Sunday, September 2, 2007

Vanaja: Cinema Village, Now Playing

I caught Vanaja at Toronto last year and liked it a lot. Here's what I wrote in my diary afterwards (cleaned up slightly): "A nice surprise. It starts out with acting that's broad but fast, fun, and interesting, and with a lively, kinetic sense of camera and cutting. The musical numbers are quite good, filmed simply and with attention to the performance. Then the plot darkens, and the film turns into a full-fledged art movie, complicating each character until he or she is no longer an archetype, but a mixture of base and noble elements. Right to the ending, the movie keeps complicating its effect, and leaves itself unresolved. It's like a more mundane (in a good way) Chokher Bali, with a plausible mapping of character onto society."

I'll add that Vanaja somehow reminded me a bit of Michael Powell. Perhaps that's because the characters' physicality is invested with a sense of archetype, even though the story uses the characters in a more intricate way.

Director Rajnesh Domalpalli was an engineer before going back to film school, and Vanaja was his Columbia thesis project. The film was shot in the state of Andhra Pradesh, in the Telugu language.

The film will probably play only this week at Cinema Village, but will move to the Imaginasian in September.

1 comment:

SFSF Save For Short Film said...

thanks Dan,
for the brief review and the comments and useful info.
i appreciate your knowledge extends to indian films also.
being a Telugu speaking person i felt
happy to read your piece of writing.
keep shining - ganga