Monday, May 28, 2018

Mani Kaul's Before my Eyes (1989)


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Mani Kaul's Before my Eyes (1989). The film was produced by J&K tourism department but the end product by the legendary filmmaker left them so confused that the film was never properly showcased by them. It was supposed to be a tourism film but Mani Kaul made it without showcasing the usual sights of Kashmir. Most people would miss the genius of this film, but those who understand cinema would know what Kaul managed to achieve with the film.
With minimalistic human presence and a deliberate brooding consciousness of the geography of the place, the film like some dream of a child, traces the flight of a soul in paradise, there are sights and some sounds, it rises till the beauty materializes before your eyes and you realize it is not a dream, or is it.
The Hot air balloon works like a metaphor for dream in the film. Director hints at it when you see some people asleep in a Hotel room while a balloon rises from the window. You know you are dreaming because the western music mixes up with the local sights from a houseboat.There are vast mountains, greens, whites, wild brooks and broad rivers. You see a child running free. A man galloping on a horse while the moon rises. There is a garden, the (only) famous garden. You are alone in all this space.

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