28 February 2017

বিরামচিহ্ন হয়ে দাঁড়িয়ে থাকা কবিতারা

কবিতারা বলে গেলো,
পথের মধ্যে বিরাম চিহ্ন হয়ে দাঁড়িয়ে থাকা
কয়েকটা বিকাল আমার দেখা হয়ে গেছে।
বিরতিহীন রাত্রির ট্রেন ধরব বলে এ অপেক্ষা।

আমার কবিতারা তোমার সাথে কথা বলবে প্রতিদিন,
তাদের কাছে জেনে নিও
কেমন আছি...

27 February 2017

The five must-read books of Bengali literature


For most non-Bengalis, literature from the state is characterised by Rabindranath Tagore's poorly translated verse. But Bengal has a rich history of fiction well beyond the bearded bard.  Award-winning translator of Bengali fiction Arunava Sinha, who has translated 19 Bengali works into English and is working on 14 more, gave Scroll his selection of novels you simply must read.

Pather Panchali: The Song of the Road
Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. 1929.



Along with Tarashankar and Manik, Bibhutibhushan was one of the three Bandyopadhyays whose works dominated the era in Bengali fiction that followed Rabindranath Tagore and Sarat Chandra Chattopdhyay. Like Satyajit Ray's celebrated film that was based on it, the novel was its creator's first work – and, as a result, all the more astonishing for its maturity and depth.

Taking up the lives of the Roy family – the father an itinerant priest, the mother the classic housewife, and their two children – in a Bengal village named Nischindipur and then in the city of Benaras, this multilayered novel is a superb depiction of the struggle of an entire generation of rural Indians, not just to survive but also to overcome the hardships imposed on them in order to find their true selves.

Both bitter and sweet in its accounts of life and relationships in the village and then in the city, the novel provided a cast of memorable characters both representative and individualistic. A lyrical and yet down-to-earth style marked a significant departure from the effusive prose favoured by Tagore and the dramatic format that Chattopadhyay had picked as its own. Very few novels can forge the kind of bond with readers that this one does.

Padma Nadir Majhi: The Boatman on the Padma
Manik Bandyopadhyay. 1936.



Marking a sharp deviation from the romantic literary inheritance of nature as a participant in human lives, this novel about lives in a fishing community focuses on the psychological workings of the human mind, capturing the existence of machinations, spite and meanness alongside lofty ideals, passion and desires.

Centred on the attempts of a rural businessman to build a utopian commune on an island in the delta of the river Padma, this exploration of the psyches of human beings and the impact of individual choices on society weaves through romantic, commercial and social relationships in the course of telling its tale, building into a magnificent climax.

A true pathbreaker in the the way the novelist wielded his tools, 'The Boatman on the Padma' is a creative landmark whose deftness and detailing have seldom been matched in the huge oeuvre of Bengali fiction.

Jagori: The Vigil
Satinath Bhaduri. 1946.



During the freedom movement, a young revolutionary is sentenced to death. It is his last night in jail before he is to be hanged at dawn. In four mesmerising chapters, we hear four voices: the convict, his father, his mother – all of whom are also in jail – and his brother each tell their versions of the same story. Family dynamics and the political backdrop blend into the intersecting currents of personal relationships and patriotic mission, as the stream of consciousness narratives capture the determination, the doubts and the despair of the participants through multiple perspectives. A superbly innovative novel even by the standards of all the pathbreaking Bengali fiction produced in the first half of the 20th century, 'The Vigil' is unsentimental, graphic and uncompromising depiction of its subject.

Hajar Churashir Ma: 1084's Mother
Mahasweta Devi. 1974.



Mahasweta Devi's best-known novel is a heartbreaking and yet coldly analytical story of a loving mother who is suddenly informed of her grown-up son's death. Identified as No. 1084 by the morgue authorities, the young man was killed in one of the many false encounters that the police used in the 1970s in Bengal to eliminate revolutionary Naxalites. A year after his death, she begins to piece together the story of his involvement with the Naxal movement, getting in touch his former comrades and learning the details.

