Beatriz at dinner – An empath in post trump era !


I think Beatriz at dinner is one of the first films in the post-Trump era, focusing on how an empathetic person feels. We should let people know that it’s ok to be empathetic.
The beauty of watching a movie is by entering into a cinema hall without any burden of liking it or not, as I don’t know much about the filmmaker Miguel Arteta.
Beatriz at dinner, a film I even not heard of yesterday, I was not familiar with the director and writer, the first film of Salma Hayek I ever watched, today, I was mesmerized by watching it.

Check the trailer in link below –

Beatriz at dinner Official Trailer
Without quoting all the beautiful one liners on the internet about this film, In simple language, Beatriz is a story of a Mexican immigrant in California, an immigrant, just like most of the population today are, but she… she is an empath… in a non-empath world. The film follows enigmatic, elegiac Salma Hayek, her journey as a mystic healer from her neglected house bursting with the barks and cheers of animals, to her job at a Santa Monica alternative cancer center, reaching to a dinner night at the County home of a wealthy client, Cathy. (Connie Britton). where she is invited but, not welcomed.


The dinner hosts are Cathy and Grant (Connie Britton, David Warshofsky), whose daughter Beatriz once helped through a bout with cancer. The daughter is now off at university and mom ( Connie Britton ) is now taking massage therapies from Beatriz.
At dinner, another couple in the house is (Chloë Sevigny and Jay Duplass) who are shameless social climbers, make the party slutty, funny and desperate. But it’s not an easy ride.
It’s a subtle, sharp and sublime take on the contemporary times. With pinches of humor, surrealism, and emotions, Beatriz is not a regular American movie.
“Beatriz at Dinner” is written by Mike White. This is Mike and Miguel’s third movie together, after “Chuck & Buck” (2000) and “The Good Girl” (2002), in both of which they refined the art of making an audience jiggle. This smooth, crisp 83-minute dark comedy of different mannerisms, move around characters who do not “belong” at the same gathering. They do not, in fact, appear to belong in the same country. White wrote “Beatriz at Dinner” two years ago, before the establishment of Donald Trump, the current president. The movie, however, feels more like written for the contemporary times. But, it reflects the past too.
It has a satirical approach towards all the contemporary political and social problems whether it’s dying, killing animals, illegal migrations, destroying environment etc.
All the actors perform their part really well.

The way Hayek’s chose to play this character — as a kind of haunted healer — lends itself to some surreal witty moments. Chloë Sevigny and Jay Duplass as a younger, careerist couple bring a fresh and realistic approach to their characters.

John Lithgow, who portrayed a kind of metaphor of President Trump, make the film interesting and witty.



John Lithgow on How His Character Differs from Trump in ‘Beatriz at Dinner
Beatriz at Dinner may look like ending abruptly, but its central clash between healers and destroyers maintains its power long after the credits have rolled.
who we are and Why are we here? What difference can we make? These questions that Beatriz takes seriously. And they will resonate with anyone who has ever considered the troubled state of humanity and felt a deep solitude and grief. The movie’s disturbing conclusion is that the world is full of Doug Strutts ( greatly played by John Lithgow ) And as satisfying as it might be to call them to account, they never really go away.


  • Gursimran Datla
cinema · greatest directors · gursimran datla

“The Commune” – Love is on decline.

The commune is one of the most important and magnificent film I saw this year. 

Thomas vinterberg’s “The commune” is a humorous yet painful portrayal of dis functional marriage and the pain of living together. 

Set in the mid-1970s and loosely based on the vinterberg’s own experiences, film follows the journey of a couple Erik and Anna (Ulrich Thomsen and a magnificent Trine Dyrholm) who decided to opt for community living as they can’t afford to live in their rambling mansion. 
So now the house full different people with different opinions and inclinations, create comic conflicts and dramatic moments which magnificently used to create much deeper subject based on how as human we react. 

Vinterberg comes from the ‘DOGMA 95’ moment and he efficiently used natural lighting to create the story in authentic way yet also gave us some surreal moments. 

There is Melodrama, contradicts among characters. 

This is the art of Thomas Vinterberg that he takes the viewer so close to the reality of certain relationships. The scenes among Erik and his daughter, between Anna and her daughter, between Erik and Anna are well crafted and intensely shot. 

