Mod-01 Lec-33 New Hollywood (contd...)

Mod-01 Lec-33 New Hollywood (contd…)

Good morning. So, we will continue discussing
New Hollywood period. And we have been talking about New Hollywood period for quite a while; Easy Rider, Dennis Hopper and several other people of that era. We also talked about the BBS, Schneider, Bob Rafelson and Steve Blauner. And what role did they
play in bringing about a cinematic revolution. We also talked about certain socio-political-cultural
happenings of that period, and what role did those factors play on shaping the cinema of
that particular period. We were talking about Bonnie and Clyde, and A Hard Day’s Night. So I am just helping you to revise what we have been doing all this while. Today’s key concepts would be first wave
of cinema that is Hollywood directors. So we have already talked about the first wave. Today, we will discuss two major filmmakers
of the first wave; Hal Ashby and William Friedkin, and then we will move on to the second wave
of directors. So, first wave included Francis Ford Coppola as well, Warren Beatty, Arthur
Penn. We have done Bonnie and Clyde; at least understood what is it was all about.
And key text would be Shampoo, directed by Hal Ashby. The French Connection and The Exorcist
both directed by William Friedkin, Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown by Roman Polanski. Socio-cultural concept that we will be looking
at. The music scenario; so Rolling Stones, Hell’s Angels, and Charles Manson who was
serial killer, a dreaded serial killer and we know what his place is, if you do not know
much about Charles Manson or about any of these people, please look them up. So we have just watched a clipping of Martin Scorsese’s first major success; of course first movie was ‘Who is that Knocking at my Door’, but ‘Mean Streets’ got him
into limelight. So, the scene that you just watched how does that fit into that entire
scene of New Hollywood period? Student: It seems, the scene is captured through
hand-held lightweight camera. Exactly; that is very good, hand-held lightweight camera. Student: The sound, the car in the background
and sound of traffic. Real life, yes; so Harvey Keitel moves towards
the window and it is a very stream of consciousness kind of dialogue, you know very internal kind
of monologue. He is thinking to himself, thinking something is happening in his mind, there
is some kind of conflicts, some kind of anxieties which he shares with us; so very stream of
consciousness, very interior. So, that is what Scorsese meant by making personal films, very psychological and psychologically driven personal films. So you can hear the street’s sound, set in New York. What else? Student: The look, it is not polished.
It is not a very polished look. Yes, the titles are not very polish, but they give an impression
of, give me the word. Student: Documentary?
Not exactly like documentary; it is like. Student: Home video?
Exactly, home video look, and it is deliberately done so. The home video look is deliberately
given, so that you give the impression that it is a very personal picture; and then Harvey
Keitel going to through the motions. What is he doing? It is somebody’s baptism. So,
Martin Scorsese again taking you back to his very Italian-American kind of background,
that see this is the way I grew up. So Harvey Keitel is nothing but his own persona. Harvey
Keitel channels Martin Scorsese at several levels; he is in fact if you look at him,
he is a Scorsese whereas Robert De Niro who plays the Johnny Boy, he is a complete opposite
of Harvey Keitel. Have you watched the movie? You know the movie? We did screen it the other
day. So, Bob De Niro something that he would like to be; he is aggressive, he is impulsive,
he can throw himself in a fight whereas; Scorsese always ran away from fight. Why, why was that? He was very shot to begin with. He was also sickly child; he grew up in a very strong
Catholic-Italian-American household, and where the emphasis was always on following certain code of conducts, and the neighbourhood was vastly criminal. So he had grown up among guns and knives people, but inside people were extremely religious. So he is, there were no criminals in his family but he had grown up, his friends were all from that kind
of background. His parents, on other hand were deeply religious and they wanted him
to become a man of the cloth, but somehow because he was an asthmatic child, most of
the time he was restricted at home; he was not allowed to play too much; he was always
seen with a pump, inhaler and all. So he grew like most lonely kids, he developed the fascination for the movies and then he started watching them. He did not come from a very educated
background; there was no such cultural scene at home that would introduce him to best of world cinema, he would just go to the neighbourhood theater. He attended NUY. So that generation, that second generation of filmmakers, were film literates. That is what you have to understand,
and that showed in their films. Now tell me about this sound track. I am extremely
interested in the sound track of that period, especially in Martin Scorsese, Be My Baby by Ronettes. Now, what kind of sound track is that? What? Give me the word for it; is it an OST; original sound track for this movie, then what is it? It is a Source Music. So this is one, that one expression that you have to remember, when you watch a movie, a musical like My Fair Lady; are you aware of that, My Fair Lady? No? Please do watch
it. It is classic Hollywood, Classic Hollywood coming to an end it is that period; where
people sings songs in their own voices and songs are specially composed for that film.
