Friday, January 29, 2010

A Reply to Mr. Cyrus Surendranath

Someone called Cyrus Surendranath has posted some comments on this blog. We are quoting him at first :

On Antoraal (aka A Hiding)

Cyrus said...
This post has been removed by the author.
January 27, 2010 1:52 AM
Cyrus said...

The more I look at the glimpses from your films, the more appalled and disgusted I am. The voiceover in the film sounds like bad, Bengali little magazine gibberish with a garnishing of half-understood Mani Kaul and Chris Marker. The two morons you've cast here, look like side-benchers from an ETV telefilm. So much for "avant-garde"!

As for the Amiyabhushan passage, it has become so horribly predictable for a certain class of Bengali-intellectual-aspirants to dig out lesser known authors and cite them hoping they sound/look counter-culturish enough! Sorry, but reading the passage on camera is the most facile and unimaginative thing you could have done. Of course, it would take any of you a hundred years or more to approach an Amiyabhushan text as a film. I can bet some of you, if not all, do write in the so-called little magazines. The problem is precisely that technology has made it possible for people like you to appropriate a medium like DV, and thereby turn what could have been a revolution into a shitty farce.

Most of your cinematic inspirations seem to stem from France or Latin America. Do try and find out more about what is happening NOW in Asian cinema, and what Asian auteurs are doing with DV, before you make fools of yourselves jumping around with a digital camera, making 5 films in 6 months.

Sorry for being so nasty, but felt compelled to call a spade a spade! Hope you guys won't take it personally.

Cyrus Surendranath
January 27, 2010 1:55 AM

On JLG Had No Script

Cyrus said...

Frankly, my dear, you look like a clown trying to impersonate Godard. In case that is the avowed aesthetic intention, I guess its fine. Am rolling on the floor looking at the sordid make-up, and the fact of the "post-colonial" Godard speaking in Bengali! Poor Jean-Luc is past 80 and making a film called Socialism. Please give him a break!

It isn't the least bit funny to see poor upstarts like you pretending to be in Godard's shoes by making a film in shabby B&W, and with a new-found, digital movie-making toy. God bless new media!

Cyrus Surendranath

January 27, 2010 1:32 AM

On In Search of Dead Golds

Cyrus said...

Why are you guys trying so hard to publicise your "avant-garde" filmmaking through a blog in English when it is obvious that you are rather constipated in that language? Sorry to point out, but "Golds" sounds like grammar-translation from Bengali. Besides, you quote and cite mouthfuls of hallowed sources from Borges to Brueghel without knowing how to spell their names correctly. First grow up and then try to be avant-garde!

But, it doesn't look like you'll heed this advice (monkeys on heat never do). So, good luck!

Cyrus Surendranath
January 27, 2010 1:24 AM

Our reply :

To Mr. Cyrus Surendranath,

1. We are not trying to publicise our "avant-garde" effort through this blog. Sorry to inform you that the avant-garde has died long ago and its ghost has been smuggled to Kolkata, the 3rd world metro. Now, can you situate the meaning of the word "Ghost" historically? If you can, you will get what we are trying to say. Thanks for your advice anyways.

2. It is obvious that we are constipated in English. It's not our mother tongue, but we don't know any other language (e.g Spanish, French) to communicate to a larger readership.

3. Do you think that JLG Had No Script had any relations with Godard at all ? It's the ghost of Godard that we carry on our shoulders whenever we speak of a film movement. At least, Anamitra thinks so. A vulgar comic atmosphere is intended in the film. But you are such a c-factor that you roll on the floor, laughing out loudly and doing all that just seeing a trailer of a film which has been made at a cost of 1000 rupees. Are you a Hijibijbij or what? In case you are not a bengalee see the page on Sukumar Roy at Wikipedia to know the meaning of Hijibijbij. Don't think that we are pretending to be in Godard's shoes or something like that. We know the situation very well. Godard was a popular filmmaker in his early years. Though he tried to change the scenario, nothing to be fascinated about him. He was an off-the-track exclusive prostitute working for pimps, he knew that. He is unsuccessful in throwing the unwanted capitalist intervention out of the terrain of film the art and he knows that very well. Now, poor Jean-Luc is past 80 and making a film called Socialisme. He never wanted a break for lunch or coffee in his "career". Who the hell are you to ask one from us for him ?

