Movie Watching Chain

RRR = ***

Basically agree with this tweet thread

NGL, the fact that a movie like RRR - which is straight up Hindutva propaganda in its last thirty minutes - has been embraced so uncritically in America really does point to the need for a genuine leftist perspective in film discussion.

Like, it’s a fun movie and amazingly well put-together, too. But it literally ends with the characters singing a nationalist anthem in front of a giant art deco-ey statue, propped up by an archway of guns. Hindu leaders beam down on them from above. The whole thing’s about recasting the Indian anti-colonial struggle in almost exclusively Hindu terms. And this is all during a time when Indian movie theaters have become rally points for Hindu fascists. The propagandistic aspects of the movie are really easily recognizable, and the fact that so many Western critics have swallowed them without any analysis is kinda troubling.

also this letterboxd review(s)
‎‘RRR’ review by H • Letterboxd
‎‘RRR’ review by 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐚 :white_flower: • Letterboxd

they literally praise Nazi collaborator Subhas Chandra Bose in the ending credits while notably leaving out anyone from the Congress party. and they erase the fact that the tribal hero, far from being an uneducated sidekick and devoted servant of any Hindu, was a labour union leader and communist whose revolutionary activities were a precursor to the modern Maoist insurgency

per the man himself, all of SS Rajamouli’s filmographic tendencies are inspired by his being raised on Hindu mythology fairy tale comic books. SS Rajamouli is Quentin Tarantino if Quentin Tarantino was Leni Riefenstahl


Thank you for this. Part of why I wanted to focus on this genre is that so much of India’s history, it’s contemporary conflicts and concerns, are very much unknown to me. I didn’t think I would get a good picture just from watching movies from one director. The prospect of educating myself or finding films for myself from such a wide and deep pool was really daunting.

One of the reviews that you referenced even contrasts the director of RRR, S. S. Rajamouli, with the director of Asuran, Vetrimaaran. The reviewer groups Vetrimaaran with Ranjith and Mari Selvaraj and suggests that they are the antithesis of a certain kind of chauvinism that’s present in other directors’ work. It really makes me want to see more from Vetrimaaran and the other two. Oh hey, I just realized that you had recommended Polladhavan. Looking forward to seeing that one day.


I didn’t take screenshots of some of the most visually arresting moments, and this really is a movie that looks even better in motion.

I’ll write more later, but this movie is way better, and way weirder than I expected. Absolutely amazing soundtrack.

The music in the trailer is pretty representative.

The directing has the manic energy of Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo but the visual grammar is completely different.

It’s mostly about how men are the worst kind of beast.

Not really an action movie, despite one fight scene that I could only compare to the back alley wrestling match in They Live, but I don’t really know of a more fitting genre for it.

definitely a director I’ll have to pay more attention to. Movie rules

PS, I looked it up and no animals were harmed in the making of this movie, so I can safely recommend it.


Gorgeous, I think I’ll find time to watch it this weekend.

I watched this and fell in love. The editing is so excellent. In the first ten minutes alone, we’re treated to a city symphony where everything moves like clockwork: chop, kickstand, lightswitch, chop. Interspliced between these glimpses of human activity are extreme close-up shots of insects moving about and getting their food. It is so good.

I love how taut everything is. It’s a short film and the shots briskly convey all the information we need. The snippets we get are incredible: the arguing, the preparations for a feast, the fucking Poomala gang. I have to see more.

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Lijo Jose Pellisserry rules

this one is fantastic, has the same sort of arresting visuals

Ee.Ma.Yau. - Wikipedia.

For much of its two hour runtime I felt a warm medium about Ee.Ma.Yau. Its black humor charms, with its characters’ insistence on remaining petty human gossips, busybodys, and obstructionists even in the presence of that grand misunderstood, Death. Yet Lijo Jose Pellissery’s tragedy sneaks up on you. It is very difficult to do a thing right when the world conspires against you, even if that thing be a dying man’s wish. I did not expect to be left in a state of vulnerability pondering my own mortality, but that’s what happened.

The effect of Lijo’s ending is not unlike Shelley’s Ozymandias:

And on the pedestal, these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains.

