Tuesday, 19 November 2013

First among equals

Films to Look out for at IFFI this year

With more than 300 films being screened at the 44th International Film Festival in various categories choosing what to watch from among them can be bit of a Russian roulette, especially considering that the list of films is not available well in advance.Yours truly has seen some of them while others are based on reviews and achievements at festivals worldwide. Films in the competition section or Masterstrokes, more often than not, are safe bet. Here are 20 films to look forward to at IFFI this year.

What They Don't Talk About When They Talk About Love (Indonesia)
Dir: Mouly Surya
This film was nominated for the Grand Jury prize at Sundance and it won an award at Rotterdam. The story is about  blind and deaf people in love.

In Hiding (Poland)
Dir: Jan Kidawa-Blonksi
Jan Kidawa-Blonksi’s films were a revelation when his retrospective was held at IFFI a few years back. In Hiding set during WWII is about the relationship between two woman, is in the competition section. It stars Magdalena Boczarska who won the Best Actress at IFFI in 2010 for Little Rose.

So Much Water (Uruguay) 
Dir: By Ana Guevara, Leticia Jorge
It has won a couple of awards at festivals (Miami, San Sebastian) and even though the story of a divorced father spending time a holiday with his son and daughter may sound familiar, the film apparently stands out.

The Great Beauty (Italy)
Dir: Paolo Sorrentino
In simple words, do not miss this film. You might just be watching next years Oscar winner but even though it is too early to make predictions,The Great Beauty is surely in the crème de la crème of 
the films at the festival. 

The Act of Killing (Denmark-Indonesia)
Dir: Joshua Oppenheimer
This documentary is an absolute must watch in which former Indonesian death squads reenact what they did. Their atrocities went unchecked and this chilling docu-feature will leave you shaken and stirred. 

Apur Panchali (Bengali)
Dir: Kaushik Ganguly
The film is a biopic on Subir Banerjee, the child actor who played Apu in Satyajit Ray’s classic Pather Panchali and never faced the camera since then.


Mother I Love You (Latvia)
Dir: Janis Nords
Winner of Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury at Berlin and Jury award at Los Angeles, this is a story of a teenage boy drawn into crime but doesn’t let his mother know of his misdeeds. It is Latvia’s entry at the Oscars this year. 

A Touch of Sin (China)
Dir: Zhangke Jia
Nominated for Palme d’Or and winner of the Best Screenplay at Cannes, it has four stories about random acts of violence. Even though it has got mixed reviews, it should be worth a dekko.

Short Term 12 (USA)
Dir: Deston Cretton
A film loved by critics and audiences alike, Short Term 12 is gem of an independent film to come from U.S.A. The film is set in a foster care home and has a stellar performance by Brie Larson.

The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Dir: Rithy Panh
Few years back, there was Waltz With Bashir an animation film that told the story of a conflict, The Missing Picture is about the Khymer Rouge in Cambodia. It is their entry at the Oscars and it also a winner in the Un Certain Regard at Cannes this year.

Dual (Slovenia) 
Dir: Nejc Gazvoda
This is a story of two young women who meet at the airport, they become friends but one of them has a secret. The director’s previous film A Trip was Slovenia’s entry at the Oscars in 2011

Love is All You Need (Denmark)
Dir: Susanne Bier
The film she made before this one won an Oscar for the Best Foreign Film. Love is All You Need is a light film that has romance with Pierce Brosnan in the lead. This one is meant for those who like crowd pleaser.

Circles (Serbia)
Dir: Srdan Golubovic
Another film not to be missed, it has won several awards including the Special Jury Prize at Sundance. The consequences of a tragic incident that occurred 12 years earlier are confronted in this film which is Serbia’s entry at the Oscars.

Blue is the Warmest Color (France)
Dir: Abdellatif Kechiche
For the first time ever at Cannes, two actresses were awarded the prize; the film won the coveted Palme d’Or. It’s a story of a young girl discovering herself when she meets another young woman. Love, lust, longing, heartbreak– it is all there in this 3-hour film.

Ilo Ilo (Singapore)
Dir: Anthony Chen
Winner of the Golden Camera at Cannes, Ilo Ilo is about the friendship between a maid and a boy, while the mother feels jealous of them. The film is Singapore’s entry at the Oscars.

Fandry (Marathi)
Dir:  Nagraj Manjule
Manjule already has a National Award for his short film Pistulya and with his first feature he has shown that he is here to stay. The story of a young boy in love, it also deals with the caste system. While it moves at a decent pace, the ending will knock your socks off.

Stray Dogs (Taiwan)
Dir: Ming-liang Tsai
Winner of the Grand Special Jury prize at Venice the film is about a father and his children who wander about in Taipei till they meet a stranger. 

In Bloom (Georgia)

Dir: Nana Ekvtimishvili
Their official entry at the Oscars, the film has won awards at several festivals around the world. It is about two teenage girls who fight to survive post the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Past (Iran)
Dir: Ashgar Farhadi
The Past may not be as good as A Separation but it is still ahead of many others and is eminently worth a watch. Bérénice Bejo’s acting is truly outstanding.

Harmony Lessons (Kazakhstan)
Dir: Emir Baigazin
The debut feature of the director has won several accolades, it’s a story set in a village in Kazakhstan.

Laxmikant Shetgaonkar's Baga Beach (His previous film Paltodcho Munis won an award at the Toronto fest), Jafar Panahi's Closed Curtain (not his best but film but neverthless) and Like Father, Like Son (won a jury prize at Cannes) and The German Doctor (about an Argentine family who lived with Josef Mengele without knowing who he was, Argentina's entry at the Oscars), these films are also expected to deliver the goods. 

(Published in The Navhind Times)

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