4. If we say that we are making films and Cinema is only an industry, so let's destroy cinema, let's rape it together by making thousands of no budget films, can you make an effort to understand it?? Cinematic inspirations are only so to speak.... our real inspirations are some of the little known poets and writers of Bengal and of course IPTA movement.

Now, let us say, we are not even making films. We are mocking films, the toy in hand of the capitalist, the needle in hand of the imperialist and expansionist and we are doing this only to restore the proper amount of activism among the youth of Bengal. The process has just started, keep an eye....history proceeds from failure via failure to failure, but that doesn't imply everyone must be sitting in the field of confusion sucking their thumbs and watching in the big sky the blue birds to fly by.

5. It's not technology but the capitalists' marketing strategy that has made it possible for people like us to appropriate a medium like DV. Please send us some of your good actors and actresses to work for free with us and we won't be using those side-benchers anymore.

6. We've turned it all into shiity farce what could've been a revolution and Mr. Cyrus what have you done?? Until the 27th we were getting visits from 30 different IPs in average per day. Your comments have brought it down to 12 in last two days. Sorry to quote Rocha again, but we need to be self-consuming at first in order to survive, the so-called impotency can be overcome only later. Now quoting Satyajit Ray for your pleasure, we need more intelligent interpretations of our limitations...and that's what we are doing . We have finished five films and going to release a DVD tomorrow through the "non-existing" non-commercial distribution chain , all within a cost of 15000 INR. We guess NONE of your ASIAN "AUTEURS" have done this much in their countries. And please specify who are you speaking of, there are lots of them, from Miike to Ji-woon Kim, via Hsiao-hsien Hou and Ming-liang Tsai. So, please specify so that we can answer you more precisely. There is a recent trend among intellectuals to cite examples from the Asian New Wave Directors' works without knowing nothing much about them and we are aware of that, are you ?? One more thing, (another little known writer of Bengal, Udayan Ghosh is being quoted here), please get it by heart, revolution is not an embroidary. So, you dug it by now we guess, what we mean by that.

7. I guess, you are not some Cyrus Surendranath, if you are really, where are you from? Do you belong to a south Indian Christian family? Then how do you know so much about Amiyabhushan and the tendencies among the "Bengali(ee)-intellectual-aspirants" ?? Have you been to Kolkata ever? Then you might know that there are two kinds of films being made right now in Kolkata. a) Commercial and b) Festival films. We are trying to do something apart from these. We agree that it would take any of us a hundred years or more to approach an Amiyabhushan text as a film because we won't work with producers or the industrial set-up and without those it would be impossible for us to shoot a whole feature film somewhere in Koochbihar or Dinajpore. But, how could you know that? Please inform us about the translator and publisher because we are suspecting that we know you very well. Reveal your identity, no one is going to hurt you my dear.

8. A monkey can copy many actions of human beings, but as far as we know, they haven't been successful in copying the process of film making yet. If the Bengalee monkeys used to get heated up with these kind of activities we haven't even thought of making films at all. But there lies the problem. They write in little magazines to publish a book from ABP or Protibhaas someday. They join govt. funded theatrical groups to get into the mega serial business. They usually get heated up with songs like "toonir maa", new models of mobile phones and bikes, stylish sunglasses and sexy sister-in-laws. That's where we want to hit, but, leave it. It's not for you to think on. If you can, kindly post your reply as a comment ( and don't forget to mention your email id this time) as we want to get into conversation even with you ---- The Question is : What made you so heated up when you saw these Bengalee monkeys making films and going to make fools of themselves very soon as they are on heat ? ?

