Mumbai Film Festival, 2017 – Day 1

Posted: October 13, 2017 by moifightclub in cinema, Film Festival, film review, Movie Recco, movie reviews, Mumbai Film Festival
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The Day After

“I think you still love me, but we can’t escape the fact that I’m not enough for you. I knew this was going to happen. So I’m not blaming you for falling in love with another woman. I’m not angry, either. I should be, but I’m not. I just feel pain. A lot of pain. I thought I could imagine how much this would hurt, but I was wrong.”
― Haruki Murakami

Never had I ever thought that Infidelity as a film topic could be dealt with such poise, patience, and, character. However, when Auteur Hong Sang-soo handles a subject this delicate, the result is a poetic, meditative, melancholic, and a boozy drama.

In competition for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes this year, this is the 4th film by the Korean master in the past 8 months – and oh boy, he seems to be operating at the prime of his career.  Set around the life of a morose publisher and his affair with a woman, Bong-wan (Kwon) spends most of his screen time discussing love and life getting over shots of Soju. Little does the new employee Ah-reum (Kim) knows that she is replacing Bong-wan’s flame Chang-sook (Kim Sae-byuk). When Bong-wan’s wife (Cho yun-hee) finds a love poem written by Bong wan, she assumes that the mistress is Ah-reum. Ah-reum on the other end is almost a conscious reflection of bong-wan asking him strange and unsettling questions over, again some shots of soju. However, not all the characters in the film seem as layered as Bong-wan.

This film is moody, painful, and a nuanced understanding of infidelity. Barring the sudden zoom shots, this movie can surely get you drunk on mid-life crisis without the shots of Soju.

The Florida Project

Florida Project will remind you of Short Term 12. This is a gem from Sean Baker who proves that he is a seamless storyteller with fresh sensibilities to tackle complex issues with simple narratives. The colourfully lit frames of the film have dark underlying tensions which suck you into the milieu at the outskirts of Disneyland in Florida. As an audience, you enter the film with shots of kids creating havoc with their mischief and abuses but you are left weeping in the end.

There is something about kids, something about their innocence which has the power to fill the entire screen up. Moonee played by the young kid Brooklyn Prince will win laughs and break hearts across borders with her performance of a brash kid who is always upto adventures with her rebellious mom and ragtag buddies. Willem Dafoe gives a nuanced performance, speaking volumes about his maturity as an actor in top form. A scene where Willem Dafoe is seen requesting the birds to clear the drive way is an endearing sight which speaks for the wrinkles he has developed on his neck over the years.

The Florida project, CO-written, directed, and edited by Sean Baker is a very special film. The screenplay is incredibly fresh, believable, and breathing with Florida vocabulary. Tangerine filmmaker Baker again uses dynamic shots resulting into a charismatic storytelling technique. The Florida Project is an unmissable experience.

– Harsh Desai

(Senior Partner, Lowfundwala Productions (

  1. Aseem Chhabra says:

    Dear Harsh Desai,

    How many films of Hong Sang-soo have you seen? If you see 3 or 4 (I have probably seen about 8 or 10), you will start to realize that he makes the same film again and again and again. He recently talked at the New York Film Festival where he said he writes his film in a day and editing only takes a couple of days. That is why the man has 2-3 films every year.

    It has taken me some time to acknowledge that he is a mediocre filmmaker and somewhat sexist in the way he portrays women.

    So I am on a mission. I dislike Hong Sang-soo so much that I am trying to convince film programmers as well as critics to stop watching his films. So far I have had no success, but I will not give up.

    Sorry, but I felt like leaving this note. Not holding it against you if you liked his new film 🙂

    Aseem Chhabra

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is lovely to see your note. I am huge fan of your writing. You’re right, I have seen only a couple of his films. However, I am writing this piece from my naive experience of watching only a couple of his works.

    Although, I will definitely write back to you as and when my opinion changes after watching a few more films of his.

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