a Bengali film star, played by Uttam Kumar, meet by chance in a train, travelling from Calcutta to New Delhi. Reluctant at first, for the feminist writer is full of contempt towards film stars, she ultimately decides to interview him. The whole movie, is a train journey, mainly set the restaurant car, where she interviews him. But the film is also a journey of understanding one another. The actor, slowly opens up, without hiding behind a façade, whilst the feminist softens her outlook towards the world of showbiz. By the end of the journey, as they part their ways, both have improved, through this journey of self-discovery, and an understanding of a non-judgemental outlook towards fellow human beings. One of my favourite Bengali movies, by one of the greatest Indian directors ever.

Cul-de-Sac 66'

Heading back to the United Kingdom, Polish director, Roman Polanski’s, Cul-de-Sac (1966), is another interesting, sexual and psychological thriller. A very weird movie dealing with sexual frustration, alienation and of-course the input of horror. A very good movie, which has all the Polanski trade-marks, seen in most of his films. Also see my post Roman Polanski & His Films from a couple of years ago.

Getting back to Hollywood, my favourite director, Alfred Hitchcock’s, Torn Curtain (1966), a movie that deals with an American physicist defecting (in pretence) onto the Iron Curtain, more specifically East Germany. Set and made, during the Cold War, and starring Julie Andrews and Paul Newman, this is not considered among the best of Hitchcockian films. Yet it’s still an excellent movie. Hitchcock was intrigued by the defection of British diplomats Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean to the Soviet Union in 1951, and thus the idea behind Torn Curtain was born.

Julie Andrews and Paul Newman in Torn Curtain (1966)

Julie Andrews and Paul Newman in Torn Curtain (1966)

The film has a very mild sex scene, with Andrews and Newman, in the beginning of the film. Yet, straight out of family entertainers like Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music, seeing Julie Andrews do a sex scene, was shocking for American audiences back then. But by the early 70’s, there were so much more, graphic, sex sequences, in movies like, A Clockwork Orange (1971), Last Tango in Paris (1972) and Don’t Look Now (1973), to name a few, that even the idea of being shocked at the sex scene in Torn Curtain was laughable. Paul Newman, also appears nude in a shower scene, but seen through a glass, the nudity isn’t that clearly visible.

Ebony Magazine covers from 1966, depicting celebs with their families.

Ebony Magazine covers from 1966, depicting celebs with their families.

1966, wasn’t all about sex, there were some beautiful non-sexual family films like, Born Free (1966), Mera Saaya (1966), How to Steal a Million (1966), Anupama (1966), Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966), A Man for all Seasons (mentioned above), for example. Yet the Audrey Hepburn movie, How to Steal a Million, can also be categorized as a  stylishly, sleek n’ sexy, movie of 1966. Other sexy films of 66’, include, Fantastic Voyage (1966), Teesri Manzil (1966), Frankie and Johnny (1966), 7 Women (1966), Love in Tokyo (1966), Teesri Kasam (1966), etc etc …

Scene from Masculin Féminin (1966)

Scene from Masculin Féminin (1966)

Then there are Sexty-Sex films I haven’t seen, but would love to, like, Un Homme et une Femme (1966), Masculin Féminin (1966), The Battle of Algiers (1966), Voyna i Mir Part-I & II (1966), Alfie (1966), Shiroi Kyotō (1966), Persona (1966), Is Paris Burning? (1966), The Face of Another (1966), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), The Sand Pebbles (1966), The Appaloosa (1966), The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966), The Chase (1966), Madame X (1966), Funeral in Berlin (1966), Any Wednesday (1966), Triple Cross (1966 ), Made in U.S.A (1966), Hawaii (1966), La Curée (1966), The Blue Max (1966), Sex Quartet (1966), Gambit (1966), Kenka Erejî (1966), The Trouble with Angels (1966), The Professionals (1966), Sedmikrásky (1966), Daimajin (1966), Trunk to Cairo (1966), Au Hasard Balthazar (1966), Incompreso (1966), The Deadly Affair (1966), Pearls of the Deep (1966), Harper (1966), Our Man in Marrakesh (1966), Grand Prix (1966), Khartoum (1966), O Slavnosti a Hostech (1966), Andrei Rublev (1966), Nevada Smith (1966), The Fortune Cookie (1966), Arabesque (1966), The Wild Angels (1966), Tokyo Drifter (1966), Maya (1966), Uccellacci e Uccellini (1966), Seconds (1966), The War Is Over (1966), Faraon (1966), Kaleidoscope (1966), Ah Güzel Istanbul (1966), The Poppy is also a Flower (1966), Ostre Sledované Vlaky (1966), La noire de… (1966), Mamta (1966), The Pornographers (1966), Le Deuxième Souffle (1966), Krylya (1966), The Sandwich Man (1966), Chappaqua (1966), Syskonbädd 1782 (1966), Yeh Raat phir na Aaygi (1966), A Man Called Adam (1966), Es (1966), Signore & Signori (1966), Onna no Mizûmi (1966), Apa (1966), Les Créatures (1966), Zatôichi umi o Wataru (1966), Footsteps in the Snow (1966), La Vida de Pedro Infante (1966), Kiba Ôkaminosuke (1966), The Embryo Hunts in Secret (1966), Seasons of Our Love (1966), Una Vergine per il Principe (1966), After the Fox (1966), etc etc …. and so many more.

The cover of Film Review from December 1966

The cover of Film Review from December 1966

And then there are films that I haven’t watched, that am not that crazy about, but which are sexualised films (especially using actresses, with beautiful bodies, rather than acting talent – mostly B-movies, B-Horror/B-Sci-fi films), some of which were quite famous back in 1966, and some that sound so silly they were hardly worth mentioning, and audiences back then weren’t that crazy about checking out. The likes of, One Million Years B.C. (1966), Women of the Prehistoric Planet (1966), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Once Before I Die (1966), Blood Bath (1966), Queen of Blood (1966), The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966), Kill Baby, Kill (1966), Take Me Naked (1966) and Single Room Furnished (1966), to name some.

The 1960’s: One Great Decade!!!!!
The Year 1966: One Unique Year, especially for Cinema!!!!!