Please Do Reply......

Thank you, if you didn't show your inherited sarcasm in your comments we couldn't get issue for our newer posts on this blog so soon. So, thank you again.... a big THANKS from the house of Little Fish Eat Big Fish. Reply...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Five No Budget Films: DVD Release on 30th January

We are happy to announce that a DVD containing all the five no budget films will be released on 30th January, in Kolkata Book Fair 2010.

The price of the DVD is Rs. 100/-.

The DVD will be available at the stalls of Kaurab (Stall No. 405) and Natun Kabita (Stall No. 406).

Otherwise, in case you are unable to come to the book fair, you can contact in any of the following numbers to get your copy:

Arup (9432860086), Sriparna (9903998708), Sankha (9477413550), Souva (+91-9811839083), Snigdhendu (9330948167), Sumit (9051226823), Abhishek (9874294708)

DVD Cover:

Inlay Card

Monday, January 25, 2010

Five No Budget Films 5: Proti Biplob Deerghojibi Hok (aka Long Live (all) the Revolution)

Proti Biplob Deerghojibi Hok
(aka Long Live (all) the Revolution) is about a young writer’s struggle in the power-craving world of ideology and disbelief. In this short fiction you will find a fake-magician, and you will be haunted by a prolonged and bizarre nightmare. This film is basically a fantasy of telling the (un)truth.

Proti Biplob Deerghojibi Hok (aka Long Live (all) the Revolutions)
Bangla, 2010, 22 min

Cast: Yovik, Mainak Pal, Anamitra Roy, Sankha Subhra Ganguly, Shriparna, Subhendu Manni
Production Control: Mainak Pal
Camera: Debashish Adak
Sound & Editing: Anamitra Roy
Make up: Puja Ghosh
Art: Subhendu Manni
Set: Mainak-Avik
Story and Direction: Sankha Subhra Ganguly

Proti Biplob Deerghojibi Hok-- The Trailer

Production Stills

Five No Budget Films 4: Antoraal (aka A Hiding)

A Bengali film of 15 Mnts Duration. The film describes the Primary and the Darker things, that the year 2009 inherits. Hope, you will enjoy!!

Antoraal (aka A Hiding)
Bengali, 2010, 15 min

Cast: Manab Sharma, Jiniya Chatterjee, Soumitra Chowdhury, Joydeep Dam
Dialogue: Mukesh Gupta
Production Control: Tata Mukhopadhyay and Sukanya Ghosh
Graphics: Sriparna
Camera: Joydeep Bose
Sound and Editing: Anamitra Roy
Story and Direction: Arupratan Ghosh

Antoraal-- The Trailer

Production Stills

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Five No Budget Films 3: ... Athoba Bhoy-er Golpo (aka ... Or, A Horror Film)

...Athoba Bhoy-er Golpo (aka ...Or, A Horror Film) is inspired from a short story by Daniil Kharms, a little known Russian poet and short story writer. The film is about the paranoia inherent in the urban mindscape that prohibits oneself from fulfilling his/her desire.

One day, the nameless protagonist of the story comes across a stranger, and that triggers off a series of bizarre incidents in his otherwise event-less existence. He finds a dead body in his flat, he meets a girl who tries to seduce him, he desperately tries to get rid of the dead body... but, at the end, he becomes more confused than ever!

The film examines how power intervenes in our lives, almost imperceptibly, and then starts re-engineering our activities and desires.

...Athoba Bhoy-er Golpo (aka ...Or, A Horror Film)
Bengali, 2010, 19 min

Cast: Sankha Subhra Ganguly, Doelpakhi Dashgupta, Kanchan Sengupta
Cinematography: Arupratan Ghosh, Rajshekhar Das
Sound and Editing: Anamitra Roy
Costume: Pritha Chattopadhyay
Make Up: Sriparna Dey
Producion Control: Avishek Dashgupta, Pritha Chattopadhyay
Screenplay and Direction: Souva Chattopadhyay

...Athoba Bhoy-er Golpo--- Trailer

Production Stills

(Click on the images to view full size)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Five No Budget Films 2 : Jean-Luc Godard Had No Script

A Mimetic Approach Towards Cinema

The film is not a film at all, but merely a theatrical dress rehearsal captured on a miniDV. The title of the film is exploitative. This is not a spoof on Godard, even characters from Glauber Rocha invades the scene.

