La mort de Louis XIV
Nocturama (Previously Unreleased)
Certain Women (Previously Unreleased)
L'amant double
Dunkirk
An Elusive but Revelatory Moment

I.D.

India, 2012 | Kamal Karamattathil Muhammed
Sam Roggen checks in from Antwerp to report on I.D., a film whose expressively staged compositions inventively expand the visual field beyond the borders of the visible frame.

The defining moment in Kamal Karamattathil Muhammed's I.D. takes place in the aftermath of a kinetically visualised party in a Mumbai appartment. The film's main character Charu (Geetanjali Thapa), a young graduate of apparently prosperous background, suddenly becomes aware of the indistinct troubles she has got herself into by attempting to trace the relatives of a painter who collapsed in her apartment earlier that day. Kamal envisions the preceding scenes, including Charu's tumultuous efforts to get the unconscious man to a hospital, in a frenetically edited amalgam of baroque angles, superficial blue filters and blunt sound design.

He then offers a welcome refuge from this somewhat unbalanced genre exercise when Charu, having thrown out the last quarrelling party guests, remains with her elderly neighbour Aunty. While she fruitlessly tries to contact the painter's relatives, the film turns away from its pulsating rhythm for the first time, providing room for a moment of intense contemplation. We perceive a pondering Charu in medium close-up, flanked on one side by the immobile Aunty, and on the other by a window revealing the chaotic traffic of nightly Mumbai. In the next shot, cinematographer Madhu Neelakandan's telephoto lens captures a big close-up of her, now accompanied only by the shallow headlights in the distance, generating an abstract painterly flatness reminiscent of Michael Mann's nocturnal cityscapes. When she hangs up the phone in the following shot, the blurry traffic pictorially merges with the low-key reflection of her face in the window-glass.

This elusive (but nevertheless revelatory) moment strikingly echoes the poetics of Edward Yang. In Yi yi (2000) he repeatedly invites us to examine characters in direct relation to their environment, the disorderly metropolis Taipei. In order to do so, Yang employs his trademark mise-en-scène of static long takes and panoramic compositions, granting us time and space to scan the whole frame meticulously. The hasty and impersonal Taiwanese capital became a crucial element of Yang's overall aesthetics, often reflecting, if not contrasting the troubled minds of his protagonists. When Min-Min (Elaine Jin) finds herself on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Yang elegantly marks a sharp contrast between her intense despair and the impersonal, impenetrable city surrounding her. Yang stages her, absorbed in thought, in front of a window, in which her reflection merges with the busy streets of Taipei. He thus suggests that precisely this environment suffocates Min-Min, a suggestion further strengthened by a subsequent scene showing her leaving for a retreat in a Buddhist temple in the woods.

Kamal applies a similar visual strategy to imply tension between psyche and environment. He combines two disharmonic images within the boundaries of the static composition, with reflecting surfaces generating an expressive tableau. He thereby obscures the frame, but at the same time creates a visual overlap with an off-screen reality (just as in the case of Yi yi, a disturbed female character). The resulting ambiguous composition offers an intra-frame variation of the dialectic montage cells; the combination of two images with a radically opposing tone produces above all a pictorial synthesis.

The allegorical parallel with Yi yi becomes all the more relevant when, a few scenes later, Charu has a job interview and her potential employer notices that she looks as if she prefers the more relaxed life style of her former home towns Sikkim and Calcutta, instead of the hectic existence in Mumbai. At the end of their conversation, her cell phone (the film's leitmotif) rings, eliciting an insert shot of this token of her hectic life, again subtly accompanied by her own reflection in the metal tabletop. With these expressively staged compositions, Kamal inventively expands the optical universe. In spite of his apparently dense mise-en-scène, in these moments, the visual field stretches out beyond the borders of the visible frame. This attention for what takes place off-screen visualises the Bazinian idea of limitlessness, and the cinema as an infinite locus dramaticus, denying all frontiers to the action. The screen is indeed not a picture frame but a mask, allowing only a part of reality to be seen. It requires a cinephile spectatorial posture to perceive as much of the captured reality as possible.