Veruschka and David Hemmings in Blow-Up  YEAR:1966

Veruschka and David Hemmings in Blow-Up
YEAR:1966

This post is about Sex in Film & the Sixties, and more specifically in 66’ (a.k.a. Sexty Sex); (Ironic, considering the fact, that my previous post, dealt with virginity, in Year 2015).

Meant for More Mature Audiences!!!!!
(Immature Adults – Stay Clear)

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense

This post, is my contribution for the Classic Movie History Project Blogathon, organised by fellow Bloggers of, Silver Screenings (Ruth), Movies Silently (Fritzi) & Once Upon a Screen (Aurora); and sponsored by Flicker Alley.
History Project  (JUNE 2015) LOGOThank you Ruth, Aurora and Fritzi for letting me be part of this interesting Blogathon. It’s five minutes to Midnight !!!!! Good Night!!!!! 🙂

Regards
Nuwan Sen

Congratulations!!!!!______

Palme d’Or Winner - French Director, Jacques Audiard

Palme d’Or Winner – French Director, Jacques Audiard

I waited last night, till past midnight (here), to catch the news on who won what, and to find out who/which film grabbed the coveted Palme d’Or, this year. I switched to France 24, just in time, and saw Film Critic, Lisa Nesselson, speak about how her jaw dropped in horror, when she heard who had won. An unpleasant surprise. And she mentioned how she was looking for her jaw in the ground, when she came on air. Coincidentally, I had a similar reaction, just a few minutes before she stated thus, when I watched the Breaking News strip running below, on France 24, state, that Dheepan (2015), directed by Jacques Audiard, had grabbed the Palme d’Or this year. I heard myself gasp, with an inaudible WHAT??? Lisa Nesselson mentioned that this French Film, dealing with the immigration issue, wasn’t her favourite movie, and though, as I haven’t watched it, and thus can’t really judge, I felt Dheepan was the least impressive seeming movie, in-competition, this year. And I never thought it shall end up garnering any accolade, let alone, the most prestigious prize in the international film scene. I guess it might have something good in it. Yet, am not that crazy about watching it. But if I do come across it, I might give it a try.

Vincent Lindon won the ‘Best Actor’ award for the French Film, La Loi du Marché (2015), and the ‘Best Actress’ recognition went to two actresses, a tie, between, Rooney Mara for Carol (2015), and Emmanuelle Bercot for Mon Roi (2015). The ‘Best Director’ award went to Chinese director, Hsiao-Hsien Hou, for Nie yin Niang (2015), a.k.a. The Assassin (in English).
Cannes 2015 WinnersThe Grand Prix was awarded to the Hungarian movie, Son of Saul (2015). Enumenical Jury Prize was awarded to the Italian movie, Mia Madre (2015). Jury Prize’s went to, the British film, The Lobster (2015), and the Croatian film, Zvizdan (2015). Un Certain Regard Prize went to Film Director, Grímur Hákonarson, for the Icelandic Film, Hrútar (2015). Film Director, Neeraj Ghaywan, and Film Director Ida Panahandeh, were awarded a Special Prize for Promising Future, for the Indian movie, Masan (2015) and the Iranian movie, Nahid (2015), respectively. Legendary Film Directress, Agnes Varda, was awarded the honorary, Palme d’Honneur, for Year 2015!!!!!

Being a big Highsmith fan (though I have only read two of her books, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers on a Train), I was rooting for Carol; which is based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, am yet to read; to gain some sort of recognition. Thus the highlight of the Cannes Festival this year, for me, was Rooney Mara, winning (though having to share her honour with Emmanuelle Bercot) the ‘Best Actress’ award. Carol was also awarded the Queer Palm Award.

Marion Cotillard in a scene from Macbeth (2015) Inset: Marion Cotillard with co-star Michael Fassbender.

Marion Cotillard in a scene from Macbeth (2015)
Inset: Marion Cotillard with co-star Michael Fassbender.

Being a Literature Buff, as much as a Cinema Buff (and more specifically, when it comes to the Bard, the 16th century literary genius, Shakespeare), I was disappointed that Macbeth (2015) didn’t win anything. And, was even more so disappointed, when Macbeth’s lead actress, Marion Cotillard, who’s continuously appeared in Cannes contenders, for quite sometime now, didn’t bag the ‘Best Actress’ trophy, this year.

None the less, all’s well that ends well, and Cannes 2015 has been a spectacular event, which I unfortunately wasn’t part of, living up to it’s, high heeled, classy standard.

Thus, until next year, farewell my lovely film festival. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
 2015 (Special)

Judging the film by the titles.
Doesn’t matter whether I love these movies or not, I love these interesting film titles. They sound pretty cool.
Film Titles
I took part in a poll on IMDB, about favourite film titles. In two parts, it asked us to select our favourite film title, pre-1975 & post-1975. For pre-1975, I chose A Clockwork Orange (1971) as my favourite title, and for post-1975, I chose Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) as my favourite title. For overall favourite title I chose A Clockwork Orange, of course. See their polls as well Run-Off: The Best Film Title EverRun-Off: The Best Film Titles Part I & Run Off Poll: The Best Film Titles Part II.

Have your ever loved the title of a movie, but not necessarily the film? Let me know your favourite film title, from a literary sense. I love most of the 100 movies listed below, some more than others. But the list is mainly to do with my favourite film titles, some are based on novels, plays etc etc.. that I happen to love too. There might be many a films I’ve missed out, as I’ve narrowed this down to just 100 films out of the zillion that exist. Feel free to add, and let me know your favourite title of a film, not your favourite film, unless of course they are one and the same.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

A Room with a View (1985)

Thank you for Smoking (2005)

Woman in the Dunes (1964)

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? (1966)

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

The Last Emperor (1987)

Gone With The Wind (1939)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Breakfast on Pluto (2005)

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

The Lady Vanishes (1938 & 1979)

36, Chowringhee Lane (1981)

Last Tango in Paris (1972)

La Mala Educación (2004)

Through a Glass Darkly (1961)

The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

The Great Gatsby (2013)

The Sheltering Sky (1990)

I Heart Huckabees (2004)

1947 Earth (1998)

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Carnage (2011)

Heat and Dust (1983)

Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)

Rebecca (1940)

Casablanca (1942)

Anna Karenina (1935 & 2012)

Cleopatra (1963)

Malèna (2000)

The Knife in the Water (1962)