The basic concept of the film is to stage the way the colonized mind mimics the aesthetical value of European Art Cinema. The concept of 'Cinema' is being killed in the film where the director himself plays the character of Godard ( with lots of quotations from JLG's interviews) wearing a heavy make-up on his face while his hands reveal the original colour of his native skin.

He speaks to a critic on the very film being shot and introduces his five characters one by one. The dubbed soundtrack specifies the hierarchical altitude of the two of them.

The film unfolds by picking up threads and glimpses from various planes of reality and arranging them around a table.

Let the rest remain untold for the viewing. . . .

Jean-Luc Godard Had No Script
Bangla, 2010, 23 min

Cast : Anamitra Roy, Sumit Dey, Kamal Kumar Roy, Abhishek Bhattacharya, Sangbit Samaddar, Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Arupratan Ghosh, Yovik
Concept Development, Camera, Godard's make-up : Sriparna
Assistant Director : Sumit Dey
Make-up : Kamal Kumar Roy
Production Control and Management : Kamal Kumar Roy, Pratik Mondal, Mithun Chakraborty, Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Written, Directed & Edited by : Anamitra Roy

Jean-Luc Godard Had No Script - Trailer

Production Stills

(Click on the images to view full size)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Five No Budget Films 1: The Sand Book

The Sandbook (AKA Boita: Jibito o Hotyakari) is improvised from a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. The story moves with the landing of an amazing book in the hand of a scholer, who tries to understand "the internal ties in events occuring" in and around the book in order to go through it.
From Borges' story, however, only the concept of the book was borrowed. Then the film takes its own course, as ideas from Franz Kafka, Stiphen Hawking, the Upanishads and Mao also enter the scene. Reference from another Borges story also comes in.
What is the Sandbook after all? What are its charectaristics? Watch out to get get the answers.
The Sandbook (AKA Boi-Ta: Jeebito O Hatyakaree)
Bangla, 2010, 20 min

Cast: Kamal Kumar Roy, Abhishek Bhattacharyya, Arupratan Ghosh, Sumit De.
Director of Arts: Sripanra
Sound, Camera and Editing: Anamitra Roy
Production managers: Pratik Mondal and Ananda Dass
Screenplay and direction: Snigdhendu Bhattacharya

Trailer of The Sand Book

Production Stills

(Click on the images to view full size)

Little Fish Eat Big Fish: As It Stands Today

Before getting into the detailed description of each of the Five No Budget Films, we'd like to clarify that Little Fish Eat Big Fish is an open platform for all the aspiring 'auteurs'. Anybody willing to make a No Budget Film, be it a short film or a full length one, a documentary or a feature, can use our name, with as much as a perfunctory permission from anyone belonging to the group.

The group currently consists of the following members--

Anamitra Roy, Ananda Dass, Arkapratim Mukhopadhyay, Arupratan Ghosh, Avishek Bhattacharyya, Kamal Kumar Roy, Mainak Pal, Puja Ghosh, Pratik Mandal,  Sankha Subhra Ganguly, Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Souva Chattopadhyay, Sriparna De, Sumit De, and Yovik

And we must not forget the continuous support and encouragement of--

Avishek Dashgupta, Kanchan Snegupta, Mahadeb Indu, Pritha Chattopadhyay, and Sukanya Ghosh

Five No Budget Films (To be Released in 2010)

The Beginning

It all began with “Mrito Kanchan-er Lobh-e”. Just before that film was shot, Arupratan Ghosh, Anamitra Roy and Sriparna Dey (the latter two were already working on a no budget short at that point of time) had come in touch with each other, quite coincidentally, and it had been found that all of them shared a mutual love and affection for experimental film and literature. Names like Jonas Mekas, Chris Marker and Mani Kaul surfaced and acted as catalysts to make the bond stronger and more cohesive.

