Movie Review: Dunkirk

-Zenia Zuraiq, I Year B.Sc Physics

Rating: 4.5/5

Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard, Lee Armstrong, James Bloor, Harry Styles
Running Time: 1h 46m
Genres: Action, Drama, History, War

 

A Christopher Nolan film commands a certain degree of expectation and respect, and his latest war drama, Dunkirk does not let these expectations down. Nolan sure is no stranger to non-linear narratives, 2010’s Inception being the most obvious example, and his latest, Dunkirk, is no stranger to this treatment. With its three separate stories, on three different elements (land, sea and air).

The movie’s main and only focus is on World War II’s historic Dunkirk Evacuation, from the beaches and harbour of the city of Dunkirk, in the north of France. It is a source of British pride, a symbol of people coming together, even being referred to as “The Miracle of Dunkirk”.

The first of the three parallel threads of the movie – the story on land, The Mole –  is told over the course of a week, and tells us of the impatience of the 400,000 men stranded; their desperation of wanting to get home, feeling it so close and yet so far. Along with them, we see Kenneth Branagh’s imposing naval commander and James D’Arcy’s army colonel, as they eye the skies for the enemy, providing us, the audience with context, bringing Dunkirk back slightly, from totally isolated back to its roots in the war.

The second story, a tale told on sea, taking place over a day, is perhaps the more conventional of the three – showing us the human side of Dunkirk in Mark Rylance as one of the civilian English sailors diving into the rescue effort, by way of a pleasure craft called Moonstone, along with his son (Tom Glynn-Carney) and a local boy eager to take part in something big (Barry Keoghan).

The third tale, taking place in a single hour is perhaps the one that offers us some of the most powerful visuals of the movie. Dunkirk soars here, pardon the pun, to its greatest heights with a story of Tom Hardy as a Royal Air Force Spitfire pilot, engaged in a dogfight with the German Messerschmitts. There is a beautifully filmed contrast here between close-up shots of Hardy in the plane and the wide establishing shots we see of the outside.

If you come to this movie expecting a traditional protagonist and a focused plot, look for another movie. If you come to this movie expecting the excessive violence and gore that has been associated with the others of its genre, don’t bother.

In a time of heavy exposition and star-jammed cinema, Dunkirk stands apart in its minimalist dialogue and its lack of blood soaked action. We do not need free flowing blood to appreciate the extent of the war. Instead, the war’s reach is shown in more subtle ways – downgraded to merely a background character; a looming presence that leaves the film with a constant unsteadiness. The only protagonist here is Dunkirk, carrying with her the weight of 400,000 people waiting to get out of there. It is in this getting out that we join in – we watch as three stories connect with this one theme – getting out. The film ends much like it begins – with little context to what has happened outside of the brief one and a half hours or so of its runtime.

Although the film has been praised for its general historical accuracy, some dramatization of the elements for the sake of cinema is present.
Dunkirk, like all Nolan films, is beautifully shot.

Personally however, more than the gorgeous visuals, what struck me was the film’s score. It quite literally set the tone of the film – Hans Zimmer’s beautiful creations were in constant crescendo, ascending and ascending but never really reaching anywhere. The effect of this incomplete score was chilling – and much of the film’s urgency was beautifully portrayed by the same.

Ultimately, Dunkirk tells the story of human triumph – and what it has brought along with it is also a triumph in film-making. A film that is both grand and subtle, that is both scaled down and carefully crafted, Dunkirk is many things. Its short duration is jam-packed with details, and this might make it hard to follow. Another bone I have to pick with Dunkirk is probably its complete lack of women, and although this can be explained away as a product of a time where women were seldom seen or heard, I personally believe the female voice could’ve been explored a little more. However, these are only small flaws and do not subtract from the overall experience of what is rightly being called, one of the greatest war films of all time.

Don’t miss this movie.

Advertisements

Finding Normalcy In Differences

-Kavyashree P, I Year B.A. English

The fifth edition of ‘Reel Desires : Chennai International Queer Film Festival’ was held at Goethe-Institute from the 28th to the 30th of July, and short films and documentaries were screened, with topics on sexuality and gender diversity, that are usually not found in conventional platforms.

