Archive for October 17, 2013

The Great Beauty

It’s that time of the year again. Mumbai Film Festival is about to start and here’s our recco list for the fest.

At first glance this year’s selection doesn’t look as strong as last year’s. After much research and googling, here’ what we recommend.


1. Inside Llewyn Davis – Coen Brothers. Great reviews. New York’s folk music scene in the 60s. And a cat. Yes, a cat.

2. Blue Is The Warmest Colour – The film that the world is talking about. Bagged the Palme D’Or at Cannes, got unanimously superb reviews, the lead actors hate the director, and is in news for explicit lesbian sex scene. Plus, you can’t say the name of the director and both the lead actors name in one go. If you can, spot me at the fest and ask for a 5 star.

3. The Past – Asghar Farhadi’s latest one after The Separation. Not a clean winner like the last but still a solid film. Farhadi peels the story slowly as you keep wondering who is the culprit.

4. Mood Indigo – Michel Gondry goes on another fantastic visual journey. Everything is deliciously crazy in this one. Every frame is packed so much, you blink and you will miss some elements.

5. The Great Beauty – Peter Bradshaw initially gave it 4 stars and then made it full 5 after watching it again. He described it as a swooning love letter to Roman decadence, La Grande Bellezza is the Paolo Sorrentino’s greatest film yet. We trust what Unkle Peter says.

6. Ilo Ilo – brims with love, humor and heartbreak. 15 minutes standing ovation at Cannes (for real, not what Indian media says about desi films at every fest) and the prestigious Camera d’Or prize. TRAILER.

7. All Is Lost – One-man-stuck-in-one-place cinema. Chandor’s film has been getting great rave reviews since it premiered at Cannes. Robert Redford’s one man show.

8. Before Midnight – Linklater’s last film in the trilogy in which he blows up every notion of ideal love that he sets in the first two parts.

9. The Missing Picture – Won the Un Certain Regard prize at this year’s Cannes. This film uses handmade clay figurines and detailed dioramas to recount the ravages that Pol Pot’s regime visited upon the people of Cambodia following the communist victory in 1975.

10. Heli – Amat Escalante bagged the Best Director’s award at Cannes. Drugs, violence, corruption, and Mexican.

11. Parde (Close Curtain) – Panahi. Naam hi kaafi hai. It premiered at Berlin Fest. Panahi won the Silver Bear for Best Script. The film was shot secretly at Panahi’s own beachfront villa.

12. The Act Of Killing – One word – Terrific. Our previous recco post is here.

13. Fandry – If the film is as good as its soothing 30 second teaser, it should be fine. Looks like Shala redux. And just when we were wondering about it, Nikhil Mahajan, director of Pune 52, came to our rescue. He tweeted, straight up there with Vihir. An immensely, immensely powerful film.

14. Taak Jhaank (Sunglass) – Rituparno Ghosh’s film which is yet to get a release and we are not even sure when it will. “When she wears her sunglasses, Chitra can picture what the other person is thinking”, knowing that it’s Ghosh’s film, that line in the synopsis was suffice. Add to that the strong acting talents like Jaya Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah and Konkona Sen Sharma in the lead.

15. Katiyabaaz – The docu of a desi and unique superhero that you probably haven’t heard about. After Berlin, Tribeca and Berlin, it comes to Mumbai. The trailer is good enough to sell the film. Go here.


If you like to take a chance and experiment a little at film fests, this list is for you. These films can swing either way – from offbeat, non-mainstream and meditative to outrageously experimental. Go with some patience.

1. Halley – Contemporary Gothic story with an unusual twist. A disturbingly stylish and surrealistic drama, Sebastian Hofman’s impressive Halley is hard to define and very much a niche sale, but it could well attract critical support given its strangely compelling story, impressive performances and strange sense of the grotesque – SD. Got it? More – a zombie film without the horror of the zombies and, but its core story of physical decay and deathly illness would fit into any perverse horror film, with the film’s ‘hero’ essentially one of the walking dead. And TRAILER.

2. Matterhorn – Absurd Dry Humour. A strict old man has lost his wife and son. Gets an unexpcted guest. TRAILER

3. The Selfish Giant The Telegraph gave it 5 stars and called it Clio Barnard’s brilliant, sour-scouring fable about growing up in Britain today. TRAILER.