The loneliness, needs and brokenness of a mid age, married, working wife is brilliantly portrayal by Trine Dyrholm. Dyrholm won Best Actress in Berlin for her performance.

I am a great admirer of her since I saw her in Vinterberg’s previous film on similar idea of get together called “The Celebration”. She is so amazing and bring all the layers to her character. The last time Danish director Thomas Vinterberg stuck a bunch of people under one roof in party spirits, and watched the situation implode, was for 1998’s Festen, the Dogme 95 drama

Similarly, Ulrich Thomsen as Erik, equally competitive against her as a lone husband in search of time and support. He find that support in the arms of Helene Reingaard Neumann, who is also married to Vinterberg. She is the most neutral character in the film and her character is responsible in making this film exceptional and unique.

A special mention for ‘Martha Sofie Wallstrøm Hansen’ for her incredible, haunting and cathartic role as Freja. 

Few subplots in the main story give more drama to feel the meeting scenes around table are good metaphors for us to re consider our ways of opinions and judgments. 

To watch trailer click on the link – 

The Commune official Trailer

. “Love is on decline in the world,” a character says in the end is truely went along with the film filled with mesmerizing moments, brilliant performances and marvellous filmmaking.

– Gursimran Datla 


Szymborska and Me.



It’s great to return back to those books, which inspire you in your old times. It’s great to re-open those pages which remind you of certain memories. Human life is made of memories. And we live either to cherish memories or to make some.


At that time, when I was searching blindly for some answers of my being, I found Szymborska. Szymborska’s words hold me, her lyrics hold my breath and calm me down. Her words make me feel the air, the chair, the table, the pillow and the war. At the summer of 46-degree temperature, Szymborska provides my soul, relief. Neither I know her language nor she knows mine but there was something much beyond then words that connects us.

While coming to Toronto from my home country I brought some books with me and Wislawa’s poems were among them. Today almost after a year I turned the pages and found that smell of summer of my home country, that harsh air and that prolonged peace in those pages. I cam smell myself in those pages. ahhhh!

Certainly, this nostalgia is not because I am far away from my home or I am reading good words, but it is because deep down My soul urge to connect with something original, pure, simple and true.


Being displaced from its origin is now the reality of mankind but what is more disastrous is – we are closing the gates of connecting with each other.

I saw a large number of People, who almost completed their half lifetime and still roam in shock, pain and clueless about their lives. Some have no idea and some are ruined by the contemporary conspiracies of war, conflict and civil uprising.

Is man really searching for life on other planets or is he bored from destroying the same one again and again?

Szymborska born in Poland in 1923 and awarded with Nobel Prize in literature in 1966. With Wit and humor, layered with catharsis, she defends individual subjectivity against collect thinking. She is undoubtedly one of the greatest European poets ever lived.

“Cat in an empty Apartment” is one among her most remarkable poem. Some of the lines are –

“Nothing seems different here

But nothing is the same

Nothing has been moved

But there’s more space”.


Now, with a warm cup of coffee, I am reading her another deeply touching and most famous poem is “The End and the beginning” which explore the post-war diaspora. Let me share some lines with you –

“After every war

someone has to tidy up.

Things won’t pick

themselves up, after all….”




Another one which is my favorite is and I think which defines my current stage of life is –  “Writing a resume ” –

“What needs to be done?
Fill out the application
and enclose a résumé.

Regardless of the length of life,
a résumé is best kept short.”

Wislawa Szymborska has written no more than 250 poems. Perhaps this accounts for the fact that almost every poem is a masterpiece.

For Szymborska, the war was a formative experience of youth. The attempt to cope with a collapse of reality is the starting point of her poetry and the foundation of her la search for life. This is shown by one of her early untitled poems, which begins with the words: “We used to know the world inside out”. –

We used to know the world inside out:

It was so small that it fitted into two clenched fists,

So easy, that it could be described with a smile,

As ordinary as the echo of old truths in a prayer.

History did not greet us with a victorious fanfare:

It poured dirty sand into our eyes.

Before us, there were roads, distant and blind,

Poisoned wells, bitter bread.

Our war loot was information about the world:

It is so big that it fits into two clenched fists,

So difficult that it can be described with a smile,

As strange as the echo of old truths in a prayer.


Szymborska’s poetry of war and grieving inspires the poetry of the new generation, thinking in accordance with the directives of socialist realism.


