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Manuel de Layet [Film Festival 09.13.12] scifi animation comedy drama fantasy


This is the latest iteration of my long lasting love for Indian cinema as a total entertainment medium. I'm advocating the inherent beauty of this cinema since my first encounter with it during my scholarly years back in the nineties. And having to wait fifteen years to see it getting the start of a recognition in this country is a little bit sad, given the fact that it's mostly trough the breakthrough of the visual effects industry rather for the more subtle, and somewhat poignant qualities of their products. Anyway, let me introduce you to EEGA (aka Housefly), a wonderful story of love lost, regained and revenge. Oh it's also about a fly that kills people.

Far fetched and preposterous as it can look on paper, it's actually working so well I shed tears of laughter, something that hasn't happened to me since Kassovitz' Assasin(s) back in 1997.

As was said I the introduction, this is mainly a love story, meaning that character design is more or less from the same source as 80% of all "girl" literature since the beginning of the world. We have the Nice Guy, whimsical and broke, the Bad Guy, self-important and rich, and the Girl, kind of plain to avoid antagonizing the audience with unreachable beauty, doing charity work towards children to show her kindhearted and caring nature and with a nonsensical hobby to add depth and hint at a creative drive. I'm sure this setup is also used in the suburbs of Alpha-Centauri with the same efficiency and maybe a tad more tentacles. Heck, it's still two men fighting over a broad and that's a standard melodrama axis.

But it gets interesting when it hits the fabled Bollywood production values. Roughly translated from memory "if you wish to appeal to the widest audience, use the values and morals of your great-parents". Meaning that in a modern cinematographic world where the line between the good and the bad guys is a little more blurred every day, Bollywood hands us bad guys that are rotten to the core, and good guys so inherently good I want to punch them.

Anyway, you all know the story: Good guy is courting the girl, by chance or misfortune she encounters the bad guy who wants her as a new trophy, then given the tone of the movie we get the part where the good guy gets a trashing and the girl, awakened in her love by the sight of the bruises, throws herself at him. Or if we are in a pure classical drama, bad guy kills the good guy, rape the girl which subsequently drowns herself under a bridge.

Today I'm proud to present a more entertaining alternative: Bad guy kills the good guy, good guy gets reincarnated into a housefly and exacts revenge.

If your first reaction to that assertion is "WHY?" you've missed the point.

The "Why?" anyway is given at the very beginning of the movie, all that happens is a bedtime story a father tells his offspring so it'll stop pestering him. And much more interesting is the "HOW?", How can a fly exacts revenge on anything?

Firstly by being a nuisance. A fly causing a car accident by vaulting into the eye of the driver is something to behold. And by that time the audience as either left the premises or is having the time of its life. But the strength of this movie is in it's “overkill is never enough” attitude.

Let me illustrate: we have our hero reincarnated into a bug tracking his murderer and managing to get his car crashing into an incoming plaster delivery truck. The dust settle inside the vehicle plunging it into darkness while the driver is slowly getting his bearing back. Then a light appearing on the windshield, dust being removed, scrawling slowly the words "I Will Kill You". Closeup of the fly doing kung-fu moves back-lighted by his delivered omen. Cut. Intermission.

Believe me it's not the most ludicrous moment of the film. The same treatment is given to the reunion of the ill-fated lovers. Being of usual melodramatic persuasion the girl is crying uncontrollably over her desk, tears splashing to and fro. That's when the fly decides to reveal himself to her, spreading her tears to form words.

That sequence is the turning point of the whole, the fly isn't alone anymore in its struggle. And there comes the nonsensical-hobby into play: when you're a fly and want weapons and armor be sure to fall in love with a girl doing micro-art.

After that the movie turns into full fledged delirium so there's no real point in detailing much about it.

Of course, in such pitch, the actual quality of the CGI is what matters the most, get that wrong and no amount of slapstick and crude humor can save your movie. Thankfully given the progress rate of their Vfx industry, the overall visual quality is astounding.

The first use of CGI I remember in Bollywood was in Tango Charlie, and for a 2005 production the image quality and credibility was more or less circa 1995 in terms of western production. 7 years later, with Endhiran, Ra-one and Eega, the quality is on par with most, and higher than many, of Hollywood's works. This will, I hope help in getting full blown recognition in the western world.

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naveen (9 years ago) Reply

i really appreciate your article.. but one thing i should clarify to you. this movie is not from BOLLYWOOD. it is a tollywood movie(telugu language). INDIAN movies are not just from bollywood.
even enthiran is not from bollywood.. cheers man! and dont compare enthiran and eega with is a perfect example of failed graphics !.. thanku..


vijay (9 years ago) Reply

hey....this movie is from Tollywood ,not bollywood.

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