“Mrito Kanchan-er Lobh-e” was a cumulative effort and that triggered the idea of forming an independent group which would go on making no budget films at regular intervals.

Later, Souva Chattopadhyay, Sankha Subhra Ganguly, Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Sumit De, Avishek Bhatacharyya and Yovik joined the initiative and the group started to take a definitive shape.

Emergence of a Self-Sustaining Group

In July 2009, the inception of the group, under the banner of “Little Fish Eat Big Fish”, was formally announced. It was also decided that the next venture of “Little Fish Eat Big Fish” would be a compilation of five no budget films, where five members of the group would make his/her own film.

It took us nearly six months to complete this project. All the five films were shot with a minimal budget and mostly using amateur casts and crews.

The most important aspect of this project was the emergence of "Little Fish Eat Big Fish" as a self-sustaining group of independent artists. Each member of the group took part in the film-making process in every possible ways.

For example, Arupratan Ghosh, apart from directing his own film, acted in two other films in this project and was the cinematographer in another one. Similarly, Anamitra Roy was the editor for all the five films and besides that, acted in his own film as well.

Forming a self-sustaining group is, we believe, a crucial part in pursuing the no budget track, as it ensures that the involvement of artists from professional domain, be it in acting, cinematography or editing, remains minimal. It also helps in keeping the cost within a specified limit which, for no budget films, is really minuscule.

Five No Budget Films: The Third Venture

'Five No Budget Films', the third venture of Little Fish Eat Big Fish, consists of the following short films (click on the titles to view in details)--

  1. The Sand Book (aka Boi-Ta: Jeebito O Hatyakaree)

Bengali, 2010, 20 min

Directed by: Snigdhendu Bhattacharya

  1. Jean Luc Godard Had No Script

Bengali, 2010, 23 min

Directed by: Anamitra Roy

  1. …Athobaa Bhoy-er Golpo (aka … Or, A Horror Film)

Bengali, 2010, 19 min

Directed by: Souva Chattopadhyay

  1. Antoraal (aka A Hiding)

Bengali, 2010, 15 min

Directed by: Arupratan Ghosh

  1. Proti Biplob Deerghojibi Hok (aka Long Live (all) The Revolution)

Bengali, 2010, 20 min

Directed by: Sankha Subhra Ganguly

In the next few posts, we will elaborate on each of these five short films, with the trailers and production stills. Till then…

Crime and Punishment: The Second Venture

"Crime and Punishment" was the second film released under the banner of "Little Fish Eat Big Fish". It was written and directed by Sankha Subhra Ganguly, a student of mass communication and an incurable movie-buff.

"Crime and Punishment" was supported by Institute of Mass Communication Film & Television Studies. The film was sent to IBDA'A Awards 2009 in Film/TV Feature category.

Crime and Punishment
2009, Bengali/English, 20:33 min
Cast: Yovik, Kamal Kumar Roy
Cinematography: Debashish Adak
Make Up: Sriparna
Sound and Editing: Anamitra Roy
Written and Directed by: Sankha Subhra Ganguly

Friday, January 15, 2010

In Search of Dead Golds (Mrito Kanchan-er Lobh-e), 2009, Bengali, 12 mins

In Search of Dead Golds was the first no budget short film made under the banner of "Little Fish Eat Big Fish". It was written and directed by Arupratana Ghosh, a poet and writer.

Mrito Kanchaner Lov- e was shot in last winter (Dec'08), i.e., exactly one year ago. The December was not so soothing. In fact it was the hottest winter of the decade.

Digitally it appeared that urban memories, which are very discrete in nature, were giving an oblique structure to the film. We could merely stop them and hence touched the geographical end lines of our city marked by the age old river and the newly constructed super masculine highways , to talk a bit personally.

