B-Minor: A Short Film

B-minor (B#) or C natural, is a note, is not formally a scale on your regular Piano book, but is always a technically correct possibility when you have an augmented chord played underneath. To someone who is initiated, the name would always suggest a plot within a plot. For someone actually playing Piano, it’s an all white world, or may be getting stuck with the Ninth Symphony. Apparently a steady flow of events is expected that looks stale from afar, but is quite turbulent inside.

And then one fine morning you have an encounter with a short film titled B Minor, directed by someone you almost know, and the film with its entire colour coding, set up, and all looks so un-Indian. The protagonists are Theo and Ana. Just Theo he is, not Theodore or anything else, so that you don’t know whether he is a God’s gift to you, whether a boon or a bane. And given B Minor, you are about to get ready for a twist where it hurts. It’s apparently set in an ambience where Christmas is in the air. Theo was walking up towards the camera, on the left of the road. Ana to, walks up to the camera, on a different road though, and tries to catch a cab. Then a jerk! Theo walks up to the camera, but on the right of the road! When did he cross the road? Why did he cross the road? In the very next scene, one sees him actually crossing the road, from the left to the right this time. James Monaco yawns, and you can’t help him pick up the jaw dropped on the floor!

In the next sequence we find them both at a brasserie/bistro restaurant, the kind you don’t yet find in Calcutta, and the film was shot two years back as the director says. Ana was already present there, and Theo arrives, and the opening dialogue of the entire film is “Now I can see you”. It’s a style of store-telling that begins from the end of it, and is heavily dependent on flashback inserts. So, Ana didn’t see him before, probably conversed over telephone only, and conversed so extensively that Theo knew something had happened to Ana’s ankle. The film’s language is English, the director says since the spoken language is not among the core elements of the art of cinema, it could have been done in any language. English was just another option. But then, was English really an option given the actor Theo? Clearly, Ana was much better versed in English than Theo, and it’s a twist that hurts. And then the augmented chord unfolds in its first movement. Theo is not blind, in fact his eyes and reflex are sharper than the average. He pretends. He pretends to survive, to “sustain” as he insists. Ana guessed that instinctively and probably another lady knew that with certainty. The series of flashback begins, and I am not going into that. Instead I’d urge you to see the film for yourself as shared.

Technically, with a disclaimer that this film was made on a shoestring budget, I find the colour gradation rather Latin American or Spanish. The overall ambience is warm, red and yellow, with sharp contrasting blue/cyan engraving certain characters and movements. Was it shot on a Canon 7D? The colours and saturation suggests so. If so, then the director might use the possibilities a little more lavishly, especially at the last shot – was it a big knife in the hands of that lady? Three frames in focus could have ended the story with less ambiguity. Another issue was, probably for the budget constraint, some shots looked too up close, while a little wider view of the restaurant/bar in flashback might have helped to build the tension more crisply.

The music is immaculate, save one question – what happened to the all-white world? On a guitar, one doesn’t have that luxury. Could we see a grand piano somewhere in the middle? The answer probably is, despite being un-Indian, it’s Indian at the end of the day.

I don’t believe in rating of films (someone on social media rated it 3/5). Every honest film is unique in its own way, and kudos to the team to make it the one of its kind.

Title: B-Minor
Director: Sudipto Roy
Edit: Anirban Maity
Production: JLT Films
Duration: 14:45

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