archive - issue 14

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  • /

    By Ruth Barker
    On the QWERTY layout of my computer keyboard, the symbol / appears beside the questioning symbol ?. They are represented together on the same key, and
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  • Apartment / Containers

    By Vincent Bezuidenhout
    These diptychs are the start of a series of images I have been working on regarding the visual landscape we choose to surround ourselves
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  • I returned home after my first year in college to discover my younger sister had turned gorgeous. This was a disappointment, but not an
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  • Butterfly

    By Adriana de Barros
    The pupa, a silk wrap of emotionsIsolated, within breathing, wanting to bethe intense pronoun of selfIt is silly to be one's own pronounShe giggles
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  • Collage

    By Claudio Parentela
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  • Drag and Snap

    By Leigh-Anne Niehaus
    This series is inspired by the childhood game of "snapdragon", which allows for simplistic and delightful decision-making through random selections of colour and number.
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  • Evidence of Life

    By Tamlyn Martin
    Below is an extract from a series of 11 poems created in parallel with visual artworks. 5. Memories laced with visceral realityFlooding herThe gentle
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  • Forward! Slash!

    By Travis Lyle
    You think you're a forward-thinking kinda person, do you? Lemme be the one to break it to you, sunshine – you're as lame as the
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  • Human/Nature

    By Lydia Anne McCarthy
    This series explores moments between nature and human beings that are at once idealistic and unsettling. Each picture is an independent narrative, but placed
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  • Immigrants

    By Stanley Onjezani Kenani
    you want to livenothing leaveto liveyou swimor like fresh sardinesyou are packedin boatsyou leaveto live.  you leavegold in the belly of Africaoil in
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  • In Between

    By Tania van Schalkwyk
    Raised in an Arabian land of heat, fire and temper,sometimes the calm of England clamps downlike damp in a bathroom with no windowand a
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  • Letter to the Editor

    By Elan Gamaker
    Dear Sir/Madam I should like strenuously to object to the subject matter ("/") of your current issue. It must first be mentioned, however, that it
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  • Or: a line drawing

    By Gabeba Baderoon
    Pencil and nothing. Her face turned almost entirely away. Forehead, cheekbone,jaw,the bun low in her neck,shoulderand down,the long linejust enoughthen left alone.
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  • p u n c t u a t i o n

    By Ula Einstein
    Einstein works with a diverse range of media, including drawings and installation with fire, thread, and blades. The series of drawings and installations with
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    By Sean Hampton-Cole
    Keys. John speaking. 'Lo?Good morning. May I speak to Bob Mitchell please?Bob in Bonds?I'm not really sure. I'm trying to...You want extension 125. This
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  • Pretty Babies

    By Peregrine Honig
    With the premise that "/ " presents what is IN and what is OUT, the "Pretty Babies" series explores the fashion industry's well-published and syndicated DOs
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  • River Bank

    By Mario Sughi
    The symbol / is intended initially as a symbol of division. A real or unreal line divides the girl from the water, the girl from
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  • Scissor

    By Charlotte Gait
    There was a time when you and I were connected by iron, acid, vitamin and blood. Where every mouthful I took was with the
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  • Seasaw

    By Sol Kjøk
    Here, the motif is conceived of as a seesaw (the typo in the title is intended, as this drawing is part of a series
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  • Series Seven Up

    By Noel Fignier
    Text by João Branco Kyron, HipnóticaThe collision is imminent and in the fraction of time left, the eyes shut and the vision is superbly
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  • A battle over samoosas between the snobbish Cinderella and a homeless electrician is mediated by Cinderella's boyfriend JJ. The samoosa battle is conflated with
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  • Wayne Porter, freelance journalist, donned his anthropologist's birthday suit and hit the bowling alley. Bar the bowlers hat tipped gently off centre, the man
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  • The Incised Wound

    By Joanne Hichens
    "Please, for me, Dave," I placed my hand on his, and really, no begging, just asked him nicely, "Lay off the booze tonight." Whether
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  • He had been driving for hours through that unstable, somnambulist night when he fell asleep at the wheel. He awoke with a start and
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  • The space between.

    By Mehita Iqani
    It's a handy little line, the one that we use to make our options known. Either/Or. Paper and ink or binary code? Its clichéd,
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  • Un Hombre Fuerte

    By Tamo Vonarim Written these words are, at times of a subconscious flow – whether they are mine, I don't know. All I know is that I
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  • Unbroken Awareness

    My life is now a floating shellI am a vessel on that river.The storm, the ship, the sea,Whose shores we lost in crossing.  I
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  • Untitled

    By Wilhelm Saayman
    This series of images, made using pen and ink, photographs and Photoshop, explore alternate/dream realities.
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  • Untitled

    By Aryan Kaganof
    /At R550 rand I thought I'd rather die/ My mother: can I trust this woman?/ I thought the Romans were coming, dinkum/ …and always
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Lidia Ostepeev

Lidia Ostepeev

I am a non-Indian reviewer of Bollywood films. My articles have appeared in Asian Cinema (USA), Metro (an Australian film magazine) and The Big Issue. Many of my film reviews appear on the Planet Bollywood site.

Don't impose criteria grounded in Western literary tradition onto a film form that has its origins in oral tradition. Allow for repetition of motifs, archetypal characters, suspension of disbelief, unusual segues and length. Don't allow ample contrivances and abrupt tonal shifts within a film to deter from its main thrust – its emotional integrity. Fine Bollywood films have the power to meld seemingly disparate elements.

Look for internal logic rather than applying Western notions of verisimilitude.

Don't regard Bollywood as a genre. This is misleading because the Hindi film industry based in Mumbai makes films which relate to many different genres or combinations of genres - drama-romance, masala, thriller, police-drama, comedy, science fiction-romance – to name a few. Not all films have songs. 

Don't deride melodrama but understand its potential to move viewers. Be mindful that although often unreal in character, the best Bollywood films have the capacity to engage the emotions of viewers in a paradoxically real way.

Be prepared to assess the 'chemistry' of romantic pairings because belief in the emotive strength of the leading couple is essential to the audience's preparedness to suspend disbelief. Most Bollywood films are romantic.

Don't disregard musical sequences. Be aware of the major composers, lyricists and choreographers and recognise their respective styles. Appreciate the aesthetics inherent in musical numbers and how they function within the narrative.

Immerse yourself in the films of the past because Bollywood films are self referential. Learn to recognise pastiche and parody.

Accept that Bollywood comedy is broad. It is also culturally based and often lost in subtitles.

Criticise outright plagiarism where films are overly derivative but keep in mind the notion that familiar ideas re-interpreted through the lens of a different culture can also be quite refreshing.

Expect to be equally involved in the pre- and post-interval sections of a film. Even when a separate story manifests after interval make sure you consider the effect of the whole.

Don't allow your opinions to be swayed by way of liaison with distributors and festival organisers.

Be aware that many people derive great pleasure from Bollywood films which are totally kitsch, cheesy and over-the-top. Even though a film may rate poorly against one's criteria of worth, it may still – entertain. Entertainment value should also form part of any review since this is commercial rather than arthouse cinema.

Put on your 'rose-tinted glasses' but don't simply hark back to Bollywood films of the past. Accept the shorter, less musical, sometimes grittier films of the present as new directions that require careful analysis.