Chennai RTFF Gangster Night

Last night I attended my 2nd Chennai Rooftop Film Festival (RTFF). For those of you who don’t know about it, it’s an informal movie club where a bunch of guys gather on a rooftop and spend all night watching cinema and relishing it. Every month the genre changes and there’s a new curator. This month the curator was Thilak and he presented the Gangster genre.

This time the venue was back to Corporation Bank’s rooftop after the fiasco that happened to Musical Night. The number of mattresses were limited though and five of us shared two mattresses (male bonding). Thilak started the night off with the pilot from Boardwalk Empire, directed by Martin Scorsese and it was a movie in and of itself. Truly brilliant acting, writing and production design, it makes me want to go through the series (after Mad Men, of course, because Nucky Thompson is not as cool as Don Draper).

After the 75 minute episode, we took a break and then switched to a Korean gangster flick called The Yellow Sea, directed by Hwanghae, also the director of one of my favorite Korean movies, The Chaser. The Yellow Sea starts off very well, where the protagonist Goo-Nam is given an assignment to assassinate someone in order to get his debt repaid. The story follows how his assignment and its aftermath. I actually thought that the movie wasn’t really a gangster film, and more of a crime thriller, but then again I was corrected by the others after the movie. I still don’t accept their logic…

During The Yellow Sea, our guest for the night showed up. Director Vishnuvardhan has helmed a bunch of Tamil gangster movies and so he seemed apt for the event. Questions were posed to him and his brother Krishna was also at hand to answer a few questions.

After The Yellow Sea, we switched to my favorite film of the night: Once Upon A Time In America, Sergio Leone’s gangster epic, clocking at 229 minutes long. It follows the story of Noodles, played by Robert De Niro, and how he and his buddies got to being gangsters and why Noodles betrayed them. Towards the end of the movie, daylight started to render the movie virtually impossible to view, so we gathered around a laptop and I dubbed James Woods lines while some other guy dubbed Robert De Niro’s.

All in all, it was a fun night and Thilak did a good job of organizing it. Hope to stay awake through another edition of RTFF with some more exciting films.

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