Movie: 13 [Tzameti] (2005)

Language: French

Director: Géla Babluani

Genre: Thriller / Drama

Rating: 7 /10

Tzameti

One of the better things that I didn’t do with Tzameti, fortunately, was…read up on it (as I usually do), before I went in to see it. All I knew about it was that it was French, has reaped many an award, and that it had a run time of 90 odd minutes. What I didn’t know was its writer/director Gela Babluani was just 26 years old when he made the film, it was done so on a shoestring budget (he got his own bro to act…and got it right with George Babluani) and that it was his debut film. Over the years, watching many a films, have made me realize that I had a thing for debutants…I would have begun to see movie with an elevated sense of respect, had I known that beforehand…

The very first set of questions that hits one:
1) What does Tzameti mean?
2) Why was it made in black & white?

The first one is google-able…13 in Norwegian is what it stand for.
The second is not so easy to find…everything from low budget to film noir inspirations to a clinical treatment has been attributed to the use of B&W. I thought it was deliberate…perhaps to take the focus off the extreme blood and gore that forms an integral part of this and let the script take centrestage, or simply…to be different. But I see that there is something going on with the French rediscovering B&W, with French animation industry forking out Renaissance, acting as a reiteration. But, what B&W did end up doing for Tzameti was something that even the best of colors and FX could not have done…make the film extra dark, gloomy and effective with reference to the script. This was one director…who knew exactly how to deal with the script ;)!

13 Tzameti

What stands out, and makes Tzameti Tzameti…is the plot. Nail biting…makes you sit upright in your seat and say….WTF :O!!! Through the initial 30 odd minutes of the film…one thinks, “Hell…where’s the thriller in this Thriller movie?” And then it happens…the thrill…the chill and the reason for all those myriad awards. A get-rich-quick scheme gone horrendously awry is the basic theme of the film. The entire thing explodes in one instance, your jaw drops, hits the floor and then the film slips into its aftermath. Here’s where the movie failed according to me…while the ‘well-left-alone’ aftermath was what hit it big with some critics. I have always been driven by good scripts…and to me Tzameti was just a good plot. There was no sustenance that was provided to that initial Wow effect…and the story eventually dwindled to predictability.

I had a post movie discussion with a friend of movie, who is a great movie freak in himself and he was evidently enamored by the Babluanis and Tzameti. When I told him about the lacking gratifying feel of the film as a whole, I came in for some good natured sarcasm, for the fact that I didn’t appreciate the movie as it was  I got told off by saying that, “ You would have preferred a Brad Pitt.” What he didn’t understand was that I never had no problem with the actors…I had no problems even with the film…I just thought that somewhere along the way Gela could have sat a little longer with his script, and concocted a well construed finale, which needn’t have been a twist…but something more palpable than a half-hearted revenge!

All said and done…a good movie…and a grand debut!!!

                                            The Crime

The Morning-

Markus, Cane:

The soft mound lay inviting,
Casting its ultimate seduction.
Its heady essence played with my senses.
I reeled…elevation!

The unsheathed razor caught the glint in my eye,
And ached for my human touch,
A divine blood rush fuelled me.
The cuts delved deep!

Blood dripped unaware,
A nonchalant wipe and then a snort.
The kill had been made
A quenched Bacchus revelled!

The Afternoon-

Lawson, Annabelle:

The crime scene lay stark,
The media hadn’t bothered
Just the usual, not exactly prime-time stuff.
I sighed…another junk, another file!

The spoils of the sin laughed in my face.
The blood had dried,
But it still hung in the powdery air,
Like mist…ever so common!

Relief, elation missed me,
Now,the wrong never could be put right!
The arrest had been made; not by the law,
But by the Higher Order!

The Night-

Lawson, Annabelle:

I see you writhe, I do!
I could have made it worse!

Markus, Cane:

Dream on; you couldn’t, if you tried.
My wounds were always salted!

Lawson, Annabelle:

You are just a statistic, in the end
The next one shall pay more!

Markus Cane:
Pay for what?? And how much more???
Born into a sin…in a sin, I die!
That’s my right…that’s my epitaph…that’s my life!

Grass

Evening was setting down over the jungle. The cacophonous surrounding was getting noisier by the minute. While some beings scampered away to get to the recluse of their homes, some went about soaking the setting sun, while others went about unleashing their shiny fangs and ventured out for nocturnal hunts. Everything was so typical…the jungle was all alive.

