Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kind of a review of Pune 52 (2012) SAIFF 2012

This isn't so much a review of some words of encouragement said in the hopes of directing you toward a film noir style movie playing at the South Asian International Film Festival Monday night. Why it's not a real review will be explained if you'd just read below.

Amar Apte is a small scale detective chasing down wayward spouses for their suspicious partners. Its not even a way to make a living. As the film begins Amar has gotten the goods on a errant wife, but the spouse needs better picture. When he gets them the next time round he finds that the police are at his house wanting to toss him into jail for taking lewd pictures. It seems he's picked on the wrong guy. Not long after that a femme fatale type comes into his office and it blows everything to hell.

Film noir meets social change (the film is set in 1992 during a time of financial reforms) this is a tough nut to crack. While the film hits many of the typical noir points, femme fatal, hidden agendas, revenge, ect the film is also very much rooted in a time and place that is alien to me. I am not some one who's well versed in India history or culture outside of Hollywood's presentation of it. There is a second level to the story that I know I missed completely.

While I liked the film, I'm of mixed emotions about really reviewing the film. My mixed feelings are purely the result of the version of the film I saw, which was an work print somewhere along the line. While I appreciate that the festival made the film available for review, the deficiencies of the the unfinished print (It was missing music and some dialog which appeared only as subtitles) make it hard to really get a bead on the film. This is especially the case when I saw a trailer for the film that contained finished sequences that played very differently than in the version I saw.

For a while I debated whether or not to write up the film figuring that it really wouldn't be fair to do so...and then I realized that when the film was done I was searching the SAIFF website to find out when it was playing so I could see the finished film (It plays Monday the 29th at 7PM). The fact that I would have gone to see the film made me realize that I should write the film up, if only to say, if you're interested in seeing an Indian film noir go see Pune 52 when it plays at SAIFF Monday night.

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