Double Indemnity (1944)

Zwartboek (2006)

The Namesake (2006)

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Jules et Jim (1962)

Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978)

The Cider House Rules (1999)

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

No Country for Old Men (2007)

A Passage to India (1984)

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 & 1956)

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

The Americanization of Emily (1964)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Shakespeare Wallah (1965)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

West Side Story (1961)

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

The Pelican Brief (1993)

Roman Holiday (1953)

City Lights (1931)

A Few Good Men (1992)

12 Angry Men (1957 & 1997)

Salaam Bombay! (1988)

Silkwood (1983)

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

The 39 Steps (1935)

The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978)

Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Life of Pi (2012)

The Iron Lady (2011)

To Sir, with Love (1967)

My Fair Lady (1964)

Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)

Metropolis (1927)

Paris, Texas (1984)

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Chinatown (1974)

Hideous Kinky (1998)

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Brief Encounter (1945)

Tess (1979)

Modern Times (1936)

WALL-E (2008)

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

Trainspotting (1996)

The Rainmaker (1997)

Easy Rider (1969)

The Sound of Music (1965)

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Latter Days (2003)

The Sheik (1921)

Notting Hill (1999)

Dans Paris (2006)

Wilde (1997)

This is not in order of my favourite films; as I like Breakfast at Tiffany’s more than A Clockwork Orange, and Gone With The Wind more than both of them put together, and Roman Holiday, which happens to be my all time favourite movie is no.63 in the list; but in order of my favourite titles, of unique names, that tend to have a nice ring to them. Would like to hear about your favourites.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Film Title Sense

Guess these international films, from around the globe, released between 1949 and The Year 2000 :-

Q1. Q 40'sQ2.Q 50'sQ3.Q 60'sQ4. Q 70'rQ5.Q 70'rsQ6.Q 70'rszQ7.Q 70'sQ8.Q 80'sQ9.Q 90'sQ10. Q 90'z……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Clues:-

  • Check out Tags for hints on various genre’s, stars et al

Answers:-
I shall provide the answers myself, once some of my fellow bloggers have given this a try

Have Fun with the quiz

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

B.Bertolucci

Bernardo Bertolucci & I
My introduction to Bernardo Bertolucci was as a teenager, back in the early/mid 1990’s, when I was awed by the spectacle that was The Last Emperor (1987). A movie I was reprimanded for watching, as supposedly it was not suitable for a 16/17 year old. Even at that age I was aware that I had actually just witnessed an artistic piece of cinematic excellence. What I should have realised at that age, but didn’t, is that I did not belong in this aesthetically depressive dump hole. But I knew that my taste was a bit high for these so called older and wiser idiots to ever comprehend. If they had a problem with me watching such a fine piece of cinema, ’twas because of their own perverted mentality, not mine. None the less, till date, I think The Last Emperor is the best film Bertolucci has made, and my second favourite, besides all the bad memories associated with watching it.
Next, still in my teens, was Little Buddha (1993), in 1994, when we went back to live in New Delhi, after an unpleasant hiatus of six years away from my country of birth to the country of unfortunate roots. Coming from a Buddhist background, minus the deep blinded faith of the religion, instead having a more open minded modern acceptance of the philosophical aspects of Buddhism, Little Buddha was a must watch for me. Though no where as near as excellent as The Last Emperor, I really enjoyed Little Buddha, and thought it was a very good movie.

Bertolucci (80's & 90's)

Bertolucci’s Childhood
Bertolucci was born in the region of Emilia-Romagna, in the city of Parma, in Italy, on the 16th of March 1940. His mother was a teacher, and father, Attilio Bertolucci, a reputed poet, art historian, anthologist and film critic. Bertolucci, also has a younger brother, who is a theatre director and playwright. Thanks to his family background, Bertolucci, started writing at a very young age and as a teenager, received several prestigious literary prizes.
Wishing to be a poet, like his famous father, Bertolucci, attended the ‘Faculty of Modern Literature’, at the University of Rome, from 1958 to 1961. But meanwhile, his father having helped, famed Italian film director, Pier Paolo Pasolini, to publish his first novel, Pasolini reciprocated by hiring Bernardo Bertolucci, as a first assistant in Rome for Pasolini’s film, Accattone (1961), thus Bertolucci left the University without graduating.
At 22, Bertolucci directed his first movie, La Commare Secca (1962), for which the screenplay was written by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Post that, Bertolucci decided to leave behind ‘s poetic ideals, and make it on his own. Giving birth to his second, and more acclaimed, film, Prima Della Rivoluzione (1964), a.k.a. Before the Revolution. The rest, as we know, is history.

