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Old December 14, 2009, 05:24 PM
HereWeGo HereWeGo is offline
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Review from the Dubai film Fest...
I like the story and although Nocturnal thinks it is bad, I still dont mind checking it out since the review it recieved from some acclaimed film critic is positive.




Middle East Fest
Third Person Singular Number


(Bangladesh)

By JAY WEISSBERG




An Impress Telefilm production. Executive producers, Faridur Reza Sagor, Ibne Hasan Khan. Directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki. Screenplay, Anisul Hoque, Farooki, inspired by the novel "Tin Porber Jibon" by S. Manzoorul Islam.

With: Nusrat Imroz Tisha, Mosharraf Karim, Rashed Uddin Ahmed Topu, Abul Hayat, Lekha Haque, Esha, Aporna Ghosh, Rani Sharkar, Shahir Huda Rumi, Dikon Noor, D.H. Khan, Kamal Hossain Babor, Chabi, Tarek Mahmud.

Third time's the charm for Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, a key exemplar of the new wave of Bangladeshi helmers known as "Chabial." "Third Person Singular Number" is a thoroughly modern, stylistically assured story of a young woman -- Nusrat Imroz Tisha, in a career-making role -- negotiating independence in a society unwilling to grant single females a place of their own. Combining an indie sensibility with subcontinental elements, Farooki crafts a Bengali film that will hold its own on fest rosters without needing to rely on the usual Third World pigeonholes.
A disturbing, almost hallucinatory opening sets the mood, as Ruba (Tisha) wanders down an alley at night and is accosted by people who assume she's a prostitute. Her recent past has been eventful: Her live-in partner, Munna (Mosharraf Karim), was arrested for murder, and his father, scandalized by the relationship anyway, kicked her out. She, in turn, leaves her mother's place, uncomfortable under the roof of her unsympathetic stepfather.
However, finding a place to rent as a single woman proves practically impossible, since the one willing man, Rahman (Abul Hayat), expects a roll in the hay. For that matter, so do all the men who offer Ruba jobs.
Pic's strongest scene is in a car when a prospective employer feigns disgust at his brethren's sordidness, and then pops in an Akon CD with the song "I Wanna **** You." He doesn't touch Ruba, but for pure creepiness, the sequence is hard to beat. Ruba's revulsion, yet lack of surprise, is beautifully calibrated by Tisha.
The film is not perfect: At times individual elements have difficulty flowing together. When Ruba gets a job as a copy editor, it comes out of the blue, and the sudden introduction of old schoolmate Topu (Rashed Uddin Ahmed Topu) feels artificial. It's Topu, a singer on the track to stardom, who finds a place for Ruba to live, forcing them to question the nature of their friendship when Munna is released.
Just over one hour in, Ruba begins to argue with her 13-year-old self (Lekha Haque). At first the device doesn't fit, but the dialogue exchange feels so natural and reveals so much about Ruba's inner struggles that viewers are likely to accept it -- plus, Haque proves herself a worthy acting partner. Though stylistically miles away from Bollywood fare, the film does use nicely integrated songs (some performed by Topu) on the soundtrack to reinforce mood. Lensing reflects Farooki's familiarity with global indie fare, judiciously interchanging handheld and fixed camera. Colors, too, are chosen with an eye toward striking contrasts.

Camera (color), Subrata Ripon; editor, Titash Saha; music, Rezaul K. Leemon, Habib, Prince Mahmud, Fuad al-Muktadir, Tahsan; lyrics, Kabir Bakul, Marzuk Russell, Ashik; production designer, Golam Kibria; art director, Zia Uddin Shadhin; costume designer, Rang, Deshal, Ecstasy; sound, Ripon Nath, Nahid Masud. Reviewed at Middle East Film Festival (competing), Abu Dhabi, Oct. 16, 2009. (Also in Pusan Film Festival -- A Window on Asian Cinema.) Running time: 123 MIN.
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