Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) – A Simple Premise Delivered with Careful Purpose (Spoilers)

When one hears Yash Raj Films, titles such as
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Mohabbatein, Veer-Zaara and Fanaa spring to mind. Feel-good, tragic, warmth-inducing icons of Indian cinema. So, when I read the synopsis for Dum Laga Ke Haisha, I had to double-check the production company. Here’s the trailer with English subtitles.

Dum Laga Ke Haisha couldn’t stand out more from the crowd. While couples in the films mentioned appear to overcome the odds, Prem (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Sandhya (Bhumi Pednekar) really don’t look like they have a chance at all. Firstly, they’re drawn into an arranged marriage that Sandhya appears to look forward to, at least. Secondly, and the stickiest point, is that Sandhya is “plus-sized”. Bollywood (Hollywood, too) heroines, even if they’re oddballs, are still too glamourous. There’s pressure for viewers everywhere to conform. That’s why Dum Laga Ke Haisha is an important film: it dares to be different. It may subscribe to Bollywood’s slice-of-life, feel-good style at times, yet it has an independent film feel.

The beauty of the film lies with Sandhya, which is an ironic statement to make given the film’s premise. She knows she doesn’t live up to standards looks-wise but she carries herself with confidence. A lot is asked of prospective brides: certain caste, educated, social-standing, culinary skills,
beauty, fair skin and obedience. It’s Sandhya’s prospects as a teacher that’s a large draw for Prem’s family. Notice how I said family. Practically the minute after their marriage, his family nit-pick at Sandhya, mostly behind her back but Prem’s aunt is catty enough to fling insults Sandhya’s way about her weight. Thankfully, Prem’s father counters this by highlighting his son’s less-than stellar qualities. She could be – is – a good-natured woman with her head screwed on right. Also, even with her figure, Sandhya is quite lovely – especially with her hair out. Unfortunately, her husband and his family aren’t willing to realise that. Until the climax of the film, she takes what they deliver, illustrating her inner strength.

The most heartbreaking moments of the film are in scenes involving the married couple. Not only is Prem visibly displeased during the marriage ceremony, he avoids being seen with Sandhya in public. She clearly relishes exploring local streets on the arm of her husband but he finds every opportunity to put space between them. He goes on about her weight, worst of all: he bursts out loud that he finds her physically repulsive to sleep with. Viewers feel a punch to their own stomachs, especially as she witnesses this. She smacks him (many would say right on) and he retaliates. At this point, things are spiraling leaving viewers wondering if there is any going back after this. The scene that evokes the most emotion is when Sandhya is forced to explain why she’s back at her parents’ home. She has to not only re-live the awful moment she was publicly insulted, but is forced to admit that society finds her undesirable. This once again emphasises the pressure Indian women are under, especially as carriers of their family’s honour. The delivery of this brings tears to viewers’ eyes.

With a family such as his, it is easy to understand why Prem just can’t get going. His father is overly-strict, pushing him into a box Prem doesn’t fit in, while his mother and aunt spoil him and overlook his flaws. That’s not to say he’s not responsible for his actions in the film, it just explains why he is so. It may be difficult to witness his lacklustre life, however Prem’s depressive state and his father’s treatment of it opens eyes. The message is to try to look beneath the word lazy and examine what has caused it. Prem’s family represent how not to handle mental health problems.

There are comedic moments that leave the audience either snickering or full-on cackling. Moments such as Sandhya putting on an erotic film to get her new husband in the mood, to his aunts overhearing his eventual bedroom exploits. ‘My son has become a man’ his mother declares. It’s difficult not to lose it at that point. Moreover, Sandhya’s brother is a little brat with his insensitive remarks towards his sister. Sandhya gives as good as is delivered, which adds to the humour.

A few more unsavoury actions from Prem towards Sandhya and he finally demonstrates some change. He accepts she deserves better than him and wakes her up to his family’s deceptiveness. While his transformation towards loving Sandhya during the couple’s race seems a bit sudden and out-of-the-blue, it’s definitely satisfactory to watch them both reach a level of happiness. After a struggle to adjust to marriage to each other, Prem and Sandhya are finally happy. The song and dance sequence during the end credits is an example of Bollywood conventions done right: the focus has been on the storyline, now that it’s resolved, it’s time to celebrate. Dum Laga Ke Haisha is a film to be celebrated, itself.