Prima Della Rivoluzione by Bernardo Bertolucci

Before and After The Sexual Revolution
After having watched two Bertolucci films, in my teens, the next one I watched, was The Sheltering Sky (1990), in 2002 in London, eight years after watching Little Buddha. A beautiful drama set in the deserted landscape of the African continent, where an American couple travel aimlessly searching for new experiences in the late 1940’s. The Sheltering Sky stars John Malkovich, who is superb as always, Debra Winger and Campbell Scott.
And then I watched the acclaimed, Prima Della Rivoluzione, mentioned above, in 2003, in Oslo, I loved this Italian classic, the only Italian language film of Bertolucci I’ve seen till date. The story is about a May/December romance, set in the backdrop of Italy’s ideologies (much like protagonist’s) torn between their comfortable Bourgeois lifestyle and flirtation with communist theory, released just before the sexual revolution of the 60’s. A study of youth at the edge of adulthood. The lead actress, Adriana Asti, was married to Bertolucci, later divorced.
Soon, in 2003, Oslo, itself, I got a chance to watch The Dreamers (2003), on the big screen there, when it premiered for an Oslo film festival. That was my first and only Bertolucci on the big screen till date. I fell in love with this film about three innocent film buffs, with liberated views, living in a dream world, as the 1968 riots unfold outside in Paris. Thus, set during the height of the sexual revolution. The movie starts with the sacking of famed French film archivist, Cinephile and co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française, Henri Langlois, and ends during the Parisian ‘Student Occupation Protests’, of May 68’. The Dreamers, is my favourite Bernardo Bertolucci venture till date. And I’ve seen it numerous times since then. Post that I watched the controversial Last Tango in Paris (1972), in Oslo itself, and Besieged (1999), while residing in Portsmouth, UK, in 2004.
BB's The Dreamers (03')The Last Scandal of Bertolucci
Last Tango in Paris (1972), was a movie I didn’t really enjoy that much, but happens to be a very good movie, and worth checking out at least once. Made, based on Bertolucci’s sexual fantasies (apparently he once dreamed of seeing a beautiful nameless woman on the street and having sex with her without ever knowing who she was), it is the most scandalous movie Bertolucci has ever made till date, especially due to the graphic rape scene using butter. Actress Maria Schneider, was unaware of such a scene, and was told just before the take that her character was to be raped. She felt she was manipulated and forced to do a scene that was not on the script, and she later mentioned that in that scene, she was not acting but, ‘‘I was crying real tears. I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon (Brando) and by Bertolucci. After the scene, Marlon didn’t console me or apologise.’’ She also added much later that her biggest regret in life was making this movie, and that it ruined her life. She never spoke to Bertolucci after that and never forgave him, even in death, for what she considered an emotional rape. Maria Schneider died of cancer, in February 2011. In 2013, Bertolucci, expressed sadness of his treatment of Maria Schneider stating that, Maria was just, ‘‘a 19-year old who, had never acted before. Maybe, sometimes in the movie, I didn’t tell her what was going on because I knew her acting would be better. So, when we shot this scene with Marlon using butter on her, I decided not to tell her. I wanted a reaction of frustration and rage’’. Yet Bertolucci also mentioned that even though he felt guilty, he did not regret it.
Marlon Brando too felt emotionally raped, and avoided contact with Bertolucci, but reconciled 15 years later. About Marlon Brando, Bertolucci had said that he is, ‘‘an angel as a man, a monster as an actor’’.

Last Tango in Paris (1972)

Academy Awards & Recognition
Bernardo Bertolucci’s film Partner (1968), entered the 29th Venice Film Festival and the 22nd Cannes Film Festival. Amore e Rabbia (1969) entered 19th Berlin International Film Festival, where he was nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear. Il Conformista (1970), earned Bertolucci, many award wins at prestigious ceremonies, including the Golden Berlin Bear, and Bertolucci was nominated for ‘Best Screenplay’ at the Academy Awards in 1972. His very first Oscar nod. Yet it was the controversial Last Tango in Paris (1972) that gained him international recognition (and notoriety), along with two Oscar nominations, for ‘Best Actor’ (to Marlon Brando), and ‘Best Director’ for Bertolucci. Many wins and nominations followed his work then on forward, but it was Bertolucci’s bio-pic, The Last Emperor (1987), gained him an even greater, better reputed, recognition, as one of greatest film director’s ever. It was the first feature film authorized by the Chinese government to film in the Forbidden City in Beijing. The film won all the nine awards it was nominated for, at the Academy Awards, including ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Director’. Bertolucci’s biggest Oscar triumph yet. He also won two awards at the Golden Globes. Post that he had many other wins and nominations for various films at various ceremonies, yet nothing broke the his record wins of The Last Emperor. Definitely the best film he’s ever made, and my second favourite Bertolucci. In 2007, Bertolucci won the Golden Lion for his career at the Venice Film Festival, and in recognition of his work, he was presented with the inaugural Honorary Palme d’Or Award at the opening ceremony of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

BB's Last Emperor

The Last Emperor (1987)

Bertolucci appeals for a fellow Film director
Director Bernardo Bertolucci, was among the people who signed an appeal to the Swiss government to release Roman Polanski, who was being held while waiting to be extradited to the United States, in September 2009.
(Also see my post Roman Polanski & His Films from September 2013)Director Bernardo Bertolucci - On the sets of ...

Bertolucci Films am yet to watch
I have so many Bertolucci, films I haven’t seen yet, including La Commare Secca (1962), Il Conformista (1970), Novecento/1900 (1976), La Luna (1979), La Tragedia di un Uomo Ridicolo (1981), Stealing Beauty (1996) and Io e Te (2012), to name a few.

Io e Te (2012)

Io e Te (2012)

Belated Birthday wishes to Bertolucci
Bertolucci celebrated his 74th Birthday on Sunday, the 16th of March, 2014. Wishing him all the best for his future endeavours. (Also see my list BB: Set Of Seven On IMDB, made on his 73rd Birthday, last year)

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Six Degrees of Separation: from Rock Hudson to

Rock Hudson 6°

…Lillete Dubey
Hudson starred alongside Elizabeth Taylor (1) in Giant (1956), and television actress Sherilyn Fenn (2) portrayed Taylor in the TV movie, Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story (1995), and Fenn starred in the creepy flick Boxing Helena (1993), alongside British actor Julian Sands (3), who acted in, one of the best of British Heritage Cinema of the 80’s, Room with a View (1985), which was based on novel by E.M. Foster (4), as was A Passage to India (1984), starring Victor Banerjee (5), who appeared in Delhi in a Day (2011), where Lillete Dubey (6) played his daughter.

…Joe Manganiello
Hudson starred alongside Doris Day (1) in one the most famous sex-comedies ever, Pillow Talk (1959), and Day starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s (2), 50’s re-make of his own 30’s classic, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), and Hitchcock was portrayed by Anthony Hopkins (3) in the bio-pic Hitchcock (2012), and Hopkins’ most famous role is that of a psychotic, cannibalistic, intellectual, killer in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), which co-starred Jodie Foster (4), who came in Flightplan (2005), in which Matt Bomer (5) had a small role, and Bomer currently plays the lead, in the television series, White Collar (2009 -till date), and in an episode, from the third season, of which, Joe Manganiello (6) has a guest role in.

…Tanay Chheda  
Hudson played a man who is an expert on sports fishing, but not so much when it comes fishing for a life partner, in the comedy Man’s Favourite Sport (1964), in which John McGiver (1), had an interesting small role, as did he in yet another hilarious comedy, Ariane – Love in the Afternoon (1957), where Audrey Hepburn (2) played the titular character; of the ‘afternoon girl’ of a playboy, driving the playboy to the brink of insanity; and Hepburn starred in Two for the Road (1967), a story chronicling 10 years of a couple’s relationship; from the day they met, to marriage, parenthood, infidelity and the disintegration of their love for one another; where the male lead was played by Albert Finney (3), who later came in the epic fantasy, Big Fish (2003), where Ewan McGregor (4) played the younger him, and McGregor came in Trainspotting (1996); a movie set in Edinburgh’s drug scene; which was directed by Danny Boyle (5), who directed Slumdog Millionaire (2008), where Tanay Chheda (6) played the younger (not the youngest) version of the lead character.

