Good, Bad and the weird.

Its the weirdest thing. I was watching a Korean movie and something popped out as very deep. The exact lines were

“If you chase something to get something, something else will come chasing you.”.

Paraphrasing that, “what you are passionate about is passionate about you too”. It is quite true in a sense (unexplainable unless you’ve been there) and scary. I guess I never realized it in that way but it makes perfect sense. Physically and philosophically…

Now I remember why I watch all these foreign movies …

Thriving on the Precipice

It’s only on the brink that people find the will to change; only on the precipice that we evolve. This is our moment – don’t take it from us.
— The day the earth stood still

Another one of those things that is so right on the point. Its cliched to say ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ but putting it in different words as above lends new meaning and purpose.

I’ve learnt that all best thoughts have already been said before. And that’s why I am proud to do my re-search. And it is why I thrive on great quotes. Kudos to the great minds before and after me.

Without that final edge, how mundanely bleak an occurrence this would be. And with or without an external change, it really is about time to rethink the possibilities…

The Wrestler

Again, Aronofsky, that insane mind of his came up with the right edge to cut through the crass in my mind. It is a beautiful movie. On the surface, it is a story about a washed out wrestler, at his nadir, hoping to redeem himself of his past mistakes. But time heals, hardens and keels the right and wrong decisions of one’s life. When Randy the ‘Ram’ realizes that he is alone, as all of us are at the end of the day in facing facts of life, he turns to the one thing he is passionate about, even if eventuality dictates his death.

And that is breath-taking. Not just because it portrays every other man’s life in essence, but it proves the validity of one my favorite sayings:

Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness.
— Thomas Carlyle

No matter how much I try to divert myself in other activities, it always comes back to yielding satisfaction from my work. It is trivial in the bigger picture, I understand, but without something as pure, what could appease a mind in chaos ? It cannot be money, or power, or a woman or even heaven. They seem like a burden even and portray a muddled picture.

And such is the power of a good movie. It provides the reason to introspect without which, humans would still be apes. Imagination IS more important than knowledge. Thanks AL.

Thoughts on a requiem.

‘Requiem for a dream’. I don’t know whether it is my love for Aronofsky’s movies or whether the concept of it. Or the soundtrack he masterfully selects to haunt in the background. But I see most subtle beauty in it when all I’ve heard is bleak, depressing after thoughts from people seen it through their eyes. Given that it is not the feel good movie of the decade, it has a certain elegance in its portrayal of the human affliction in essence, to please, to be addicted, to feel life, to earn, and to survive. There are no depressing thoughts in this world, only ones that give you a fresh perception of better days. And often, this is unrealized, tangled in facades of transient pleasures, leaving us to choke when the cusp of life faces your naked mentality.

Without lateral thoughts, without necessity, without pain, what a dull life this would be. Experiment. Lose yourself. And fight hard to find yourself. The search, inevitable, the only path to realization.

It was not “Lost in translation”

The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.
– Bob.

Beautifully put. A powerful thought in crisp and simple english. Feynmann would have loved it !

Btw, if you haven’t seen “Lost in Translation” do me a favor and watch it. There is nothing to regret there. When I find a lot of free time, I want to find a serene place in India or US or Nam or China or Japan even and spend a week, talking only to strangers…

Avatar – A visual treat

Saw Avatar today and was blown away by the cinematography and special effects. The story itself was almost predictable yet very distinct from the usual junk I’ve seen recently. Although it does remind one of ‘Dancing with the wolves’, the Avatar takes it to a whole new extent, a realm beyond mere physical restrictions, to capture the harmony of every life on a planet, a symbiosis, a reminder of what this Universe might be. String theorists and philosophers alike are trying to find the link that connects us all, human and plants, living and extinct, visible and the intangible. And here, another stark reminder that we are probably probing in the wrong dimensions.

Anyway, this is definitely the best movie I’ve seen this year… Wait, when did the ‘Dark Knight’ premiere ? I guarantee that it is bound to get couple of academy awards and will revolutionize many a movie to come.

I have to watch it again, may be in IMAX 3D now to catch the subtleties I missed the last time.

Unexpected, a quote.

I was watching TV, working on my code, not paying any attention to what was going on. And I look up and hear Achilles say,

I’ll tell you a secret. Something they don’t teach you in your temple. The Gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.

Beautiful. ‘Troy’, a movie that is pretty normal in most aspects IMO, packed a dialogue so intense, so true and elegant. I cannot even begin to express my appreciation in mere words, on the subtlety this transcends. It was like poetry…

Sita Sings the Blues

If you haven’t heard about this, then take some time to watch `Sita Sings the Blues`. It is an animated feature film, written and directed by Nina Paley. After watching a few scenes, you will notice that it has primarily been done with just 2D CG effects only.

