A Tiring ‘Afternoon with Julia’: 2/5

Aneek Chaudhuri, the critic for this review is a Research Professor in Film Studies at IOSR with more than a dozen research papers published in International Journals of repute. Moreover, he has been awarded thrice for excellence in Film Reviewing. Beside this, he has been associated with authorship of five books including Cinema’ Three Layers and Bazin, and one of them been considered at Whistling Woods International as External Study Material. He is also an acclaimed filmmaker with his films getting screened at film festivals of repute and currently representing India in Canada and Albania.

 

Afternoon with Julia! When I prefer to start writing a piece reviewing the actual ‘cinematic elements’ in this film, I would utter, “How much is it representing Indian Cinema?” Through this review, the readers are expected to know more about the attribute.

The film stars Samadarshi and Neha Panda; rather than commenting on the acting part first, I would start by penning down a few lines on the technical aspects of this film. Black and White, yes it is! Love for World Cinema, okay granted! But dare one mistakes it for a Jim Jarmusch identity! This is highly inspired by a certain genre of Cinema and hence, fails to make a statement on its own.

Neha Panda with an accent that seems to be carried with unease, fails to match the overworked stylization of the film. Yes, it is overworked upon! Samadarshi too does not seem to be too convincing. Although, the cinematography has been very subtle and projected in a style that sits somewhere between Cinema Verite and Parisian Joie de Vivre. Moreover, the style seems to overpower other utilizable departments such as acting, screenplay etc. One could actually guess that the director is trying to prove himself to be a lover of French Cinema than anything else.

There are things that could have been used to a much better extent, for e.g. the transition from black and white to color mode. By the way, one does not need to paint the screen in monochrome mode to be able to match the Goddard-ish or Truffaut-ish theme; however, a brave attempt from Abhiroop Basu. He has shown niche maturity in projecting a homage to a creme genre of Cinema, I must say.

In the near-end of the film, when one is exposed to the sms of the male protagonist, it reveals something but once again with novice camera angles looks unconvincing. The display of illusion and one’s apparent presence has been diluted with the overuse of storyboard elements (breaking down one sequence into multiple scenes). Moreover, speaking of being realistic, the director seemed to please the audience too much with SMS language been equated to a language that one uses in writing a proper letter.

There have been a huge lack of coordination between actors, although one may claim it to be intentional or deliberate, at times, this appeared to be cliched. Be it the conversation between the leading actors, or the waiter or when the film ends in color mode with a couple arguing over a bit. Apart from this, the word ‘cappuccino’ could have been used in a much better and intelligent way considering its literal significance which was indeed needed in such a short piece to make indicative statements. This could have been the ultimate charmer in the story. There was indeed no need to bring the couple in the end who appeared to be preposterous indeed; hence, one must say that if one is actually inspired by the French Auteurs, should also refer to Stanislavski once when it comes to directing the actors.

I would be rating it 2 out 5!

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