Rocking Sixes
…François Goeske   
Hudson came in The Mirror Crack’d (1980), which was based on mystery novel by Agatha Christie (1), as is the, 25 year long running, British television series Agatha Christie: Poirot (1989– till date), and in a 2004 episode, of which, starred Emily Blunt (2), who, in The Young Victoria (2009), played England’s Queen Victoria (3), as did Austrian actress, Romy Schneider (4), in Mädchenjahre einer Königin (1954); who starred in another historical bio-pic; Ludwig (1972), where the titular charcter was played by Helmut Berger (5), who more recently appeared in the German television crime thriller, Damals warst Du still (2005), which co-starred French actor, François Goeske (6).

…Leehom Wang
Hudson appeared as a guest for quite a few episodes, in one season, of the famed 80’s soap, Dynasty (1981-1989), of which, the negative lead, was played by Joan Collins (1), who starred alongside George Hamilton (2), in the television movie, Monte Carlo (1986), and Logan Lerman (3) portrayed Hamilton in, My One and Only (2009), and Lerman, as a child artiste, appeared in The Patriot (2000), which also starred Heath Ledger (4) who appeared in Brokeback Mountain (2005), which was directed by Ang Lee (5), who also directed Lust, Caution (2007) which starred Leehom Wang (6).

…Robert Sean Leonard
Hudson played a young man in love with a much older woman, in the May/December tear-jerker, All That Heaven Allows (1955), where the older woman was played by Jane Wyman (1), who later starred in the 80’s soap, Falcon Crest (1981-1990), which also starred, Susan Sullivan (2), who currently plays mother to Nathan Fillion (3) in the crime drama, Castle (2009 -till date), and Fillion stars in Much Ado About Nothing (2012), a modern updated version of William Shakespeare’s (4) famed comical play, and Kenneth Branagh (5) too directed, and acted in, another modern film adaptation of the same play in 1993, which also starred Robert Sean Leonard (6).

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense ()
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Is it my 100th post already? Wow! I guess it should have come much earlier, considering the fact I started this blog on the 20th of March 2012. But I did procrastinate a bit more last year, so far as my blog was concerned that is. I took a blog sabbatical from May to September 2012. Instead I made quite a few lists and wrote critiques on IMDB last year. Read a lot of books too last year, and blogged about a few; and this year I read very few books, comparatively, and blogged about none.

Paris Sydney through the balcony (Nuwan Sen)

Paris Sydney through the balcony (Nuwan Sen)

So my musings. I do have a very vivid imagination. I have soooooo much in my mind I’d love to put to words, but don’t seem to be able to. When did I start writing? Definitely at a very young age. I loved writing short stories, poems, even wrote a film review once in school, when I was about 10 or 11. But I loathed writing essays for some reason. I still do actually. I even remember writing this looooooog interesting short story, inserting many a fairy tale characters and aliens, again when I was about 10 or 11. Became a journalist too, for a short while, just over a decade ago. But being a journalist and a creative writer are not necessarily the same thing. I tried my hand at writing novels. First aged 12½/13, I started a book called Exciting Eight, Ha!! An adventure story about seven cousins aged between 8 and 13, and their lovable dog/common mongrel, who track down a villain in the guise of a milk man who stole Princess Diana’s crown jewels. Sounds silly and somewhat familiar to Enid Blyton books. Well!!! When I was 19 I found the book so childish I threw it away, something I kind of regret today. My next was in my mid-20’s. That was an epic titled English Spring Indian Winter. Which too I couldn’t complete. And now, thanks to my blog, I actually do get to write on a regular basis. Still, I might get back to English Spring Indian Winter someday, who knows. I just need the peace of mind, pure silence, my own personal space, and nothing to distract my thought process.

My oldest nicest memories. The oldest, is that of my 5th B’day. I remember, my cake of a wall with Humpty Dumpty nicely perched on a it. And running out to the flat balcony with my friends to see a beautiful rainbow.
My memory of the most beautiful place I visited as a kid, was just after my 11 birthday, visiting Kashmir, staying in a boat house and the first time I saw snow. Still aged 11, when we went to Singapore, the realisation hit me that I have actually been residing in a another country for the last 11 years of my life. A fact I always knew, that I was born in another country, but when we went, for a holiday, to yet another country, that’s when I actually felt that I was born, and have been living, in a foreign country. Then 1994, as a teenager, revisiting New Delhi, after a six year break, and visiting my old school, The British School in New Delhi, and walking past the corridor of lockers, bending down to see my name still scratched on my old locker, that year was a uniquely memorable, though somewhat unsettled, year. Ah!! The age of innocence.
And Then I grew up and happy memories seem to start to cease.

My favourites in art : Salvador Dalí, no one can beat this surreal master, as far I’m concerned. Most of my own artworks are inspired by his work.

My favourites in literature : My favourite novel happens to be City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre. I bought it when I was 19, read it when I 20. And hundreds and hundreds of books later, City of Joy, till date, happens to be my favourite. My favourite childhood books: The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton, I read and re-read a number of times between the ages of 8 and 12. And Roald Dahl’s The BFG, a book we did in school, in S-I (Senior I), when I was 11 years old. My first adult/mature book, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, aged 12½/13. And that remained my favourite book, till I read City of Joy, seven years later.
My favourite author : Christopher Isherwood, since I discovered him a couple years ago, when I read Isherwood’s Mr. Norris Changes Trains (prior to Isherwood, Agatha Christie and D.H. Lawrence were my two favourite authors). And then last year, I read a few more of Isherwood’s beautifully stylized works of inventive literature. (and I still have one more to read, which too I bought last year). Speaking of inventive literature, I have to mention my two favourite novellas. Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (a book that found me, in 2009) and Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange (a book I had been looking for sometime, and finally located in 2011). My favourite two short stories, Anton Chekhov’s The Lady with the Dog, which I read when I was about 14/15 years old and fell madly in love with it; and Daphne du Maurier’s The Apple Tree, which I read two years ago as well.

