Good cinema can captivate us long enough to make us think about greed and grime
- Michael Douglas, who famously played an advocate of greed, won the Satyajit Ray Award at IFFI. Incongruent? That’s cinema doing what it must: stirring up emotions and thought.
Incongruity, thy name is cinema. Audio- visual imagery has this tick, possibly traceable to human evolution: It tends to stick in our heads. This may explain why deepfakes bother us more than verbal lies. In a cine context, this stickiness can make space for irony. There’s no better example than what we saw this week at the 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held in Goa to celebrate world cinema. On Tuesday, the American actor-producer Michael Douglas was conferred with the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award. The honour duly set off a shutterbug frenzy for media coverage; past winners, we heard, include Dilip Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Martin Scorsese and Bernardo Bertolucci. And Douglas, 79, spoke highly of Ray, whose work he said he’d studied back in college, hailing Ray’s “cross-cultural artistic expression." The award itself was indeed richly deserved. As an actor, Douglas had us on edge over an affair gone wrong in Fatal Attraction, cringing with jaws dropped over marital discord in The War of the Roses, and riveted to our seats over a murder foretold in Basic Instinct. As a producer, we must thank him for The China Syndrome, above all, a movie about individual bravery to expose the truth. And yet—blame sticky synapses—all these fade in the face of his role as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.