The Sound of Music, are you at least aware of the movie, even if you have not watched
the movie; ‘The Sound of Music’. Now, the people would sing songs; songs would be
composed specially for the film. The last movie that followed this pattern, you know,
great Hollywood musical which bombed badly, and after that it was the end of Hollywood
musicals for a very long time was, ‘Dr. Doolittle’, starring Rex Harrison.
The other day, I got a mail from one of our student that, she is acting in a play ‘Blithe Spirit’ by Noel Coward and suddenly I was transported to those days. Blithe Spirit is a very, very interesting, very funny play by Noel Coward, staring Rex Harrison; a very
young Rex Harrison, a great British actor who starred in Cleopatra as Caesar. He also
starred in My Fair Lady, Professor Higgins. He also starred in Dr Doolittle, where he
would sing songs. So, that is an original sound track but people like Scorsese etcetera,
they sourced music. Now, there are several instances of sourced
music in a Scorsese’s particularly in Mean Streets. Taxi Driver has a background score
by Bernard Herrmann; you remember that, right? But we do not have songs. In this movie, we
have songs; ‘Please Mr. Postman’ is another scene; do you remember when it plays? Ranjith,
you have watched the movie the quite recently. Student: There is background music with Rolling
stone sound. Yes. Tell me, why? So there is a Rolling Stones
soundtrack also, tell me why? When Harvey Keitel enters this very sleazy, shady bar, night club, and it is all bathed in reds and gold, and white; it is a devil’s colors. He comes from a very catholic background, so where everything is bathed in nice colors,
and also lights, very bright lights but the moment he enters the bar; it is all bathed
in blacks and reds. And then you have standard Scorsese signature shot, which shot is that? Harvey Keitel entering the nightclub, yes and where is the camera focused, on the subject
or on Harvey Keitel’s face or something else? At the back of Harvey Keitel’s head. So what is Scorsese doing? He is taking us along with Harvey Keitel. What is it? It is
longshot and a very strong, and this you should know; now you are going to do presentations
on key concepts, point of view shot. And what is the point of view shot? We are looking
at this world from Harvey Keitel’s point of view, therefore back of his head. So, Scorsese wants us to see what our actor is seeing, this is important. In Taxi Driver, he takes it to another level; tight close ups of Robert De Niro’s eyes, eyes that mean again one way of showing his point of view. And what is his point of view?
The world is disgusting; yes, ‘Someday the rains would come and wash the scum away’, famous lines from Taxi Driver; remember those? Bernard Herrmann’s very intriguing music
playing in the background, and when you are giving tight close up of the actor’s eyes; what are you showing on the other hand apart from point of view? The inside of his mind.
See, it is not a ‘Being John Malkovich’; it came much later where you are actually
taken inside somebody’s head. Remember? Please, do watch ‘Being John Malkovich’.
