Remembering Myself, Travestying Time…and Phonying towards Perfection



Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 7: Lombroso and the Art of Spotting Uggos

When Cesare Lombroso, the 19th century Italian, the “father of criminal anthropology”, made the astounding statement that you could measure criminality based on a person’s looks, the world (his world) rolled on to its side, clutching its stomach, peeling with laughter. A person’s head was the repository of malignant, murderous secrets, secrets which could be excavated without prying open his skull but merely by looking. Among the telltale signs of the criminal were the enormous jaw, large ears, thin upper lip, tattooing, gambling, idling, and so forth.

Lombroso faced ridicule and opposition from various quarters of academia, explicitly on grounds of the pseudoscientific footing, obviously subjective data collection, and prejudicial assumptions, although secretly they worried about the Lombrosian yardstick of perfect form. The critics feared, with sufficient cause, that they themselves were not exempt from censure when it came to looks.

Continue reading “Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 7: Lombroso and the Art of Spotting Uggos”


House by the Lake (2017, Adam Gierasch): Why Mothers are Always Right

Spoiler alert!

It has been so long since I watched a movie so perfectly horrible (after the 2011 film The Oranges) that warrants a ridiculous review at last.

The story of an autistic 10 year old girl who hates her parents especially her mother and leaves the ‘house by the lake’ to live forever in the lake with a killer beast strangely called the fishman. (It looks nothing like a fish.) The parents return to urban civilization apparently relieved they got rid of the girl. Why does it seem to be a pattern that the ‘defunctive’ girl who feels out of place among ‘normal’ people goes away (into a water body) with a kind and protective mythical beast who understands her? Reminding you of any recent film?

Continue reading “House by the Lake (2017, Adam Gierasch): Why Mothers are Always Right”

Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 6: Problems of Mathematics

Being a Rant on the Gross Pretensions of School-book Mathematics.

I dreaded mathematics in school. One of the reasons was that it was a language insufferably alien to me. Another was that there could only be a single right answer (derived along a single path) to a Maths problem atleast for the ones we got in school. Confronted by the quintessential maths problem, the one involving workers and the days they took to build a drasted wall, I would be flummoxed trying to unravel the mysterious solution to this clearly rather taciturn question.

If a worker works 6 hours per day and takes 20 days to finish a wall all by himself, how many days will it take to finish if 3 more workers join him and they work 4 hours a day?

I don’t even know if this is a real question but that’s not the point. The point is I know nothing about those workers. If that single worker was me, I’d probably do less work when in company with three others who’d possibly be yapping politics and gossip as they worked together as a solid team.

Continue reading “Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 6: Problems of Mathematics”

My Fave Five Anime

I have nearly no patience for sci-fi and fantasy and elaborate plots. My ideal movie is simple, appears deceptively effortless, and endearing. And that would be invariably of the ‘slice of life’ genre, a quintessential Takahata anime.

1. Isao Takahata, My Neighbours the Yamadas (1999)

The experience of watching it was so calming and profound for me, I haven’t seen anything quite like it. And the sparseness of the images which initially seems strange and incomplete somehow adds to its richness and immerses you hypnotically in the everyday foibles of the Yamada family. The way sadness merges with little joys and happy surprises is both familiar and nostalgic, and the haiku intervals elevate the trivial family story to poetic, philosophical realms.

Fave Scene: Little Nonoko is inadvertently left behind by her family at a shopping mall. But she comforts a fellow ‘lost boy’ saying “My father and mother and grandma and brother all got lost” and happily helps him register a complaint at the mall because, obviously, his ‘lost mother’ is easier to find than her entire lost family.

2. Takahata, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)

The length of the film and the ending are the only cons of the movie. As for the pros, the beauty of the visuals alone is enough to be a must-watch. The style is similar to The Yamadas, in figure drawing, especially, but Kaguya gives more attention to landscape and story atmosphere. Continue reading “My Fave Five Anime”


sadness like a silver snake

swimming through the sickly

scent of summer

Thoughts on *The Shape of Water* and *Dunkirk*

Shape of WaterThe Shape of Water:

I’m not a fan of Guillermo del Toro movies, although I admit I have seen only Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water from his oeuvre. The experience is exciting but the finish is almost always behind (my) expectations. There is a nagging feel after the movie that it is deeply archetypal and more “abject” than it seemed to depict; the womb, water, blood, death, bestiality, deformity, and so on. I found the story disturbing just as Pan’s Labyrinth was; the execution and the beauty of the set and shots, however, are par awesomeness.

Imagined an Amelie experience for no reason other than the happy colours and the jaunty background score.

Clownin’ score: 3/5.

For an interesting study of Guillermo del Toro’s filmmaking, watch this Youtube video study:


dunkirkAt the story level it wasn’t as inspiring as the typical Nolan movies that one is accustomed too. Part of the fault is with me; went to a war movie expecting an alien invasion story. The movie plays with editing. The parallel editing that club together similar narrative events is interesting, taxing to observe and keep track of, but nonetheless rewarding for the Nolan fan. Without doubt, the cinematography has a beauty that impresses you with the sheer span and colours of the canvas. Loved Cillian Murphy, noticing that actor a lot since I binge-watched Peaky Blinders in three days. Looked everywhere for Tom Hardy who was supposed to be on the cast, turns out he was the one in the mask. But yet something of the intensity of the other movies seemed to be lost here despite its themes of waiting, futility, sacrifice, heroism, nostalgia, and homecoming.

Clownin’ Score 4/5

Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 5: On Inspirational Quotes

Recently I came across this quote:

The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment you absolutely and utterly have to walk away.
– Alyssia Harris

It set me thinking. This mantra sounds so simple. Deciding on the value of relationships is suddenly very easy and formulaic. But then, Why should anybody accept you as you are? Why?? Are you perfect? What does it mean to accept people as they are, see the real him/her?

Continue reading “Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 5: On Inspirational Quotes”

On *The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time* 

the curious incident of the dog in the night-timeA book I had read in a trance non-stop in my university library, a couple of years ago which I reread recently. It’s a great feeling to read a book with a protagonist that you can really relate with.  Christopher Boone is in that regard the closest I have come to relating to any fictional character (more than antiheroes like Kingsley Amis’s Jim, Holden Caulfield, the young Tom Riddle, to stretch a point). He’s almost like my pal, the pal I’d like to keep at a distance because neither of us likes overfamiliarity.  It feels refreshing to read the world so logically and neatly, to know some people do think this way and that most people are indeed muddled and berserk when they grow up. Continue reading “On *The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time* “

IT (2017): Friendship versus Bullies

Spoiler Alert! Tedium Alert!

A story about “divided we fall but united we stand”. Also a story so transparent that real parental fears of solitary children wandering off to their doom are approbated by the children in the film themselves realizing that those fears are really valid (“This is what it wants,” says Beverley, “It wants to divide us.”).

The clown is supposed to be cute and at the same time dreadful, according to the director’s remark in Wikipedia. Well apart from the fact that the low angle shots emphazize his gigantism in the pov of the children, he seems fairly okay. The teeth thing was awesome though. Is this a film for children? If it is, it must be pretty scary for them. Because it addresses real childhood fears like bullies, bullies and bullies.

Continue reading “IT (2017): Friendship versus Bullies”

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