Sam Roggen is a teaching and research assistant and PhD student in Film Studies and Visual Culture at the University of Antwerp. In his PhD, he examines transformed manifestations of cinephilia. Before joining the Visual Studies and Media Culture research group in October 2012, he worked for the Flanders International Film Festival Ghent, the Flemish Service for Film Culture, Cinema Zuid (Antwerp) and Docville International Documentary Film Festival. He is the co-founder of and a regular contributor to the cinephile blog Photogénie (www.photogenie.be).



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I.D.

Filmkrant #351, February 2013

Slow Criticism 2013

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I

I am a Woman Now
I Am Belfast
I AM FROM TITOV VELES
I AM Hardwell — Living The Dream
I AM LEGEND
I Am Not Your Negro
I AM THE VIOLIN
I Am Wrath
I CONFESS
I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN
I Don't Know How She Does It....... In Time
I DON'T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE (Tsai Ming-liang over)
I Give It A Year
I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER
I LIKE IT LIKE THAT
I LOVE A MAN IN UNIFORM
I Love Dick
I Love Dollars (Workshop Filmkritiek)
I LOVE HUCKABEES
I LOVE TROUBLE
I LOVE YOU MAN
I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS
I LOVE YOUR WORK
I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY
I SERVED THE KING OF ENGLAND
I SHOT ANDY WARHOL
I Spit On Your Grave Too
I SPY
I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER
I Wish
I'M A CYBORG BUT THAT'S OK
I'M IN TROUBLE!
I'm Not a F**king Princess
I'M NOT THERE
I'M NUMBER FOUR
I'm the Same, I'm An Other
I, Anna
I, CLAUDIUS
I, Daniel Blake
I, Frankenstein
I, ROBOT
I.D.
I.Q.
ICE AGE
ICE AGE 3: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS
Ice Age 5: Collision Course
Ice Age: Continental Drift
ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN
Ice and The Sky
Ice Dragon
THE ICE HARVEST
ICE PRINCESS
The Ice Storm
The Iceman
Ich Seh, Ich Seh
ICHI THE KILLER
Ida
Identicals
IDENTITY
Identity Thief
The Ides of March
THE IDIOT
IDIOT BOX
THE IDIOTS
The Idol
IEDEREEN BEROEMD!
IEP!
If I Stay
IF I WANT TO WHISTLE, I WHISTLE
If the Sun Explodes
IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK
If...
IGBY GOES DOWN
IGOR
Ik ben Alice
IK GA NAAR TAHITI
IK OMHELS JE MET DUIZEND ARMEN
IK OOK VAN JOU
Ik wil gelukkig zijn
IK WIL NOOIT BEROEMD WORDEN
IKÍNGUT
IKKE NIET
IKLIMLER
IL CICLONE
ÎLES FLOTTANTES
Ill Manors
ILLÉGAL
THE ILLUSIONIST
THE ILLUSIONIST en Jacques Tati
Ilo Ilo
ILS (THEM)
ILUSIONES ÓPTICAS
Im Keller
Im Labyrinth des Schweigens
L' image manquante (IDFA 2013: Onvoltooid verleden)
THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS
IMAGINARY CRIMES
IMAGINE ME & YOU
IMAGINE THAT
IMAGINING ARGENTINA
The Imitation Game
The Immigrant
THE IMMORTAL
IMMORTAL BELOVED
Immortals 3D
Impardonnables
IMPORT/EXPORT
The Impossible
The Imposter
IN & OUT
IN A BETTER WORLD
In a World...
IN ALLE STILTE
IN AMERICA
In Another Country
In Bloom
IN BRUGES
In Darkness
IN DE GREEP VAN DE TANGO
IN DEN TAG HINEIN
IN DREAMS
IN GOOD COMPANY
In grazia di Dio
IN HER SHOES
IN HET HUIS VAN MIJN VADER
In jouw naam
IN LOVE AND WAR
IN MEMORIA DI ME
IN MOTION
In Oranje