Coffman Brothers made the movie. John Cusack, actually we have John Malkovich, and we are taken inside John Malkovich’s head. And there is an opening in his head, and people
would walk in and walk out; it is a very Metaphysical, you do not have to take it literally, you
cannot jump inside Scorsese’s head and come out. But when you show a tight close up Bob
De Niro’s eyes, you are actually been transported inside his head, that is one way of showing that you are looking at this character’s psyche, psychology. So that is standard Scorsese shot. And then later on, he perfected it in The Goodfellas where there is a long take, the camera just tracks this couple. And while they are, while the man wants to show the women how powerful and how important he is; he is a gangster that is his life’s ambition, to be a gangster that is all he wanted to
be. Remembered? That is all in Goodfellas, our hero wants to be nothing but a gangster; he was fascinated by glamorous life styles of these people, throwing about money, driving
in Cadillacs and what not, and guns. So, he says this is life; I mean, who cares about
my very lower middle-class parents, their hardworking ways, but you, you must be like
them. So when he makes it big, so he takes his girl through this passage, it is at the back of the restaurant where the best table is laid out for them, although there are no
tables free at that point. But he wants to show her, show off actually and the camera
will just track them, this is so again a point of view shot. And the girl is as awestruck
as this man; so they fit, they complement each other because she is as fascinated by
the lifestyle as him. Scorsese’s favorite shot, point of view shot. He followed it again in his next movie, The Age of Innocence. There is a scene where Newland Archer as played
by Daniel Day Lewis, he walks inside a huge ballroom, and its camera again focuses at the back of his head, and by that time the movie was released in 1993; I had watched
enough of Martin Scorsese, and I felt yes here it comes again, because that is Martin
Scorsese. So, we were talking about auteurism. And yes, so auteurism; directors deliberately
tried to develop a personal style. In, Mean Streets, one of his very first movies, he
tries to develop a deeply personal style by showing, by showing the credits in a home
video format; he did it again in Raging Bull that is the only part in the movie which is
shot in color. So look at all these things, you know there is always a pattern there.
Anything else you would like talk about? Student: I remember those lines where he say,
where he refers to George Memmoli and he says; whatever happens to George is, then he goes
back to the baptism. Yes, you pay for your sins; in streets and
not in the church, no matter what anyone tells you. But then he is like Scorsese; he is a man torn between Mean Streets and his deeply catholic upbringing. That is Scorsese, thus the way he always he make. And films offered him a heaven to escape these two contradictions where he can combine the best of two. So, see, all his movies are about this resolving
a conflict and dichotomy between religion and crime. So that is about Mean Streets, and we will do Scorsese again in detail. We will take a particular movie from him, by him and then we will discuss it later. But then let us look at what was New Hollywood all about. So we have been doing it for quite a while,
and let me take you to something that happened on December 8th, 1969; where Rolling Stones
were doing the show, somewhere near San Francisco, and Mick Jagger famously sang, performed to
‘Sympathy for the Devil’, now this is quite telling, Sympathy for the Devil. Have
you watched the? Student: I have watched, it is called ‘Gimme
shelter’. Exactly, and we have already talked about
the makers of ‘Gimme Shelter’, the Maysles Brothers; we were talking about, they were
the people who developed this documentary and handheld, lightweight equipment, which
were very conducive to making documentaries. And Hell’s Angels were invited to augment
the security quotient for the Rolling Stones. And they came on the Harley Davidson’s,
and they would wear brass knuckles, and carry their usual accoutrement that knives and sticks
etcetera, sometimes even guns. So, a riot broke out, and a young black man was knifed;
he was killed. So that was the, so all this was caught on film and as Ranjith was saying
a Maysles Brothers made a documentary called, Gimme Shelter, based on these events.
So, what are we talking about? ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and somebody is killed on
the spot by Hell’s Angels; so what are we talking about, that America was caught in
some kind of a cultural revolution. So, therefore this sudden interest in demonic possessions, I am just giving you a background for some of the great movies which were made, and all
movies based on novels. So, The Godfather, of course is not a super natural thriller, but people taken over by something extremely demonic; demonic forces, right. Not exactly, super natural. Do you understand me, what I am trying to say? The way Michael Corleone’s
character, the way his character grabs stage; he is slowly taken over, you know, he is possessed
by demonic forces not necessarily super natural, but this hunger and obsession for power is
also a kind of satanic force. So, in other words, America was ready for
creepy tales of demonic possession and William Peter Blatty wrote his novel, The Exorcist
in 1971. Earlier we had Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby. So Polanski had already made a movie based on people who are taken over by the demonic possession, forces, but before we