My favourites in Cinema : My all time favourite film director, Alfred Hitchcock.
My all time favourite movie, Roman Holiday (1953); my all time favourite film star, Audrey Hepburn.
My two favourite stars of the 21st Century, Jude Law & Kate Winslet.
My favourite British movie : Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971)
My favourite European movie (non-British) : The new-wave French classic, Jules et Jim (1962) directed by François Truffaut.
My favourite European movie (non-British) from the first decade of 21st century : The Spanish film, La Mala Educación (2004) directed by Pedro Almodóvar.
My favourite film from the last decade : Mike Nichols’ Closer (2004).
My all time favourite Indian movie (non-Bollywood) : The art house (Parallel Cinema) Bengali/English bilingual film from the state of West Bengal, Aparna Sen’s The Japanese Wife (2010)
My favourite Bollywood flick (Indian commercial cinema, Hindi language film, from the state of Maharashtra) : Arth (1982)
My favourite Asian film (non-Indian) : Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002)
My favourite film from down under : Gallipoli (1981)
My favourite film from down under (from this century) : Ten Canoes (2006)

My favourites in music : Being a child of the 80’s, I grew up loving pop stars, Madonna and Michael Jackson. They are definitely the last two pop stars to make such a strong impact in the music industry. Nobody since, has come up to their level of fame. But as a teenager I started loving the Beatles more, and more specifically John Lennon. Not just for his music, but also his peace activism. Especially, Lennon’s post Beatles activism, alongside his second wife Yoko Ono. My favourite English song happens to Lennon’s Imagine. My favourite Hindi song : Kabhi Kabhie by Mukesh. The tunes I tend to hum on a more regular basis though, since I can remember are : English songs, Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain and The Beatles Hey Jude ; Hindi songs, Nazia Hassan’s 70’s disco number Aap Jaisa Koi, Asha Bhosle’s Hippie number from the 70’s – Dum Maro Dum, and again Bhosle’s 70’s romantic seduction that is Churaliya.

Places Places :  The most beautiful country I’ve seen : Switzerland
My favourite city : Paris (As a country Switzerland is definitely the most beautiful, but when it comes to concrete jungles, Paris is the most beautiful, with it’s old architecture, Art galleries, Artists houses, and other museums. The Champs-Elysées, the cinema’s, the Cinémathèque Française, and just losing yourself walking along the River Seine, on those brick laden roads.
Most beautiful, scenic, warm climate, location : Definitely the South of France, the French Riviera, Côte d’Azur; including Monaco.

My own artworks :-
I’ve never got a chance to blog about my works of art, except for a couple of posts, where I attached some of my works in relation to that particular post, but besides that I haven’t posted anything about my art. Makes sense, cause the last time I held a paint brush was just over two years ago. And so far as my sketches/drawings go, I haven’t touched a pencil for some months now. So, this my opportunity to showcase some of my artworks in my blog. Thus, since I should limit the amount of works I can post here, here are some of my works done within the last five years, starting from the latter half of 2008.

Right on top, you can see Paris Sydney through the balcony. The last painting I’ve done so far. A painting I did between June-Oct 2010, and completed it, giving it, it’s final finishing touches, in a day, in Oct 2011. I haven’t touched a brush since.
Paris Sydney through the balcony, is a painting where I’ve incorporated the six countries I’ve lived in, till date, since childhood. And named it after two cities I loved living in for two different reasons. Sydney, I had a great group of friends and was the most happiest, and Paris, I fell in love with the city of love itself, for it beauty, artistic vibe and historical significance.

The concepts behind majority of art, happens to be based on Cinema.
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So, my works on Cinema

Sex & Literature - The Reader ( Feb 09')
Sex & Literature [The Reader] (February 2009) : I waited for Kate Winslet to win the Oscar, before I worked on this drawing. Finally my favourite actress of today won the Oscar she deserved to win. Of course this drawing does not depict Kate Winslet, but the character of Hanna Schmitz, Winslet played in the movie The Reader (2008). I hadn’t read Bernhard Schlink German novel, translated into English by Carol Brown Janeway, that the movie is adapted from, at the time. I read it, and loved reading it, only the following year, June 2010.

My favourite movies by decade ----
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(Checkout my list of favourite movies by decade on IMDB. Link:-My Favourite movie by decade)

My Favourite movie by decade - 1he 1960's (Janvier 2011)
My Favourite movie by decade – The 1960’s (January 2011)

My Favourite movie by decade - The 1940's (Février 2011)
My Favourite movie by decade – The 1940’s (February 2011)

My Favourite movie by decade - The 1990's (Février 2011)
My Favourite movie by decade – The 1990’s (February 2011)

My favourite Film on Film Buffs (Février 2011)
My Favourite Film on Film Buffs (February 2011)

Drawings - Hepburn at Cats (Jan 2010)
Hepburn @ cats (Jan 2010)

April 2012
Marilyn and the 50’s (April 2012)

My Works Priyanka (Nov 2008)
Priyanka Chopra (November 2008)

My Sketches -The Roaring 20's, Talking Pictures & Singin' in the Rain  (April 2009)
The Roaring 20’s, Talking Pictures & Singin’ in the Rain (April 2009)

Equus [The Love Scene] Version A (Feb 2009)
Equus [The Love Scene] Version A (February 2009): Surreal version

Equus [The Love Scene] Version B (Feb 2009)
Equus [The Love Scene] Version B (February 2009): Distorted & Abstract version

BUtterfield 8 (Jan 2013)
BUtterfield 8 – Book & Movie (January 2013): Showcasing the difference between the lead character in the book and the movie. John O’Hara’s novel, BUtterfield 8, was written and set in the early 1930’s, and was based on a true story. While Daniel Mann’s movie BUtterfield 8 (1960), starring Elizabeth Taylor in the lead role, for which she won an Oscar, was made and set in the late 50’s.