There’s much more that could be said, including about the film’s striking palette of washed out blues, the everpresence of its ocean, its billing as one of the defining films of Malayali New Wave… but let me stop there.


I read a bit about the Malayali New Wave on wikipedia and it seems like a very exciting trend in film, too

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:neko:I might be going to the cinema tonight


I saw Virata Parvam at the cinema with my wife and had a really great time. We drove out to a very out-of-the-way small town to see it because we had free movie tickets for Regal. There was a row of dudes behind us and after the movie they gave each other high fives. One dude said

Plot Ending Spoilers

“I thought she was going to come back to life after he kissed her.”

and I remembered why I love going to theaters so much.

Oh and I remembered to look up “Jai Hind” afterwards to understand what the guy in the movie was saluting. Dude sucked!

I’m feeling like I should read Walking with the Comrades now. Lal salam!


I’d like to do this again in July. I watched a lot that I would not have otherwise and I feel like I’ve opened my eyes to new frontiers of film, Malayalam New generation especially.

I think we should have a poll to decide what we focus on next month. People can nominate categories in this thread. If a nomination gets seconded, then it will be added to the poll.

I’m nominating stop-motion animation which would include Władysław Starewicz, Jiří Trnka, Jan Švankmajer, Phil Tippett, Ray Harryhausen, and many others!

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A story of Pugal, just an ordinary V.C

who by a series of implausibly dramatic & action-packed situations ends up interviewing the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

(C.M is the snowy-haired Jeff Goldblum-alike)
He puts forth a line of questioning so insightful and incisive that the C.M, flustered, falls back onto “hey this job is tough, why don’t you do it if you think it’s so easy to not be horrendously corrupt”

Pugal is put on the spot! He doesn’t want to be a politician! But his heart belongs to the beautiful and extremely-pale Thenmoli

whose father demands any potential suitor have a government job.

He accepts! And for one day, he is in charge! Like any man with a shred of common sense, he has a simple plan of straightforward actions to solve all social issues. Corrupt actions of people in appointed positions? Simply be attended at all times by a clerk with a typewriter (left)

So you may issue a suspension notice (or two) on the spot
Two-handed action!

Pugal sets up a televised phone-in where reports of ill-doing can be reported in real time.
Unpunished sexual assaults by slum-dwelling thugs? Public thrashing on the streets

And roads-slash-bus-roofs

But why have things gotten so bad? Who has let such a state of affairs fester under their watch? Where does the responsibility ultimately lay?
In the final minutes of his day of power, Pugal arranges a raid on the government ministers and takes the unthinkable legal step:


Pugal, exhausted, returns home in his 3-wheeler. But the C.M’s thugs arrive to remind him of his place

They catch him, beat him half to death, then douse him in petrol. Too late, Pugal runs, but is consumed by flames! But what’s this? Only his clothes are soaked in fuel, so

He dives off a bridge into a nearby cesspool, pursued. But now the tables have turned, much like in John McTiernan’s action blockbuster Predator

Pugal takes care of the thugs, kicking them into nearby fluorescent tube lights and throwing wrecked cars at them(!) (this whole scene is the best action sequence in the film)

Finally Pugal emerges victorious onto the streets, exhausted and covered in shit. He cannot continue! He needs a clean! The people see him, recognise him, wash him!

There is no water at hand, but a fresh delivery from the dairy has just arrived!

The next day, Pugal’s orders are undone. But it is too late! Faith in the government is in shambles, it collapses, a snap election is called! The people clamour for one name and one name only! It’s Pugal, just in case that wasn’t clear.

There’s some surprise swastikas stamped on the screen at this part which my delicate western sensibilities weren’t prepared for.

The results are in. It’s a landslide!

Pugal heads the new government and immediately appoints the perfect balanced cabinet

Now he is the perfect suitor! But what of Thenmoli? He despatches a cell phone, far too busy as C.M to visit. But Thenmoli is having none of it

And neither is the previous C.M. Clearly he needs a higher calibre of thug

A squad of hired assassins, each with their own (mentioned) violent specialty are recruited (offscreen) and sent after Pugal!