Her poetry brings me back to my present and gives me enough reasons to feel gratitude towards life. Going through her poems is like going through different time periods of my life, different parts of the world, going inside and re-considering our beliefs.


Thank you, Szymborska


  • Gursimran Datla
cinema · film · Uncategorized

Why there are no Bressons, Truffauts, Tarkovaskies and Bergmans anymore ?




The thought behind this article started last Saturday when one of my filmmaker friends asked me a question, in between the conversation on cinema and contemporary filmmakers.

He asked –

Why there are no great storytellers anymore?

Because there are no great lovers anymore.

I replied.

He looked at me and started thinking about it.

So I came home and note down the points which I think are obstacles in the path between films and filmmakers of the current generation.

Here are a few points I think which are the reasons why we don’t have that kind of remarkable storytellers today –

1 – Today – filmmakers have no opinion.

Today’s filmmakers want to play safe. They need money. so they work diplomatically. They don’t want to hurt anyone. They want to be in good books of everyone. They need funds.



They appreciate government and officials, they didn’t resist to their policies, they don’t fight back. Moreover, today’s filmmakers don’t know the reason why they are creating certain stories.

Whereas a storyteller needs to question the contemporary times, environment and society. French filmmaker Jean-Luc-Godard influenced the whole narrative cinema by starting a different wave called french new cinema. He was a true rebel. He thrashed all the technology of so-called studio cinema and invent handheld camera technology. what Godard is to Cinema is what Joyce was to literature and the cubists were to painting. He saw a rule and broke it. Every day, in every movie.




Here is a great link to case study in Godard Cinema –


2 – Today – filmmakers are frightened.

They don’t dare to touch controversial subjects, they get frightened by the particular community, fear of getting banned and caught by police as well as insecurity at the box office. These are the great threats for today’s filmmakers.

They didn’t go all the way to prove their perspective and neither they care about their perspective. And a filmmaker without perspective is a filmmaker wasted. Robert Bresson’s films are a great example of how to use film as a form to narrate your expression to the viewer, without letting them emotionally attached to it. His films are the great example of reflective art.

Here is the link to an essay written by Susan Sontag on the “Spiritual Style in the Films of Robert Bresson” –




3 – Today – All they care is – technology


maxresdefault (1).jpg

Today’s filmmakers spend all their time knowing and updating their anxiety about technology. They have all the information regarding new cameras, tech shows, audio recorders They want to have all the latest equipment but on the other end, they can’t justify their own films, their own film’s shots, and camera movements. They have one reason for that – It looks good.
Beautification and high color grading are killing the essence of cinema.



Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman spend all his life on an Island making films, theater plays and reading. He doesn’t have access to drones and goes pros. Believe me, cinema is much simple.

Here is a link to youtube, a beautiful essay exploring the themes of dreams in Bergman’s minimalist movies –

Today – filmmakers are ‘seller’.

today’s filmmakers spend all their energy in writing grants, impressing producers, giving pitches and attending unwanted film workshops. They present their idea as a product and also open space to manipulate it as producer demands. All they want is to sell their stories.



They want to make “Beautiful shots”

Color correction and Auto-mode on camera are blessings for filmmakers. Now they capture clean neat beautiful shots with high color grading techniques. Naturally, more than the story you see the production value and camera movements.

people still get awestruck by the eight-minute long take in ‘weekend’ movie directed by Godard. Where as Fellini’s La Strada is an epic example of creating the story in an ill-designed world?

Today – filmmakers make noise not sound.

To make their film rich and costly, they try everything. They want to impress everyone. The filmmaker never makes a film to impress anyone, he challenges society. The film should challenge rich and show solidarity with oppressed people.

Quoting Tarkovsky – “Never try to convey your idea to the audience – it is a thankless and senseless task. Show them life, and they’ll find within themselves the means to assess and appreciate it.”
The filmmaker never makes a film to impress anyone, he challenges society. The film should challenge rich and show solidarity with oppressed people.


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So, I will close this article with some fantastic lines by Andrei Tarkovsky. This quote is an excellent answer to what is cinema, why it is not just a medium of entertainment and why do we go to Cinema.





  • Gursimran Datla

10 reasons to watch “A Cambodian Spring” at HotDocs this year.