go on to do The Exorcist and other works by Friedkin, I just wanted you to get introduced
to Hal Ashby. Hal Ashby had already made a movie called, ‘Harold and Maude’ which
was very experimental and avant-garde. Do you remember, we were talking about Harold
and Maude? Maude is 80; Harold is 20, and both of them are in love. So, that is, that is a very, very unconventional love story. So, Hal Ashby who started his career as an
editor, he made a couple of great movies. ‘The Last Detail’, which was an honorable
flop, staring Jack Nicholson. Then ‘Shampoo’, staring Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn and Julie Christie. So, Shampoo is also a reworking of a restoration comedy; restoration period
was an important period in the British history and the theater of that period was marked by drawing room comedies, the so-called comedy of manners; life style of the rich and famous
as we see today. So drawing room comedies, where ladies and gentleman of that period would act out, you know their loves, and their dreams, etcetera. So, Shampoo is partly based
on William Wycherley, who was a prominent writer, playwright of the restoration period
and his comedy, ‘The Country Wife’. Does anyone know what it is all about? What is Country Wife all about? Wycherley’s ‘The Country Wife’? What is Shampoo about? See Wycherley’s, The Country Wife is all about a gentleman, who pretends to be impotent, and why does he want to do that, so that other men do not
feel threatened by him. So, a very bold theme, particularly for those periods; I mean we
are looking at restoration period. So, yes that is the period we are looking at, and
a theme like that. Shampoo is all about a hair dresser played by Warren Beatty. Now, generally what are hairdressers known for? Of course, they have, they are experts but in their own craft. But there is also a cliché about hairdressers; that they are, yes, most
of them are gay. Warren Beatty’s character plays on this cliché, this stereotype, and
he spreads a gossip about himself that he is gay. And then all men, all men, all the
Beverly Hill types; you know what is Beverly Hill? Very posh, very rich area
and all men entrust their wives with him, because they feel, yes what can he do after all? And then he has a string of affairs with everybody’s wife; so that is Shampoo.
Shampoo was scripted by Robert Towne, and it was a huge, smashing success, directed
by Hal Ashby. He also directed ‘Coming Home’ in 1978. Shampoo is considered a classic;
just ignore all these raunchy stuff about it and watch it as a serious piece. It is
a comedy but it does have very strong political subtext about the Nixon era. So watch the movie, Warren Beatty after all, after all was a very political kind of an actor. Now, we were just talking about ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and then William Friedkin,
he arrived on the scene. He was born in 1935. He had made a couple of documentaries and
art house films. So he was stuck with that image, he is an art filmmaker; most of the
films were huge flops and while he was making his television shows, he had also done work
on a program called, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, sometimes it is also called Alfred Hitchcock
Presents. So, it was a TV show which began in 1965. Success came in the form of ‘The
French Connection’, starring Gene Hackman. I think we did the French Connection in one of our earlier courses. This was followed by The Exorcist. Then he made a movie called, ‘Sorcerer’. Sorcerer is based on Henri Clouzot’s movie, ‘The Wages of Fear’,
a French movie. Remember, we are talking about the New Hollywood directors who were heavily
influenced by Europeans, so that influenced remained. The Sorcerer was a reworking of
‘The Wages of Fear’ by Clouzot. Later on, he made ‘Rules of Engagement’; it
is a pretty recent movie, and then ‘Killer Joe’, as recent in 2011. But his reputation
rests on The French Connection and The Exorcist. So, he was also influenced by the film, French
films like Diabolique and The Wages of Fear. We have just talked about by both by Clouzot.
And ‘Citizen Kane’ changed the way he perceived films. He said, okay this is like,
you know, James Joyce’s Ulysses. It is as important a text as; Joyce’s Ulysses is
to literature. He admired European cinema and some of his all-time favorite films were,
Blow-Up, we have often been talking about ‘Blowup’ by?
Student: Antonioni Yes, Antonioni. ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ the Beatles’ picture, Juliet of the Spirits and La Guerre Est Finie. So these were his films; these were his favorite films that went on to influence him deeply. He has been quoted as having said that, ‘The plotted film is on the way out’. You know what is
a plotted film? A movie with a strong plot; the other day we were talking about, does
‘Easy Rider’ have a strong plot? And we agreed, no it does; no it does not. So that
is what; so style is more important, substantial style, should take over the plot that was the idea. Plot was important in Classic Hollywood period. So it is no longer of interest to
a serious director. A new theater audience, which is who is under 30, and they are largely interested in abstract experience; that is what he believed in, that audiences, the age,
demography has changed and they are interested more in abstract experiences rather than give
them more concrete, more plotted stories. However, at that period, at that point he
was also seeing the great Howard Hawks. So, you people know who Howard Hawks was, right?