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Why “Punjabi Sentence Builder” by Team Indic is One of the Best Punjabi Resources Out There (Book Review)

htlp-project-indic

Punjabi Sentence Builder, Team Indic (ebook). Available from: http://howtolearnpunjabi.com/ .

Approximately 90-100 million people speak or know the Punjabi language, yet its lack of business or cultural power means there is little interest outside of the Indian/Pakistani diaspora, and the fact that it’s a tonal language doesn’t help with the appeal.

There are plenty materials on Punjabi, however most if not all are designed for the children of Punjabi-speaking immigrants on the assumption that Punjabi is their first language. Now, the generations are evolving and becoming more rooted to their countries of birth; there is nothing wrong with this, it is perfectly natural to want to belong. I can emphasise this as a child of Punjabi-speaking parents. Unfortunately, being fed a daily diet of English makes it quite difficult to assume a grasp of Punjabi. It’s no use just consuming a language: you need to know the why to be able to use it properly. It’s especially more challenging if the languages share little in common.

how-to-learn-punjabi

Punjabi Sentence Builder is, quite frankly, a saviour. Not only does it break things down easily and concisely, it enforces retention through daily exercises and timetables to ensure you stick to them! There are also flash cards that can be printed out for daily immersion.

The book is designed to help you from an English point of view. It endeavours to help you understand how Punjabi sentences are constructed and slowly builds up your ability.

There is a little qualm. Just a little one. The ebook is thin (if the concept is possible); it’s a sinfully quick read. I found myself disappointed that it didn’t have more content, since it was so effective. If Team Indic were to create a second volume, I would happily purchase it (provided it’s a little longer).

[You can’t see this but there is an insane amount to elbow-nudging happening right now].

Star Wars Rogue One (No Spoilers)

Everyone likes a rebellion, don’t they?

I viewed Rogue One believing certain aspects of the storyline, costuming, locales and particular scenes (grenade porn, anyone?) relate to elements of the world today. Freedom fighting or terrorism? Science and technology or ethics? These binaries were certainly appreciated and prevented the film from being a pointless action film reliant on CGI and action sequences. I can safely say that the global mood at the moment is gloomy, unsure and weary, with only those benefitting right now prancing around on a high. The very first Star Wars film achieved nationwide success based on word of mouth before heavy marketing campaigns and social media existed, then creating enough stir to capture the rest of the world. It also helped that the US population was discontent with the war in Vietnam and demonstrated that throughout the 1970s. It may be Christmas 2016, however we’re currently witnessing tragic waves from Syria and other areas of the Middle East which were conjured in my mind when I watched rebels fighting against the Empire. Having said that, the conflict in the Middle East is far more faceted and difficult to draw the lines. Of course, a film doesn’t need to be released during major conflict, and viewers don’t need to bring their own “baggage” if you will, to enjoy it.

Disney has the unenviable task of simultaneously appeasing original Star Wars fans and drawing modern children into the franchise, so they went to great lengths (as did The Force Awakens) to emphasise Rogue One’s link to the Original Trilogy. The Force is maintained as a vital theme, with Donnie Yen’s character Chirrut Îmwe filling the void of Yoda by providing Jedi-related wisdom. Every perilous narrative needs a grounding character who provides serenity in the chaos. Robots still exhibit quirkiness and know it all. Alan Tudyk’s comedic timing as K-2SO was perfect. C3PO can’t be the only sassy (mouthy) android in the galaxy; K-2SO is quite obstinate at times, yet he has more warmth. Yavin 4 comes out of retirement, as does the Death Star. There are some departures from the original films we all love. A sweeping, urgent John Williams soundtrack is noticeably absent, and with little opportunity to emotionally connect with the characters a powerful soundtrack can assist in forcing a few restrained tears. Additionally, there’s less cutesiness in Rogue One that Star Wars usually leans towards to counter the peril. Rogue One is dark, possibly darker than Empire and Force Awakens.

I’ve read a complaint that there wasn’t enough chemistry between Felicity Jones and Diego Luna. I certainly noticed chemistry, only once the plot had developed mid-way. It’s important to remember that their characters exist in uncertain times. They are both guarded and occupied with their own goals: one to rebel against the Empire and the other to locate her father and feel like she has some family in the galaxy. They have to be closed off to each other because they’ve experienced such cr** in their lives respectively that they’re hardly going to start making eyes at each other within minutes of meeting. Any overspilling romantic feeling would overcast the plot; they have a mission and their thoughts centre around it. When the two characters overcome their clashing, they warm to each other and that’s when the lingering looks and charged energy commences. Not every opposites-attract couple are going to be like Han and Leia, and I appreciate the way they handled the pairing.

