- Directed by Anugat Raj -
Authors of classical literature have used a lot of ink on the familiar topic of the “author.” It’s something deeply related with the unconscious, and whoever has been involved in a creative process will know very well what we are talking about. Pages 321 Part-1 take off with an effective line from a writer, which states: “I write to express. I write to impress. I write for me. I write for you all. But here, there’s another life from the dark part of my fantasy….” He’s just given birth to his main character, a man whose life has been very strange and shady.
The first interesting theme of the story is the alter ego. The actor who plays the writer is the same one who plays the fictional character. We could call this an alter ego, and we’d be right in a certain way. Even though the writer creates the character, the latter is “something” that lives for itself and as a matter of fact, it will survive its own creator. One of the most powerful portrayals of this dualism is contained in the theatre play, “Six characters in search of an Author,” by the Italian Nobel Prize writer Luigi Pirandello. This emphasises, in a very deep and complex way, the relationship between authors, their characters, and theatre practitioners. More or less the same principles are applied to the renowned line of Jessica Rabbit in “Who framed Roger Rabbit”, when she says: “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way”. However we don’t know anything about the drawer, but everything about her.
So, author and character are deeply linked, and totally separated at the same time. So far the director’s style seems to be uniform, and irrespective of some debatable choices, for example, the too long introduction sequence, the short flows well. Unfortunately, about two thirds of the way in, the author’s character performs a very strange and silly dance, followed by the pop song “Mambo No.5”. This sequence undermines the plot and breaks the emotional link with the audience.
The ending, it’s really not an ending, clearly suggests that part two is going to be realised or released. Technically speaking, there are few things to be underlined. The black and white photography could have been extremely effective, if tailored to each different scene. The devil is in the details, and we guess he’s a bit more evil in the “darkness”. The actor's performance is good, the cinematography a bit rough, and the sound sometimes insufficient and hard to hear.
All in all, the short works, and to some degree we want to praise the director for the courage he had in developing such a complicated topic.