The Cloud Door (1994, Mani Kaul)

Lovely, colorful 30-minute movie. Main character is a ringneck parakeet who escapes from a lonely princess, flies away to be captured by Irfan Khan (he’s asleep and has no lines). The bird, who speaks as fakely in Hindi as Hollywood parrots do in English, convinces a pretty goth boy to release it and leads him to the princess. Sensual-looking movie, with more bare breasts than I’ve seen in an Indian movie before, and a longer-held close-up on a navel than I’ve seen in any movie. Katy didn’t get it, and NY Times agreed, calling the movie: “a succession of brightly colored images that almost tell a story.” Somehow this is based on three different literary sources, despite its short length and basic story. I’ve read that Mani Kaul was a great artist, never checked him out before.

From Upperstall’s bio: “undoubtedly the Indian filmmaker who along with Kumar Shahani has succeeded in radically overhauling the relationship of image to form, of speech to narrative, with the objective of creating a ‘purely cinematic object’ that is above all visual and formal.”