Problems: the beginning jumps from one location to another which makes the pacing chaotic. The exposition is the most important moment in the film as it makes or breaks audience reception. It takes a while to understand what the hell is going on, especially jerking us away from attaching ourselves to the characters and their individual situations. I do wonder if a novice screenwriter would’ve gotten away with that when soliciting an agent. Rogue One eventually calms down and we’re afforded the chance to get to know characters, but still at some distance. I’m not sure what the purpose of Forrest Whittaker’s character was (apart from his relation to Jyn). I’m also not quite satisfied with the ending: I feel like they were trying to avoid accusations of predictability, yet I still felt like a bit of a presant needed to be thrown my way. Maybe I’m a romantic/too soft; the bittersweet ending was leaning a little heavier on the bitter side.

Alan Tudyk as K-2SO steals the show. Reception of his character was far superior to any other human character. The audience loved him and he provided much-needed humour in such a dark film.

Stray Observations:

  • Someone came into the screening room as a Jawa. You can’t beat that.
  • I feel like I’ve been weaned on the 20th Century Fox logo. I expected it at the opening and it was greatly missed. Although: the opening shot felt like it was harking to the opening shot of A New Hope, so you’re immediately sucked back into the Star Wars universe.
  • In the press and promotion of Rogue One, the cast seems so tight knit, more so than TFA (I feel). They’re just like a family; perhaps because Rogue One is an indie film.
  • God bless Donnie Yen. He was a breath of fresh air; his action sequences rescued the film when it felt like the characters weren’t developed enough at that stage or the scene was floundering. Did it feel like I was watching a Kung Fu film? Hells yeah. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not.
  • Diego Luna: you’ve earned yourself a new fan.
  • Peter Cushing. Carrie Fisher. That is all.
  • Darth Vader.See above point.
  • Audio. Audio. Audio. Please don’t elevate sound effects and space battles whilst allowing dialogue to be so muted. The actors were at times difficult to understand and I only found out about some of the names when I went onto Wikipedia after the screening. Not great when you’re trying to relate to them.
  • What I was thinking throughout the climax: I can’t wait to see this in Lego.
  • THAT ENDING WITH THE LIGHTSABRE THOUGH (I did promise not to spoil).

Disparue/The Disappearance Episodes 7 and 8- Analysis

Episode 7

THE PENDENT IS IDENTIFIED. This could be the development that puts us in motion of finding out the killer. In typical writer’s fashion we’re still not going to be privy to this information – at least not in the opening of the episode. OK, I was wrong. Two minutes into the episode and they’ve cornered Mr Berti, the racetrack manager. When it’s pointed out that they looked in love when he bought it for Léa, Berti responds with “oh we were just mucking around”. OK . . . strange sense of humour to have between instructor and pupil no? He still maintains that he was in Grenoble; nowhere near her murder. Road trip! Rose sneaks her way onto this trip with her father. Awww father-daughter bonding. All Rose has to do is say that she prefers to spend time with him rather than her friends, at the cinema, and he’s dropped the brood and melted into a satisfied smile. Take note, Camille *ahem*.

Camille is busy questioning Mrs Berti about her husband’s activities and whether he spoke about Lea. A man infatuated is most likely to never stop going on about the object. Mrs Berti plays it cool though. They never discuss work matters at home – clever. How, convenient. Poor Romain is left with multiple truth bombs in terms of photos. Lea had some saucy shots in a hotel room with Berti, both in their nightgowns and kissing! Quel scandale! In one picture Berti’s looking at the camera like he thinks he’s some sort of player. Well, he’s married so technically he is. So, after the way Léa flipped out about Romain’s one-time thing with Chris, she was doing the exact same thing more than once. After confronting Berti about it, Romain takes the evidence to the police. Berti is questioned and Molina drops the pregnancy on him, expecting him to have been keeping it a secret (thus it being the motivation), alas he’s actually shocked. Naturally, hearing that Berti is in custody, Julien once again launches into investigator mode. Only, he pinches the file on Léa’s murder when Camille’s called away. How is he able to get away with all of this? Yes, it’s an interesting way of writing – but still. Julien finds out about Léa’s pregnancy in the worst possible way. It triggers his feelings on Florence’s abortion and he separates from his wife. The children aren’t gluey enough. Molina is way too soft on Julien, admitting he would do the same if he were in his position. OK, but this guy’s numerously obstructed the case; he should at least get a formal warning. Julien’s learned nothing. In fact: he’s turned the restaurant office into a creepy Léa’s-murder den, which Florence doesn’t stumble upon; it’s the friggin’ restaurant office!

