Two Movies

When I read the reviews, I was not terribly interested. But to watch a movie where people don't scream at each other seems like a big recommendation and so decided to watch it.
There are movies that scream 'feminist' and there are those that define the same subtly. "English Vinglish' does it the latter way. Though, 'feminist' is a strong tag with lot of implications, I am using it in the broader sense of the word.
By this time, I think the story is common knowledge. What I loved in the movie is the little sub-text that if not alert, can pass by without getting noticed. 
Although Sashi gets passed over for the lack of English knowledge, the mother-in-law is not. There lies the pressure on the 'bahu' to live up to the set standards of the society/family till she becomes the MIL. This cycle is something vicious which builds a lot of distaste in families unless someone tries to break it. Here, the MIL does that.
The film was at its best when it took on the platonic relationship of Sashi with Laurent. This, at least, is unknown territory in mainstream cinema. There are only black and white relationships we are comfortable with, especially when it comes to mother/wife. We put them onto a pedestal and expect them to live up to it while the rest live it out as we want it. 
Hence, the standard reaction seen on our cinema when someone other than your husband describes you as 'beautiful' is to scream or wait for a hero to spew platitudes about the sanctity of the relationships. The guy who is making the move is usually after the one thing a girl has and it is imperative to keep it safe. 
But Sashi handles it differently. She has the understanding (which I think every girl has, but afraid to admit) that it is purely platonic and she feels that way simply because of the way mind works. She thanks Laurent for making her feel good and allows him to walk her home and that's that.
The insensitivity of her family to her travails make her speak out in the climax but it was not the exposition of grammer and for some reason, rhyme in English, as has been made familiar by our illiterate heroes who belt out in chaste English after a couple of classes. Sashi stutters through the speech stating in third person whatever she wanted to say. The couple reconcile and in the flight back, we see her taking her 'rightful' place.
Hardly revolutionary. But that such a film is taken and is turning popular simply means that for a film like Ray's 'Charulatha' to appear in our mainstream cinema, we have to wait a little less.

Martial arts movies are one of my favorite genre. Usually they are mindless movies with good action sequences and you do not need a lot of investment to watch it. So when started looking for the 'Ip man' movies, this is exactly I had in mind. 
 It all started from this article in Uyirmmai. Though I've not watched 'Mugamoodi', I've seen the action sequences and they looked different. So when I read that the Wing Chun style was used and the 'Ip man' movies made it familiar, I was hooked.
So it was I watched the movies. And realized that they are not just action movies, they are actually better than art. The story line is not very complicated but the period setting makes them look very different. The first one is set during the 1937 Japanese invasion of China and the second one in the 1950's Hong Kong. 
Both have the good guy - bad guy symmetry and no surprises there. The surprise lies in the beautiful story telling. There is not one excess shot in both the movies.
A semi-biographical take on the Chinese master Yip Man, the movies look and feel like the art he is practicing. Very calm and even the action sequences are moving along the story and does not stuck out. What makes it different is the fantastic acting by Donnie Yen (became a fan) and Sammo Hung. The serenity and calmness of Donnie Yen is amazing to watch. He underplays the character all through and you actually want him to scream at some point (which never happens!).
A must-watch movie for any person interested in watching good movies.

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