“Eternal order is prescribed by the sacred engine: all things flow from the sacred engine, all things in their place, all passengers in their section, all water flowing, all heat rising, pays homage to the sacred engine, in its own particular preordained position”.
“A blockbuster production with a devilishly unpredictable plot”, says character Wilford in Snowpiercer. That is what this film, directed by Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) and based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, also is. In this story, there is one post-apocalyptic world and one “self-sustaining” train makes it rounds around the world. On board are human survivors who are divided into strict social groups with one unfair regime governing them all. At the bottom of the social ladder (and the train), one can find the poor masses who are dressed in rags and survive on protein bars, and, at the top, there is the elite, consisting of a few individuals who ruthlessly preside over the masses, while enjoying the luxuries of life. When one man from the bottom of the train sparks the rebellious spirit in the masses, he does not even begin to imagine the complicated way to the top of the train nor what awaits him as he nears the real power propelling the train forward. Snowpiercer is not one’s ordinary action or sci-fi film; wrapped in philosophical reflections and delicately balancing humour and horror, and realistic action and allegory, the film defies expectations, requiring both a leap of faith and open-mindedness from the audience.
The Shape of Water (2017)
“Words lie, but looks don’t…When you fall in love, you fall in love, absolutely, all at once, all-in. It’s a miracle” (Guillermo del Toro).
“Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere” .
This tale of unlikely love between the Princess without Voice or Elisa and the creature from the Amazon has been nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and there are good reasons for this furore. Mexican director Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006)) has finally made the movie he wanted to make for a long time. Del Toro merges different cinematic genres (fantasy, drama and romance), while paying tribute to black-and-white Hollywood musicals and B-movie monsters, to produce a movie which is almost faultless in its directional execution, acting and emotional content. The director draws on a number of sources to tell the unlikely love story which, among many other things, portrays and sympathises with the lives of the “underdog” minority, and engagingly sets out the high-pressure conditions of living in the times of the Cold War.
Best Picture – The Artist
Well done, The Artist. A deserved win, no doubt. But, can it get any more predictable? Hardly. The Artist has been everyone’s favourite for a long time, and I am sure less than 0.006% expected the crew of ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ to stand up and collect the Award.
Actor in a Leading Role – Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
This was a close call as everyone has predicted. Jean Dujardin sweeps the Oscar, leaving George Clooney hoping that he would have another chance in his lifetime to play someone who is as much troubled as his hero in ‘The Descendants’ for a chance to win.
Actress in a Leading Role – Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Given that the British television was proclaiming with utmost certainty that Streep was going to be a winner (how they knew that?), few surprises here, at least for the British audience. Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astounding seventeen times, and this is her third win. Taking into account Streep’s “very humble” winning speech, however, I think most people have already forgiven her.
The Help (2011)
Adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel of the same name, ‘The Help’ is a moving, heart-felt movie about a small number of black maids in rural Mississippi in 1960s who have decided that their voices should also be heard in the painful wake of the African-American civil rights movements. At times deeply sad, at times hilariously funny, this film will grab one’s attention almost immediately and will not let go until the very end. With a great script, masterfully and effectively communicating voices which should be heard in the political movement at that time, ‘The Help’ is a movie not to be missed.