Meanwhile, Thomas explodes at Chris for taking over Léa’s life. He doesn’t want to be “like a brother” to her, he wants his sister back. Julien is also contemptible towards Chris, especially when she says she’s not going to England anymore after Léa’s death, having not posted the money. The only people who are happy to have her around, are Zoé and Florence. It’s only when she brazenly dates Romain that you begin to understand Thomas’ anger. Yeup. That’s right. They’re dating as If nothing’s happened. I suppose it’s easy for Romain now, knowing that she was having affairs behind his back.

Mrs Berti admits she checked her husband’s emails because she knew he was having some fun on the side. Léa said she had news and wanted to meet him at a hotel. Could this woman have thumped her for being the mistress/mistress-with-the-bun? She tricked Léa into meeting up so that they could have it out. Despite being in the wrong, Léa acts like a wronged brat. Any remaining sympathies on the audience’s behalf are draining quickly.

 

Episode 8

So basically, after the previous episode, we’ve worked out Jean was behind the murder somehow. He knows Léa was hit by a brick and that’s something that is only known by those who’ve read the file. He phones Chris who’s waking up from a “fun night” with her dead cousin’s boyfriend, checking up on her. It’s pretty clear who is behind Léa’s death. Now we just await Molina’s ability to close the case. Chris really looks like Romain’s the cream. I suppose it’s all OK now because Léa cheated on Romain. Everything is now OK!

Molina did f*** up the case a little bit, in the sense that he jumped on the Nicholas/Nico bandwagon so mercilessly that he didn’t look for any possibility that he could be innocent. Just in case. Fortunately, his long-suffering girlfriend Elodie kept most of his things, demonstrating a mixture of foresight and denial. It’s up to Camille and Molina to clear his name. Speaking of crappy boyfriends: Jean really is a piece of work isn’t he? He’s been stringing his bit on the side for two years now, going to her place when he needs to “get some” and then pretending she doesn’t exist. Although, a couple of episodes ago, Camille gave her a look that said: what the Hell are you doing with him? Why are you accepting this? You’re asking for it. I agree with all if the above. But the majority of the blame lies with Jean. A**hole. Said A**hole has the police turn up to arrest him, so the truth is underway. Julien tells Thomas not to tell Chris about the arrest as he hurries off. No problem. He hates her anyway.

Jean admits to orchestrating the whole thing. Manoeuvring Léa’s body, getting shot of Jenny the Prostitute, bumping off Dead Nick. Well, there’s 30 minutes of the episode left so this is not the whole story. The sequence of the whole family finding out is eerie. The press’ suggestion that the operation was haphazard is brilliantly shut down by Molina, who uses a journalism analogy about the content of an article being more important than trying to just fill up lines. Like a boss he leaves his supervisor to deal with them further. No love for a man who does what Molina basically criticised; cutting corners.

Chris’ presence in the Morel household continues to get to the men. Disparue 47Thomas is making an effort to be civil at least. Julien, on the other hand, is getting testier by the minute. Florence has to remind him that Chris isn’t taking Léa’s place *snort* and it’s not her fault.

OK. Breathe. There’s a woman with a sparkly top remarking on Molina’s apartment while he’s popping open the champagne. Could this be . . . ? YES. Camille and Molina on a DATE. I called it from the very beginning, and was quite satisfied when I first saw this scene. Fanservice. Yes. Molina finally stopped being a grumpy sourpuss. Well, for now. And, because he’s intent on pulling, he’s showing off his cooking skills having made them his mother’s paella recipe. Camille: you’ve hit the jackpot. Rose is invited to the date, of course. Rose and Camille get on; it’s clear that Molina has a “we come as a package” rule, which any responsible parent does. Although, on their first date? He’s lucky Camille is cool with it. I do love Molina’s reaction to Camille’s impressed look. He’s like: yeah, that’s right. I’m the man. They both ditch Rose when it becomes apparent during their date talk that Jean is covering for someone.

