Routine makes things a bit boring, homogeneous – and literally, there seems to be no fun in it.
Getting ready for office, grabbing a sandwich or two, moving out of your apartment, getting into the lift, pressing the floor button, looking at the persons inside the lift, greeting some known faces, that sound of ‘ting!’, getting out of the lift, and walking away to the day’s work – all this may seem regular and unrevealing for most of us, but not to Ida Ali – the young filmmaker, who has written and directed “Lift”. She has made a movie out of routine. Yet, it is not boring – instead, it is the most interesting feature of it.
“Lift” is a short film. It embeds a couple’s love story into a tiny component of our urban environment called the lift. It beautifully captures their story which is surrounded by the daily chorus and ups and downs of the lift. Actually, it is the other way round too. It also embeds the lift into the relationships of persons. On the other hand, urban theorists and practitioners would perhaps find it very difficult to explain the interaction between the urban environment, its inhabitants – and among inhabitants themselves in the spaces which they use and inhabit.
The love story is not extraordinary. It starts with the usual hesitation, then the small introductions – and later, the dates, fights, breakup, jealousy, caring and persistence. But, the depiction of each of these phases (call them emotions) of relationship is creative and touching. Every time the gates of the lift open, it shows the two persons going through different moods, emotions and different phases of their relationship. The couple meets friends, discusses schedules, exchange greetings with neighbors, suffers the ‘awkward glance’ – and, of course, love each other. The people getting into the lift do not actually interrupt the story, but become a part of it through their gossips, complaints and silences. The story gives importance to every single such thing which we often take for granted.
In a short time of around 12 minutes, it encapsulates the romantic and emotional aspects of the love story, along with the complex social, political and economic phenomena that is created and lived through in the urban life of today. The essential virtue of being ‘open-minded’, which is associated with urbanity and its reluctant acceptance by the people, is also conveyed subtly.
It’s just wonderful to see that the movie is able to make a very strong point on gender. A male can be weak, shy, someone who says sorry – and not just a flirt or infidel. It’s exciting to note that all of this happens in that tiny space called the lift.
Our relationship with our environment is two-way, natural or urban. It would be unfair to limit the characteristics of built environment to just strength and aesthetics. Their major characteristics are discovered and created by those who use them. In turn, their behavior is affected – and ultimately, they feel that they have changed. It’s ‘routine’!
A regular interaction between a human and their environment, completely designed and created by humans, rarely crosses our minds in its totality. The change which it brings to one’s self (behavior, mannerisms, etc.) and to the community life (and life in general) is enormous – and it goes unnoticed under the burden of routine.
“Lift” is not just about one love story. It’s about the multiple experiences which we all go through in our daily lives while interacting with our environment. It’s full of details, good acting, camera work, light music and absolutely perfect timing. You may not take a lift for granted after watching it.