Of course, if you do not understand the background, it is based on an Indian epic `Ramayana`. The epic is the story of Rama, an Avatar to symbolize the perfect human, the perfect son, the perfect brother, the perfect king and follows his struggles with ethics and societal morals to do everything right. His wife Sita is another symbolism for the perfect wife who abides by her husband’s word and loves him immaterial of the inflictions and abuse she undergoes as a result of Rama’s pledge to uphold virtue. In simpler words, she is the epitome of womanliness emphasized throughout ancient Indian literature.

The movie though is based on this tale, is focused on the jazz music of Annette Hanshaw. And it has also been released under the Creative Commons share-alike license.

For those Indians who take offense to the depictions of Sita as a busty, gloomy woman, please relax and enjoy the animation and retelling of the epic tale with a different twist. Now grab some snacks, go to the site and enjoy.

Watch “Sita Sings the Blues” on Reel 13.

1) Official site
2) Wikipedia article

Movie – PI

This is one of the best movies in a long time. I once told one of my friends that i loved and adored “Requiem for a Dream” and the way it has been directed. Some thought i was crazy and some thought i was going to end up as a deranged maniac. But i believe that movies like that pushes the human mind above the ordinary and makes us think beyond the surreal. This movie, “PI” is based on such an extraordinary theme that i regret having waited this long to see it. It was a low-budget film released in 1998 that won the “Best Director” at Sundance Film Festival. The gritty, inventive black-and-white photography drives this story of genius mathematician Max Cohen who is exploring the possible existence of discernible patterns in the stock market. I actually found this review about the movie quite interesting and close to what i felt. Here it is.

There was a brief period in my life when I was obsessed with the universal constant Pi just as much as Max Cohen (Sean Gullette) was obsessed with finding the number that was the answer to the universe in Pi. That period was during my last undergraduate semester, where we devoted our efforts to estimating Pi to as many digits as possible for our Numerical Analysis class, which culminated in a conceptual painting about the irrational.Pi isn’t about the mathematical constant 3.1415926…, representing, among many other things, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diametre. The movie is about the deranged and beautiful quest of one person in search of the truth, the answer to the universe. The plot is a common one in science fiction: a phenotypic “aberration” in the brain causes the protagonist to develop special abilities that makes him sought after and feared. In this particular cases, Max acquires a deep grasp of number theory. With his assumptions, that mathematics is the universal language, that number theory can represent everything in nature, and that there is a pattern in everything that occurs in this universe, he sets about trying to find it in the stock market.

After him are people who are interested in his stock market analyses for monetary purposes, and more strangely, a group of Rabbis who are convinced the same pattern of numbers is the key to their salvation. However, Max is the only one who can understand the semantics of the 216 digit number that is key to the universal lock, a plot device that I thought was truly brilliant. In the end, Max succeeds on his quest, but what he understands is never revealed to us. What he sees however is catalyst enough for him to inflict a lobotomy upon himself.

Today, many scientists (including myself) are on the same quest that Max is, and most don’t need to be as obsessed to find what they’re looking for. As demonstrated several times over the course of humanity’s existence, there is indeed an explanation for a lot of things we see in nature. That is, at least a conceptual level, there do exist patterns that can be written out as mathematical equations. This is particularly true given the discoveries this centuries involving relativity, quantum mechanics, and the subsequent biological and computing revolutions. But the search for the Grand Unified Theory continues.

Even though the movie isn’t directly about Archimedes’ constant, Pi is indeed an excellent solution to Max’s problem. That constant is ubiquitous in our world today, popping up every so often, in a seemingly independent manner. Besides its strong presence in geometry, Pi appears in various equations throughout mathematics (especially certain infinite series) and even in places where you wouldn’t necessarily expect it to at first intuition. For example, the Buffon needle problem: what is the probability that a needle of length 1, thrown at random on a plane divided by parallel lines 1 unit apart, will land in such a manner that it crosses a line (2/Pi)? What is the probability that two integers chosen at random have a common factor exceeding one (6/Pi^2)?

Unlike many independent films, Pi actually has a fairly coherent, albeit obscure, plot. The cinematography is excellent as well. Filmed completely in black and white, with obscure and surreal settings, the movie tries very hard to brings the audience to the edge of the abyss that is Max’s mind. The acting by Sean Gullette is highly convincing. The electronic music (courtesy of Clint Mansell of Pop Will Eat Itself) is top-notch. The movie is definitely worth the approximately Pi * e dollars I paid for it and I highly recommend checking it out at a local independent theatre near you.

via Believe me, you wont regret it if you are as crazy as me.