“A Cambodian spring” is a documentary film by the award-winning filmmaker Chris Kelly. Kelly’s “A Cambodian Soring” portrays the conflict between the citizens of Cambodia and their government — leading to innocent people being driven off of their own land as the nation began to modernize itself.

Here are the ten important reasons why you should must watch this documentary this year at HotDocs Canadaian international documentary film festival. –
1- A Cambodian spring defines the true nature of a documentary filmmaker, without involvement in any particular side and free the viewer to make their own opinions.
2- A Cambodian spring redefines the process of shooting revolution, struggles and marches. The filmmaker didn’t force to provoke the emotions rather keeping them subtle and pure.
3- A Cambodian spring didn’t set someone as a protagonist and antagonist but, follows the process of highs and lows of people who are challenging the system.

4- A Cambodian spring portrays the power of camera, its outreach and how people use technology to spread their voices of struggle.

5- A Cambodian spring gives you are chance to re-constitute west’s definition of development and progress.
6- A Cambodian spring follows the involvement of mothers and their children in a struggle and shows us how it is important for all the genders to come together in struggle.
7- A Cambodian spring exposes the narrow mindedness of religious leaders and how they are used by the governments to implement certain laws.

8- A Cambodian spring is not just the story of Cambodia, but it represent every little struggle fought against land grabbing, illegal acquisitions and oppression of system.

9- A Cambodian spring talks about the layers of human psyche underneath the environment of revolt. Whether its the decision making of a community, fears of an activists or the insecurities of a mother.

10- A revolution is an ongoing process and this film continues the conversation of our systems, beliefs and the concerns for future generation.
That’s how this documentary becomes a must, must watch for everyone around to understand the struggle, revolts, fear and the engagement of people with the people as well as community with the government .
– Gursimran Datla

cinema · greatest directors · Uncategorized

“Cyclo” and Cinema of Tran Anh Hung.

Lat year when I saw “Scent of green papaya” it changed my perspective in storytelling in Cinema. I loved that film and loved the screen-writing and cinematography of that amazing Vietnamese film. The scent of green papaya was directed by Tran Anh Hung, renowned Vietnamese-born French film director. That film was nominated for the best foreign film in Academy awards.


CYCLO (1995) poster 3

Today I saw Cyclo ( 1995 ) another gem film directed by Tran Anh. In fact, Cyclo is the second film of Tran Anh. Cyclo is a story of a young Vietnamese man who struggles through life by earning some money with his bicycle-taxi in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) establishes contact with a group of criminals. They introduce him to the world of drugs and crime. Tran has received an international name and claim for his films, especially his first three films which are entirely based on the lives at his home country. Cyclo won the Golden Lion at 52nd Venice International Film Festival.

Tran is well known to the western audience for his film “Norwegian Wood”, an adaptation from cult novelist Haruki Murakami’s book with the same name.


About Cyclo –

The movie is about an 18-year-old Vietnamese boy who has been orphaned after his father died from a crash. because of the family hardship, the boy has to take over the father’s job, pedaling a rental cyclo around busy streets of Sai Gon city to earn a living. Living with the boy in a small house, there is his old grandfather, who repairs tires, his little sister, who shines shoes for restaurant customers in the neighborhood, and his older sister, who carries water at a local market.



Their poor but peaceful lives are shattered when the cyclo is stolen by a gang. Having no money to pay for the robbed cyclo, the boy is forced to join a criminal organization and is under the supervision of a brooding gang leader, who is also a poet.

Meanwhile, his older sister also comes under the influence of the poet and becomes a prostitute. They develop feelings for each other. She visits his house where he is beaten by his father, who is furious for the profession he has taken. The poet brings the cyclo driver to Mr. Lullaby, who kills a victim by slitting his throat while singing a lullaby.

Ho Chi Minh City is hit by unrest as different gangs start fighting with each other. A truck carrying a helicopter crashes on a busy city-street. The cyclo driver blinds one eye of the man who stole his cyclo, but manages to remain unseen by anyone. He pays another visit to his lady employer to pay a part of his debt, but she refuses and becomes busy with her retarded son who has covered himself with yellow paint.

The poet assigns the cyclo driver the job of murdering a man. His two accomplices give him a gun and teach him how to kill their intended target. They also hand him a bottle of pills to reduce his anxiety but warn him not to take too many. The poet and the cyclo driver’s sister visit his childhood place. He leaves her in a nightclub with a client and she is abused by the man. Both the poet and the man realize their mistakes and the man tries to compensate by bribing the poet with a hefty sum of money. But the poet kills the man and then kills himself by setting fire to the room where he lives.


