South Korea and Assam

Say South Korea cinema and most people return a blank look. To have a change of heart and some enlightenment see The Throne (2013) and The Handmaiden (2017). Both films will convince anyone that Korean cinema is of age. And in each of these two films, the costumes are opulent and dramatic. So dramatic that the viewer is left with many open mouth moments. In the award winning The Throne the costumes, both regal and simple, one can only marvel at how the costume designer has used a different aesthetic for the royal clothes in rich red and gold versus the white and beige. It’s not just the clothes but the fabulous accessories that make the film a visual feast. Also award winning, The Handmaiden is a contemporary yet conservative narrative with clothing ‘to die for’.

Assam? Yes Assam. Assamese films are emerging in a new wave popularity. Look at Jahnu Barua’s films for proof. Like in Bengali cinema, the actors and acting take centre stage, relegating the clothing to ply second fiddle. Despite the wardrobe simplicity, the clothing hold up brilliantly to the emotional content of fine cinema. Watch Baandhon (Waves of Silence); a 2012 Assamese language drama film, starring Bishnu Kharghoria and Bina Patangia in the lead roles. The film was directed by Jahnu Barua and produced by Assam State Film (Finance & Development) Corporation Limited. The film was initially released in October 2012 in the state of Assam and later in July 2013 in select theatres across India. Assamese films deserve a wider audience for greater appreciation and applause.

Artwork by Fabian Gonsalves.