Fool For Love movie review: Satarupa Sanyal helms a gentle, quiet little film about the wicked ways of love
Fool for Love never becomes anything more than a mood-piece, the film equivalent of chamber music that plays at the edge of your consciousness and vanishes without leaving a trace.
Quite like the old, dark house it’s set in, Fool for Love, the new Large Short Film, appears to belong to another cinematic era. It has the material and narrative furniture to match, and is generously doused in classical and moody pop music. The subject is love, perhaps the oldest one of them all, and features Bittu (Ritabhari Chakraborty) pining away in this house full of beautiful things, all reflecting the absence of her beloved Allen (Anurag Kashyap). Everything is designed and arranged to give off an antique air; even the camera floats dreamily from one room to another. But Fool for Love never becomes anything more than a mood-piece, the film equivalent of chamber music that plays at the edge of your consciousness and vanishes without leaving a trace.
The film begins with Bittu bringing a man home after a date. She asks him to wait in the living room while she goes inside for a bit. She returns to find Allen in the house, standing beside the date, who is squirming away on the floor, tied-up with his mouth taped. Allen is revealed to be her husband, a man perpetually away on dangerous jobs organised by dangerous people. A brief altercation leads to furious lovemaking concluding in tears, the pair going through the motions of a love ravaged by separation.
Kashyap’s relatively recent foray into acting has delivered mixed results. In a film miles away from his filmmaking aesthetic, his performance is regulation at best. He fits snugly into the roguish aspect of his character, but fails to land the charm with equal aplomb. Director Satarupa Sanyal’s uninspired blocking choices leave a lot to be desired, thereby affecting the impact of the lead pair’s performances. The production design, lighting and the warm music sets us up for an immersive experience, but once the pair’s chemistry is hampered, the film starts to wobble.
That said, one must applaud the simplicity that Sanyal strives for, by far the strongest aspect of the film. In the age of ‘content’ lusting after milking contemporary issues in the quickest and driest manner possible, Fool for Love comes as a breath of fresh air. Love can survive the most blunt iterations and hallucinations of misled civilisations. Sanyal’s film might be let down most by the miserably contrived ending, but its intent and contentment with a simple tale of two lovers is laudable.
As it stands, Fool for Love is a gentle and quiet little film about the wicked ways of love. It doesn’t have a lot to say. But that’s hardly an issue. For love makes us question all rational ideas and philosophies without raising its voice. It goes where it wants, does what it feels like. Untrammelled and unsparing in both its blessings and guises, it makes the observer prone to quick judgment and offence. Sanyal paints a picture of the intimate, private vernacular that exists when two people in love are separated by time and distance. It isn’t an easy task. And she fails more than she succeeds, thus making her film seem like it could have fit into a simpler, earlier period. But her film hangs perilously on a promise that may or may not be fulfilled, if it was ever made in the first place. Her use of a tiny detail or two to tease that out makes good on her effort to make a simple, beautiful little film. Had it been matched with better writing and inspired shot-making, it could have been truly edifying fare.
Watch Fool For Love here:
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