Meanwhile, Pugal cannot stand to be away from Thenmoli but cannot stand the pomp of an official C.M visit. He goes undercover with arguably the world’s most unconvincing disguise for a mustachioed man:

Undetectable, he immediately blows his cover attempting to buy flowers on credit and is instantly detected by the nearest treetop-perched hireling

At last he arrives at Thenmoli’s family’s house. He enters, seemingly unrecognised, and makes a rape joke. Thenmoli acquiesces?! Ah, but she has seen through his slightly-larger mustache and is playing him for the sexually-assaulting fool! Tis nothing but malarky and japes!

Finally together again, there is a surprisingly-erotic-but-still-censor-approved montage. They relax on Thenmoli’s father’s farm, in front of the pot-headed scarecrow

(apologies; this is the scarecrow Pugal hid behind when first talking to Thenmoli in a strange Cyrano de Bergerac situation, that Thenmoli pined over while Pugal was engrossed in his new career, and now…)

Fortunately Pugal’s security detail are as observant as Thenmoli & have been stalking him this whole time. A gunfight erupts, some gasoline-enriched palm trees launch into the stratosphere, and a lot of pyrotechnics are set off quite close to worried-looking livestock.

(oh no I still have 100 more screenshots)

Pugal returns to his parent’s house to rest. He is undefeatable! But what is every super-hero’s weakest point?

His parents dead, Pugal has nothing to lose! Heart full of revenge, he seeks recompense from those responsible

But that is not in accordance with the oath he swore to uphold! What would Gandhi say! He checks himself and leaves. However this is not the end…

Three more bombs are discovered (personally) and disarmed (by disposable public servants)

It’s finally time for the climax

And to settle this once and for all

But! Heh, you can’t shoot the ex-C.M in a room where only you two are known to be in! It would be a transparent case of murder!

Pugal didn’t get into this situation by being a dummy though

He shoots himself (!!) and tosses the pistol to the C.M, who is left holding the bag when the guards burst in. They proceed to blast him so hard he fully levitates before expiring.

That’s it! Pugal recovers with Thenmoli by his side, and Tamil Nadu prepares for a transformational era of prosperity.


Arjun Sarja (Pugal) has such butch arms in this, soft and powerful. Though in one scene you see his calves, ugh, no thanks, taxi!
Manisha Koirala’s (Thenmoli) acting is so petulant and childish, obviously as directed for the character
Some wonderful shots of the countryside in the kind of light that looks like a soundstage from a 50’s movie
Only a few action scenes (4 big ones), most of the entertainment is the thrills and drama
5 songs, the first diagetic (Pugal is filming a music video) and the other 4 striking fantasies (where the snake-with-a-human-head CGI shot came from)
It didn’t feel like a 3 hour movie

I think the first half, up to the intermission, was just great and would watch it again–I already watched it three times (albeit the second time was for subtitle resyncing and the third for screenshots). The second half, while more exciting and dramatic and with the best action sequence, also has a rape joke and a couple of stunts with animals present that don’t look to have their safety in mind. Obviously the politics of a power fantasy are quite fascist as well!


I love all of this so much. Do you think getting doused by milk would feel really good on burns? It sounds heavenly.

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As a former professional milk man I want to tell you it’s never heavenly to be doused in milk


Come, doused in milk, soaked in bleach
As I want you to be

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re dairy bath

all the tamil families loved mudhalvan when it came out, i remember it basically being on repeat anytime we had family friends over when i was a kid

great writeup, i forgot this movie was a lot of fun


jai hind is also traditionally yelled at the end of the national anthem

as well as the end of this one (“better than the entire world [is our India]”)

basically any patriotic song i guess

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Thanks for more context. In the film, the character doing it is betraying the revolutionaries and the scene is cut so that “Jai Hind” feels like an exclamation point to the betrayal. Throughout the film, the communist salute “Lal Salam” is used as a motif, so I interpreted a “Jai Hind” salute to be an act of betrayal through itself, like saluting the police state.

I know you may have not seen it, but does that sound like a fair interpretation to you?

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yeah i mean given that it’s about naxalites who are doing an insurgency against the bourgeois state “jai hind” in that context sounds intended as “nationalism is reactionary” which, not wrong