Dhaka, Aug 13 (UNB) - The ‘Themes and analysis’ series explores the major themes underpinning a movie or a TV show. It also analyses how they function within the story and elevate it, reports The Indian Express.
The Dark Knight is widely considered to be the best superhero movie ever made, though it has little common with the superhero movies being made today. Its ‘superhero’ was just a costumed and well-muscled rich guy – a man without any superhuman abilities.
The film had Bruce Wayne once again donning the cowl and the cape to take on a bad guy he did not understand. Initially dismissing him as just another criminal (who he believes cannot be complicated), he is shocked to see that the Clown Prince of Crime is not so different from him, after all. It’s just that he is on the opposite side of the moral spectrum.
The film is best known for Heath Ledger’s transcendent performance as the Joker. His casting had been controversial. The film released, and nobody complained. Ledger infused the role with deadly charisma and eerie mannerisms that, Christopher Nolan later admitted, were devised by the actor himself. This was no goofy prankster. This was a malevolent, murderous agent of chaos. World’s greatest detective Batman struggled to understand the enigma of the Joker. He sought a rationale, and was horrified to discover that there is none.
One of the things that critics and scholars focused on when it came to the film was all the symbolism smartly propounded by Nolan, his brother Jonathan and David Goyer that was integrated seamlessly into the narrative.
The most important theme that pervaded through the film was perception. The persona of Batman, at least in this trilogy, is based on fear. Criminals think of him as something almost mythical. He is a symbol of dread for them, an avenger prowling the rooftops at night to hunt them. Bruce Wayne himself had to face his greatest fear — that of bats — to build this persona. Now, he is directing his fear towards the scum of society.
At one point, he is told by his trusty butler, Alfred, “Know your limits, Master Wayne.” He replies, “Batman has no limits,” bringing to light the difference between his two identities. While Bruce Wayne is a flesh-and-blood human being, Batman is above all that. Of course, he has to change his methods — one of which is city-wide surveillance — to finally catch and defeat the Joker.
These perceptions of Batman — the people of Gotham see him as a saviour and the mobsters as a fiend stalking them — shatter in the end when he takes the blame for murders committed by Harvey Dent. He does this so that the perception of Harvey as the White Knight of Gotham can be maintained. So people would not lose hope after finding out the person they thought was a messiah turned out to be a cold-blooded killer.
It does not matter if he is really a White Knight. It is all about perception — how people see him. If they think he was a symbol of incorruptibility right till the end, they will honour his sacrifice by being unafraid in the face of mobsters. And just for the record, we see the true Harvey Dent has some temper issues and they are only exacerbated by the Joker, not fabricated out of thin air.
Joker, of course, defies any attempt at identifying him coherently. He keeps changing his tactics and goals, and this is how others, including the Batman, perceive him. At first, he wants to kill the Batman. Then, he wants him unmasked. Then, neither of those. He just wants Batman to kill him so that the superhero would break his code of not killing anybody.
Another theme in The Dark Knight is the fine line between anarchy and order. The Joker demonstrates at one point to the Batman how fragile the veneer of civilisation really is. He says, “To them, you’re just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these… these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. See, I’m not a monster. I’m just ahead of the curve.”
One thing that makes The Dark Knight unique in the superhero genre is that the themes of the film drive the plot. This is why often a lot of plot elements appear contrived. It is a symbolism-driven film, and one can see that right from the first sequence (the robbery), when his hired thugs are discussing who the Joker really is and trying to ascertain his motives. Well, good luck.
Dhaka, Aug 12 (UNB) - Padma Bhushan awardee Anupam Kher’s autobiography, which chronicles his failures, rejections and lessons learnt in his life and in a career spanning 500 films, was released here by his friend and eminent actor Rishi Kapoor, his wife Neetu Kapoor and the fellow cast of the NBC show New Amsterdam, reports The Indian Express.
Kher’s autobiography “Lessons Life Taught Me, Unknowingly” was released Friday at a special event organised at the Consulate General of India in New York and was attended by the veteran actor’s close friends and associates.
“My life is a sum total of what went wrong and because things went wrong in my life, everything went right,” Kher said as he addressed the gathering at the book release.
Sharing incidents from his life that shaped his career, Kher said the autobiography is an exciting account as it does not talk about his successes.