My works on Paris

Horny Gargoyl watching over Paris (Feb 2010)
Horny Gargoyle watching over Paris (February 2010)

Paris Je t'aime (Drawings on Paris) Feb 2010
Four artworks of mine paying tribute to my favourite city (February 2010)
–  Horny Gargoyle watching over Paris (same as above)
– A rough sketch of Paris Sydney through the balcony (before I did the oil painting)
– The Girl who stole the Eiffel Tower
– Champs-Elysées & Cinema

Still Life/Miscellaneous

Still Life - Vase and Lipstick (Feb 2010)
Still Life with Vase & Lipstick (February 2010)

The Hanger and the French Beret (Apr 2010)
The Hanger & the French Beret (February 2010) : Depicting two of my favourite cities. The French beret, symbolising Paris; and the hanger, Sydney’s Harbour Bridge.

My Sketches - Going French Cuisine (May 2009)
Going French Cuisine (May 2009)

Mental Liberation (Feb 10')
Mental Liberation (February 2010)

Tintin at Mad Hatter's Tea Party (April 2010)
Tintin @ Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (April 2010)

Tension Unmasked (Feb 2010)
Tension Unmasked (February 2010)

Mercury Cloning (Feb 2010)
Mercury Cloning (February 2010)

My Sketches - Fruity intimacy (May 2009)
Fruity Intimacy (May 2009)

My Sketches - The Third Eye [Man & Machine]  (May 2009)
The Third Eye [Man & Machine] (May 2009) : Tribute to Sci-fi works, nothing specific.
My Sketches - Beautiful Legs resting on a footstool (June 2009)
Beautiful Legs resting on a footstool (June 2009)

Tribute to (inspired from) past artists/artworks

Après Moreau (Jan - Feb 2010)
Après Moreau (January – February 2010) : Two distorted and abstract works based on Gustave Moreau’s famous works. Above – from Fairy with the Griffins. Below – from Galatea and Polyphemus the Cyclops. A lot of Moreau’s works were inspired by Greek mythology and I was a student of the classics (Greek & Roman Civilization).

My Works Van Gogh in Paris [Sept 2008]
Van Gogh in Paris (September 2008) : Depicting the Artist, and Rue Lepic, the area of Paris he resided in.

Year 1503 (May 11') My Art
Year 1503AD (May 2011) : Inspired by 16th Century attire; and by photographs taken by photographer Christian Tagliavini.
Fashion 1500's (May 11') My Art
Fashion 1500’s (May 2011) : Inspired by 16th Century head dresses & ruffled collars; and by works of photographer Christian Tagliavini, titled 1503. Tagliavini, himself was inspired by various artists of the past.

Royal Indian Elephant - 18th century (April 2011)
18th Century Royal Indian Elephant (April 2011) : Inspired by a cut-out of a late 18th century Indian miniature art, from central India, depicting Raja Vikramjit riding on a Royal Elephant.

My Sketches - Vanity Venus (May 2009)
Vanity Venus (May 2009) : At that time (Spring 2009) there was a new discovery of an ancient ruin, which was know as the oldest Venus unearthed at the time. Inspired by that statue, I incorporated the oldest Venus with modern day feminine accessories.

Karl B on my My Art Wall Complete (31st March 2010)
Après Karl Bryullov (February 2010) : Seen on my Art Wall (see My Art Wall section below) Distorted and Abstract Sketch based on Karl Bryullov’s Girls gathering grapes in the environs of Naples.

My Art Wall

My Art Wall Complete - Right side (31st March 2010)
My Art Wall (March 2010), in my room (right side)

My Art Wall Complete - Left side (31st March 2010)
My Art Wall (March 2010), in my room (left side)

Me in My Room Left side of my Art wall (April 2010)
Me in my room (mirror image), opposite the left side of my Art Wall (April 2010).

My Art Wall Left side renewed (Février 2011)
My Art Wall, in my room, renewed (February 2011) : left side

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Check out some of my older works (2006-2007) at the COFA Annual 07 website. Link :-
http://annual.cofa.unsw.edu.au/2007/profiles/nuwansenadhira/4/?discipline=painting (Link available on my Gravatar page as well)
Also check out my various lists/critiques on IMDB. Link :-
nuwansdel_02 & See all lists by nuwansdel_02 (Links available on my Gravatar page as well)
And my Top-10 all time favourite movies. Link :-
Why I love …. (Link available on my Gravatar page as well)

Nuwan Sen

Yesterday I spoke about the five films that didn’t work properly. Life of Pi (2012) was one of them. In fact, Life of Pi was the first movie, out of the faulty five, I tried watching towards the end of last month. Finally I did, in one go, this Wednesday.

Life of Pi finally

If Mud (2012) was about a friendship that develops between a young boy and a convict, whilst helping the convict build a boat, in a remote isle on the banks of the Mississippi river; Life of Pi deals with a friendship between a young man and carnivorous Bengal Tiger, stuck on a boat, in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

Yet another much awaited brilliant surreal movie, with a CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) created tiger, for which director Ang Lee deservedly took home the Best Director Oscar earlier this year. Life of Pi also won Oscars for Cinematography and Visual Effects, and was nominated (and won) in various categories for various award ceremonies including the Golden Globes and the BAFTA’s.

The Pi Story
Life with Family
The movie starts off with now all grown up, middle-aged, Pi (Irrfan Khan), residing in Canada, narrating his life story to a down on his luck writer, played by Rafe Spall. From here we are taken back in time to French occupied state of Pondicherry, located in the southern region of India, in the 1950’s. In 1954 the French leave Pondicherry handing it to the recently Independent India. Pi is born into the newer Indian Pondicherry within the same decade, the second child, of a family, that own a zoo. From here onwards we learn how Pi was named after the French word for ‘swimming pool’, Piscine, more accurately the ‘Piscine Auteuil Molitor’ of Paris (now abandoned famed swimming pool of the past). Soon in school his name is changed to ‘Pissing’ by his schoolmates, and from there he soon manages to get people calling him ‘Pi’ (π),the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet, (which was not an easy task for young Pi).
Soon the boy’s curiosity grows to question various religions and religious beliefs. The 12 Year old Pi (played by Ayush Tandon) tests various faiths, beginning from Hinduism, then Christianity, and ultimately Islam.
One of my favourite scenes of the film is this philosophical discussion held sitting round a dinning table, comprising of Pi’s parents, the Patel’s (played by Adil Hussain & Tabu), elder brother, Ravi (Mohamed Abbas Khaleeli) and of course young Pi himself. The father being a practical man, and due various reasons, doesn’t believe in religion, while the mother, who was brought up with modernist views, finds peace and contentment in her religion as her parents cut her off for marrying beneath her. So here we have an interesting discussion of conflicting views, from the two parents towards young Pi. At the same time both have a good argument on their side. Born into the Hindu religion, the father admonishes Pi, not to blindly follow many a religions and stick to one, at the same time he states how science has taught us way more than religion ever has. The mother agrees, but she adds that science teaches us what’s out there, while religion teaches us what’s within us (heart and soul). Interesting argument both managing to make a point, and in the end, to the fathers dilemma, Pi states he wants ‘‘to be baptised’’. It’s hilarious, the mother finds pleasure, more because little Pi dared to oppose the father at the same time seeming to take his advise on not to follow all faiths blindly.
As Pi grows older, it’s interesting to see his relationship with his parents, brother, and Anandi (Shravanthi Sainath); the dancing girl; a teenage crush of his.

