The irony of cinema or How I was saved from Happy Feet that couldn’t dance

Okay. This could be risky, tricky. Confessions always are.

I have never told anyone that I do not like Happy Feet.

I have never told anyone that I actually hate Happy Feet.

It’s like the Harry Potter films, looks good but is fundamentally cheap, a yawn is more interesting than it. I mean the documentary – The march of the penguins, from which Happy feet was “inspired” – was far more engaging. A documentary is more engaging than an animation. Not only its a compliment to the documentary, it’s a tight slap on the perfect pathetica that the animation was. It won a political oscar, but, honestly each of its competitors were far more eligible. To its credit (just like the HP filmografia), the CGI was great. Still, Happy Feet was lame. It could not dance.

Enough Happy Feet bashing. This post is a confession, not a complaint.

I got chatty with Ms G at the office yesterday evening. We ended up talking about movies (as I invariably end up doing when talking to any one for any length of time). Harry Potter and the curse of the boring flick came up. From there we moved on to other films that we found boring…and I confessed about ‘it’.

It was supposed to be a Lord Of the Rings night, a great-ey late-ey date-ey night. A gaggle of good men held cold beers and conversation, waiting for other geese to join in. Others came and flew out too fast. A few kids were left behind, bouncing around, playing with toys. I was one of them. Somehow a Happy Feet dvd replaced the LOTR extra giant DVD collective. A few girls chuckled how they really liked Happy Feet (they might as well’ve liked Harry Potter movies, I think some of them do. I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry).

To my embarassment, I joined in. I said, not only loudly, but clearly too, that Happy Feet was nice, in fact I really liked it (In reality, I had never been able to finish the whole movie). G giggled. Some of them chimed the dialogue as it got said on screen. All this while I was thinking about the long night ahead. I was already sleepy with boredom and did not want to embarass myself by falling asleep watching a movie that I had so vocally advocated a few minutes ago. Dunno why I said I liked it. Was I trying to be nice? polite? non-comittal? testing the waters? being an ass? (probably all of them?) – can’t say. Everyone there was older, wiser and nicer that me. All I remember is that I was feeling intimidated – with partial loss of judgement and total loss of intestinal fortitude.

So anyway, Happy feet on screen, me feeling sleepy, Ms G giggling. The night was almost going to be a disaster when something-serendipity happened. An idea exchange took place. A conversation started. Mr A switched off the flick, sipped on cold gold, sat on a chair and started saving me – one idea at a time.

I have never thought of conversations or exchange of ideas with the same aesthetic as I have thought of flims, stories, plays and music. It was the second time in as many weeks that I realized, I should’ve thought of conversations as I think of films, stories, plays and music. Eyes wide open, we gibbered, gabbered, gamed, word volleys, idea knock outs, penalty stroke repartee – drinks got sipped and the night was saved. I was saved and happily so.

I learnt two things that night:

1. Conversations are art too. Not all, but some. When they are, it totally awesome.

2. Penguins do it with beaks in Happy Feet (it’s crazy, you should see it – Mr Dancing Penguin finally getting some action out of Ms Singing Penguin – all beaks and bad breath)

Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for lying. I was not being disrespectful or cheeky or pretentious or phony. I was scared and overwhelmed by the presence of a few good men (of both the sexes).

In our chatty last evening, Ms G pointed out that probably, “that” night was not the right gathering for a film like LOTR. My opinions of LOTR not withstanding, what struck me was the irony.

G reminded me of the irony of cinema – there is no “right” gathering for a film, even with dancy penguins in it. It is all in something-serendipity. It happens over the worst films and doesn’t happen with the best ones.

Watching a film is a very personal experience. Alone, in the dark, mesmerized by the moving images. I’ve never had the happy-happenstance of having had someone who could see it happening alongside me. Its rare to find one who actually feels a film the same way as you, rarer to have a gathering collect, gawk at it, then talk of it. And still, the elusive-search continues…

Unlike cinema, it’s irony is real.




P.S: This post is not there to offend, but to amend-emend. I am sorry if you feel hurt, you can probably hurt me back by bothering me in the middle of a nice film. I promise I will endure the torture.