Being the first time attending such an event, I was looking forward to educating myself more about the LGBTIQA+ community. It was a 3 day event with approximately 6-7 films shown per day and a panel discussion on the second day. I went on the 3rd day with a friend of mine and my first thought was, “It’s the last day, there won’t be many people.” But I was wrong. The auditorium was packed with people who were there to watch the films and people who were there to watch their films. Yes, we had actors, writers and directors of a few films among our midst.

The most heart-warming moment was when Malini Jeevarathnam, creator of the short film ‘Ladies and Gentlewomen’ came out as a lesbian to a very special person in her life, in front of the audience. Hearing her story, one cannot help but be in awe of her bravery and strength.

Another such incident that moved us all to tears was when the mother of another such creator, Akbar, gave a little talk to the audience. Her son Akbar had come out as gay to his parents, and dismissing all his fears of the consequence, they had lovingly accepted it. She spoke about how important it is for the parents to be supportive of their children, especially the ones that belong to this community. She told us how it doesn’t matter what her son’s sexuality was, he was still her son. It was amazing to see people, from a place where such topics are not discussed openly, be so accepting and open-minded.

All the other people who were there that day did not make it seem like a big deal that they were there to support a cause that is not openly talked about. They were there for a film festival that celebrated the love shared by the LGBTIQA+ community. I do not regret one minute I spent at Goethe-Institut that Sunday evening, not because it was an extraordinary or a different experience, but because it was not.

The Answer

-Akchayaa R, II Year B.A. English

“You never seem satisfied

With the abundance

I have given you.

What more do you want?”

You seek an answer.

 

The red lipstick

That cost you a fortune

Feels heavy on my lips,

Blocking my words.

A thin strand of shiny metal

Studded with sparkling stones

Embellishes my neck.

It feels like a feather to you

But I know its weight.

 

You drape me in rich silk;

Beautiful yet heavy;

So heavy, that it nearly chokes me.

But I brave a smile and

Appreciate its finesse.

 

You put me in a mansion and

Fill it with the air

That you were made to breathe.

But you and I both know

That we breathe different kinds of air.

So I suffocate

And struggle to breathe

In my own nest.

 

You watch me like a hawk

As I try to answer.

Yes, what more could I possibly want?

The answer demands to be

Loud and clear

But it dies

Within my throat.

I smile and say, “Nothing”.

But the real answer

Would have sounded something like:

“Freedom”

Freshers’ Talent Hunt

Reports compiled by
– Kavyashree(I Year, B.A.English), Tanya Mary (I Year, B.A.English), Akchayaa (II Year, B.A.English), Elizabeth P. Varsha (III Year, B.A.English), ), Mercy Johny (III Year, B.A.English), Swathy V. Nambi (I Year,B.A.English ) Riya Nagendra (I Year, B.A.English) and Zenia Zuraiq (I year, Bsc. Physics)
-Image Source Stella Maris College website

The Fresher’s Talent Hunt, held on the 9th of August, drew a large crowd of eager freshers who were willing to showcase their talents to the rest of the college, to not just be recognised as novices, and they sure proved their skills. With the theme ‘Meals Ready’, all the events and teams were named after food, and the entertaining events had no dearth to the excitement that followed. Here’s a look at the events that were held:

Banana Split

Dance related events are the ones most looked forward to in any function. And they do not usually disappoint. This was true during the first two events, the first being Banana Split, which kept the audience lively and enthusiastic till the end.

Banana Split was the first on-stage event conducted in the OAT. It consisted of a pair of students separated by a screen on stage and made to dance. The dancers are expected to co-ordinate their prepared moves and steps. There were two teams per group (King Kebabs, Mafia Momos ,etc). The judge for the event was Jaffer Saddiq. The winning pair was Riya and Ramya from the Fine Arts dept., group King Kebabs, who performed a mix classical and semi-classical number. (Added bonus, they are twins!)

Let’s nacho

The next event was Let’s Nacho which was group dance, which was also conducted in the OAT. This event had only 1 team per group and each team had 8 minutes to perform a classical, folk and western piece. The tracks chosen by the teams were peppy and the audience enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The winning team was from the group Killer Kaapi and one of their members, Rutva Satish from the Economics dept. was announced as the best dancer.

