Now we have come to the last day of the fest. And continuing with our daily reviews and reccos, here are the notes from second last of Mumbai Film Festival, 2015.

Our Day 1 Wrap is here, Day 2 is here, for Day 3 click here, Day 4 is here and here is Day 5. And click here to read the post on Christopher Doyle’s Masterclass.


Looks like this was my last day at MAMI as tomorrow is fully packed with deadlines and work-meetings. Always a sad feeling to see this week ending.  Kind of the same feeling i used to have when summer vacations ended during school.

And a good time to thank the people behind MAMI (including so many hardworking, lovely volunteers) for making it such a brilliant show this year. I know some filmmakers were unhappy with projection and tech issues but i don’t think in terms of management and movie options we’ve had a better year recently. A few things that worked big time for me this year:

– Hot Docs collaboration as well as other docs. The Pearl Button, Missing people, Junun, Monty Python, The Greenpeace doc, Sydney Lumet, Placebo, Fassbinder, Hong Kong Trilogy, The Arab Idol one.

– Half Ticket section. Did you know school kids were coming daily morning 8:30 am to watch films? And some really great films at play there.

 – The ticketing process. No SMS ka jhanjhat and very smooth handling by BMS people while delivering the delegate passes. Also the bags look lovely this year.
– Doyle Q&A and masterclass. Hope next year we have more of (crazy) legends coming to impart their madness.
Caught just 3 films today.

Junun By Paul Thomas Anderson

THE Paul Thomas Anderson last year filmed a documentary in (our) Rajasthan about a bunch of western musicians (Shye Ben Tzur and Jonny Greenwood) jamming for an album with local Managniyar singers (Chugge Khan group), a brass band (that band-leader Aamir is a magician), and some bawaal qawwals. The result is this most simple yet exhilarating documentary full of some stunning songs and visuals of the jamming process. It was almost like being in a live concert! BRILLIANT.

Sworn Virgin by Laura Bispuri

This Albanian film was a blind selection and it turned out to be very good. A slightly grim but always gripping look at female sexuality through a girl who starts living like a boy through a local village custom that would allow her an escape from the life of subjugation women have to face.

Monty Python – The Meaning Of Live by Roger Graef, James Rogan

What a way to end the festival’, I told myself as we were stepping out after watching this. Monty Python has been one of the huge influences of my life as a comedy writer, and to see this film about their reunion stage shows last year (which were the LAST TIME EVER they would get together) was an emotional journey. The finest, funniest men have still got their mojo and the film has great insights about comedy and performing live. (One of the original six, Graham Chapman is now dead so the reunion show was called ‘One down, five to go’. Haha.) The vintage footage from their world tours 40-years ago was a bonus. Of course this film is kinda niche, only for the fans of the group, but what a trip for the real fans!

Varun Grover

Schneider V/s Bax By Alex Van Warmerdam

Hitman V/S Hitman. Dead Pan Faces Delivering dark humour punches. In a very unusual lakeside universe set up by Warmerdam, he keeps shuffling the environment of the film from comedy to thriller without letting you know. Acting himself as bax, Warmerdam’s weird family This one has brilliant Performances and some unpredictably brilliant moments.

The Pearl Button‎ By Patricio Guzmán

Guzmán’s Pearl Button is a gem of a documentary. He connects nomadic indigenous ‎people living in water with political murders thrown in the same water. Both the subjects are very disparate and hence the documentary is somewhere a bit too ambitious. However, attractive images of water and equally intriguing discussions on Pinochet’s cruel documentary made the pearl button a gem worth watching.

Tag By Sion Sono

Sion sono’ love for undergarments continues in this upskirt horror. But there was more to this film than the usual mayhem. Tag is a completely pro feminist ‎action fantasy by Japanese legend Sino Sono. It was an experience to watch this film on large screen because it was way too extreme for the mainstream because in this gory madfest Mitsuko keeps tripping like Alice from wonderland. And she ends up attracting grindhouse style danger everywhere. Mitsuko later trips into keiko and izumi but still remains prone to danger.
‎The scene in the beginning where the wind splits the bus into two and the one where teachers start killing children with machine guns are complete Sion Sono signature styled scenes filled with excitement and thrill.

Tag has by far been one of the top films I have seen at the festival this year.

Victoria by Sebastin Schipper

Rest in peace, Birdman. The real deal is here. Victoria, a bank robbery thriller already sets hearts pacing as it is a 134 minute long single take. ‎Sounds like a stunt. Or a digitally manipulated virtual wonder but it is not. Victoria is an achievement. It is an exhilarating experience to watch this single take film across more than 20 loacations including some crazy nightclub scenes later leading to edge of the seat drama. The narrative is so tightly binded that the film moves from head spinning weird nighclub moves to composed and realistic scenes to breath taking robbery thrill. Actors, Cinematographer and others involved were in action for a continuous 2 hours and above.

There is no doubt as to why Sturla Grovlen’s name preceded the end credits in this mad mad mad film. Take a bow, Sturla. What presence of mind throughout.

Harsh Desai

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