Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

21 Feb 2003, 19:05 p.m.

The Language of Film is the Roundup

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2003 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Bend it like Beckham. I got to see this a few weeks back because my sister is a mover and shaker and got preview screening tickets. What a country! The plot: think American Chai plus Girlfight -- Indian daughter of Indian Immigrants to Britain wants to play soccer but her parents don't get it. No, I haven't seen American Chai or Girlfight.

I enjoyed Bend it Like Beckham a lot -- music, characters, situations, dialogue, plot, cinematography, the whole shebang. Non-Indians would also enjoy it, although with some backburner suspicion that they're not getting all the jokes.

Every Indian immigrant movie I've seen (except American Desi) is about Indian parents who just don't get their kids and in the end the parents adjust and everyone gets along. There are other plots about us, right?

Lost in La Mancha. I walked into the theater and saw a Squelch staffer and a DeCadence singer, of course.

I'm just not used to documentaries. You watch them differently, and I looked for journalism when the documentarian chose suspense and vice versa. Maybe if I'd seen more Gilliam before watching Lost I'd have got more out of it. As it happened, it just got me morose about the obstacles to articulating one's creative vision.

Emerson wrote in "Self-Reliance" that it doesn't make sense to base your worth on the judgments of others, and that struck my ninth-grade heart with a force I've never forgotten. But stand-up can really suck when the audience won't converse with the performer, when they won't trade their laughs for your jokes. How can I be a self-reliant performer? How, to cite Krishna's first lesson in the Bhagavad-Gita, can I do my duty without worrying about its fruits?

I must stay rooted in my own aesthetics. My favorite performers cleverly present their clear, unique perspectives -- I want to do that, and if I'm good and I hustle I'll achieve a little fame.

Russian Ark. I admired the technical wowness, but the most exciting moments were picking out places in the Hermitage that I'd been and telling Leonard what the subtitles didn't.