Chipwreck

   “Why are Pizzas so confusing? They are round in shape , come in square boxes and are eaten in triangles…” – This was one of the questions posed by the judge , Mr.Barath Balaji to a contestant.  The popular oratorical game ‘Shipwreck’ was tweaked to suit the theme for our Fresher’s Talent Hunt 2017-18 ‘Meals Ready’. The concept of Chipwreck is that the best restaurant in Chennai is running in loss . The chef has decided to serve his customers only one dish as their signature dish. Each participant will be given a dish and they have to play the role of the dish and explain why they have to be chosen and convince the chef to choose them. The contestants were given dishes like Chapati kurma , Curd rice, Biryani , Dosa , Pizza , Kaapi , Sandwich etc. The winners were Team Don Dosas.

Food Safari
 Food Safari (Channel Surfing) conducted at M-0-1 at 11.45 am. Each team was given around five minutes on stage and were asked to surf between channels like God TV, Al Jazeera, History Channel, and asked to switch to Gibberish, pause, rewind, etc.

The contestants were judged on spontaneity, creativity and teamwork. King Kebabs won the first place, followed by Killer Kappi and Mafia Momos.

Go Bananas!

This ad-zap event turned out to be absolutely ‘bananas’. The event started at 12.45 p.m in the conference hall of C-C block. Each team was given a product on the spot by the judges with one minute for preparation, after which they had to present their ad. The judges questioned them frequently to clear any ambiguities, but mostly for entertainment purposes so that the audience could have a good laugh. The contestants, however, responded with a fervor of sportsmanship. The products that were given for advertising were protein shake, dosa, vegetable beef, water flavoured juice, sandwich without any filling and edible lipstick. The winners were the team Boss Biryani followed by King Kebabs and Mafia Momos.

Macaroons

This event, a group song competition, was held at F-2-1. The groups had to sing a medley of songs belonging to genres classical music, western music and light music. Instruments were encouraged and marking was based on the selection of songs and synchronisation. Popular songs like ‘azhage’, ‘malarkal ketten’, Michelle Jackson’s ‘black or white’, Swift’s ‘love story’, ‘shape of you’, ‘ikthara’, ‘chinna chinna asai’ ,’kannathail mutham ittal’ ,were sung.The first prize was bagged by the team, Enthu cutlets, the runners up by Boss biriyani and the second runners up by Killer kappi.

The Buffet
This Potpourri event, consisting of Pictionary, Taboo, Dumb Charades and a One minute challenge sent the students scrambling their way to use their logic in a short span of time. With 4 members per team, this event held at M-2-1 was judged based on their knowledge as well as their skills.

Peanuts

The comic strip designing competition held as part of the Fresher’s Talent Hunt 2017 was immense fun. The teams gathered, ushered in by seniors from the Fine Arts department, and were given their topic – Food On Social Media. The teams immediately set to work, furiously drawing panels and brainstorming ideas. There were many interesting results, with different techniques and mediums used by each team. However in the end, the judges – teachers from the Fine Arts department – awarded the first prize to one of the teams from the group King Kebabs.

Ratatouille
This cooking event held at the Common Room, required the participants to prepare one savoury and one sweet dish, without the use of preserved or processed food. The participants found it to be quite a tough task, but they churned out their very best nevertheless, with crispy snacks, lemon soda and many more. The winners were Enthu Cutlets – Team 1.

Hunger Games 

The treasure hunt contest The event started at 12.00 p.m in the green hut There were 8 clues in total, out of which the first was given to them at a starting point. All the clues were color-coded according to the colors assigned for each team. Each clue leads to a place in the campus, and some of them were : 1. Very popular breakfast crop – OAT 2. Platform 9 ¾  – Maggi station 3. Go here to burn some off those calories – Basketball court 4. ‘Soodana kappi(copy)’ – DTP 5. A shanti with 14 idlis and paneer dosa – Shanti Bhavan 6. Make the plate as pretty as the paintings – Fine Arts block 7. Time to fill your pockets to get more food – Bank 8. Learn to cook like Venkatesh Bhat through few guides – Library. The winners were Killer Kappi followed by Boss Biryani and Mafia Momos.