The herd was getting impatient. They trampled about and made noises that ripped the dusky skies. But they hung about…The laws forbade them to move on home, just as yet. The were waiting for the signs from up above. That was the way of the jungle…you live by rules, or else you die. You had to read into everything…omens…weather… nature. You never know, which wrong move could end in a death. Even through their impatience, this knowledge was evident, as they toyed about the unseen boundaries that separated the open lands from the present dusty environs. The invitation to zip zap zoom across the open was an invitation that even the most experienced of the herd members have difficulties to heed to. So great and overpowering is that essence of freedom that many yearn for it and in that tiny moment of unawareness, they fall prey to the killers waiting in the shadows. The young and the juvenile often bear the brunt of this sudden impulse and turn into mere statistics, at the end of the day.

That day was no different. Some of the elders were there on the look-out, at the edge of the boundary. There was an air of discomfiture all about …they kind one feel that something bad is on the cards. The elders sensed it too, as they kept turning around and looked in frustration at the grunting beasts. Then it happened…a kid, from the back of the herd, ran wild…he sped and ran towards the opens…

The attack was swift. He jumped from behind a tree off the plains. The kid hadn’t seen it coming. In a matter of minutes he was under the paws of the carnivore. The kid struggled…but was soon overpowered by the might of the beast. The herd looked on and sighed. The other kids who were about to follow their comrade…stopped dead in their tracks… Not one came to his rescue…the herd members were very strict about the laws of the herd, and the consequences of violating them were extreme. From where they stood they could see the kill in process. It was a gory scene. The kid pleaded and yelped in pain…but the vicious carnivore pawed away…and satiated its unending hunger. Its rotund body was proof enough to the kills he has been making off late. Meanwhile the herd had started moving…as they trundled along, they glanced at the death scene…the kid had gone limp…the beast had a contemptuous look on his face that doubled into a wily grin. The herd ran full steam ahead…

The traffic policeman, made his way back to behind the lone tree, waiting for his next victim.

Did you feel anything at all the last time you zapped a mosquito, when you swatted the fly away or yelled, “This is Sparta” and stomped on a roach? Well…I didn’t…and in all its probability you didn’t either. Because the human tendency with respect to all such beings like ants, mosquitoes, flies, roaches, pesky rodents and other creepy crawlies is…“You Dieeeeeee!”

I read somewhere that people have a fear of snakes, lizards and all things who survive a few inches from the ground, because of a psychological reason. Their subconscious reminds them that…these squirlies used to rule the planet once…you don’t wanna see them do that again. Why am I telling you all this…well…that ‘cause I witnessed something that changed my belief about destiny, life, death and everything related to survival. And the most surprising thing of all…it didn’t take a human to explain all that to me…it was done so by a 3-incher-off-the-ground!

I met Henry in a storybook that I had read as a kid. He was a mouse…and had left a lasting impression on me. I fail to remember the story now…but I had loved it…the reason was the fact that I still remember his name. The storybook was later sold off and probably had changed many a hands, I grew up, my dad got transferred…we shifted.
I met Henry.

Henry

I was in 6th grade then and I had woken up one morning to take the ritualistic early morning leak. Post routine…it was the sound of the flush that actually woke me up.(It continues!) It was then that I noticed that a bucket semi-filled with water had a tiny mouse in it, struggling to get out. It looked at me with beady eyes…and I am sure he saw death in me…and that its tiny heart thumped a few million times that very moment. I was aghast. I don’t know how long he had been struggling in that bucket. But, I could see that he had not stopped for one instance. I knew that rats and mice could swim, the question was how long! My fogged-up head just told me one thing…Henry needed help! I went ahead and woke up my father…and told him of the situation. He accompanied me and saw the plight of that poor mouse. He quickly grabbed a mug that was lying nearby and the scooped the wet furry Henry into it. It lay there…shivering and breathing heavily…He then asked me to take the mug and let Henry out in the open. I quickly ran out side with Henry, gently tipped the mug and released him. It was an awesome feeling, while it lasted…

Henry…had scampered about 3-4 feet from me…I watched in extreme happiness. He stopped as if to thank me, and we had this silent conversation. In one fleeting moment, a black crow sweeped across and mercilessly flew away with Henry in its beak. I was mortified …to stunned to do anything. In utter exasperation …I threw stones…but my teeny arms were too weak. I felt great pangs of guilt rise within me. I felt betrayed…but I guess it was infinitesimal compared to the betrayal that Henry might have felt!

Both Henry and I knew…that we were seeing each other for the last time. I cried.

.In Memory

Words

Mind…Eye…Espy…
When…How…Why…
Swim …Walk…Fly…
Laugh…Smile…Cry…

Questions…Answers…Reactions…
Creation…Divination…Factions…
Evolution…Manifestation…Tractions…
Wonder…Blunder…Actions…

Come one lonely moment, they run about making noises;
Simple words, complex choices; structured Brownian voices.

