Having had my very first dose of Saul Bellow with his exquisitely affectionate, painfully tender yet deliciously ironic novella,”Seize the Day” (and oh, what a dose of conscience nagging it was!), I decided to compose a five-verse “make good” blues that characterizes a single day of my own (in keeping with the Joycean motif of twenty four hours) and addresses the most important business of life which is living – even in the face of potent adversaries such as shame, embarrassment and remorse. The novel’s chiding yet serious tone still rings a bell today as a sort of segue between the modern and our “post-modern” world: hyper self-consciousness, warped up in a world of ideas where we are pre-disposed to compose all kinds of narrations in our heads, most of which bear no fruit and disappear and make no good. The corollary to this is the simplicity and near “faith” based solutions we seek from others who may have a cure to our ails (the spinster Tamkin is one such example from the novel) when really, the information consuming monsters that we’ve become seeks to address precisely this predicament. Instead, this ends up as our vanity in a world spoilt with too much stuff. Just read this passage and try not to laugh and weep! It concerns asking for a glass of water in a New York hotel and the troubles one must go to for such a simple request: Continue reading Seize The Day and Make Good
Although the Great War of 1914-1918 is skewed in most people’s memory, it did nonetheless bring many large scale changes that shook the foundations of our planet. There was the use of chemical weapons in the Western Front, with exploding canisters giving rise to shouts of ‘Gas!’ by the soldiers. An entire generation were mercilessly sent to the slaughter, with old world tactics of ‘proper attacks’ by unwitting generals confronted by the new order of fortified artillery and machine gun fire. Some soldiers signed up thinking of it in a sense of an adventure and what they found instead was disillusionment. The picture of a world with a jackboot forever on your face or a court-martial if abscond was popularized in this era. Then there’s also the gripping thought of the survivors of this war becoming the trainers of posterity in an even greater war by the mid of that century – giving a whole new meaning to the notion of ‘fathers and sons.’ Continue reading The War That Ended Peace – two recommended books on the Great War of 1914-1918.
The Worst Wounds Are The One’s You Can’t See
We all know that imagination is the key. Oscar Wilde had it in gallons, Einstein oozed of it while having his customary shave. I’ve thought about it for not more than a brief instant innumerable times, and as is customary with most mammals, my first impulse was to look for magic cures that would wire my brain to the need to create, and create gracefully with the ideas and information at hand – be it coffee, alcohol, tobacco or sex – anything to emancipate our minds. But alas, it’s more elusive than what I had initially perceived – like racing to raze down a heavily guarded fort when a little bit of circumspection would have instead helped. Rather rummy, I’d say.
I ask this question at this moment as really, imagination is the key to our latest project, SILAS. By imagination, I mean here not completely fantasized worlds, but worlds where although fictionalized, is nonetheless based with a firm footing in reality. The trick here is to understand your own reality and elude to them in a slightly metamorphosed way. This I find to be quite a difficult task, and it gives rise to a paradox of sorts: that it’s harder to know of your own feelings, and simmer in your own experience of reality than to participate in those of another. But such a participation can arise only through a sub-conscious identification of our own memories and emotions. We’ve all been there. We point out the qualities of our friends and colleagues exceedingly well – their strengths, their shortcomings, the minutest details of what they did wrong, or how they succeeded. But how much does such a propensity reveal into the lives of our own? It’s terribly uncomfortable to reflect on such ruminations, but I thought of putting it out there since SILAS largely deals with mental health and the reaction of society…in quite an imaginative way. Empathizing is one thing: it’s a good start, since to actively participate in the experiences of those suffering from such debilitating illnesses can palliate the response of the larger populace. But I believe the key here is to transpose and transform one’s own past and present whereby we stop living for ourselves and instead make our realities a reflection into the lives of others. And I don’t think it really matters how good those reflections are.
Phew, there’s that bit of epigrammatic self-talk out of the way for the day. Cheerio then, curious to know of your responses, since I’ve left the parameters a bit gaping over here.
As always, head over to our website and follow us on twitter @studio5pictures to satisfy your anticipations.
Irish forces cycling along the struma valley, 1917. (Courtesy: National Army Museum.)
As I was recently perusing through a number of World War 1 books, a thought of schoolboy proportions struck me like a cat lashing out while I initially mistook it to be friendly. Unable to prevent my conscience from looking for details on Race, Nationality, and Empire relating to British Imperialism, wouldn’t it be the case that the contribution of July 1 massacre of the Ulster Protestants of Belfast in fueling the sectarian conflict that engulfed the same city after the war, the influence of Gallipoli and the Somme on the emergence of Australian self-determinism, or of the Vimy Ridge fighting on the formation of Canadian nationalism in themselves could constitute a book on empire? The subject had left an ineradicable impression on my mind, but the scale of it had discouraged me from taking it up any further as these, and other incidents such as Delville Wood and the swathes of Indian regiments recruited to fight the allied cause could themselves constitute a book on empire, under the rubric of today’s ‘post-colonial studies.’ Such a discharge from myself is nothing more than a greeting from our age of plenty to an age of jackboots, regimentation, militarism and uniformity. But our curiosities can be naggingly persistent – just as persistent as the comfort from atrophy and routine, and I’m glad to say that it had eventually won through. Thus, here I’ll present my foray into this area that had led me to chronicle the story of a subsection of the 10th Irish Division who went to fight in the war. Continue reading From Belfast to Belgrade: tales from antique territories.
SILAS is an upcoming short-film project of ours that explores the psychological aspects of soldiers of war returning from the battlefield. It aims to explore the estranged and intertwined nature of our psychological existence – that soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) might be well documented enough, but the response of society to these incidents can speak volumes on the attitude of the citizens away from the trenches. Although I don’t wish to idolize war in any certain terms, it’s rather curious to notice how conflict can produce clarity and physical combat (or the futility of it) can make for some of most succinct works of art ever. Continue reading Introducing…
As our first foray into the world of blogging as amusers, provocateurs, connoisseurs of good taste and *gulp* prestidigitators, we would like to throw a couple of names in here who may end up contributing to the elusively sumptuous posts to follow.
The “we” here refers to the blog’s URL. Studio Five Pictures is a small gang of New York based film enthusiasts who have their own production studios in the lower west regions of Manhattan. As a production company, our curiosities are aroused by anything film related – acting, designing, lighting, or even the silver lining of a turgid day of shoot, such as the coffee shop, the excessive cigarettes, the rampant cursing, or the lavatory – a palette to satisfy most preferences. But what it also means is what we also take a great interest in the contents of the films we direct and produce. This can range from literature, politics, psychology, religion, history, the etiquettes of drinking whisky or the differences between a proper swear and an ill-placed one. Thus by exploring and extrapolating the themes of our films, we hope to provide at least slither of personal satisfaction to the readers of this blog.
The chief contributors of this blog may be twofold, with the possible occasional guest appearances. The writer of these sentences is one of them. Myself – I’m Abhinav, or Abhi, or AB. I read a lot, write a lot, have a propensity towards using many words to describe something when few would do (no, no! not superfluity.) And for the most part, I will be the main person to preside over these pages.
The other contributor to this blog is Yunus Shahul. Yunus is a director and producer for the studio and has numerous short-films as producer and director under his belt. Rather than me rambling on about his achievements, I’ll let his reel do the talking. A sneak peak into the possible pleasures and satisfactions that is soon to unfold.