Every now and then you have one of those days when you float through the day feeling nice. Not awesome, not excited, not even happy. Just, nice. Today was one of those days. Be warned: I’m going to use the word nice thok ke bhao. So, college was nice, went quite smoothly. ASCO organised the award distribution ceremony for the ASCO Radio Awards season 4 (or was it 3?) today which was pretty nice. My friend Rashi won the award for the best RJ! Which was nice. Nice for her because she won. Nice for me because she now owes me a nice treat. Treats are nice. Saw Arrival today in 720p, on one of those nice but illegal free streaming sites. My BSNL connection stayed strong which is nice (not to mention unexpected). The movie was…. you guessed it, nice.
Nope, the movie was brilliant. Perhaps the smartest movie released in ’16. Although to be fair, I haven’t seen La La Land yet. I’m partial to sci-fi and I make no excuses for my bias. Sci-fi is the best, hands down. Coming back to the movie:
The soundtrack was hauntingly beautiful, the direction was crisp, no-nonsense, The absence of sciency gobbledegook was refreshing and it was smart af. I can’t stress that last point enough. An example: The whole concept (and I mean nothing short of the whole concept) of the movie was encapsulated by a part of a dialogue between the main characters of the movie. Words that Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) said to Louise Banks (Amy Adams) in their first encounter inside a helicopter “Language is the foundation of civilisation.” Donnelly quotes from a book “It is the glue that holds a people together. It is the first weapon drawn in a conflict” Banks is unable to hear the words the first time Connelly says it. It’s quite remarkable how this small exchange carries within itself the whole concept of the movie: that communication with extraterrestrials is much trickier than run of the mill sci-fi movies make it out to be. As it turns out language is the ‘weapon’ that the aliens (the Heptapods) wish to gift to mankind. The answers are hidden in plain sight! Another, perhaps the cleverest, thing about Arrival is the leitmotif dominating the entire movie: the hints at the non-linearity of time represented by the non-linearity of the narrative itself. I also liked how scientists, the cogwheels behind machinations of almost every sci-fi, were shoved aside unceremoniously and practically ditched in the favour of a linguist! A linguist powering a science fiction sounds outlandish to my space opera sensibilities. After all even Asimov had to club Mathematics with History to create his ‘magic system’ (Psychohistory) for the Foundation universe. Even so, it was nice to see scientists getting their ass handed to them by a linguist. Go humanities!
Finally, the last thing I feel nice about is this post itself. My first post on what I call the Bear Necessities! I’m determined to publish a post here on a daily basis. Wish me luck!