The novel offers a unique perspective on the armed political movement that shook Bengal in the 1970s, claiming victims among both the urban youth and the rural peasantry, leaving its impact not just on the political and administrative landscape but also on the families of those who died. Crisp and incisive in capturing the thought processes of a generation and the turmoil in the cosy construct of the middle-class family, this novel is still a truly moving human document.

Harbart
Nabarun Bhattacharya. 1993.



Nabarun Bhattacharya's literary genes run deep. His mother is Mahasweta Devi, while his father was the iconic theatre personality Bijon Bhattacharya. Harbart is practically an anti-novel. Telling the story of a middle-class urban outcast – emotionally, psychologically and intellectually – named Harbart Sarkar, this breathless novel, told at breakneck pace in a sardonically journalistic voice, begins with the protagonist's suicide, traces the events leading up to it, and climaxes in a shattering finale that ties in much of Calcutta's modern history and sociology. A bomb hurled at the literary establishment, Harbart is a deeply disturbing and yet strangely joyous novel that reaffirms the victorious power of anarchy.

25 February 2017

বৃষ্টি আমার শহর



এ শহরে একদিন অদ্ভুত এক বৃষ্টি হবে।
সেই বৃষ্টি আসবে আকাশ কালো করে।বৃষ্টি নামার পূর্বে ঠান্ডা বাতাসে শিহরিত হবে তুমি।সেই বাতাস তোমাকে চিলেকোঠায় টেনে আনবে। চিলেকোঠায় দাঁড়িয়ে তুমি সেই শিহরণ উপভোগ করবে। সেই বৃষ্টির  জল হবে হিমশীতল।
এই শহরে একদিন অদ্ভুত এক বৃষ্টি হবে।
আমি সেই অদ্ভুত বৃষ্টিতে ভিজবো। আর কেউ ভিজবে না। আর ভিজবে নীড়হারা দু-একটা কাক। সড়কে তখন হাঁটু জল। তার উপর দিয়ে হুস করে ছুটে যাচ্ছে দুই একটা গাড়ি। 
এই শহরে একদিন অদ্ভুত এক বৃষ্টি হবে।
সেই বৃষ্টি সন্ধ্যা নাগাদ চলবে। তুমি আয়েস করে এক কাপ চা নিয়ে এসে বারান্দায় বসেছো। মুগ্ধ হয়ে বৃষ্টির শব্দ শুনে যাচ্ছো। গাছের পাতা থেকে গড়িয়ে পরা বৃষ্টির জলের সৌন্দর্যে তুমি অবাক। বৃষ্টি এত সুন্দর কিভাবে হয় সেটাই তুমি ভেবে পাচ্ছো না। তোমাদের আবার টিনের চাল। টিনের চালে বৃষ্টি শুনতে তোমার অদ্ভুত ভাললাগছে।
এই শহরে একদিন অদ্ভুত এক বৃষ্টি হবে।
আকাশে তখন সন্ধ্যা নামি নামি করছে। আমি অনেকটা পথ হেটে এসেছি। দূর থেকে একটা মেয়েকে বারান্দায় বসা দেখতে পাচ্ছি। সেই মেয়েটি অবাক হয়ে বৃষ্টি দেখছে।তার হাতে এক কাপ চা।
 আমি ধিরে ধিরে মেয়েটির দৃষ্টিসীমায় এসে দাঁড়ালাম।
বারান্দা থেকে তুমি হঠাৎ একটা ছেলেকে খেয়াল করলে। একটা নীল শার্ট পড়া ছেলে। ছেলেটাকে তুমি চেনো। খুব ভাল করেই চেনো। আজ যেনো তোমার অবাক হওয়ার দিন। তুমি ছুটে ছেলেটার কাছে গেলে। তুমি হতবাক হয়ে তার দিকে চেয়ে আছো। ছেলেটা মুচকি হাসছে। বৃষ্টির বেগ বেড়ে গেল তুমি আর ছেলেটি বৃষ্টিতে ভিজছো।
মেয়েটা এখনো আমার সামনে দাঁড়িয়ে।  ভেজা শরীর তার সৌন্দর্য হাজার গুন বাড়িয়ে দিয়েছে। আমি মুচকি হেসেই যাচ্ছি। হঠাৎ এক ঝটকায় তাকে আমি বাহুবন্ধী করলাম। তার ঠোঁটে একে দিলাম আমার প্রতিচ্ছবি। সন্ধ্যা নেমে গেছে। এখনো বৃষ্টি পরছে।
এই শহরে একদিন সাধারণ এক বৃষ্টি হবে।