“Success to me is very boring, it’s very one-dimensional. Failure is multi-dimensional, it’s so amazing. What I’m today is because of my failures,” he added.
Kapoor, who had been undergoing treatment for cancer in New York for almost a year, made his first public appearance following his diagnosis and treatment to release Kher’s book.
Looking well and in fine spirits, Kapoor told the audience he had been discharged from the hospital Friday.
Accompanied by his wife, veteran actor Neetu Kapoor, Kapoor recalled that though he is a couple of years elder to Kher, the first movie they worked together in was the 1988 Yash Chopra-directed Vijay in which Kher had played the role of Kapoor’s grandfather.
Describing Kher as a “great actor” in films and on stage, Kapoor said people will look forward to reading the autobiography and imbibing lessons from his life.
“It would be a good textbook exercise for youngsters who aspire to become actors tomorrow,” Kapoor added.
Kher expressed gratitude to the Kapoor couple for releasing the book.
“For him to be here today is the most glorious thing about my autobiography. We have known him as a film hero, but today he is a real-life hero. He has been here for the last one year battling cancer and he has come out of it,” he said.
The cast of New Amsterdam including Ryan Eggold, Janet Montgomery and Dierdre Friel and Michelin-star chef Vikas Khanna also joined the Kapoors on stage for the release.
Addressing the guests on the occasion, Eggold said the quality he admires most about Kher is that he has managed to remain a child at heart.
“He also has the wisdom of a sage mixed with rugged good looks,” he said amid laughter.
Lauding Kher’s nature, Eggold said, “You have everything because you share everything with so many people.”
Kher also expressed gratitude to the cast of the TV series for their “love and togetherness”.
Montgomery and Friel read excerpts from the book, which narrated his experience of the multiple mistakes he made while acting in a school play and when he did not get the role of Jawahar Lal Nehru in Richard Attenborough’s masterpiece “Gandhi”, a rejection which Kher said in the book “hurt deep”.
Kher’s book has been released in India on August 5 and will release in the US on October 15.
India’s Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty said through his life and career, Kher has touched people’s hearts in particular ways.
“He has had very humble beginnings and fought his way through life, inspiring many to be proud of their struggles and shortcomings,” Chakravorty said.
New York, Aug 10 (AP/UNB) — David Berman, founder of the indie rockers Silver Jews, whose witty lyrics and deadpan delivery influenced scores of bands, has died. He was 52.
Berman's death Wednesday was confirmed by his father and his record label, Drag City. A cause of death was not disclosed.
Berman, a singer, songwriter and guitarist, was the only constant member of Silver Jews, which began with Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich, who both had ties with the band Pavement. The trio met as students at the University of Virginia.
Silver Jews disbanded in 2009 after six studio albums, starting with "Starlite Walker" in 1994 and ending with "Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea" in 2008. Now magazine called him one of the "most brilliantly sardonic voices in indie rock."
Berman told The New York Times in 2005 that he chose his band's name while working as a security guard at the Whitney Museum after seeing a sign that read "Silver Jewelry." The name is also slang for blond Jews.
He was known for an offbeat, eclectic musical style and for writing sardonic and poetic lyrics. On "Trains Across the Sea," he sang: "In 27 years, I've drunk 50,000 beers/ And they just wash against me/ Like the sea into a pier." Berman suffered from addiction and depression.
"Despite his difficulties, he always remained my special son. I will miss him more than he was able to realize," Rick Berman, his father, said in a statement.
Tributes also poured in from social media from musicians and artists, including from Marc Maron, who said: "One of the great tortured poetic souls is gone. A master of beautiful darkness." The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle called Berman "of, loosely, my generation of songwriters, the best of us." Aaron Dessner, a member of The National, called him a "massive talent and a huge influence on us."
Berman resurfaced this year in the band Purple Mountains, releasing an album by the same name with the songs "Maybe I'm the Only One for Me" and "She's Making Friends, I'm Turning Stranger."
Los Angeles, Aug 10 (AP/UNB) — Casey Affleck had been working on a script about a parent and child for years. He'd written scenes about a bedtime story and an argument about taking a trip into town and things seemed to be going well. As the father of two boys, Affleck had defaulted to writing the child as a son. But then, deep into the process, his boys came back with a request: They didn't want it to be about them.