Say Cheese

This photography contest required the participants to send in their theme-based photos beforehand, while the second round was a task that was declared on the spot and, held at M-1-14, the photos were judged on the basis of adherence to theme and their creativity.

Coffee Tales

The Creative Writing event, held at M-1-1, required participants to write on food-based topics, yet again, with topics such as Garlic Breath and Midnight Feast. With an interesting turnout of entries ranging from vampires to ancient methods of cooking. The winning team was King Kebabs.

Maska Chaska 

The block and tackle event took place in M11, between 12:15 P.M and 1:15 P.M. The participants were expected to express both sides of a single issue, in the two minutes allotted to them. Judge Aditya Suri gave a wide range of quirky topics – pitting Gryffindor against Slytherin, asking whether Santa’s elves deserve minimum wage, debating whether or not grandparents must be allowed on social media, asking if breakfast is really the most important meal of the day, comparing Facebook and Instagram, and comparing Arts and Science streams. The first place was taken by the team Don Dosas, with Vrinda Venu of Sociology taking the win, followed by a second place win by Killer Kappi, courtesy of Vaishnavi from Economics, and a third place win by Zenia Zuraiq of the Physics department, belonging to the team Boss Biryani.

Foodology

This quiz, with all questions revolving around food, required participants to have a thorough knowledge of cuisines and gastronomy, in general. Held at M-2-1, this event saw rapid fire rounds and eager participants waiting to provide their answers.

Bring Home The Bread

Encouraging the entrepreneurial side to every student, this event held outside the Union  Room required the five participants per team to make the maximum profit out of a given budget of Rs.100. Accounts of purchases and sales had to be furnished by the participants.

Seasoned Meme

What could be considered a hobby for many, soon became a contest for this programme as the participants were required to send in their memes beforehand, and were judged based on creativity and clean humor.

Album Review: Melodrama

-Divya Mahesh, II Year B.Sc Mathematics

In the opening track ‘Green Light’ of Melodrama , Lorde sings about the ‘brand new sounds in her mind’ that just gives us a taste of the emotional ride she’s about to take us on.
The album cover is a beautiful oil painting where majority of her face is masked in the darkness but there’s that little bit of her peeking out, and that’s where the story begins. It shows how she’s inching her way back into the light with her hauntingly beautiful second record after being away from the public eye for almost three years.
The title aptly describes the drama, which is a perfect platter of sad and lonely nights, mixed with the rush of first crushes, and then the trauma of heartbreak that follows.

I’d describe the entire album as lyrical brilliance, and the way the song ‘Writer in the dark’ tells a story is like no other. With the heartbreakingly beautiful lyric ‘Bet you rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark’, she talks about how her art will never let her experiences, feelings and her heartbreaks live in the shadows of her mind. Her art will always have the upper hand and will never let her stories die.

‘Every night I live and die’ is how Lorde describes the way she feels at parties in her song ‘Perfect Places’. She ends each chorus with the sentence ‘Let’s go to perfect places’, hinting that despite all the nights that she drowned herself in drugs and alcohol, she never found a perfect place. She constantly describes these nights as ‘graceless nights’, despite the emotional ride each night takes her on.
In the bridge of the song, Lorde talks about how there aren’t really any perfect places and all those nights spent to find them were just brutally small escapes from reality. Lorde says that, with all of her musical heroes fading, she can no longer stand to be alone, insinuating that she’ll only ever find a ‘Perfect Place’ when she dies.

In ‘The Louvre’, Lorde describes the rush she experiences while meeting a new person and the song is a rollercoaster of a journey. She calls herself psychopathic and crazy for being obsessed with this person, but blames him for the surge of emotions that he makes her feel, describing the magnitude of her feelings as violent and destructive. A lyric that for me stands out is – ‘blow all my friendships to sit in hell with you’ that portrays just how catastrophic the two of them are, but she says that the two of them are the greatest and deserve to be immortalised by being hung in The Louvre!

The song ‘Homemade Dynamite’, as the title suggests talks about how Lorde feels her emotions are, to a large extent, lethal. The standout lyrics for me are – ‘Don’t know you super well but I think that you might be the same as me, behave abnormally’ and ‘Let’s let things come out of the woodwork’.