তুমি আর আমি মিলে সেই বৃষ্টিকে অদ্ভুত বানাবো।

22 February 2017

টেবিল ল্যাম্পের সরলরেখায় নীলনদের ইতিকথা



মাঝেমাঝে ট্রাফিক সিগনালের লাল
লাইটে দেখা হয়ে যায় ফেলে আসা দিনগুলির
সাথে ।ঝাপটা দিয়ে হাতের মুঠোয়
করে নিয়ে আসি তাদের আমার ছোট কুটিরে ।

টেবিল ল্যাম্পের সরলরেখায় তাদের
বসিয়ে অভিবাধন জানাই।

কুশল
বিনিময়ে তারা জিজ্ঞেস করে -
এখনও কি আগের মত চোখ দিয়ে স্বপ্ন ঝরে
এখনও কি বুকের লাল রক্তরা নীল হয়ে মরে ।

আমার উত্তরের অপেক্ষা না করে অনর্গল
বলে যায়
নীল নদের ইতিকথা
নাল্লা মালা জঙ্গলের ভয়াবহতা
ফেইসবুকের জনপ্রিয়তা ।

একসময় তাদের দরজা পর্যন্ত এগিয়ে দিয়ে আসি।

আমার বিদায়ী হাত নাড়া দেখে ওরা চোখ বড়
করে আমার দিকে তাকায়। আমিও
কাঙালী চোখে তাদের দিকে তাকাই যেন
ভিক্ষা চাচ্ছি আমায় নিয়ে চল তোমাদের সাথে।


দরজা থেকে বিছানায় আসার পথে ভাবি,কেউ
কি জানে আমি প্রায়ই এভাবেই খুব
একলা হয়ে যাই মাঝেমাঝে মধ্য দুপুরে,
মাঝেমাঝে মাঝরাতে ।

আমাদের দেখা হবে একদিন, সোনালী দুপুর!


ঝিরঝির দখিনা বাতাস বয়ে যায় আমলকী বনে।

কোনদিন কোন বৈশাখী দুপুরে আমাদের
দেখা হয়নাই
তোমার চুলের
ভাঁজে লুকিয়ে থাকে হারানো সময়।

আমাদের দেখা হবে একদিন,
সোনালী দুপুর!


21 February 2017

Movie Review: Safe Haven Is Nicholas Sparks 101


Safe Haven
2013 ‧ Thriller/Drama ‧ 1h 56m
6.7/10 · IMDb
12% · Rotten Tomatoes

A mysterious young woman arrives in Southport, North Carolina. She falls in love with a widowed store owner. But her dark past intrudes in her new life.
Initial release: 13 February 2013 (Philippines)
Director: Lasse Hallström
Story by: Nicholas Sparks
Box office: 97.59 million USD
Screenplay: Dana StevensLeslie Bohem

For one brief, glorious moment during Safe Haven, you can see the movie it could have been. It happens early on during the budding romance between mysterious fugitive Katie (Julianne Hough) and young, small-town widower dad Alex (Josh Duhamel). They’ve gone on an impromptu trip to the beach, with Alex’s kids in tow, and the two lie in the sun, talking. In close-up, their hands caress the sand the way they (and we) wish they could one another. At one point, their bare shoulders touch. Neither of them remarks on it, even though we know they’re both very much aware of it. It’s a subtle but breathtaking moment. Then the rest of the movie happens.
Adapted from the novel by Nicholas Sparks, the story mixes the author’s typically swoony melodramatics with a light sprinkling of noir. We first see Katie as she desperately flees from a cop (David Lyons) who is angrily pursuing her. She boards a bus and makes her way down South to a small coastal South Carolina town, where she cuts and dyes her hair blonde. Then she proceeds to hit it off with local grocery-store owner Alex, who is still reeling from the loss of his wife some years before. He brings her small-town normalcy and comfort. She brings him out of his shell and Teaches Him To Love Again™. Meanwhile, Katie’s alcoholic, violent police pursuer back in Boston remains dogged in his attempts to find her. (By the way, he’s so alcoholic that when he breaks into other people’s homes looking for clues about Katie’s whereabouts, he makes sure to drink their Scotch as well.) And we can sort of see why he won’t stop looking for her: He’s her husband. The film treats this as if it’s a twist, but it breaks the first rule of a proper twist: If it’s something all the relevant characters in the movie already know, it’s not a twist; it’s simply a lazy, cheap screenwriting trick.

