Fantastic Fridays @ 1Shanthiroad
Dir: Dominik Moll, France, 2005, colour, 129 mts
Friday 18th June 2010, 6:30 pm
@ 1Shanthiroad Studio/Gallery
#1, Shanthiroad, Shanthinagar, Bangalore- 560 027
Film screenings around a common theme are always useful because they help us to understand categories and sub-categories and the first step in ‘knowing’ is perhaps being able to categorize. ‘Fantastic Friday’ emerged as an idea after the session of Pakistani horror films organized at 1 Shanti Road through the initiatives of Achal Prabhala and Zac O’Yeah. The idea was to have theme based screenings and to begin the screenings with a series of ‘fantastic’ films.
The term ‘fantasy’ is often loosely used but, by and large, the ‘fantastic’ is generally acknowledged to fit into three separate categories. Two of them are related to each other and involve the recounting of strange events that appear to defeat rational explanations. The spectator hesitates between a rational/ scientific explanation and a super-natural one. If, as in the ghost story, the final explanation is a supernatural one, the film is ‘fantastic’. If the explanation finally decided upon is rational or scientific, the film may be called ‘uncanny’. If the ‘vampire story’ is a category, Dracula is fantastic while the Sherlock Holmes story The Sussex Vampire may be considered uncanny.
The third category stands apart from these two and is called ‘marvelous’. While the first two categories deal with the real world in which a fantastic element is introduced, films under the ‘marvelous’ category propose an alternate world and an example would be Lord of the Rings. Most folk tales would also fit neatly into the third category. The categories are not airtight and many films combine two or more of their aspects. In fact, it would even be an interesting task to speculate about what category each film would fall into.
The films being shown in 1 Shanti Road’s ‘Fantastic Fridays’ belong to all three categories. Needless to add, the films are all chosen because they are highly watchable and hardly ever seen even among film society audiences in India.
Lemming (Dominik Moll, France, 2005, colour, 129 mts)
This film is intriguing and it would spoil one’s enjoyment to know what it is about. It is enough for the audience to know that it is about a young couple, whose kitchen drain is clogged. When the husband opens up the drain he finds a small rodent stuck inside. The rodent is identified as a Lemming – from Scandinavia and widely believed to commit mass suicide annually to keep its population down.
-- MK Raghavendra
MK Raghavendra is a film and literary critic/ researcher, the founder-editor of the film journal Deep Focus. He received the National Award (the Swarna Kamal) for best film critic in the year 1997. He was awarded a two-year Homi Bhabha Fellowship in 2000-01 to research into Indian popular film narrative as well as a Goethe Insitut Fellowship in 2000 to study post-war German cinema. His book Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema was published by Oxford University Press in 2008. His essay Local Resistance to Global Bangalore: Reading Minority Indian Cinema appeared in Popular Culture in a Globalised India, published by Routledge London in December 2008. His book Fifty Indian Film Classics is being published by Harper Collins. He is also the Founder-Editor of Phalanx (www.phalanx.in) a web journal dedicated to argument and debate. He has been on several national and international film juries.
1.Shanthi Road Studio/Gallery