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Friday, January 12

Faces of Democracy - Czech Dreams with Stolen Eyes

Many overdue posts lurk in the darkness while I sleep and dream the Czech Dream.

Journey of a nation from a communist past to Capitalistic future seen from the eyes of two cynics, I mean in a good way, the kind of cynics every society needs. How the people depraved for years become such a easy target for consumerism - that endless world of cheap deals, huge super stores and feel good experience and how the media plays a associate while claiming innocence. An exchange between the directors and ad agency guys who are a part of the whole game is very telling:
"Maybe you filmmakers lie to people, but we advertisers don't!"
However the film is a very clever one. Not because of the prank but how it pretends to hold up a mirror to a consumerist society but along the way slyly puts the partners in the game, the advertising agency, the media production companies, the market survey companies under scanner. It is them who are the real subject of the movie and the whole prank is just a distraction to catch them when they are most off guard. The camera trains at these people again and again probing their moral values and exposing how most of them exist in a denial of the dilemmas that are all around them, giving themselves shallow justifications for their choices.

This is the kind of movie that everybody in India really needs to see today.

However not with Stolen Eyes. This was a big let down in the whole festival, a movie that I left in between which is very rare for me. Ironically this was a very critically acclaimed film but it seemed such a shallow and superficial affair to me that it was difficult to understand all the praise it has been getting. Many scenes through out the movie looked more like a Nat Geo dramatic adaption then a movie. The historical background in which the movie is set is really saddening and will prove to be heart wrenching in good hands. In 1985, Bulgarian govt decided to rename all the Turk population of the country that has been living there for generations and remove all traces of their culture. It was a ethnic cleansing of horrifying measure but all the strong premise has been royally wasted in the movie. They have tried to do this love story set against this background and failed. The starting part of the movie is a visual treat however due to the beautiful country side and the colorful Turkish culture that it shows but there is little else but frustration of viewer as the movie progresses.

So watch Czech Dreams and open your eyes. I am sure you won't need Stolen Eyes after that :-).

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