The entire album is drenched in meaning and soul, Lorde has crafted the perfect combination of electric pop sounds and ballads that will rip your heart apart.  Other songs that are definitely worth a mention are Liability, Sober and Green Light.

A National Bore

-Riya Nagendra, I Year B.A. English

In honour of the month of our independence, I am here to do the most cliched thing on earth – contradict it and write about everything that should be changed and how Nehru and Gandhiji will be turning in their graves.

Well, not everything. Just this one little, itty, bitty thing that has prevented me from going to watch movies in theatres for the past few months. Surprisingly enough, it is not Pahlaj Nihalani’s idiocy, but this pointless order from the Supreme Court (who clearly have no other pressing matters to attend to) making it mandatory to play the national anthem in theatres before the start of every movie, and making it mandatory to stand for said national anthem.

The Supreme Court feels that imposing the dictatorial agenda of our government is more important than checking their bills – like the one which makes linking your Aadhaar card to your PAN account? No matter if our security measures are bogus, no matter if our personal information falls into the wrong hands as long as we stand up when we’re told to.

If the Supreme Court (defenders of justice) and our government (filled with the greatest intellectuals of our time) could realise that aside from the forced feelings of nationalism when people are sitting in a theatre ready to watch movies filled with more masala than Maggi could ever have, extreme actions are not the answer to any problem. But no, with them it’s – ban this! Enforce that! Censor this! Stop that! Romeo Squad assemble!

It would, perhaps, be alright if it was just our leaders who acted in such a manner, wearing Nehru jackets and trying to look important, while we, as citizens, politely disregard their rules. If only. Instead, some of us become sheep – trying to don our own Nehru jackets, trying to be important ourselves, and ruin the notion of independent voice or privacy for others.

I realise now that not everybody is like my grandparents, who in spite of belonging to an entirely different generation, do not fail to see the absolute ridiculousness of such a rule. Perhaps this is because it reminds them of the times they were made to stand up in forced respect, (and let’s be honest, respect cannot be forced without making a mockery of that which is to be respected) for the British national anthem.

So, while the theatre officials might not particularly care to punish me if I don’t stand up for the anthem, I can certainly count on some of my other fellow citizens to do so. What angelic people they are, so good and pure, standing up for what they know is right – enforcing their opinions and choices and ideologies on other people! Truly touching that our country is instilling these qualities of leadership in its citizens.

It’s the only way we’ll get ahead in this world and be able to compete with the likes of Trump.

Broccoli Soup For The Stella Marian’s Soul

-Pooja Krishna H A, III Year B.A. English
-Image Credits Pooja Krishna H A, III Year B.A. English

I know, I know. You’re thinking that this is another one of these articles that is going to preach about how killing animals is wrong, and how broccoli soup is healthier than chicken soup. Well, you’ve got something else coming.

I am not one of those vegetarians who can’t stand the smell of meat, and this isn’t one of those articles that is against the whole idea of non vegetarianism. I am just another girl struggling to navigate my way through the canteens of Stella, and this is just an article that is going to brief you on the three most important things I learned during my past struggles.

So here’s a vegetarian’s guide to Stella Maris College, dedicated to all my fellow Stella Marians out there.

Most Important Thing #1: The brown, small pieces on top of the cup of Maggi you get at the Maggi Station? Not roasted onions.

I still remember the time I almost ate what I thought was roasted onion on top of maggi, which, I learned a split second before I placed the fork in my mouth, bless my friend’s soul, was actually chicken. Yeah, I can hear ya’ll laughing, but in my defense, the things were kind of spiral-shaped, brown, and small.

Most Important Thing #2: Again, the brown, small pieces on top of the biryani you get at the mess? Not mushrooms.

You might wonder why two of the things I’m supposed to enlighten you on deals with small, brown things, but this is another thing I was almost fooled about, and I think is very important for you to know. Of course, if you’re a mushroom-disliker like me, you’ve got to avoid the biryani section altogether, because apparently, mushroom biryani is infinitely tastier than plain ole vegetable biryani (which is rarely available).

Getting back to the subject, the small brown pieces are, in fact, again, pieces of roasted chicken.

Most Important Thing #3: The small, white, harmless-looking pieces in your fried rice? Not Paneer.