As noted previously, the movie’s not all bad. There’s palpable chemistry between Duhamel and Hough. The former particularly seems well-suited to this sort of thing: He has just the right amount of grizzled charm to be one of those wounded hunks Sparks likes so much. For her part, Hough, who built her fame on Dancing With the Stars, is a mixed bag. She can’t seem to emote very well, but she moves convincingly, and she’s actually compelling as a desperate fugitive on the run.
For some of the film’s charms we should also credit director Lasse Hallstrom. Over the years, he has become the poster boy for promising foreign filmmakers who come to the U.S. and make their career churning out tepid product. He was definitely one to watch back in Sweden, when he broke out in 1987 with the powerful coming-of-age film My Life As a Dog. His American work, mostly mainstream soft-focus fare like What’s Eating Gilbert GrapeChocolatThe Cider House Rules, and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, has been uneven, but he still has considerable strengths. He brings to these occasionally opportunistic melodramas an attention to craft, atmosphere, and performance that they don’t always deserve.
And so, too, with Safe Haven — at least until the movie begins to drown in the telenovela-level crud that it’s been building up to all along. We genuinely like watching Hough and Duhamel circling around one another, and the movie has a nice sense of place. That all eventually vanishes with a doozy of a third act that involves Katie’s hubby finally making his way back into their lives and a ridiculous action finale. Oh, and one final twist (this time an actual twist, which I won’t give away) that will either make you break out in holy, Sparks-ian tears or make you burn the theater down. Come to think of it, you’ll probably want to do both.

20 February 2017

সায়ান্তে ঢেউ

সায়ন্ত ঢেউ বুনে যাচ্ছে অটো-বিষাদে,
 শান্ত-
ঢেউহীন, অতলান্তীক পারাবারে শুধু কী মেঘ
থাকে অবশিষ্ট?

 প্রবালের পাশে...সেই নির্জন
নির্বাসনে না মানুষ- না মেঘ ভাসে।

উপকূলে ক্লান্ত সে নাবিক একদিন
ছায়া পড়ে বালুরেখায়...

ভারি অচেনা লাগে!

মনে হয় পরাজিত! মনে হয় ফতুর! মনে হয়
হরতনে নিবেদিত গোলাম- লুকিয়েছে তুরুফের
ফাঁদে!

সমুদ্র অচেনা লাগে....

একটা ঢেউ কূল
পেতে কতদিন লাগে ?

14 February 2017

যে বৃষ্টি হেঁটে যায় পঁচিশটি গলি

পাথরের চোখ বেয়ে ঝরে পড়ে নোনা জলের
বৃষ্টি
সে বৃষ্টি হেঁটে যায় পঁচিশটি গলি
আর তেরোটি লাল বাতি পেরিয়ে
ড্রিটমার্স মোড়ের দু’তলা বাড়ির
দরোজা পর্যন্ত,
যে দরোজার ওপাশে রুপালী নূপুর পরা দুটি পা
ছটফট করে কখন গীর্জার ঘন্টা জানান দিবে-
সন্ধ্যা হয়েছে
কখন পা দুটি সিড়ি বেয়ে চলে যাবে দরোজার
অন্যপাশে
যেখানে লবণাক্ত ঘ্রাণ
নিয়ে বৃষ্টি এসে থেমে গেছে ।
সে পা দুটি হতে পারে একজন কিশোরীর
অথবা একজন প্রেমিকার
যে রুপালী নূপুরের অপেক্ষায় দু’হাত
ভরে তুলে নিবে
দু’তলা বাড়ীর দরোজায়
আটকে থাকে নোনা জলের বৃষ্টি ।