And he was seeing his daughter Kitty Hawks who was a model, and they met the great Howard Hawks. And Howard Hawks said that, what kind of movies you people make? They do not make
much sense to me; in my time, there were the good guys and the bad guys and the good guys
would always win, and it brought us a lot of success. So, why do not you people go back
to making that kind of cinema? And those words remained with William Friedkin. He said, yes this is an advice which comes from one of the great auteurs, so perhaps there is something
to it. So later on he said, after condemning the plotted films and all that he said, ‘American films of that 30's and 40's had clear storyline and strong characters. The new wave of
European filmmakers took over and we have all went out and copied Godard and Fellini,
forgetting where our routes are’; that means, going back to our routes. So, how many of you are familiar with ‘The French Connection’? Only one or two? Please
do watch it. Watch it as your necessarily viewing. So, The French Connection was a result
of all these golden pieces of advice by Howard Hawks; starring Gene Hackman, and also Fernando Rey who is the antagonist, Gene Hackman is the protagonist. And this is a still from
The French Connection, where after a famous car chase scene, Gene Hackman shoots downs
the person who is escaping. So, what is the French Connection all about? This is one of the key texts of the New Hollywood period. So, it is a facts-based thriller; it is based on real life events about a drug ring busted by the NYPD. It is adapted from a novel by Robin Moore and contrary to what Godard’s and Fellini’s were doing all
along; Friedkin stuck to whatever Howard Hawks advised him to do and followed a linear narrative
story. Earlier he had planned it in a non-linear, more experimental style but then he met Howard
Hawks fortunately, who advised him to follow the Classic Hollywood style of making; but
it is not Classic Hollywood, if you watch it, it has his experimental moments, it is
quite avant- gardish but basically followed a traditional, linear, more accessible kind
of storyline. ‘Bullitt’, a movie starring Steve McQueen;
please watch it, you can take it down which was released a few years earlier. It has one
of the most breath taking car chase sequences; a very lengthy, very dare-devilry, devilishly
shot scene; Steve Mcqueen on a chase. And that movie, that scene was one of the contributing
factors in making Bullitt such a smash hit. And the producers of The French Connection
insisted that since you are making a cop drama, you know, there is a subgenre of action adventure
movies, the cop drama, so Friedkin was advised by the producers to insert a scene. It is
like today our filmmakers are advise to insert ? Student: Item number. Good, an item number. If you have a Kareena
Kapoor or Katrina Kaif doing something, you know, an item number in middle of a very serious
film, a very gloomy film like ‘Agneepath’, then the chances of success automatically
increases. So let us have a car chase sequence in The French Connection, and then let us
see. The French Connection, if you Google it, if you look it up; and just type in top
ten car chase sequences of all time, Bullitt is number one, followed by The French Connection. So it became very popular, and of course, The French Connection was his homage to the French masters, who he admired so much. Fernando Rey, as we were just talking about actor was
The Frog; The Frog is the code given, name given to these drug dealers, to these European drug dealers by the NYPD cops. Does he mean anything to you? Have you watched him in any of his European films? He was a favorite of Bunuel; he appeared in many of his films – Fernando Ray The car chase scene which was actually shot
on location; it was not something that was shot on the sets or a studio thing but it
was a real scene, shot on real locations, and William Friedkin was recently you know,
there is a documentary, William Friedkin takes you again, you are walking towards of those exactly those areas, those locations where this scene was shot. So, Friedkin had seen ‘Z’; Z is also our ‘Shanghai’, our Shanghai, Dibakar Banerjee’s great movie Shanghai is also based on Z. It is basically a 1966 novel by Vassilikos and
which was filmed by Costa-Gavras, in Greek, in 1969. It is a movie about political decay,
corruption, intrigue and it is, it is based on hard facts but then a film, after all,
is not a not a documentary. So, in spite of being based on hard facts, you can always give it a fictional twist, so that is what Costa-Gavras did to Z and that is what Friedkin
wanted to do. So, follow a documentary’s approach but still give a strong storyline
and some strong characters, give it that touch of fiction. At the same time, he used or captured
strong street reality; you know very gritty streets scenes, captured through handheld
camera that was the sort of the rigor of that period. Gene Hackman plays a hard-boiled Cop,
Popeye Doyle, Popeye Doyle that is his nick Again, there are no clear-cut heroes or villains;
the villain is a, he is an aesthete, he is extremely sophisticated. Popeye Doyle or Gene
Hackman is very gritty, very real life, like cop, given to base or instincts and all whereas, the villain, the so-called villain is very polished, very sophisticated. There is no effort to sentimentalize or romanticize Hackman’s character; he is just shown as a hard-hitting
cop and which is what he is. At the end, he also ends up killing his own partner, an FBI agent whereas, the villain escapes. They manage to get the drugs, they manage to bust the
drug deal but still The Frog escapes because he is, he have that kind of you know, evolved
and more sophisticated intellect, and he is able to outdo, and outsmart all these and
NYPD cops. That is the difference; that is the class difference between them which shows.