Yes, yet again, we’re dealing with small, misleading things, but this time round, the harmless-looking pieces aren’t paneer, but pieces of an egg! Boggles my mind, too. I mean, why on earth would you want to cut an egg into small, cubical pieces, right? Why spoil its cute, oval-ish shape?  Sigh!

These three most important things you’ve got to look out for, established, I would now like to impart on you little (vegetarian/vegan) grasshoppers, the four golden rules that, if followed, will sail you through your time at Stella.

Golden Rule #1: Never eat anything before you take a sniff at it, and if you’ve got a blocked nose, ask your friend to do it.

Golden Rule #2: Always speak slowly and clearly to the people managing the canteens when you’re ordering, or else you might end up wasting your money. As it is, most of us go broke during our second semesters, so I think this is a very important rule, indeed.

Golden Rule #3: Never have a tiff with the friend who usually buys/orders your food, or she might end up taking revenge (trust me, it’s happened not once, but twice, in my case).

Golden Rule #4: Always take a good, long, look at the object you’re eating; notice its shape, size, colour, etc., because you never know if your food’s been mixed up with something that’s not vegetarian.
Of course, things aren’t all bad. There are silver linings to all clouds, and let me list some of them.

Silver Lining #1: The Chilli Parotta at the mess is absolutely to die for!

Silver Lining #2: The Ice Cream With Brownie at the stall next to the main canteen is so scrumptious that there aren’t enough words to describe it! And the brownies are eggless, too!

Silver Lining #3: The Samosas at the canteen are definitely worth a mention, both the smaller ones and the decent-sized ones.

There are many more delightful dishes that appeal to the palate of every Stella Marian, and many more things to look out for and avoid, but I’ll stop here, because for starters, I might exceed the word limit, and for the main course, my non-vegetarian friends might decide to take ‘revenge’ on me if I go and disclose all their party tricks and secrets.

I hope you have a disaster-free time at Stella Maris College, so I bid you goodbye and good luck!

The Reality In Fantasy

-Pushpamithra, I Year B.A. English
-Image Credits Pushpamithra, I Year B.A. English

According to the Oxford dictionary, friendship is defined as, “the emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends” or simply the relationship between friends. Friends are a portion of life. We can’t do without them most of the time. After all, we’re all just humans who need someone to laugh with when we are happy and support when we are down.

There are people in this world that enjoy being alone, but there isn’t a single person who can bear solitude.” (Makarov Dreyar from ‘Fairy Tail’)

Anime is one form of entertainment that lets us know that giving up is not an option and that it’s okay to lose sometimes (not taking the antagonists into account) or to be considerate about the people around us. One of the most prominent messages is the moral of friendship but sometimes it is exaggerated.
In anime like Naruto and Fairy Tail, they believe that they can do anything as long as they are with their friends and sometimes give false hope to people (especially introverts) that extreme dependence on someone else is the only option.

On the other hand there are animes like Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (The Daily Lives of High school Boys) and Kimi ni Todoke which are extraordinarily ordinary. They portray friendship like how we know it in our lives. Usually, slices of life with comedy anime which give us a realistic portrayal of relationships. But sometimes, we need a high stakes drama that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Or maybe a nice tragedy for us to cry a river about.

Friendship and the power it holds over us is incredibly important to most of the anime plots. Anime showcases some of the greatest and moving examples of friendship in all of fiction, containing sacrifice, loyalty, devotion and support between the characters and it shows that friendship can come in all forms- between people of the same gender, opposite genders or even different species!

Lesbian Ode

-Riya Nagendra, I Year B.A. English

I see myself in the mirror,
I do a little twirl,
Adjust my breasts, puff out my chest,
I see a funny girl.

Out on the street I catch an eye
Heavily mascara’d;
Her lips speak to me, call to me,
Awaken my inner bard.

Coloured lashes; light on her feet –
She’s quick to cross the road,
One more step, I hold my breath –
Thus begins this lesbian ode.

I can speak of no one else,
Words encomiastic –
About my love, this divine thing,
I just wax poetic.

I see myself in the mirror,
I do a little twirl.
I find myself in her strong arms,
I see two stunning girls.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