4. Qissa – A film based on partition, in Punjabi, starring Irrfan and Tillotama Shome and Rasika Duggal and Tisca Chopra! I was already sold. And though it deals with partition in a more symbolic, metaphoric, allegorical way – I was moved immensely by it. Many friends had issues with the logic and amount of suspension of disbelief it demands (basic premise of a father who brings up his daughter as a son without letting anybody else know is a bit of a stretch, yes) – but it still managed to disturb and involve me probably because of the magic realism zone it enters in the 2nd half. And also because of Rasika and Tillotama’s terrific performances. Probably it’s only me but I think the film gives a solid theory on why Punjab has the maximum cases of female foeticide/infanticide. (Qissa won the NETPAC Award at TIFF) – Varun Grover’s recco post.

5. Stray Dogs (Jiayou) – Tsai Ming-Liang bagged the Grand Jury Prize at Venice Film Festival. TIFF described it as “Imbued with mystery, sly humour, and an enormous heart, the latest film from visionary director Tsai Ming-liang links together a series of sumptuously composed scenes that tell the story of a broken family living on the margins of Taipei society.”

6. A Touch Of Sin – Bagged the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes Film Festival. Based on four shocking true events that examines the current fabric of Chinese society. TRAILER

7. Tom At The Farm – That talented kid at the world cinema scene keeps on making movies. The latest one is on same tangent. Xavier Dolan’s film was in competition at Venice Fest. A grief-stricken young ad copywriter who visits his dead lover’s parents — only to get drawn into a savage game rooted in the rural family’s dark past.

8. Shield Of Straw – Takashi Miike’s latest one. Naam hi kaafi hai.

9. Faith Connections – Pan Nalin goes to Kumbh and gets all the exotic sights and sounds. Again, the Trailer is good enough to sell the film.

10. Locke – Another one-man-stuck-in-one-place cinema. This one belongs to Tom Hardy as he takes the driver’s seat. Premiered at Venice Fest. Minimal in approach.

11. For Those In Peril – The strikingly original maritime fable examines the aftermath of a fishing accident – THR. Mark Kermode has given it 4 stars. Was at Cannes Critics Week. Trailer is here.

12. Mamay Umeng – In a quaint provincial town, an elderly man awaits his inevitable fate – death. If you love posters, here. TRAILER.

13. The Voice of The Voiceless (La voz de los silenciados) – Seems scary and interesting. Based on a true story of a modern day slavery. Trailer.

14. The Strange Little Cat – Loosely inspired by Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, this enchanting, minimalist gem by first-time feature director Ramon Zurcher has won admiring comparisons to the work of such masters as Jacques Tati, Robert Bresson and Chantal Akerman – TIFF. Click here for its very strange and very funny trailer.

15. The Japanese Dog – A satisfying, unexpectedly upbeat film, superbly played, in which hope is always just about visible through the tragedy – THR. And trailer looks interesting. Gentle and charming.


And then there are few more which looks interesting. But either we are not completely sure how good they are, or they have  been getting mixed reactions.

1. The Rocket – It got Best debut film at Berlin and Audience Award at Tribeca. A kid is cursed for everything that goes wrong, and then he claims it all back. Rite-of-passage film

2. The Immigrant – The film has been getting some extreme reviews. But with Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard in the lead, hopefully they might be worth the time.

3. La jaula de oro – Powerful yet unsentimental thriller keeps audiences guessing as four Central American kids head to the U.S. by train – Variety. Was at Cannes Un certain regard. In Sin Nombre space.

4. Autumn Blood – Quiet. Serene. Young brother and sister in the mountains. And then things go wrong. Trailer

5. Liar’s Dice – Rajeev Ravi’s wife Geetu Mohandas goes behind the camera. About a young mother and her 3-year old daughter’s journey to find her missing husband. Has Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Geetanjali Thapa in the lead.

6. The Only Real Game – Heard about baseball in Manipur? No? Here you go. Aseem Chhabra’s column on this one.

7. Siddharth – Richie Mehta’s film was at Toronto and Venice. More about the film here.

8. Suleimani Keeda – Desi slacker comedy involving two bollywood screenwriters. More about it here.

9. The Armstrong Lie – What was Armstrong thinking? The film tries to tackle that million dollar question.

If you have seen anything interesting and would like to recco it, do let us know in the comments.