So, at the end he is able to escape and they cannot do anything about it. So, the villain
does not get arrested at the end of the movie. Give me some instances. Focus on her, yes. Student: The good, the cop’s indifference, are not we stuck to the characterization?
And even the idea of the master thief and thief escaping at the end.
You know, Dhoom is a very glamorous movie. Do we agree? Both Dhooms, part one and part two, and of course now we are having the third part as well. So, Dhoom happens to be a very
stylized, very glamorized version of sub-genre called the cops and criminal kind of cinema. And the fact that invariably our top star plays the role of the master thief, that also says, says a lot bit. Dhoom falls not under the category of a gritty hard-core, hard-hitting
movie but something called, and that something we will do quite later on in this course called
High Concept Cinema. High Concept Cinema, and what are the qualities of a High Concept Cinema? Student: Use of free-style?
Not, exactly free-style; stylized cinema. Dhoom, by the way is inspired by ‘The Saint’. Val Kilmer’s The Saint, where the master thief is a master of disguises. Saint is also a comic-book character and later on it was a TV series, and then almost like ‘Ocean
series’; Oceans also began where, it was during the 60's and the early 70's, it was a
very successful TV series. You do not know that? Yes, Ocean was a TV series during the
earlier decades, then we had George Clooney and Brad Pitt, Matt Damon all of them coming together and making it; it is a very good example of High Concept Cinema. Now I am giving
you two instances, one from our own background, from our own scene Dhoom and one from the
Hollywood scenario, Ocean series; Clooney, Brad Pit, etcetera, and this is a good example
of High Concept Cinema. Now give me what, what do you understand by High Concept Cinema? Louder. Student: It stylizes the crime like robbery
and etcetera. Not necessarily robbery.
Student: It is like pre-planned or very thought brought of things. Experts coming together
and doing stuffs like, robbery. Not necessarily about robbery or heist; it
is not a heist movie. High Concept Cinema is where the look of the movie is planned before. High Concept Cinema is where the stars are signed before, and then the actual shooting
begins; that you know, we are going to spend unlimited amount of money on this particular
movie, just get us all the stars together and the story will revolve around the stars. So, get Hrithik Roshan and Amir Khan and John Abraham, story will come later; that is the
way many producers in India make movies. Now, in aboard this concept of having sequels
and franchises, do not you think that is also one way of, another category of High Concept Cinema? Mission Impossible; you need to have a mega star like, Tom Cruise, and then publicize,
look Tom Cruise is going up to Burj Khalifa, that is it. So, there are set pieces, there
are episodes which are breathtaking. So, that is High Concept Cinema not necessarily heists
or robberies movie; that is Reservoirs Dog and you know Bob le flambeur which Jean Melville
did it, it was one of the earliest heist movies. Ocean is the heist movies but Oceans' idea
is to bring together all these stars together, shoot in exotic locations, and give them exotic
leading ladies. So everything you know, so you are starting with a blockbuster, you are
planning a blockbuster, you are not looking at art. High Concept is purely commerce. Cleopatra must have been a High Concept movie for those days; they were definitely not making it for
artistic satisfaction, it was look Elizabeth Taylor is this Egyptian queen and cover her
in beautiful garments and beautiful jewelry, and present her this way to the audience that
is High Concept Cinema. So, star is more important, stardom is more important. Therefore when we think of High Concepts Cinema, we think stardom, and cores and millions and billons of money spent on whereas this kind of cinema is pretty different. So, Dhoom; to answer your question is High Concept rather than French Connection kind of movie. Student: Avengers? Pardon me Student: The avengers, is it a High Concept Movie? Pretty, you know, it is capitalizes on what?
