Kitaab

Directed by Kamlesh K Mishra | Review by Antonio Rozich

Wherever you see time passing, you can be sure changes are right behind the corner. And since you can’t escape time, logically, you can’t flee changes. Choosing the existence of changes and time itself, it’s not an action humans can make. What is left to the humanity and each individual, is the power of deciding if the change is good or bad. The universe (or however you want to call it) doesn’t care if it’s good or bad as the whole idea of positive and negative is a human creation. From the infinite life/death cycle to more „insignificant“ things like books. Kitaab by Kamlesh K Mishra explores the „insignificant“ element and I’m using the word „insignificant“ far too lightly.

Books, or more precisely, the written word, has been the source of more than just knowledge since the dawn of humanity. It’s the safe-house to which we go to when we seek wisdom, information and simple fun. But, as the time passes the written word has become the digital word, forcing books to go „sit“ in the back row. At this moment of time, it’s false to say books lost their „touch“, but libraries are certainly not the places they used to be. Their purpose is slowly losing power with each passing day and this is perfectly presented through the film. Interestingly, it’s not shown through a library as an entity, but a single man – the librarian.

Funny enough, although it’s a story about words; dialogue plays the second role in presenting the story and the message. Instead, the visuals, sounds and expressions are the primary tools the director uses the send the message. The message of the slow but steady downfall of libraries, physical books and what does this great change mean for the broader picture. It’s no secret that the film plays the nostalgic card as it’s instantly clear from the very start. The music that shifts from cheerful to almost sad and the librarian’s smile that turns into a frown over time. It symbolizes not just the change, but the burden a person must carry. The librarian is in the eye of the shifting storm and everything he’s dedicated his life to is disappearing.

So maybe it’s not specifically about the functionality of libraries, but how an individual takes on the change no matter what the shift is. How changes affect us especially when it’s something we hold dear. Do we rise to the occasion or just fall into the unavoidable void that’s only getting bigger. But here’s the kicker, same as it’s us who decide if the change is positive or negative, so we choose if it’s a black void or a beautiful meadow. Is it something that eats us or something that brings birth to a new life.

Thus, I’ll finish with a question. Is what Kitaab talks about a problem or a simple step forward into the future? Same as when we moved from heavy stone tablets to light paper thousands of years ago. Is life moving forward or backward? Or maybe, life doesn’t even care; it’s us who care.

 

Antonio Rozich is a seasoned copywriter and the chief editor for Cult Critic – meaning, if you’re a filmmaker you’ll either love or hate him. Besides his usual copywriting, he also helps filmmakers with their screenplays by editing them and finding the ways to improve the initial filmmaker’s idea. When all of that is done, he turns to his true & original love: writing flash fiction filled with philosophy, life and cake metaphors.