Meanwhile, the retarded son of the lady is killed when he is hit by a truck. The cyclo driver gets drunk and takes two tablets of the drug he has received from the poet’s accomplices. He becomes hallucinatory in the flat where he has been forced to stay, failing to carry out the job of killing the man. Instead, he covers himself with blue paint and then due to the hallucinations he mistakenly shoots himself twice. The next morning, the members of the gang find him badly injured but still alive, and the lady spares his life despite his failure because he reminds her of her deceased son. She releases him from the gang. The movie ends with the scene of the cyclo driver, still contemplating the memory of his father, driving his cyclo with his grandfather and his two sisters on it through a crowded road of Ho Chi Minh City. – WIKIPEDIA.

The film is very Gritty, depressing, raw and poetic. filled with docu-style, realistic and Sumptuous photography by Benoit Delhomme, who also photographed Tran Anh Hung’s THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA.

In totality, Cyclo is filled with memorable moments, sad moments,  melancholy in the society of under-developing countries, and the daily life struggle of people living in worse conditions. Every city has a forgotten class of people, who exists in pathetic conditions and drive the whole machinery of a city. They do all the labor and menial services. Cyclo is a painting about those areas of the city. Film deals with the philosophy of nihilism and fatlism.

Special mention for the actress Tran Nu Yen Khe, who once again gave a marvelous performance after “The Scent of Green Papaya”.  married to the director Tran Anh Hung. She has been in all his films thus far, with the exception of Norwegian Wood. She is amazing and her performance rips your heart apart.




Cyclo is a must-must-see for cine-lovers.  On the question of working in different languages, Tran hung said –

“I’m dealing with one thing: it’s the language of cinema; it’s a nation by itself,” he says. “So no matter if it’s in English or Chinese, it’s not important. So when you’re working with a French actor or a Japanese actor or a Vietnamese actor, it’s the same thing. We’re talking the same language: the language of cinema. It doesn’t depend on the language that you’re speaking in the movie.”



– Gursimran Datla

( – References – Wikipedia, IMDB. )


क्या तुम सुन पा रहे हो ?

मेरे दोस्त,

क्या तुम संगमरमर के इन बाग़ों में खड़े गोलियों की आवाज सुन पा रहे हो ?

इन गोलियों की आवाज़ ने हवा की सरसराहट को ख़त्म कर दिया है ।

क्या इन संगमरमर के बाग़ों में तुम्हें कोई ख़ुशबू आती है ?

तुमने गुलदौंदी के फूल और संदल के मैदानों को छोड़ कर इन बाग़ों को चुना था ।

अब बताओ 

इन बाग़ों के ऊँचे मीनारों से तुम गोलियों की आवाज़ सुन पा रहे हो ?

क्या तुमने इन मीनारों की दीवारों पर फड़फड़ाते फिरते काग़ज़ के पक्षियों को देखा है ?

कुछ सुना है तुमने ?

गोलियों से शहीद हुए निवासियों की याद में बज रही सरकार की और से धुनें । 🎶📢

विरलाप से ज़्यादा हस्ती हुयी सुनायी पड़ रही हैं ।

वो हँसी सुनी है तुमने ?

मासूम ख़ून से लथपथ एक दीवार गिरती है । 

तो कविता की चार किताबें उसपे लिखी जाती हैं ।

क्या तुम संगमरमर के इन बाग़ों में खड़े इन कविताओं को पढ़ पा रहे हो ?

इन कविताओं ने बरसात की बूँदों का उत्साह ख़त्म कर दिया है।

एक शहर में जब दो अलग अलग आवाज़ें उठती हैं 

तो कई दीवारें गिरती हैं 

और इन दीवारों से निकलती हैं 

गोलियाँ – हवा – बरसात 

तुम संगमरमर के बाग़ों से बाहर आओ 

और उस गरमी को महसूस करो 

जो एक अलग आवाज़ उठने पर पैदा होती है 

कई सावण तुमने इन बाग़ों में काट दिए हैं 

अब कुछ पल संदल के मैदानों में भी गुज़ारो ।

क्या तुम सुन पा रहे हो ? 

– Gursimran Datla