Life with Richard Parker
The majority of the plot deals with, how Pi survives a shipwreck, and the close bond formed between man and beast, each needing the other to survive, through this Odysseus journey back to civilization.
A beautifully told story, with a CGI created Bengal Tiger, and a very surreal oceanic backdrop.
Pi’s whole family dies in a shipwreck, and he survives along with some animals. Soon most of the animals die and it’s only him and a tiger, named Richard Parker due to a clerical error, that are stuck in a boat, and have to learn to get along with each other.
In the real world, between 1797 and 1884, there have been three known individuals named Richard Parker, who’ve been involved in three shipwrecks, within those two centuries. But am not sure whether the writer who created this story, intentionally used Parker’s name as an allegory.
In it’s almost entirety, the majority of the film, from the start, is made via the use computer graphics, and one can’t help but get a sense of artificiality whilst watching it. But the story is not necessarily meant to mirror reality. And the computer graphics don’t overpower the story and ruin it, instead it actually blends into the fabrication of this surreal fantastical piece of artistic cinema, and helps it move forward.

Nu Life (ν)  
We see the older, middle-aged, Pi, who has started life afresh in Canada, with his newer family. The older Pi, that’s been narrating his, hard to believe, survival story to a writer.

Top: Scene from the movie. Below: Creating the Tiger

Top: Scene from the movie.
Below: Creating the Tiger

The Director: Ang Lee
Ang Lee has definitely done a superb job, as almost always. Both visually appealing and constantly engaging, with not one dull minute. It’s another among Lee’s masterpieces.
Loved it!! 10/10 rating!!!

The Ice Storm
The Ice Storm (1997), was my introduction to Ang Lee, when I watched it about a decade ago, in Oslo. A film I almost did not watch. Even though I had watched Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility (1995) in England at the time, a superb period drama, I didn’t know who the director was at the time. I fell in love with this excellent film, The Ice Storm, starring all the famed child/teenage artists of the 90’s, including Elijah Wood, Cristina Ricci and Tobey Maguire. What really impressed me was how authentically 70’s it felt. If I didn’t know the cast, especially the younger cast, I would have actually believed the movie was, not just set in, but made in the 70’s. Of course Kevin Kline and Joan Allen existed in the 70’s, and were pretty young at the time, but they could have been made to look older through a really good make-up artist. As was the case in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? (1966), where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were made to look, very believably, more mature, way beyond their years. So it’s thanks to Wood, Ricci and Maguire that I was certain that this was not a 70’s flick.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
After finding out Ang Lee had directed the marvel that was The Ice Storm, I had to check out Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), a movie prior to which I was reluctant to watch. And it was worth it. It wasn’t some silly, waste of time type, Martial Arts film, but an ode to the great oriental ancient art of self disciplined combat technique.

Brokeback Mountain
In the beginning of 2006, before the Oscars, I managed to watch Brokeback Mountain (2005). Another excellent venture created by Ang lee. A gay themed movie about two cowboys in the 60’s & 70’s, that was nominated in many a categories at the Oscars, but unfortunately won only for film direction, adapted screenplay and original musical score. It’s a brilliant film, and I refuse to call it a ‘gay movie’. For the term ‘gay movie’ could imply some sleazy cheap film meant for only a certain type of gay audience. No, this is an intellectual, thought provoking film meant for a broader audience. Ironically, that broader audience narrows down to a group of more open minded, intelligent, educated people, including true to heart film buffs.
I re-watched it in January 2008, in Sydney, when it was shown on the big screen at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, coincidently the day after Heath Ledger, the lead actor of Brokeback Mountain, died of a drug overdose. The place was packed, and no, Ledger’s death wasn’t the reason for the film being shown.

Lust, Caution
Lust, Caution (2007), original Chinese title Se,jie; was the last good Ang Lee film I watched in Sydney itself, before leaving, early-mid 2008. It might not be as great as the other Lee films I’ve spoken of here, but it’s a near excellent movie, set during the WWII-era Shanghai, under Japanese occupation in China. A long film with a few pretty graphic (but not pornographic) sex sequences, where watching those sex scenes were actually quite exhausting. But that’s what Lee was trying to show, for the lead character, played by Wei Tang, was playing a Chinese ‘Mata Hari’, seducing a Japanese official to spy for their cause against Japanese oppression. A tiring, yet a near excellent movie.

Taking Woodstock
Taking Woodstock (2009), was the last good Ang Lee film I watched, till Life of Pi. It was being released on the big screen in Paris, the day I was to leave Paris, September 2009. And it took me more than a year to finally locate it. It was in New Delhi, India, when I went there in November/December 2010, I found the movie. But it was an original Indian Copyright DVD, thus a censored version. All nudity clipped off. But I was glad that I finally found a copy, of a film based on the Woodstock of 69’, something I had been reading up various articles on, most of 2009. Both about the actual event and Ang Lee’s cinematic version. And at last being able to watch it was worth it. Another near excellent movie by Lee.

Some months ago I watched, Hulk (2003), when it was shown on Star Movies. I liked the credits in the beginning of the film, then slowly, slowly, the movie started to disintegrate into oblivion. Among the worst I seen. But the only bad film of Ang Lee’s I’ve seen till date.

All in all, Ang Lee is a great, very diverse, film director. No two films of his are alike, at least among his masterpieces.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Ang Lee Films (NS)

Ang Lee Films (NS)