The Last Song - Movie Review


Movie Info

AUDIENCE:

Older children to adults

RATING:

PG

GENRE:

Drama

RELEASE:

March 31, 2010

STARRING:

Miley Cyrus, Greg Kinnear, Kelly Preston, Liam Hemsworth, Bobby Coleman, and Hallock Beals

DIRECTOR:

Julie Anne Robinson

DISTRIBUTOR:

Walt Disney Pictures



The Last Song is a touching story of Ronnie, a rebellious teenage girl who spends the summer with her estranged father, Steve, only to learn family secrets as well as forgiveness. 

Ronnie (Miley Cyrus) and her younger brother, Jonah, are dropped off at their father’s beach house. They have not seen their father (Greg Kinnear) in a few years since he and their mom divorced. 

Ronnie is a classical pianist protégé who refuses to play since her parent’s separation. She and her father argue constantly while young Jonah and Steve bond as they make a stained glass window for the local church which recently burned down. Most everyone in town blames Steve for the fire. Steve himself was in the building but had fallen asleep. 

Ronnie meets a young man, Will (Liam Hemsworth), and they start a romance, which softens Ronnie. Soon, however, family secrets come out in both Will and Ronnie’s family. Will knows who actually accidentally set the fire but hasn’t revealed it, letting the town think it was Steve instead. Finally, Steve has a secret he is keeping from his two children. 

The Last Song is a very well written, well crafted movie. The story, like many of Sparks’ novels, is dripping with much emotion. The movie moves along at a fast pace, and there are twists and turns that make the story very compelling. 

Miley Cyrus in her first “grown up” movie delivers an engaging performance as the rebellious young woman. Bobby Coleman as the younger brother all but steals the movie in his innocence and heartache at trying to finish the stained glass window without his father’s help. 

The movie features a theme of forgiveness and grace. Ronnie learns that she, along with her family and friends, are all broken people who are “in process.” While there is not an overt mention of faith in God, love and honor is held in high esteem. There are some inspiring redemptive metaphors, however, about the stained glass window 

The Last Song has brief, light foul language. Though Ronnie is rebellious, she doesn’t drink or smoke marijuana as her other friends do. 

This is a movie with serious themes, so caution must be exercised for younger children. It is a soul-stirring tearjerker, one that will leave a viewer emotionally moved.

13 February 2017

আমাকে তুমি বিবাগী শাখার ভাষা শেখাও

তুমি বল....কথা বল...আমি লিখে রাখি
শিখে নেই উড়াল স্বভাব।
পাখি - খাঁচা- খড়কুটো- প্রেমপ্রীতি-বিচ্ছেদ
শেখাও !
তুমি গুরু এই পাঠশালায়-
দশমিক-শূন্য-ভাব-পরম্পরা আর
বানজ্ঞানে দীক্ষিত কর আমায়।
আমাকে তুমি বিবাগী শাখার ভাষা শেখাও,
কাতর পাতার ঝরা শেখাও,
কলঙ্ক আর চিহ্ন শেখাও।

