• Red Beard

    Red Beard

    ★★★★

    Marking the conclusion of one of the greatest director-actor collaborations in cinema history, Red Beard is as heartfelt & life-affirming as it is tragic & heartbreaking. Crafted with genuine care, told with everlasting compassion, and led by compelling performances, the film presents an esteemed artist & his long-term protégé teaming up for the last time and is one of their most memorable works together.

    Directed by Akira Kurosawa, the story is driven by the teacher-disciple relationship that is allowed to simmer & develop at…

  • The Bad Sleep Well

    The Bad Sleep Well

    ★★★★

    Arguably the darkest, bleakest & most cynical of all Akira Kurosawa films, The Bad Sleep Well is an impressive amalgamation of assured direction, excellent writing & solid performances that not only works as an effective & engaging revenge thriller but also serves as a sharp critique of corporate corruption.

    The story begins with a masterly curated wedding sequence that aptly introduces all the relevant characters and paves its foundation by letting the news reporters provide background details about each through their gossips. The…

  • The Hidden Fortress

    The Hidden Fortress

    ★★★½

    The inspiration behind George Lucas' Star Wars, The Hidden Fortress also happens to be arguably the most mainstream film of Akira Kurosawa's legendary filmography. A slight departure from his poetic meditation on the human condition, the film's fun & lighthearted tone still retains many qualities that are best associated with his works.

    The story is narrated from the perspective of its secondary characters with the theme of greed taking precedence but it's presented in an amusing fashion instead of serious contemplation.…

  • Stray Dog

    Stray Dog

    ★★★½

    The progenitor of buddy cop films that makes candid use of its noirish elements and captures the postwar mood of Japan in an effective & authentic fashion, Stray Dog is less bothered by the visual style of its genre and more concerned with the police procedural narrative that it handles & executes with flair & finesse.

    Co-written & directed by Akira Kurosawa, the story is crafted with care & narrated with patience and aptly familiarises the viewers with the proper building of a case. Kurosawa…

  • The Quiet Duel

    The Quiet Duel

    ★★★

    One of Akira Kurosawa's lesser appreciated films, The Quiet Duel follows a doctor who inadvertently contracts syphilis from one of his patients and is tormented by his conscience over matters of love & desire in his later years. The premise is intriguing but there isn't enough juice in the script to keep it running for long.

    Themes of responsibility, morality & nobility linger heavily on our protagonist's mind but his inner turmoil, emotional vulnerability & pent-up frustration is what's best articulated by Toshirō…

  • Drunken Angel

    Drunken Angel

    ★★★½

    Marking the commencement of one of the greatest director-actor collaborations in cinema history, Drunken Angel derives its powerhouse drama from the heated, humorous & heartfelt interplay between its two proud but contrasting characters after their lives collide one night, and covers the uneasy friendship that develops between the two.

    Co-written & directed by Akira Kurosawa, this is his first major film and finds the emerging filmmaker trying to curate his own narrative style while also exhibiting his tight grasp on the humanity…

  • The Hero

    The Hero

    ★★★★

    A thoroughly engrossing portrait of a matinee idol grappling with his own existence and a sensible reminder of why one should never judge a book by its cover, Nayak (The Hero) is a gripping meditation on fame, success, fear, regrets, dissatisfaction, loneliness & sympathetic understanding that's crafted with restraint & narrated with elegance, and is wonderfully steered by splendid performances from its entire cast.

    Written, composed, co-edited & directed by Satyajit Ray (Jalsaghar, Mahanagar & Charulata), the film explores the illusory nature of celebrity…

  • Charulata

    Charulata

    ★★★★

    Beautiful, mesmerising & sumptuous all the way through, Charulata marks another creative high for Satyajit Ray, for it presents the legendary Bengali filmmaker at the apex of his talents and is arguably the most polished & sophisticated film of his rich & revered career. Crafted with heart & told with honesty, it is an alluring & arresting portrait of love, loyalty & longing captured through the eyes of a lonely housewife.

    Written & directed by Ray, the story features a compelling plot, all the characters are full-fledged,…

  • Devi - The Goddess

    Devi - The Goddess

    ★★★½

    Examining the dangers of blind faith & superstitious beliefs through the adversity of a young woman who finds herself deified by her father-in-law following a vivid dream, Devi - The Goddess captures the absurdity of religious delusion and the oppressive role a patriarchal society plays by not giving women their own voice even when they are held to a divine status.

    Written & directed by Satyajit Ray (The Apu Trilogy & The Music Room), the story aptly introduces us to all the characters…

  • The Music Room

    The Music Room

    ★★★★

    After leaving an indelible mark on the global stage with his pure & poetic The Apu Trilogy, Satyajit Ray brings his restraint touch & deft eye to the more conventional narrative structure in Indian cinema and subverts it from inside out. Jalsaghar (The Music Room) isn't devoid of the musical & dance segments that are a given in most Indian films but instead of serving as mere entertaining interludes, they play an integral role in the plot.

    Written, produced & directed by Ray, the…

  • Pickpocket

    Pickpocket

    ★★½

    From the writer-director of A Man Escaped comes an intriguing yet unconventional portrait of crime, compulsion, human behaviour & redemption. Pickpocket makes it clear during its opening note that it's not supposed to be a thriller and even unfolds like a character study but the story is narrated with such blandness that even its 75 mins runtime becomes a chore to sit through.

    Written & directed by Robert Bresson, the film packs a deceptively simple premise but still offers a blank canvas…

  • A Man Escaped

    A Man Escaped

    ★★★★

    A simple, straightforward premise executed with great austerity, A Man Escaped is singularly focused on the escape attempts of its protagonist and takes the viewers through the arduous & frustrating process of devising, improvising & implementing such plans. Led by an excellent act from François Leterrier, the film never for once deviates from its course.

    Written & directed by Robert Bresson, this is my first stint with his works and is right up there with his finest efforts. There are no distractions whatsoever…