World Cinema: 100 Films – 100 Stories – 100 Nations – 100 Cultures -100 Directors – 100 Quotes
The book “World Cinema : A celebration” is a unique collection – entertaining, stimulating, heart-warming and thought-provoking – that brings together a wide variety of films from all corners of the world.
In this 215 page volume, published by Hay House India, the author Raj Mariasusai declares that “watching world cinema is like going around the globe, visiting places and meeting people.”
Raj is an acclaimed media educationist and founder-director of Don Bosco Media Centre in Tamil Nadu, India.
In fact, Raj insists, “world cinema opens windows that reveal new vistas, new lands, new cultures and new lifestyles, without ever having to make a single journey abroad! Nevertheless, world cinema has galvanized people’s zest for travel and has boosted the tourism industry in many countries.”
In World Cinema, one comes across an assortment of talents that makes one experience the complexities of human behaviour in different parts of Planet Earth.
The 100 films from different countries (arranged alphabetically and chosen from the 1990s onwards) portray the distinct socio-economic conditions prevailing in a particular nation.
The book contains a kaleidoscope of stories that offer vivid, fascinating and ever-changing patterns vis-à- vis the moving and talking images.
The author spells out the criteria for selecting the movies saying, “First, every selected movie must speak the language at least partially. Second, the movie director should be from the same country or at least have been born and lived in the country for a while. Third: all films will be productions after 1990 – the dawn of the independent cinema.”
The purposeful and passionate films are considered world class, says the author, as they portray artistic value and prestige, showcasing talents from across the globe, offering a peek into the beauty and pain of the people. The films also reveal the complexities and distinctiveness of human behavior laced with their social and political progress.
For example, the very first film from Afghanistan entitled Osama tells the poignant story of a girl forced to disguise herself as a boy to feed a family of three women – she, mother and grandmother – in the days of Taliban (page 14).
The 100th film Buffalo Boy from Vietnam narrates the story of the lives and loves of rival buffalo herders who suffer regular destroyers of the people, grass and cattle (page 212).
In between, the movies take the reader around the world and give a real taste of life in other countries and cultures such as in Roads to Koktebel (page 160). This film from Russia depicts the journey of a father and son, escaping from the bad memories of Moscow in 1944 with huge expectations. It is a classic road movie with unmoving camera shots where the impossible path becomes their runway making the child become a father to the man.
The Indian selection in the book is entitled Harishchandra’s Factory, a 2009 biopic on Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema (1870-1944), who pursued the cultural nuances of the pre-independence era with an utterly mad and relentless passion for the magic of moving pictures (page 92).
Besides dealing with a variety of changing contexts, the selected films also deal with moral, ethical, social and religious issues like euthanasia, suicide, abortion, and religious superstitions.
The book lacks subject and title index which if provided could benefit the reader, media educationists, as well as film enthusiasts immensely.