9 February 2017

তোর চোখে এক আকাশ রেখে গেলাম

সে যাওয়ার চলে গেছে।

কিন্তু কোথায় এই মেঘলা আকাশে
দাগ রেখে গেছে।

তোকে বলেছে কেউ
তোর চোখটা বড় গভীর,
ওখানে একটা চাহিদা রাখা আছে।

তোর নরম বুকের প্রলেপে রাখা সভ্যতার ভিতরে
কোথায় যেন সব জ্বলে পুড়ে গেছে।

তবে  জানিস সে দাগ রেখে গেছে।

তোর নাভির থেকে উঠে আসা দুটো হাত
তোকে জড়িয়ে আছে।

তোকে বলেছে সুন্দরী জানি
কিন্তু তোর সাদা পাতাগুলো শূন্য রেখে গেছে।

তোর বুকে কোথাও দাগ রেখে গেছে।

বারান্দার বাইরে একটা পৃথিবী
যেখানে অনেক আশা রাখা আছে।

তোর অবলম্বন তোর গভীরে ধরা আছে
কিন্তু কি জানিস বড় জ্বালা।

তোর বুকে কেউ দাগ রেখে গেছে।

দাগ রেখে গেছে
সে যাওয়ার চলে গেছে।

তোর বারান্দার বাইরে অন্য আকাশ দাঁড়িয়ে আছে,
তোর বুকে সে জানিস দাগ রেখে গেছে।

7 February 2017

A MOVIE RREVIEW - NOCTURNAL ANIMAL



Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals hit theaters this past weekend and while /Film’s Angie Han found it “pretty but hollow,” the film continued to haunt me long after I left the theater.
Specifically, I found the film’s ending to be enigmatic, and worthy of further conversation. After the jump, you’ll find some of my thoughts on it. You should assume that there are massive SPOILERS for the film in this article and in the comments.

Nocturnal Animals cuts back and forth between several narratives. In the main time period, Susan (Amy Adams) is living in an unhappy marriage and unsatisfied with the art she’s putting out into the world (side note: the opening credits sequence of the film gives us a window into the work displayed at Susan’s gallery — a striking, ironic celebration of American excess and freedom). When a book titled Nocturnal Animals hits her doorstep from her ex-husband, Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal), Susan quickly reads it until its conclusion.
In gripping fashion, the movie recreates the events of the book’s plot, with Gyllenhaal also playing Tony Hastings, a man whose wife and child are brutally murdered, leading to a quest for revenge against the perpetrators. While Hastings eventually kills the man responsible, he ends up injured. While Hastings crawls away from the site where he exacted revenge, he shoots himself by accident. Meanwhile, we also see flashbacks to Susan’s first meeting with Edward, her failed marriage with him, and the abortion she had of his child after she left him for another man.
The film ends with Susan emailing Edward to set up a dinner meeting at a restaurant. Susan meticulously adjusts her appearance before heading out. She waits at the restaurant for hours. Edward never shows up. We cut to end credits. What does it all mean?
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
On a basic level, I think it’s clear that Edward’s book is about his marriage to Susan. The murder of Hastings’ wife and child, Laura and India respectively, signify Edward’s wrenching grief at how his own wife and child were taken away from him. In Edward’s eyes, when Susan left him, she did so mercilessly. She never appreciated his work, never gave their marriage a chance, and then aborted their child while trying to keep him in the dark about it. For Edward, these events were as traumatic as a double murder. But the end of the book is Edward saying goodbye to his past self and deciding to move on.
The events of the film Nocturnal Animals are all about Edward’s revenge on Susan. The first stage of it is to create something brilliant in the face of his ex-wife’s lack of faith. Many years after their marriage, Edward has emerged from obscurity with a book that Susan describes as “violent and sad.” To the audience experiencing the book onscreen, it’s chilling and Hitchcockian. I was enthralled with every aspect of the Hastings saga, from the initial scenes that tragically rise to a boil, all the way to the way Texas lawman Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon) deals with the criminals towards the end. It’s brilliant filmmaking that recalls the best of the Coens and I was in awe that Tom Ford was able to deliver something at this level for his second film outing.
But what of the film’s ending? After all that we’ve seen, how is standing Susan up for a date supposed to be satisfying in any way?
I think it’s to signify that Edward just does not give a damn about Susan anymore. We have no idea if Edward knows about Susan’s unhappy life situation (if he does, then his revenge is all the more punishing). But he does likely know that his book Nocturnal Animals is a hit, and that that talent and brilliance is something Susan will be attracted to. So he dangles in front of her the opportunity to meet again and possibly rekindle old flames, only to allow her to come to the slow realization that he never intended to show up. Elie Wiesel once said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” Thus, the film’s ending is a much more hurtful form of revenge than anything Edward could actively do to hurt Susan.