In Order of Disappearance
In Pursuit of Silence
IN SEARCH OF BEETHOVEN
IN THE BEDROOM
IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER
IN THE COMPANY OF MEN
In the Crosswind
IN THE CUT
IN THE ELECTRIC MIST
In the Fog
In the Heart of the Sea
In the Land of Blood and Honey
IN THE LINE OF FIRE
IN THE LOOP
IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
In the Name of
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER
IN THE SOUP
IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH
IN THIS WORLD
In Time
IN WEITER FERNE, SO NAH!
IN YOUR HANDS
THE IN-LAWS
INAZUMA
The Inbetweeners
De inbreker
Incarnate
INCENDIARY
INCENDIES
INCEPTION
Inch'Allah
L' inconnu du lac
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
THE INCREDIBLES
INDECENT PROPOSAL
INDEPENDENCE DAY
Independence Day: Resurgence
INDEPENDENT ANIMATION FROM THE NETHERLANDS
DE INDIAAN
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
INDIGÈNES
INFAMOUS
Infancia clandestina
INFERNAL AFFAIRS
INFERNAL AFFAIRS 2
Inferno
Les infidèles
Infiltrant
The Infiltrator
Infinitely Polar Bear
THE INFORMANT!
THE INFORMERS
INGLORIOUS BASTARDS
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
Inherent Vice
INKHEART
INLAND EMPIRE
DIE INNERE SICHERHEIT
INNOCENCE
INNOCENCE
THE INNOCENT
Les Innocentes
THE INNOCENTS
INQUIÉTUDE
INSIDE DEEP THROAT
INSIDE JOB
Inside Llewyn Davis
INSIDE MAN
Inside No. 9
Inside Out
Inside the Chinese Closet
THE INSIDER
INSIDIOUS
Insidious: Chapter 2
Insidious: Chapter 3
INSOMNIA
INSPECTOR GADGET
INSTINCT
INTERMISSION
The Intern
THE INTERNATIONAL
The Internship
THE INTERPRETER
INTERSECTION
INTERSTELLA 5555
Interstellar
INTERVIEW
The Interview
Interview (2007)
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE
INTIMACY
INTIMATE RELATIONS
INTO GREAT SILENCE
Into the Forest
Into the Inferno
INTO THE WEST
INTO THE WILD
Into the Woods
INTOLERABLE CRUELTY
Intouchables
L' INTRUS
The Invader
THE INVASION
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
LES INVASIONS BARBARES
Inventaris van het moederland
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS
INVESTIGATION
INVICTUS
INVISIBLE WAVES
The Invisible Woman
INVOLUNTARY
Io e te
IO NON HO PAURA
IO SONO L'AMORE
IP MAN
IRAQ FOR SALE
IRINA PALM
IRIS
IRMA VEP
THE IRON GIANT (DE IJZEREN REUS)
THE IRON HEEL OF OLIGARCHY (ZJELEZNAJA PIATA OLIGARKHII)
IRON ISLAND
The Iron Lady
IRON MAN
IRON MAN 2
Iron Man 3
IRON MONKEY
Iron Sky
Irrational Man (Woody Allen over)
IRRÉVERSIBLE
Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?
ISABELLE
Isabelle
LA ISLA DE LOS NIÑOS PERDIDOS
La isla mínima
THE ISLAND
THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU
The Islands and the Whales
The Islands and the Whales
THE ISLE
ISTANBUL TALES
ISTORIA 52
It Comes at Night
IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU
It Follows
IT TAKES TWO
IT WAS AN ACCIDENT
IT'S A BOY/GIRL THING
IT'S A FREE WORLD...
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE
IT'S ALL GONE PETE TONG
IT'S COMPLICATED
IT'S HARD TO BE NICE
IT'S MAGIC TIME
ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS
THE ITALIAN JOB
ITALIANETZ
ITALO-WESTERN BOX
Italy: Love It or Leave It
IVANHOOD
IVANSXTC
L' IVRESSE DU POUVOIR
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