Pesky little Zoé actually serves a purpose other than being by turns cute and irritating. Her insistence on helping herself to anything owned by Léa or Chris has resulted in Florence seizing Chris’ earrings and putting two-and-two together. Her approach towards Chris is filled with tension; Florence’s face is what propels it. It dawns on her why Chris was behind it as she watches Chris merrily dance away in Lea’s room. What we figured out all along: she wanted Léa’s life. All of it. Chris evades capture, losing her life for it. The next scene, like that of the discovery of Léa’s death, is extremely challenging to watch. It’s absolutely heartbreaking that Chris calls Florence “Mum”. Chris has to be one of the first villains (if you may) whom you can really sympathise with. Particularly due to the fact that Léa provokes Chris by taunting her about her dead mother. It just kills off any last feeling for Léa. Yes, Chris inserted herself into the family as Léa’s replacement, however she only did so because she longed for that family unit. Léa, up until this point, has made it quite plain that she was an awful person. Chris’ mind is completely caput. ‘Chris hurt me’ she tells Florence while reaching for her hand. Her death is poignant: both Morel men understand what it is to lose a daughter.

Ahh. But it’s all well that ends well. Camille and Molina flirt their way into Disparue 50the future. The restaurant runs as usual. Florence and Julien make it work for their kids and themselves. Florence’s co-worker blooms in pregnancy. Everyone has their closure.

The Secret Life of Pets (Turkish) – Film Review

Translated from original post (by this blog: TEA), by guest writer Mehmet Çatal: mehmetcatal.blogspot.com.

The Secret Life of Pets – Film İncelemesi

Eğer bir hayvan sever iseniz ve siz işe gittiğiniz zaman evcil hayvanınızın ne yaptığını merak ediyorsanız, The Secret Life of Pets (2016, yönetmen Chris Renaud ve Yarrow Cheney) sizin sorularına cevap veriyor. Neredeyse. Filmin anlatımı daha çok evcil hayvanlar üzerine yapılmış şakalar ve stereotipler üzerinde duruyor. Köpekler sahiplerine sadık iken kediler daha kendi halinde, bazen ise kendini beğenmiş ve umursamaz ve egzotik hayvanlar ise… tuhaf. Aslında kediler hakkındaki stereotipler, Chloe’nin (Lake Bell) durumu dışında, film boyunca daha çok öne çıkıyor ve bu kedi severlerin canını sıkabiliyor. Evcil hayvan filmlerinde kediler, söz konusu onları betimlemek olunca, genelde kısa çöpü çekenler oluyor. Onlar kötü adamlar köpeklerse iyi adamlar olarak göstertiliyor. Kedi olan Chloe iyilerin tarafında olsa da, yine de kendini beğenme tavrını sürdürüyor. Evet, bu bizim kedilerin sevdiğimiz (ayrıca eğlendiğimiz) yönleri olsa da yine de bu, onların bağlılık göstermediği düşüncesini pekiştiriyor. Her kedi özeldir; bazıları kendi halinde takılmayı severken bazıları sizi hiçbir zaman yalnız bırakmaz. Max (Louis C.K) ve Duke’un (Eric Stonestreet) içine atıldığı ilk tehlike, yüzlerce kötü görünümlü sokak kedisi tarafından korkunç bir şekilde köşeye sıkıştırılmasını içeriyor. Neyse ki, asıl kötü karakter pofuduk, tüylü, tatlı ve küçük beyaz bir tavşan oluyor ve bu sayede kediler oltadan kurtuluyor. Bir nevi.

Snowball (Kevin Hart) tavşan asıl kötü karakter. Snowball’un bu şekilde düşmanca hareketler sergilemesinin nedeni terkedilmesi ve bu yüzden insanları yok etme isteği. Filmdeki hareketleri anarşist. Sadık yol arkadaşlarına küçük bir paçavra gibi davranan kişileri yok etmeyi isteyen birisi gibi Snawball. Bu alt sınıf hayvanlar, kurulan hiyerarşiyi yıkmak istiyorlar. 2016 Temmuz itibariyle, bu olaylarla bağ kurabiliriz (tabi hayvan kontrol araçlarını kaçırıp kanalizasyonda saklanmayacağız). Bununla ilgili bir makale okumayı isterim.

Animasyon inanılmaz derecede güzel; küçük vücutlarda bulunan büyük kafalar ve gözler kesinlikle “yaaa” dedirtiyor sizlere. Herhangi bir hayvan türünü ya da cinsini sevmiyorsanız bile, The Secret Life of Pets sizi, onları istemenize ikna edecek. Hatta New York şehrine hayat veren animasyonlar, şehri aşırı derecede çekici yapmış. Temiz, yeşil ve stil sahibi. Tabi hayvanlar yer altını keşfedene kadar.