Amy Adams in NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

One Alternate Theory

There’s an alternate theory floating around out there that Edward actually kills himself at the end, and that this is his final act of revenge on Susan. In this theory, his suicide is why he doesn’t show up at the dinner. The rationale for this is that since Hastings kills himself in the book, Edward probably killed himself in real life.
I think this is a pretty far-fetched idea. The biggest piece of evidence against it is that he replied to Susan’s email after she asked him to set up a meeting (so did he wait to set up the meeting, THEN kill himself?). But also significant is the fact that the events of the book aren’t meant to have a 1:1 correlation with real-life occurrences. The book is Edward’s primal scream, working out his complex feelings around betrayal and having his life upended. It’s not necessarily a road map to how he is going to behave now that the book is completed. Thus, the theory isn’t completely out of the question, but it’s not my interpretation of events.
Overall, Nocturnal Animals is a unique film that requires an exceptional amount of skill to pull off successfully. If the plotline involving Hastings’ family had been poorly executed, it would have been much more challenging to invest in any of the film’s emotional stakes. As it stands, I think Tom Ford threaded that needle and created a film worth your attention.

5 February 2017

HACKSAW RIDGE - STORY OF A PACIFIST WHO WON THE MEDAL OF HONOR WITHOUT FIRING A SHOT


"Hacksaw Ridge," about a pacifist who won the Medal of Honor without firing a shot, is a mess. It makes hash of its plainly stated moral code by reveling in the same blood-lust it condemns. But it's also one of the few original action movies released in the last decade, and one of the only studio releases this year that could sincerely be described as a religious picture. Of course, it's directed by Mel Gibson, who rose to international stardom in R-rated action flicks and went on to become the true heir to Sam Peckinpah, directing a series of astoundingly violent films with cores of spirituality: "Braveheart," "The Passion of the Christ" and "Apocalypto." True to form, "Hacksaw Ridge" draws equally on Gibson's bottomless thirst for mayhem and his sincerely held religious beliefs—or some of them, anyway. It's a movie at war with itself.


The first half lays out the childhood and adolescence of its hero, Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield), a Seventh-day Adventist turned U.S. Army corporal. Set in Virginia hill country in the '20s and '30s, it's shot in the creamy hues of a Norman Rockwell painting, and filled with earnest, Old Hollywood-styled exchanges about violence and pacifism. The second half is set during the Battle of Okinawa, where Doss, who described himself as a "conscientious collaborator" rather than objector, rescued 75 fellow infantrymen injured by the Japanese; it feels like an attempt to one-up the D-Day sequence in "Saving Private Ryan," and if sheer bloody explosive nastiness were the only measure, you'd have to declare "Hacksaw Ridge" the winner. The combat pays nearly as much attention to the rending, burning and perforating of flesh as it does to the hero's anguish and ingenuity. Gibson shows soldiers using mortar shells as homemade grenades (as in the climax of "Saving Private Ryan"), shifts into glorious slow-motion to showcase a soldier kicking an enemy's lobbed grenade away, and treats us to the surreal and inappropriately comic sight of Doss towing a paraplegic infantryman on a homemade sled while the man cuts down bushels of Japanese soldiers with a sub-machine gun.
This stuff feels like a violation of the spirit of Doss' moral code, if not its letter. But the first half, which channels the majestic squareness of a John Ford family drama, is weird, too. It's myth-making with a dash of self-help and Scripture, but Gibson keeps trying to jazz things up with violence or the threat of violence, even when the scenes don't seem to call for it. Familiar movie situations, such as Doss taking his future wife Dorothy Schutte (Teresa Palmer) out on a date or getting to know his bunk-mates, are interrupted by horror movie-style jump scares or fused to bits of black comic suspense (we know somebody's going to get maimed by the knife that a soldier is brandishing when Doss enters the barracks; the only questions are which one and when). This is the directorial equivalent of Gibson the actor working Three Stooges shtick into otherwise straightforward dialogue scenes—either a nervous tic or a compulsion. The wide shots of corpses piled up, the shots of Doss posed like Christ or lit by heavenly sunlight streaming through windows, and the moments when Doss treats enemy soldiers with compassion, are a lot more on-message.
All that said, "Hacksaw Ridge" seems aware of its inability to present the horrors of war in a consistently non-thrilling, non-cool way. There are even moments where the film seems ashamed that it can't live up to Doss' example—particularly when other characters question Doss' belief that violence is never justified and that there is no real distinction between killing and murder. What you see on other characters' faces in these scenes is not contempt but incredulity, followed by petulance and finally denial. They can feel the truth of what Doss is saying. But they can't imagine the world being anything other than what it is, a place ruled by brute force and cruelty. The rifles that Doss refuses to pick up are described as girls, women, mates, "perhaps the only thing in life you'll truly love." The other soldiers' crude sexual talk and casual sadism are contrasted with Doss' sweetness, piety and chastity. Doss' drill sergeant (Vince Vaughn, effectively typecast as a charismatic bully) and other commanding officers keep pressuring Doss to pick up a rifle. When he refuses, they humiliate him and sign off on his hazing; his own platoon-mates call him "coward" and "pussy." They don't want to break or kill Doss, just drive him from their sight, perhaps so they won't have to second-guess themselves each time they lay eyes on him.


