Shifting scapes

: The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson)

As gradually as the way the storyline and characters develop, and quietly as the director’s knack for carefully placed idiosyncratic moments, offbeat and melancholic at times- The Darjeeling Limited was a film that grew on me.

Amidst a colourful landscape and spiritual scape of India, the film traces the reunion of the Whitman brothers, their subsequent spiritual journey together that veers off-course into a series of unexpected events. Bill Murray’s (Lost in Translation) weirdly brief appearances at the beginning and end of the film seemed almost like visual tabs that concocts that quiet, offbeat yet strangely affective atmosphere that was brewing in the entire film.

This film also stood out in the director’s manipulation of space, light and matter, creating many visually memorable moments.  The camera pans across a scene where the train compartments were used as receptacles to contain the lives of random characters, individually placed and framed in set ups that varies from a bedroom with a window to a flight on board a plane that is about to take off (my personal favourite). MARK magazine (April/May) also featured an article ‘The Darjeeling Narrative’ which describes the director’s staged choreography as a powerful story-telling device-

The arrangement of the three main characters in the midground with staged relatives and scenery in the foreground and background creates visual depth and parallax, as if watching an animated version of a vast Renaissance painting portraying several stories by travelling from one side of the painting to the other. Such a well defined composition creates a moment of real emotion that engraves in our memory.

The soundtrack was enjoyable, suitably offbeat for the film and forbearing (for me) as well- this particular song by The Kinks would put anyone straight in a travel mood!

“This Time Tomorrow”, The Kinks

Till then!

frantically packing, somewhat.


4 responses to “Shifting scapes

  1. I enjoyed the long camera cuts where it panned through the entire scenes, each with elaborately set up characters and props. Neato!

  2. yep that was the the scene that was memorable for me as well.
    took notice of the choreographed funeral scene only after I chanced upon the article in the magazine and I thought that’s really cool too!

  3. sounds like lots of attention has been placed on the mise en scene… ok i will watch it soon!

  4. yup! when u’re free and all settled. i have it!

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