YOU LOVE CINEMA SO RANJAN DAS RECOMMENDSby Ranjan Das November 23 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 30 secs
From Highway Dragnet to a Michael Hanake film, an American Indie, Kasargold and Night Moves, check out what Ranjan Das recommends for you to see this weekend!
My favourite genre for the week: Highway Dragnet.
A taut noir at 1.10-hour, HIGHWAY DRAGNET (1954) by Nathan Juran follows the travails of Richard Conte, a WW2 veteran who is on the run after he is falsely accused of a murder. During his escapade he hitches a ride with a fashion photographer (Joan Bennet) and her model (Wanda Hendrix), two women who add the requisite complications to the plot, till he is able to clear his name.
The screenplay was based on a story by U. S. Anderson and Roger Corman. This was Roger Corman’s first screen credit who also acted as the Associate Producer on this film. Corman sold the story to Allied Artistes at 3,500 dollars and joined the production as an unpaid worker. After the success of the film he became a full-time film producer, quitting his job at Dick Hyland Agency. He gradually became the greatest godfather of B-movies, giving breaks to the likes of Coppola and so many others.
Richard Conte who plays the lead is also known for playing Bazini in Godfather 1. HIGHWAY DRAGNET was shot in 10 days. You can find the film on YouTube:
This is a Michael Hanake film
Comprising several characters whose lives intersect in Paris through an unfortunate incident involving the insult of Maria, a homeless Romanian woman, Michael Haneke opens up a Pandora's Box that explores racism, poverty, unemployment, illegal immigration – and reverse racism in his first French outing. Episodic in its structure, most of the sequences are shot in uninterrupted long takes and display the director’s mastery over the craft.
Starring Juliette Binoche, CODE UNKNOWN (2000), co-produced by France, Germany, and Romania is a unique cinematic experience streaming on MUBI.
An American indie
American indie cinema has always thrown up surprises at regular intervals. This time it is TO LESLIE (2022), based on a true account of a woman who blows away all her lottery money in seven years on a dissolute lifestyle and ends up being an alcoholic and bankrupt, shunned by all her friends and neighbours, including her son who is now 19-years-old. Andrea Riseborough who plays Leslie delivers a stunning performance that fetched her a nomination for the Best Actress at the Academy Awards. Look up this beautiful film on the fall and redemption of a lost soul that is truly inspiring.
TO LESLIE (2022) by Michael Morris is streaming on Prime Video.
This 'gold rush' on Netflix you must watch!
A twisted tale surrounding the theft of gold bars smuggled from Dubai to Kochi is what Mridul Nair’s Malayalam film KASARGOLD (2023) is primarily about. It leads to the search for the missing items by the protagonist (Asif Ali) who was responsible for delivering the consignment to his boss. The search lands up in complications galore where equations among the characters (friends-family-gangsters-politicians-police) begin to change to reveal their varying degrees of complicity (or ignorance) in the grand theft. KASARGOLD purports to be a roller-coaster of an action-thriller meant to keep the audience at the edge of their seats with its unexpected twists and revelations – and it does so during most of its running time of 137 minutes. This is Malayalam film at its most robust. Go look up the film on Netflix.
Savour the film Night Moves
In the guise of a thriller, this US film, NIGHT MOVES (2013), depicts the efforts of three young radical environmentalists (Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard) to blow up a dam in their region and the consequences of their action. The film not only points a finger at impending environmental disasters if we do not take action in time but also makes a searing comment on the folly of youth who think individual, stray attacks that are devoid of any holistic approach could usher in the desired change.
American independent director Kelly Reichardt who has given us the wonderful WENDY AND LUCY (2008) and FIRST COW (2022), recreates 'atmosphere' as a key cinematic element here. Look it up on MUBI - it’s a neat but disturbing film.