It's worth pointing out here that Doss is the child of an alcoholic World War I veteran, Tom (Hugo Weaving). The film's own contradictions are embodied in Doss' dad. He preaches the virtues of nonviolence, rails against the romanticizing of war, visits the graves of childhood friends killed at the Battle of Belleau Wood, and doesn't want Doss or his older brother Hal (Nathaniel Buzolic) to enlist after Pearl Harbor. But he's also self-pitying, quick to anger, and beats his wife Bertha (Rachel Griffiths) and their sons. He wants to change and knows why he should. But he can't.
Tom Doss' drinking problem feels like more than just a biographical detail. The script, credited to Andrew Knight and playwright Robert Schenkkan ("All the Way"), keeps returning to Tom. The hero's pacifism seems as much a rejection of his dad's angry brokenness and inability to control his temper as a reaction to almost killing his brother in a childhood scuffle. Also of interest: like Sam Peckinpah, Gibson has struggled with alcoholism, he has bipolar disorder and rage issues as well, and as an artist he is addicted to violence. In its more thoughtful moments, the film treats intoxication with violence, both real and fictional, as a species-wide addiction—one that can't easily be broken. I'd be shocked if a director as attuned to mythic signifiers as Gibson weren't trying, in his own fumbling way, to explore this idea.

Too bad action-film awesomeness is the intoxicant that "Hacksaw Ridge" can't quit. You feel the movie fighting to suppress its urge to glorify violence and treat the Japanese as sinister hordes. Even in non-war scenes, it can't stop reaching for the bottle, and there's a wave of shame when it falls off the wagon. A lingering close-up of guts and goop is followed by a shot of the hero looking appalled or terrified, as if to rebuke the director's gifts.


"Hacksaw Ridge" seems to know that its hero is better than anyone around him, perhaps better than the movie that tells his story. This comes through strongly in the relationship between Doss and fellow infantryman Smitty (Luke Bracey), a far more convincing love story than the one between Doss and his gal. Of course Smitty loathes and torments Doss, then comes to respect and even revere him. The way Smitty looks at Doss during the battle of Okinawa recalls the way the disciples gazed upon Jesus in Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ"—as a promise and a mystery; a person so strikingly different from other people, so fully formed, so serenely and undeniably good, that he seems more angel than man. Garfield's performance humanizes him. For a long time you think Doss is an idealized figure, free of neuroses and complications. But after a while you see the darkness in him, and you believe it exists because of the thoughtful way Garfield has prepared you. 
This film is inept and beautiful, stupid and amazing. It doesn't have the words or images to express how deep it is. That's why it's more interesting to talk about than it is to watch. I wonder what the real Doss, who died in 2006, would have thought of it.

ঘাসফুলেদের সাথে

তুমি সারাক্ষন খুঁজে গেছো দুপুর সন্ধ্যে বেলায়, সময় দাওনি ঘাস ফুলেদের। লিলুয়া বাতাস হয়ে ছুয়ে গেছো দূর আরো দূর বেপাড়ায়… ফিরে গেছে সে নদী...