Mumbai Film Festival, 2014 (D-3) : Mommy, Gett, Gueros are Must Watch!

Posted: October 18, 2014 by moifightclub in cinema, film, Film Festival, Movie Recco, movie reviews, Mumbai Film Festival
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Mumbai Film Festival – Our annual movie ritual is on. And like every year, we are going to cover the Festival like nobody else does it. Team moiFightClub will bring you all the day’s reccos and reviews. We are also involved with the fest this year – helping wherever you can to make it better.

Our Day-1 Wrap is here, and Day 2 report is here.



The kind of film you want to discover at a film festival. A new world, a new voice. Set in almost the same time as another iconic Mexican film Y Tu Mama Tambien, this one too has boys on a road trip plus Mumblecore plus trippy visuals plus coming of age plus paapad-dry and crisp humor. Complete winner on so many counts!

Charlie’s Country (Dir: Rolf de Heer)

Co-writer and lead actor David Gulpilil hits it out of the park with his (semi-autobiographical) portrayal of a very sexy, charming, funny, and bitter aboriginal man angry about the way white people have encroached on his country and now treat his people as nuisance. Full of so much pain and still an undying resistance by this spirited man, the film is a depressing watch that hits closer home with the way our government and corporate treats the aadivaasis.

With Others (Dir: Nasser Zamiri)

Iranian drama about surrogacy. Slipped into artistic macro-lens shots of water dripping or eggs falling every now and then and loaded with too many emotional characters, this was a bit of a tough watch. The plot, performances, and the open-ended resolution were the high-points but a lot of it was just ‘festival cliche’. It didn’t help that the original print didn’t play and the DVD version didn’t have great sound or visuals.



Moved to tears by the sheer simplicity, realism and humaneness of this unpretentious, seemingly small film. Very Shahid-like in its treatment and approach- the graininess, the handheld shots, the sound, the battle of a lone warrior against huge odds. Earthy and touching. A 15 yr old girl is abducted and raped and she kills her abductor, who apparently wants to marry her, to save her life. Her entire community is against her but one women’s organisation stands up for her and fights a battle that is a universal one for women of all ages all over the world. If I could, I’d love to watch it again, and again.


Disturbing and reassuring at once! A single mother strives to hold onto her ADHD son as she tries her best to look after him while making both ends meet. The mother-son’s journey is intertwined with another woman’s and the dynamic of friendship and mutual understanding helps them grow…its a lovely tale of human relationships and struggles told with a little quirk and lot of heart…the violence, especially the loudness and repetitiveness of it gets disconcerting at times but is overtaken by fabulous performances and lasting naturalness…

One on One

Kim-ki-duk’s violence isn’t style or bluster. Its soul-searing window to understand the film world and its people. A rare signature style that he uses in One on One once again. A subversive vigilante film, it puts a spin on the condition of urban living with its consummate questions of materialism, violence, injustice and power. Repetitive and quite random it lacks a spark and renders the otherwise potent theme lustreless.

The Mummy

The charm was to watch an internationally acclaimed Arab classic. Classics are so associated with European or Indian or at best Japanese cinema that I jumped at the opportunity to watch this one. Haunting and mysterious, the film is a world in itself. It’s based on a real-life event that took place in 1881 but realism melts into surrealism with the film’s tone, music, camera angles and performances. There was a eerie reverb in the sound that added a complementary romantic quality to the film about Pharaohs, tombs, mummies and the search for lost national treasure…give me this version over the kistch video game films on the same themes, anyday.


One on One

A vigilante squad made up of a bunch of poor and/or frustrated, defenseless people trying to deliver justice for a murder. It is strictly okay as a revenge saga, but the political dialoguebaazi is so naive that it makes ‘One on one’ a pretty ordinary affair. The repetitive torture scenes do not help.



Gett : The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem
The first complete knockout of the festival for me, this divorce drama simply set in a courtroom for its entire duration is thoroughly gripping, heartbreaking and savagely funny. Excellent writing and performances across the board, the story of a woman’s five year struggle to obtain a divorce from her husband is both a powerful indictment of religion and toothless justice as well as an unexpectedly hilarious black comedy. As the case painfully drags from tareek to tareek- you’re right there with the characters, often unsure whether to laugh or to cry as the proceedings move from absurd to frustrating to borderline surreal. Must watch.