On a formula. So, High Concept Movies always manipulate a particular formula; X-men, you bring together James McAvoy, and all these Michael Fassbender. Student: Hugh Jackman? Hugh Jackman is in the earlier movie, but
I am talking about the sequel, yes, X-men First Class; that is much more glossy, much
more lavishly mounted, do not you agree? Because they have made so much of money in the first
series, that they want to redo and make more money in the second part that is the idea.
Hugh Jackman makes a very fleeting appearance in the movie, a cameo in the movie, but it
is an out and out High Concepts film. Most of these James Bond movies, they are High
Concepts Cinema. They are capitalizing on what? Stardom, of course, and also on the
image of this super successful British spy who is already a brand identity; so play on
that, so Dhoom, Dhoom-1, Dhoom-2, Dhoom-3; it is so successful franchise; so let us capitalize
on that. Now, they are making Krrish-1 and Krish-2; so it is an established brand, so let us capitalize on that. In Hollywood, there are any numbers of examples. So, definitely all these franchises are examples of High Concept Cinema. Now, Exorcist based on Blatty’s novel, super natural thriller, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’,
think of all those things and I quote Friedkin again, he said; ‘A good part of my motivation
to do The Exorcist, because I wanted to make a better film than Francis’. Who is this
Francis? Coppola. And what had Francis done? The Godfather. So, if Francis can achieve
super success then why cannot I? So, he was like a touchstone for that generation of filmmakers, I want to be more successful than Francis. And The French Connection had already made
him, in many ways, more successful than Francis because he won all Oscars that year, all the
academy awards. He was pitted against Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, but
then Friedkin ended up winning most of these; Gene Hackman won it for the best actor.
So, The Exorcist seemed un-filmable. There are certain novels which people declare that
this cannot be filmed, this cannot be made into a movie. Our Devdas is a very filmy novel.
You read the novel. I have read it. It is in fact a Novella; start to finish read, read
it. And you can see our great actors, like High Concept; you feel, yeah in one generation
Dilip Kumar could have played it, in second generation Amitabh Bacchan could have done this role,
and now we have our Shah Rukh Khan and Abhay Deol, reprising the roles; so, fitting a social
context. So, it looks like a high concept novel written for, made to order, High Concept Cinema; the beautiful women vying for his affection, what not. So everything is there; the raw material is there. Give me some more examples of un-filmable novels. Student: Agnes Jessica’s Three Days Cinderella Yeah, but has it been made?
Student: Yeah, tried too but largely not happen so. Student: Love in the Times of Cholera. ‘Love in the Times of Cholera’, yeah it
has been made, Javier Bardem’s. So, that is not un-filmable novel, but there is an
un-filmable novel called, ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’, which was basically, everyone thought you cannot make it into a movie but later on it was made into a movie
with Daniel Day-Lewis, a very young one. But there are certain novels which look as if they are made to order; for example, ‘Gone with the Wind’, the author Margret Mitchell,
she says, she has gone on record saying that while writing the novel, she had Clark Gable
in her mind for Rhett Bulter. So, The Exorcist was considered unfilmable, because all these possession scenes and poltergeist and levitation. I mean, how do you show that
on screen especially for those times, when technology was not all that developed. It
was also surrounded by controversies; can anyone tell me what those controversies are? Student: I think there is a murder while filming. I do not think anyone died while filming The Exorcist, but it has some, and this is more serious than people dying, because in our world fortunately or unfortunately religion is more important than people’s lives. So, it has some strong Antichrist images, and if you look it up, you will understand what I am talking about. And it is, it is not a very progressive cinema; let me tell you we talk about the New Hollywood cinema, we talk about A Hard Day’s Night, antiauthoritarian
we talk about, Bonnie and Clyde, and Easy Rider. Exorcist was not that kind; it takes
you back to the old established patriarchal way of life, where the absence of father in
other words, leads to all these problems. The little girl, played by Linda Blair, she
is possessed because you see; she is growing up in a household where there is no father,
mother is a single women, right. So, what was happening? The reception was that people was just lining outside the theaters, the people were dying to watch this movie, what
is this all about? The hype was phenomenon and while watching the movie, people were
fainting, collapsing, and breaking into hysteria. The Catholic Church was besieged with request
about exercising the demons inside. Everyone believed they are possessed now, having watched the movie. We will continue with this tomorrow. Thank you very much.

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