MEGACITIES // A Short Note on Michael Glawogger
Watching Austrian film maker Michael Glawogger’s documentaries is a bit like seeing a storyteller using art to provoke, disturb & yet be mesmerized. His films take the viewers up, close & personal into the lives of people struggling at perilous margins of the modern world. While many might find his films “unpalatable”, I find it an exhilarating experience, unraveling what Glawogger calls “human beauty” that humanize and enriches his stories. Glawogger uses a mix of approaches such as – observational style, cinema verité, edgy acts of incitement, reenactments & restaging of scenes while telling his stories.
With his “Globalization Trilogy” Megacities, Working Man’s Death & Whores’ Glory, Glawogger takes us through, a rather complex layering of shock, beauty, thoughtfulness & empathy. We, at The Root Reel have been screening documentaries from across the world & were delighted to join hands with IDF (Indian Documentary Foundation) & bring Glawogger’s films to cine lovers in Mumbai. We are also inviting a guest speaker from the documentary film fraternity to share their insights to the films – through these engaging post screening sessions; we hope to broaden the idea of cinematic perceptions & help the audience reflect upon not just the themes but also take back a certain sense of film making techniques & methodology that are implied while telling a story.
Megacities – A Short Review
Made more than a decade back, MEGACITIES is a strange yet impressionistic urban anthropology, more like a jagged juxtaposition of twelve episodes that unfold the stories of survival. It travels through Bombay, Mexico City, Moscow & New York ~ documenting the tales of invisible people trying to survive within miserable conditions. One encounters the dye worker from the slums of Bombay, the garbage pickers who are barked upon in the streets of Mexico City, ‘Cassandra’, the stripper who lets the men ogle, grope & bite her with joy, the drug addict-hustler in the mean streets of New York, the run-away boys in Moscow underground… each unfolding into an act of survival & a story of human existence.
It’s difficult to “Like” Megacities, it leaves you unsettled & even claustrophobic at times ~ yet, it’s a reflection of life around us, which we mostly pretend not to see. On another level, the film is a visual poetry, sad yet soulful ~ resonating the slow decay within urban lives & the relentless spirit to survive. Captured brilliantly on film by fellow Austrian cinematographer, Wolfgang Thaler – Megacities leaps in rich saturated colors & drowns in cold grainy textures ~ a treat to those searching for beauty in the most unfamiliar of places.
As a part of the Trilogy, The next screening is of Working Man’s Death | 26th of Feb | Alliance Francaise Auditorium | Mumbai.
Followed by Whores’ Glory on 22nd March