Filmde Max’in girişi oldukça eğlenceli. Hayatını kısaca özetliyor ve bunu sanki sahibi Katie (Ellie Kemper) ile bir ilişki içindeymiş gibi anlatıyor. Bir oda arkadaşı arıyor, görünüşe göre sahibi de öyle. Kötü ün salmış “friendzone” kavramı, Max, ekranı kaplayan devasa bir ternöv köpeği olan yeni “kardeşi” Duke ile apartmanı paylaşmaya zorlandığı zaman başlıyor. Her şeyi Max’in bakış açısından gördüğümüz için, Duke’tan, soğukkanlılığına ve bir bağ kurma çabasına rağmen, nefret etmeye teşvik ediliyoruz. Yine de, bir köpek olsaydım yatağımı paylaşır mıydım şüpheliyim. İnsanken bile bunu yapayı sevmiyorum. Bir diğer friendzone Max ve Gidget (Jenny Slate) arasında. Gidget’in filme ilk girdiği andan itibaren, zihni başka şeyle meşgul olan Max’e karşı hevesli konuşmaları, Max’a delicesine âşık olduğunu gösteriyor. Max ve Duke amatör köpek gezdiricileri tarafından tekrar eve getirilmediğinde, sevdiğini kurtarmak için bir kampanya başlatan yine o oluyor. Ve onun dost gibi görünen düşmanı için.

Konu biraz zayıf; birçok olay ana hikâyenin devam etmesini sağlasa da, Duke’un geçmişi dışında başka bir alt plan yok gibi görünüyor. Hayvanların sadece etrafta koşuşturduğu izlenimi veren yere kadar tempo gayet iyi bir şekilde ilerliyor. Bu izlenimin yok olmasını ve ilgiyi, merak uyandıran son birkaç dakika kurtarıyor. Yine de, film gerçekten eğlenceli ve itiraf etmek istemeseniz bile her satırında sizleri gülümsetiyor. En komik sahne kesinlikle sosis fabrikası. Bir diğer komik kısım ise ağır metal müzik seven kaniş köpeği. Sahibi onun -çevresi gibi- saf ve kibar olduğunu düşünse de bu kaniş metal müziğe bayılan biri. Gülmekten içeceğiniz genzinize kaçacak.

Disparue/The Disappearance Episode 3 and 4 – Analysis

Episode 3

Léa’s supposed recent voicemail opens the episode, providing hope for the emotionally-tested Morel family. While they are literally practically clinging to this voicemail as a sign, Molina isn’t convinced. What he does promise is an increased surveillance of the family’s communications, but he’s not jumping on any theories. It appears harsh, however the family are obviously too involved to think objectively so he must provide that objectivity. An amazing feat since he has a daughter the same age and yet Disparue 15isn’t allowing that to cloud his judgment. It technically is a requirement of officers to remain professional, but allowances should be made for their humanness. So far, Molina is coping well. Cracks do appear when they’re trying to analyse the voicemail; both faces are softened. Only now is Molina considering a kidnapping. Still, Molina’s not convinced it could be Léa’s voice. He surmises that they could be hearing what they want to hear, and when Camille questions if he would react the same if it were his daughter, he reckons after days of separation that he would mishear.

Meanwhile, Chris has taken over the care and occupying of little Zoé. It seems like cousin/niece doing a good thing in times of familial turbulence. It also seems opportunistic. As will later be shown, Zoé starts to play up so Chris’ help is needed. Camera shots also set up Thomas as someone who’s plagued by hidden secrets. Medium close ups of him present an intense face. The poor guy is bearing the brunt of his parents’ stress. What doesn’t help the atmosphere at home is Florence replaying the voicemail message repeatedly (not exactly fun for the viewer either). Julien deals with this a different way by stalking police activity, enabled by the restaurant waiter Nick, who gives him a police scanner. This catapults Julien into a cape-less crusading vigilante pursuing justice for his daughter. Or is he covering his own back? Hmm. He’s lucky he’s self-employed with his brother, otherwise he would be ordered to take leave. It doesn’t help situation that Julien kicks off at the police. Molina and team trace the phone call to the train station where prostitute Jenny smokes outside her van. She’s taken in for questioning. I side-eyed her appearance: do prostitutes even look like that anymore?