Sleep…Eat…Weep…
Weep…Eat…Sleep…
Grow…Throw…Heap…
Crawl…Bawl…Leap…

Gentle…Soft…Adorable…
Silent…Noisy…Psycho-babble…
Clean…Soiled…Adaptable…
Sane…Human…Stable…

Least when you expect it, they jump out at you;
You reflect, you deflect, till common sense bids adieu.

School…Teens…Education…
Teacher…Exam…Tension…
Homework…Mischief…Probation…
Puberty…Crushes…Experimentation…

Gregarious…Loner…Survivor…
Identity…Existence…Examiner…
Loser…Indifferent…Winner…
Leader…Follower…Pushover…

You think, you know them, you do, but you don’t;
You try and understand them, you will, but you won’t.

College…Graduate…Courses…
Lectures…Knowledge…Forces…
Love…Drugs…Sources…
Ants…Sloths…Horses…

Confident…Confused…Doper…
Dreamy…Psychedelic…Hangover…
Achiever…Sedentary…No-hoper…
Somber…Sober…Ogre…

They come in like gibberish, they end so too;
In between they play their part, they go on and define you.

PG…Idle…Work…
Study…Sleep…Lurk…
Earn…Spend…Berserk…
Intellectual…Nobody…Jerk…

Jaded…Faded…Traded…
Thirsty…Unfed…Satiated…
Beaten…Thrashed…Hated…
Magnanimous…Magnificent…Truncated…

Many a million are they, but a few is what it takes;
You may have born a man, but they make the man you make.

Profound…Shallow…Subliminal…
Proud…Plain…Superficial…
Nebulous…Glorious…Infinitesimal…
Classy…Civilized…Animal…

Money…Power…Wealth…
Manipulations…Control…Stealth…
Oxygen…Wasted…Breath…
Birth…Life…Death.

What better than the All Fool’s Day to talk sense…

Here Goes Perfect Sense:

Perfect Sense

The monkey sat on a pile of stone
And he stared at the broken bone in his hand
Strains of a Viennese quartet rang out across the land
The monkey looked up at the stars
And he thought to himself
Memory is a stranger
History is for fools
And he cleaned his hands in a pool of holy writing
Turned his back on the garden and set out for the nearest town
Hold on hold on soldier

When you add it all up
The tears and the marrowbone
There’s an ounce of gold
And an ounce of pride in each ledger
And the Germans kill the Jews
And the Jews kill the Arabs
And the Arabs kill the hostages
And that is the news
And is it any wonder that the monkey’s confused
He said Mama Mama, the President’s a fool
Why do I have to keep reading these technical manuals
And the joint chiefs of staff
And the brokers on Wall Street said
Don’t make us laugh, you’re a smart kid
Time is linear
Memory’s a stranger
History is for fools
Man is a tool in the hands
Of the great God Almighty
And they gave him command of a nuclear submarine
Sent him back in search of the Garden of Eden

—————————–

Can’t you see
It all makes perfect sense
Expressed in dollars and cents,
Pounds, shillings and pence
Can’t you see
It all makes perfect sense

Little black soul departs in perfect focus
Hold on soldier
Prime time fodder for the News at Nine
Hold on, hold on soldier
Darling is the child warm in the bed tonight

[Marv Albert:] “Hi everybody I’m Marv Albert
And welcome to our telecast
Coming to you live from Memorial Stadium
It’s a beautiful day
And today we expect a sensational matchup
But first our global anthem”

Can’t you see
It all makes perfect sense
Expressed in dollars and cents,
Pounds, shillings and pence
Can’t you see
It all makes perfect sense

[Marv:] “And here come the players
As I speak to you now, the captain
Has his cross hairs zeroed in on the oil rig
He’s at periscope depth
It looks to me like he’s going to attack
By the way did you know that a submarine
Captain earns 200,000 dollars a year”
[Edward:]”That’s plus tax Marv”
[Marv:]”Yeah, plus tax
Thank you Edward”
[Edward:]”You’re welcome”
[Marv:]”Now back to the game…he fires one…yes
There goes two; both fish are running
The rig is going into a prevent defense
Will they make it? I don’t think so”
Look out!
Look at that baby burn!

Can’t you see
It all makes perfect sense
Expressed in dollars and cents,
Pounds, shillings and pence
Can’t you see
It all makes perfect sense
Can’t you see
It all makes perfect sense

– Roger Waters
Amused To Death

So then you hear the song…and then your reflect…Oh it is so anti-establishment…such powerful words…so Roger Waters…This could be the next Brick In The Wall!

The words make Perfect Sense, perhaps it couldn’t have made more…sadly the song doesn’t. That is not to take anything away from it…it’s great…it just that it ain’t perfect…It lacked a Gilmour at the guitars.

The day your words shall sing to the tune of his guitar…it will make…The Most Perfect Sense Ever!

Wish that God wakes up one day and say…..
Let There Be Floyd…………………………………………………………………………Again!!!