The things we deserve & those we hate, the awe some River & the splashing markets, our kisses to our girls & our desire for a story line – everything remained in a blue !

And The Hunters of the Blue – can I put the name of Mr. Brueghel , the fifth man who was with us in the car..

We chose a faded colour for the film.

Cut to Whites !


Mrito Kanchan-er Lobh-e (In Search of Dead Golds)

Bengali, 2009, 12 minutes

Casting: Manab Sharma, Sriparna Dey, Anamitra Roy, Arkapratim

Camera: Arupratan Ghosh

Graphics: Sriparna

Production Control: Tata Mukhopadhyay

Sound and Editing: Anamitra Roy

Music: Dipyaman Ganguly

Written and Directed by: Arupratan Ghosh

Why No-Budget?

Wikipedia defines "No Budget Film" as-

A no budget film is a produced film made with very little, or no money.

Young directors starting out in filmmaking commonly use this method because there are few other options available to them at that point. All the actors and technicians are employed without remuneration, and the films are largely non-profit. Usually the director works alone on such films, or uses a very minimum "crew" of volunteers to assist him/her on such projects where no money or financing is available, not including the cost of film. No-budget films are made every day with video tapes and consumer cameras.

We, more or less, accept this definition. But, at the same time, we feel the urge to closely examine this sentence--"Young directors starting out in filmmaking commonly use this method because there are few other options available to them at that point"-- as it highlights and poses some serious questions to the traditional mode of film making.

Time and again, we have been told that film making is a costly affair. You need good cameras, lights, large crews, extravagant sets and what not? All of these cost a pretty hefty amount of money. Now, whenever the question of money arises, we presume that there should be a person called the "Producer", standing at the doorstep of the film maker, who will invest the necessary amount of capital and in turn, quite naturally, look for a profit out of his investment. From this point onwards, the problem starts getting more and more complicated.

Accepting the fact that producer will always look for profit mandates that the film should reach out to a large number of audience who will buy the tickets, buy the music tracks (so, you need to have good music or songs in your movie too!), or, at least, buy the DVDs. But, reaching out to a wider audience often implies setting a limit to one's creativity or the flare for experimenting with the art-form.

Now, one may argue that all the great directors in the world, starting from Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Luis Bunuel, Satyajit Ray to Wong Kar-Wai, Bela Tarr and Anurag Kashyap, have always found a producer willing to invest in their experimental films. So, isn't is quite unjust to portray the producer as a dumb bloke who thinks about nothing else, but money and profit?

To answer this question, we must clarify that we are not using the word "producer" in its traditional sense. For us, a "producer" is a representative of the consumerist culture, who tries to impose himself upon the "auteur" and thereby control him, and the entire socio-economic mechanism of today's world supports him in his effort.

Therefore, we view the existence of a "producer" in the process of film making as an unwanted intervention of the consumerist culture to control and, thereby, subjugate the "auteur". We are not bothered about how Godard managed to make "Pierrot Le Fou" despite the fact that he had a producer. Also, we are not arguing whether a producer can produce experimental films or not. But here we are questioning the fundamentals of the system itself. We are questioning the basic logic behind the existence of producers in the value chain of film-making.

That is why, we have taken recourse to no budget film making to ascertain our point and to create a parallel channel for expressing ourselves.

So far, the age-old myth, that film making requires a lot of money, has helped producers to earn their breads. But, we believe that film making is not a costly affair. We can make good, serious films without spending a gargantuan amount of money. Moreover, low cost digital cameras and editing programmes have made our task easier.

Secondly, we also want to dethrone the traditional chain of film distribution. We intend to make our films available on DVD, simultaneously taking advantage of the internet to show and distribute our films. Creating a parallel distribution channel is, we believe, an imperative for the survival of no budget films.

At the end, we'd like to request you all to come and see what kind of quality a no budget film can deliver.

Support us, and help the art of cinema to survive!