Following the interrogation is another delicious scene from an analytical point of view. Molina and Camille pay forensics a visit on the van. The Disparue 17forensic scientist, a woman, just about maintains her professional state – her eye contact reveals that she is interested in Molina *ahem*. Camille’s face looks unimpressed, her eyes rolling from the scientist to the evidence. I love how she’s just about in the frame, pushed out of an exchange she would rather be involved in rather than just observing. Their (Camille and the scientist) parting exchange is priceless: Camille is literally looking at her in a way that screams “Back off, he’s mine”. Lo and behold, the following day (I presume) Camille strolls in with a pink top and curly hair free to fly. She Disparue 19looks quite nervous as well *wink*. I like this, she’s upping the game. You go girl, get yo man! The moment moves aside for a serious discovery: at 3 A.M. Thomas is spotted on CCTV leaving the train station – something he never revealed in his statement. Thomas is in trouble now; the fact that he’s been secretive certainly works against him. Unfortunately, a discovery of Jean Morel bringing his car for a part at a garage (weakening his alibi) sets Molina’s temper off, taking out his frustration on Camille that the whole family keeps lying to him.

Following on from that is another meet up with the lady forensic scientist again, this time just Camille. After she questions the team, Camille is pulled back by the forensic scientist who asks ‘Molina’s not bad, is he?’. Camille’s reaction is an amusingly lofty ‘I’ll hook you up if you want. That is, if you like the autistic type.’ Despite being put off by his “autistic” type personality, she’s still not happy with the forensic lady’s encroachment.

Rose Morel actually assists the investigation by relating the mind of a teenager; offering suggestions and the like. The tattoo is a lotus flower, symbolising purity etc. You can tell that she’s going to be of use later on.


Episode 4

A man named Mr Dupuis moves things around on the table in the interrogation room at the same pace that the plot is running. While Dupuis acts as a red herring, he is actually slowing down the pace and not for the better. Molina’s aware that this man is messing them about, however he still has to pursue this line of inquiry for the tiny percentage of him telling the truth. To the viewer it’s quite clear that the man is lying and obvious to all that he’s not mentally sound. It’s just a red herring we have to ride until the real suspects return into the picture. Following this, Nico/Nick, the Morel restaurant worker, is flicking through his secret pictures of Léa rather enamoured. Attention shifts to him as a possible suspect and the Disparue 22plot is driven forwards. He has a long-suffering girlfriend who’s told not to be so paranoid. Well, if you’re obsessed with another girl then she has plenty of reason to be suspicious. When Julien questions Chris about him, she once more becomes the Oracle/punch bag. Chris is the keeper of everything Léa related; one wonders how she truly feels about that. Nicholas has tried it on with Léa in the past.

Now the pace is being propelled by the discovery of Jenny the prostitute’s body. Julien continues his vigilante antics of stalking police activity, but is certainly relieved that it’s not Léa’s body. How has this man not been cautioned for going around and punching people and stalking police? Disparue 23Questions now arise as to her links with Léa, and if she was killed because she knows something about her whereabouts while Nico listens on. These bits of dialogue combined with camera shots of telling looks toy with us. Meanwhile, Molina and Camille are trying to piece these links together. They examine Jenny’s belongings only to find Léa’s phone. How does Molina know? His daughter informed him about the symbolism behind the lotus that Léa had tattooed behind her ear. Rose may cost him credit card bills but she proved her worth by relaying insightful information. A nice Disparue 20moment of Molina asking Camille if this is the first dead body she’s faced. Their eyes lock in silent communication, with his lingering on her when she breaks it. He cares! Not so autistic-like anymore, hey Camille? They question Dupuis further and conclude that he’s an opportunist git nit behind Jenny’s murder or Léa’s disappearance.

The pimp makes the mistake of sizing Camille up for his business. As if a policewoman’s going to give up her career to have to deal with a potato like you. Yes, it’s obviously an attempt to one-up her. There’s still some element of him acting like a businessman. Regardless, it proves his worse mistake. Camille has her revenge by emptying coffee onto his lap. I’m sure Molina would back her up, as would her other superiors. It’s worth appreciating that Disparue doesn’t make a meal out of gender and sexual difference. It acknowledges that it happens but deals with it in a way that suits the genre of the programme and is true to the character. Camille will deal with it in a swift and smart way. And she does. That’s not to demand that women (and sometimes men) deal with this situation exactly how she did, but merely to highlight that it avoids cliché.

