-Md. Raihan Kabir Prince
As a fairly avid reader of non-fiction and a devoted lover of movies, I had been aiming to read this book JOURNEY BY CINEMA (Dhaka-Kolkata in new route), especially when I came to know that it was going to be officially published at this year’s Amar Ekushey book fair 2021. If my math is right, it took a one long stretching week to complete having this 176-page journey.
Being as detail-obsessed as most readers, I can’t help but marvel at the hundreds of man-hours, and the enormously complex processes necessary to make a book appear on the shelf of a bookstore. As for this amazing book, everything from the color of the paper to the design of the cover art is optimized—including a halfway page mischievously titled “INTERMISSION” — an incredible, high-minded humor aimed at readers as a refresher, and it is similar in that it mimics a real movie interval. Without a doubt, it shows that the author really has a humorous heart and knows laughter can lift hearts.
For me, it was unlike anything I've read in recent times. With each passing page, it seemed I was too caught up in the romance of this incredible journey by book and had the never-ending, fresh-feeling sense of reading something entirely new. This is why Journey by Cinema (Dhaka-Kolkata in new route) is both deeply scholarly and, at the same time, a pleasurable read. I became very tuned in to independent filmmaking after I read this book in depth. To be quite frank, I reread some of the chapters and my mind was blown to bits. However, it is also a very entertaining book at the same time. But what is too interesting about the book is that the author writes the book in a vivid, live, reportage-style and that's why this book appears to be so real. I mean, the films, the behind the scene high drama, the highly detailed close-ups, and the backstories it features is absolutely unbelievable!
Fascinating as this book is, its author Faridul Ahasan Shourav will interest readers even more, especially when the readers will find out that the author himself is a talented, emerging independent filmmaker and journalist. In this measured, careful work, Faridul Ahasan Shourav explores independent filmmaking from the inside out. He adds a dramatic catalyst that shifts our whole movie viewing experience into hyperdrive and brings into sharper focus the lesser-known world of independent films.
Do you happen to enjoy art films? Are you a full-blown fan of art-house cinema? Then here is a lifetime’s supply of 50 contemporary independent Bengali films that “Journey by Cinema” offers to its movie-minded readers. If you don’t want to hold your breath over Hollywood CGI, FX and reboots and don’t want to be bored cycling through your options with Netflix, then this book is your exit plan — a sureshot solution.
Journey by Cinema is a skilled, lively, prodigiously researched book. In its range and research, it is the book to end all books on art films and filmmaking. It convinces the reader to see the other side of the coin and brings art filmmaking down to ground level for every moviegoer and the lay public. It demands the audience to take a break from mainstream cinema and have a head-snapping change of focus to the greatly missed world of independent cinema with stories that so greatly apply to our lives.
Journey by Cinema is a brilliant and important book that could not be less than timely. I’d urge all moviegoers and readers to reserve a copy of this book published this year by Gronthik Prokashon and recommend everyone to read this because it checks all the boxes of what a great art film should be.
-Md. Raihan Kabir Prince is a freelance writer