Alonso Ruizpalacios’ Güeros has a wonderfully freewheeling and playful quality that is unique to many great debut features- Gus Van Sant’s Mala Noche vaguely comes to mind, especially since both films are in B&W, 4:3 aspect ratio and have a rough-hewn quality that works in their favour. With a great sense of humour- including some hilarious meta-jokes- and thoroughly endearing young characters, it’s a trippy, nostalgic road movie as well as a great portrait of youthful disaffection set against the backdrop of a student revolution.

I didn’t warm up to Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood while I was watching it, but it is testimony to the director’s exceptional craft and the film’s strong grasp of character and milieu that I find myself still thinking about it- this one truly grew on me. We rarely see good female coming-of-age films, especially ones which go beyond the bracket of white, privileged young people- and this one sure packs a punch with its sharply observed and distinctly non-judgemental coming-of-age story of a young black girl’s struggles with identity and angst as she befriends a gang of tough girls in the hood. While Boyhood was universal- sometimes almost to a fault- Girlhood is remarkably specific and manages to beautifully capture nuances of race, class and gender without falling prey to stereotypes, tropes and preachiness.
PS: Also catch the director’s last film Tomboy- another excellent film about a young girl and gender identity.
Two Days, One Night
Probably the most underwhelming film of the day for me, despite the Dardenne Brothers’ dependably solid and distinctly humane storytelling, after a while the film just felt a little repetitive and lacked any surprises, big or small- or maybe I missed something here. But it’s still immensely watchable, anchored by the magnificent Marion Cotillard whose portrayal of a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown keeps us hooked and on edge.


Ambassador to Bern

Dog day afternoon situation steeped in Hungarian politics with two revolutionaries/terrorists (depending on which side you look from) holding the Ambassador in the Hungarian embassy at hostage. This edge of the seat thriller is based on a real event. You get the idealism of the revolutionaries and the helplessness of the Ambassador. Watch it.


Brilliant coming of age film, Stoner comedy, student agitation, killer sound design, black and white frames, Quirky treatment, handheld static & frequent frenetic camerawork, Eccentric, Funny, pointless and yet making quite a few epiphany waley statements every now and then. This one is a MUST watch. And what a monologue by the elder brother in the end. With an equally anti-climatic resolution. Highly recommended.

One On One

I have been told by fans of Mobieus & Pieta that this one fades in comparison but in isolation, it still has quite a few ‘korean cinema’ trademarks – F****d up situation/characters, dark humor, a rape scene, brutality, torture, domestic abuse, grim setting, angst due to economic differences. Basically a bunch of vigilantes dispensing justice. But what if they are wrong ? And why are they doing this ? Will they continue till the very end or does violence consume them ? Wasn’t disappointed by this film.


A self destructive, chain smoking, alcohol guzzling widow trying to make ends meet all the while taking care of her son who has been released from a Detention Center. Her son who is angsty, in disciplined, insensitive, insensible, abuse yelling, disobedient ass, besides being a little sanki as well. Clocking at 140 minutes, the fact that this film doesn’t feel long is thanks to Xavier Dolan’s masterful direction. Killer performances, perfect selection of music, rapid editing, cinematography (with extreme closeups), heart tugging scenes handled with maturity betraying Xavier Dolan’s age. Ok stop reading this review and WATCH the film. Do not miss this for anything.


  1. Rush says:

    “I didn’t warm up to Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood while I was watching it, but it is testimony to the director’s exceptional craft and the film’s strong grasp of character and milieu that I find myself still thinking about it”….a.k.a. “this film is great because I feel so, and my feelings reveal nothing but the objective truth”….self-importance much? Anyway…*yawn*

  2. jahanbakshi says:

    @Rush: That is the most absurd way to read that line. Honestly can’t even comprehend what you are trying to say. Self-importance, objective truth? Please pass on whatever you are smoking.🙂

    • Rush says:

      Ignore my first comment which, as you rightly guessed, I made under the influence of a certain psychoactive substance in an effort to troll you. Reading it now, I can’t help but laugh at its silliness though I do have some inkling of what I was trying to get at. Apologies.🙂


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