Meanwhile, Florence is holding out for a miracle; that includes not allowing anyone to sit in Lea’s chair. Because it would insult Léa. I jest, it’s because she believes that by leaving things “open” so to speak, Lea’s more likely to come back. Everyone looks as if they want to say something but know they Disparue 21shouldn’t. It’s an understandably delicate situation. Do they stand back and spectate in fear of tipping the boat, or do they confront her behaviour and save Florence from herself? She is having to pull everything together and hold it there for Zoé’s sake. The girl is asking more questions about her sister, and is absorbing whatever the other kids say at school.

Another suspect enters the fold: Léa’s French teacher. He too is very concerned by her disappearance. Nothing suspect there. But he appears fond of her. Well join the queue! Léa seemed to have men, whether familial, platonic, peers or teachers enamoured with her. On paper it would sound like a dream come true, however in reality it can only be dangerous as one of them is bound to feel wronged by her breezy nature.

 

 

The Secret Life of Pets- Review

If you’re an animal lover, and wonder what your pets get up to when you’re at work (without the foresight to set up cameras), then The Secret Life of Pets (2016, dir. Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney) answers your questions. Slightly. The film’s exposition relies heavily on every single joke and stereotype about pets. Dogs are supremely attached to their owners, cats are aloof, sometimes snooty, and exotic animals are . . .typically zany? In fact, the stereotype about cats was, apart from the case of Chloe (Lake Bell), is prominent throughout the film and is rather dismaying for cat fans. In pet films cats always draw the short straw regarding representation. They are the bad guys, dogs are the good guys. While Chloe the cat is on the side of good, she still retains a superiority. Yes, that’s what we love about cats (and find humour in), however it reinforces the notion that they don’t show affection. Each cat is unique; some are indifferent and others won’t leave you alone at all. The initial peril Max (Louis C.K.) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) are thrown into involves a terrifying cornering by hundreds of ratty-looking street cats. Thankfully, the real villain becomes a fluffy, adorable and tiny white bunny rabbit, so cats are now off the hook. Sort of.

The bunny, Snowball (Kevin Hart), as a villain, is literally current. Let me explain: Snowball becomes the antagonist because he was abandoned and thus desires to destroy humans. His actions in the film are anarchic. He is like someone who wants to take the man down for treating loyal companions like consumer items. These inferior animals want to take down the established hierarchy. As of July 2016, this plot is relatable (not that we would hijack animal control vans and establish a hideout in the sewers). I would be interested in reading an essay about this.

The animation was wonderfully whimsical; large eyes and heads on smaller bodies undoubtedly elicits the “aww” reflex. The way that the animals bob along in the shots adds to their cuteness. Even if you’re not a fan of a certain species or breed, in The Secret Life of Pets convinces you that you want them. In fact, the animators really made New York City, the setting, extremely attractive. Clean, green and stylish. Until the pets explore the underbelly.

Max’s introduction in the film is rather amusing. He narrates a brief outline of his life, only he does so as if he’s in a relationship with his owner Katie (Ellie Kemper). He was looking for a roommate and so was his owner, apparently. The notorious friendzone is invoked within the film when Max is forced to share the apartment (and his owner’s love) with his new “brother” Duke, a humongous Newfoundland who eats up the screen. Because we see things though Max’s perspective, we’re encouraged to dislike Duke, despite Duke’s even temper and attempt to bond. Although, I doubt I’d be happy to share my bed if I were a dog. I don’t even like doing it as a human. Another friendzone is that between Max and Gidget (Jenny Slate). The moment she’s first introduced in the film, her eager questions towards a preoccupied Max scream infatuation. When Max and Duke aren’t returned to their apartment by their unprofessional dog walker, she is the one who leads a campaign to rescue her love. And his frenemy.

The plot is a bit thin; while many occurrences keep the main storyline running without a breath, apart from Duke’s backstory, there doesn’t seem to be a subplot. The pacing does well until the climax, where steam begins to run out and the animals seem to be just running around. What saves this is the nail-biting last couple of minutes of the climax. Nevertheless, this film is highly entertaining and, much to your unwillingness to admit, will have you chuckling at nearly every line. The funniest scene is hands down the sausage factory. I don’t need to tell you to be on the lookout for it because it’s in-your-face. The scene-stealer is the heavy-metal loving poodle. Its owner believes it’s a refined character – much like its environment – but this poodle is a closeted head banger. You will choke on your food and drink.