Showing posts from September, 2012

Movie Review: Pather Panchali

The 1955 Bengali film "Pather Panchali" by filmmaker Satyajit Ray is a deeply moving tale about human emotions with a timeless simplicity. It is an authentic portrayal of day to day village life in rural Bengal narrating the tale through the eyes of a boy and his sister. Pather Panchali captures the life of four members of a family with a stunning eye for details. Horihor (Kanu Banerjee) is an intelligent but impractical man who aims to be a writer, his wife Shorbhojaya (Karuna Banerjee) has her hands full trying to make ends meet by keeping the family together with limited needs, the daughter Durga (Uma Dasgupta) and the son Apu (Subir Banerjee).  

The film depicts abject poverty and yet the children derive joy from the simple pleasures that the rustic life offers: trees, fruits, dusty paths, rains, lush green grasses, songs of birds and flowers. The story of the film is narrated through Apu's point-of-view that begins from an infant to a young boy discovering the world …

Vodafone Speed Fest

The Indiblogger team recently asked bloggers whether if they were the fastest bloggers. To begin with, I had my apprehensions but I took up the challenge to ask why not? 

To begin with, this was meant for a few lucky bloggers who could not only meet Vodafone McLaren winner Lewis Hamilton but also go for a drive with him. Since he will be the one doing what he does best, I hope to play along with him. I was always fascinated with the idea of motion (read: speed) since childhood and my earliest association with speed was trains. It was just last year that the first F1 race took place in Delhi at the Buddh International Circuit and could not attend that due to non-availability of tickets. So, when the radio stations in Mumbai announced about Lewis Hamilton making it to India, I just jumped at the opportunity.

A colleague who managed the sports desk in the paper where I worked for a few months told me that the F1 cars are capable of being driven at 370 km per hour and  all I could guess was…

Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

* Isn't that a sort of utilitarian argument as it relates to our eventual survival? So if there is an inevitable crash, we'll all be turtles wallowing upside down in the mud. But what if there is not a crash? What if these technologies simply open up more time for things like reading to children, or good conversation?

Zerzan: Well, there may not be a crash. I'm not a so-called collapsist where I'm just banking on this all failing. I think there's a good chance that as our systems get more independent and vulnerable that some small thing could unravel, a lot of it, but I'm certainly not counting on that. It's up to us to make choices, not just sit around wait for the whole thing to fall apart. But yeah, there are tradeoffs. That's why people buy these things; they do have use value and you can find the attractive part of the exchange. Like you just said, you can pay attention to your family, you can do something valuable, or maybe you'll just look at …

Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

* Taking your premise that technology is a bad thing or at least a bad thing for human communities, do you regard technological innovators like Steve Jobs as especially bad actors relative to the rest of us who merely use technology?

Zerzan: I do. I'll give you an extreme case. During the whole Unabomber ordeal in the late 90s, the media would occasionally interview me and try to get me say that "it was great that somebody would send bombs in the mail to these people" which I never said and which I don't believe. I respond that while I did not believe in sending bombs to people in the mail that did not mean that these people, the targets, were innocent. People like Jobs who devise this "Brave New World" type stuff are choosing and there's a moral dimension to those choices. I remember Steward Brand of the Whole Earth Catalog saying at one time that "in the sixties some of us realized the question was 'technology, yes or no?' and we basically…

Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

Ross Anderson
The Atlantic Online

One has had to work hard to find an ill-written word about Steve Jobs, the technologist. While some have attacked Steve as a personality or as a ruthless businessman, even his harshest critics have agreed that his dazzling inventions have been a force for good in the world. 

Hence, you might think of John Zerzan as anti-Steve Jobs. Zerzan is an intellectual leader of the anarcho-primitivist movement, an ideology that regards technology as a destroyer of human communities. His first brush with national prominence came after a 1995 interview with The New York Times in which he expressed some sympathy with the ideas, if not the methods of Ted Kaczynski. Yesterday, I spoke to Zerzan by phone in order to gather his thoughts on what Jobs meant to the world of technology and to our culture at large.

* As someone openly opposed to technological progress, have you been frustrated by all of the public mourning and tributes that has been attended Steve Jobs' pas…

Movie Review: Mathulikal

The 1989 Malayalam film "Mathulikal" is based on the 75 page Malayalam novel of the same name by Vaikom Mohammed Basheer. Mathulikal is one of the most cherished and well-known love stories in Malayalam. The story of the novel is semi-autobiographical. 

The movie begins with Basheer (Mamootty) being jailed for writing against the British. He is confined to a narrow space of a prison cell. The cells are separated by the presence of tall walls (Mathulikal). To combat his solitary confinement, he tries talking to a fellow inmate present in the other side of the wall which happens to be the women's cell. The lady from the women's cell who responds back to Basheer is Narayani and they start talking to each other. It is interesting to know that this film never reveals who she is or how Narayani looks like. Hence, he is also not aware of her age despite this, they fall in love with each other. Throughout the film, it is just her voice which is heard. It is these little conve…

Wikileaks and Free Speech

Michael Moore and Oliver Stone
The New York Times
We have spent our careers as filmmakers making the case that the news media in the United States often fail to inform Americans about the uglier actions of our own government. We therefore have been deeply grateful for the accomplishments of WikiLeaks, and applaud Ecuador's decision to grant diplomatic asylum to its founder, Julian Assange, who is now living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. 

Ecuador has acted in accordance with important principles of international human rights. Indeed, nothing could demonstrate the appropriateness of Ecuador's action more than the British government's threat to violate a sacrosanct principle of diplomatic relations and invade the embassy to arrest Assange.

Since WikiLeaks' founding, it has revealed the "Collateral Murder" footage that shows the seemingly indiscriminate killing of Baghdad civilians by a US Apache attack helicopter; further fine-grained detail about the true fa…