"They were pretty adamant that they did not want it to be a father-son story," Affleck said. "I had already put in a lot of work and I was like, don't do it ... "
But, despite the heartburn of having to rework the story again, he caved and made the child a girl, and it ultimately helped the story. He'd been looking for stakes in this parenting saga and now a genre construct was possible. What if a disease had wiped out all of the women, except this man's daughter?
"This was about someone who was very nervous about protecting their kid. I wanted to make the stakes of that as big as possible so it wasn't just like, I'm protecting them from having a bad fourth grade experience," Affleck said. "It's like I'm protecting them from an entire world who wants to kidnap them."
The result is the slow-burn dramatic thriller "Light of My Life" now playing in theaters and available on demand. Affleck directed, wrote and stars in the film, which premiered earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival. It knowingly echoes modern classics like "Children of Men."
He and casting director Avy Kaufman went on an epic search to find the right girl to play his daughter, Rag, and discovered a little-known Canadian actress named Anna Pniowsky who fit the bill perfectly.
"I was still a little girl. I think I was 11 when I sent my tape in," Pniowsky, now 13, said. "I wasn't expecting anything to happen. I didn't get a lot of roles back then."
Since then, her profile has risen with roles in the Hulu show "Pen15" as one of the popular girls and "The Hot Zone." And she fell easily into her role as a pre-teen who still acts out and defies her fathers' rules even in this bleak and dangerous reality. Critics have hailed her performance, much of which is spent in "disguise" as a young boy, as a breakout.
"She didn't need a whole lot," Affleck said. "She was just good at doing this naturally. Sometimes I felt like if I interfered too much in the scene or the natural progression of the scene that I was just getting in the way."
Together, Affleck and Pniowsky have a light-hearted rapport where you can see the seeds of why their father-daughter dynamic works. They can't even agree on whether or not Affleck gave her anything to prepare beforehand.
Affleck: "She says I did, but I don't remember and I don't think she read it anyway."
Pniowsky: "He made me read three books. I only remember one of them. It was 'Little House on the Prairie'... They were all kind of older books."
Affleck: "Obviously they really sunk in."
"Light of My Life" is Affleck's first time behind the camera since the 2010 film "I'm Still Here" that led to civil lawsuits for breach of contract from two women, a cinematographer and a producer, who worked on the film. One also sued for sexual harassment, and both described an uncomfortable atmosphere on the set of the unconventional mockumentary. Both were settled out of court, and Affleck apologized last year in an interview with The Associated Press for allowing and contributing to "an unprofessional environment."
Behind the scenes Affleck has been quietly doing his part to try to chip away at inequality in his industry. In "Light of My Life," he worked with a number of women on the crew, including "Memento" editor Dody Dorn and assistant director Liz Tan, who has worked on epics like "The Lord of the Rings." His next two films also have female directors: "The Friend," a terminal illness drama from Gabriela Cowperthwaite, which is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival and his own production company's period frontier film "The World to Come," directed by Mona Fastvold and co-written by "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" scribe Ron Hansen.
"I'm certainly happy to do that and create a little more equality and get different voices telling stories and different perspectives than the same old stuff that we've had forever," Affleck said. "That seems like definitely a worthy cause and one I'm all for. But also these people are just great storytellers and they're both super talented. They deserve to be there."
Affleck would also like to continue directing. He loves "big fantasy movies" like "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" but thinks he's a ways off from figuring out how to make them work.
As for whether he's working on anything at the moment?
"Not really," Affleck said. "(But) someone told me if you're writing something, never ever admit it."
Dhaka, Aug 9 (UNB) - Pakistan on Thursday banned the screening of Indian films in the country’s theaters, amid tensions between the two sides after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, reports The Indian Express.
“No Indian film will be screened in any Pakistani theater. Drama, films and Indian content of this kind will be completely banned in Pakistan,” Firdous Ashiq Awan, special advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan for Information and Broadcasting, tweeted.
Indian government on Monday revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner as part of its decision to downgrade the diplomatic ties with India over what it called New Delhi’s “unilateral and illegal” move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Films and cultural relations are the first to get affected when there is tension between the two countries and it is not for the first time that Pakistan has banned Indian films.
It had taken a similar decision after Balakot air strikes by India in February this year. The Hindi film industry had announced a similar move in the wake of February 14 Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy.