Posts Tagged ‘The Cave Of Forgotten dreams’

And manage to successfully pull it off too. Now, ‘dare’ is a difficult term to describe.  Let’s try another definition. Do you read the back covers of the dvds where the synopsis of the film is printed? This is the list of the films whose brilliance can’t be summed up in those few lines, either in terms of the subject, story, story telling technique or execution. In no particular order.

1. 50/50 – There are stories that you tell and then there are stories that you have lived. And there’s no substitute for the latter. Nobody can tell that because nobody else has been there. Like Samuel Moaz’s Lebanon, 50/50 is inspired by screenwriter Will Reiser’s own story. Otherwise “cancer comedy” is a difficult genre to crack. The film finds the perfect fine balance between tragedy and comedy and is one of the nicest films of the year.

2. Michael – The subject is creepy and disturbing, the treatment is non-judgmental and brilliant. Inspired by real life events, the Austrian film directed by Markus Schleinzer revolves around the life of a pedophile who has locked up a 10-year old kid in the cellar. Its brilliance lies in the fact that it uses no gimmicks to show the day to day activities of the pedophile’s life and the predatory relationship between the two characters are on the verge of father-son equation, which gives it a human face.

3. The Cave Of Forgotten Dreams  – There is no doubt that 3D is here to stay and it’s a terrible news for people like us who wear glasses. The experience is not even rewarding because most of the films will serve the same purpose in 2D. This is where Werner Herzog scored over everyone else. Even with the new (3)D, trust the old Dude to show how it’s done. Watch this one to know what Depth is and how goregous it can look when captured in 3D. Exploring the Chauvet Cave, this documentary is a meditative piece on life, evolution and human existence.

4. That Girl In Yellow Boots – I was disappointed with this one but the magic of the film lies entirely in its making. Anurag Kashyap could dare to shoot a film in just 13 days and complete it too –  this story is going to be in textbooks of digital film making.

5. The Artist – The film is touted as one of the Oscar favorites now. But imagine, at a time when everyone is hell-bent on going 3D and motion capture, a filmmaker thought about making a black and white silent film. And how many people thought it was a joke? In the words of the filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius, “Nobody believed in the movie. Nobody wanted to put any money in the movie.” The story is nothing new but the story telling is so smart and charming that it will keep you hooked throughout.

6. Gandu – We can claim some credit for discovering this low-budget provocative piece from Calcutta. We uploaded its trailer twice, it was removed both times and we were warned that our account will be blocked. All because of the explicit nature of the content. But the film is much more than that. That thing called aesthetics, which is so rare in bollywood, is in abundance in Q’s Gandu. Plus, the bengali rap and the minimalist style gives it a distinct flavour. And if you have seen Q’s other films (here and here), you know that the filmmaker is not fluke, and he is not just selling sex and nudity.

7. Generation P – A heady cocktail of art, culture, religion, pop, politics, philosophy, advertising, consumerism and Che Guevara. This Russian film directed by Victor Ginzburg was in production for about five years and was the trippiest experience at the movies this year. Its daring in its subject, scale and story telling and the viewing experince was unique, to say the least. It makes fun of so many well-known advertising campaigns and strangely, it got the funding from all those brands which it makes fun of. Convincing everyone wasn’t an easy job but who said filmmaking is a cakewalk.

8.The Tree Of Life  – The Bollywood rule book says the bigger you aim, the dumber you have to be. And my guess is, the rule book is the same everywhere unless you are Terrence Malick. This film goes to the other extreme. Even with all the trappings that define a big hollywood film, this one is a meditative piece that doesn’t give a fuck about your IQ but needs complete submission and respects your EQ. Once you are inside Malick’s world, the experience is difficult to describe and all that you will crave for is some silence and space for your soul.

9. Midnight In Paris  – Trust Woody Allen to do something so ridiculous and still make it so charming. You will think about the absurdity of the plot, but Woody knows his characters and their lines to well that you will happily take the leap of faith. Its a difficult path to tread that could have turned completely messy. Writing anything more about it will kill the joy of discovering it. Watch it if you still haven’t.

10. We Need To Talk About Kevin – This film is like an antidote to The Tree Of Life. No, make that vice-versa. Like many other great films, this one doesn’t provide any easy answers but leave you with million questions. Revolving around a school massacre, Lynne Ramsay’s film is disturbing and will stay with you for hours after its over. It boldly portrays a scary relationship where the mother and son are being competitive to beat each other. Exploring the uncomfortable zones in a family affair, Kevin must have been a very difficult film to get a firm grasp on.

Other than these ten, there have many others which pushed the envelope in many ways. What’s your pick?

This is the 42nd year of the festival. And Goa has been its permanent venue since 2004.  Take a quick glance at the festival and the way it’s organised, it’s easy to say that they still haven’t learnt anything in the last four decades. Even by normal sarkari standard, four decades is quite a long time to rectify the mistakes. We have been going to IFFI since it moved to Goa. Here’s what we experienced this year. Plus, some unwanted suggestions.

Registration – Trust any government body to make a simple thing look complicated. If you have tried you luck to fill up the registration form online, you will get it when i mean. Not sure why they need your history, geography and biology to attend a film fest. Even that is fine, but God forbid if your application has not been approved for some reason, you will end up spending one day to get a card, as a friend experienced it this year. Compare this to Mumbai Film Festival’s registration process. They had web cams installed on the spot, fill in the details, make the payment and you get your delegate cards in just 10mins. If only there was a way to tell the sarkari babus that the world has moved to better and faster means. There is internet, google, printer, scanner, web cams and all this can happen faster than they can put their stamps on those application forms.

So we got our cards. But not the festival brochure. We were given another token card to go to another counter and asked to stand in a long queue where we could submit the token card and collect the fest bag. Why? Why can’t they give the bag, the brochure and everything else with the registration card? I think that’s sarkari by nature. What can happen at one counter, it will be done at five counters by ten people. What’s worse is that they have sarkari work timings at every counter.  So its either 10am to 12 and/or 4pm to 6pm and so on. Again, learn from Mumbai Film Festival.

Tickets – One good thing that IFFI managed to do this year was to issue tickets. Delegates could collect 3 tickets for each day. (But only three?) So that you don’t have to stand in long queue to get into the theater. But the problem is even though tickets were issued with seat numbers, once you were inside the theater, it was free seating. At one of the screening i was five minutes late and the security guy wouldn’t allow me inside. The reason given was those with tickets have gone inside and now those who don’t have the tickets but are in the queue will be allowed to go inside if there are spare seats. Not willing to give up easily, i fought, abused, pushed few people and managed to went inside. And though it was chaos outside, there were enough seats inside to accommodate all those who were struggling inside. Point is issuing tickets was a good idea but if you don’t know how to implement it, its useless. Dear Mumbai Film Festival, please do it. But just 3 tickets per day? That’s not what film fests are for.

Opening Ceremony – This year the opening ceremony of the fest was held in Margaon. One had to travel about 1.30 hours from the festival’s main venues – Inox and Kala Academy at Panaji. why? And then the film started about 2 hours late. With government protocols and all that desi naach-gaana, it has never made any sense. And they still do it every year. Click here to read a report of this year’s opening ceremony.

Vote Of Thanks – A weird controversy happened before the opening ceremony. It was for giving vote of thanks at the opening ceremony. Is there a limit to how ridiculous can our problems be? It seems Film Federation of India, almost toothless body of the film fraternity wanted to give the vote of thanks. That has been the norm so far. But it seems the fest director didn’t approve of it for some reason. And so there was a tiff over it and FFI wanted to pull out of the festival. That means no participation by bollywood stars and directors at the fest. Really? Who participates anyway? And if Shah Rukh Khan wanted to participate, could FFI stop him? Or any other big star or director? I doubt. All that jazz over vote of thanks. This should go straight to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

French film-maker Bertrand Tavernier was given the Lifetime Achievement Award this year and he thought it’s quite ironical that he is getting his first Lifetime Award in a country where his films have never released. People are not even aware of it. Any answers?

Indian Panorama – Who picked the films? What’s the motive? What’s the point of screening those films which have already released in theaters almost a year ago? Opening film was Santosh Sivan’s Urumi which has released in Malyalam and Tamil. Some other films  in the same categories are Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbona, Memories In March, Sahi Dhande Galat Bandhe, Shagird, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Adaminte Makan Abu, Traffic, Baboo Band Bajaa, Balgandharva. Can anyone enlighten us please? Mumbai Film Festival at least managed to get Umesh Kulkarni’s Deool.

Communication – With three bodies involved in the fest – the sarkari, Entertainment Society of Goa and a private agency, there’s absolutely no communication and co-ordination between the three bodies. Nobody knows anything. They are born to make Goldman proud. At the opening of the Indian panorama, as everyone was waiting for Madhuru Dixit, heard a sarkari babu talking to one of the delegates  – Woh aa rahi hai, par kahan se, kitne baje, kisne bulaya hai, yeh toh hum bhi nahi jaante. Hum bhi aapki tarah intezaar kar rahe hain. And this is just the tip of the of the iceberg. Another day i met two hassled film buffs who had just landed at the venue and were trying to find where the film village (for accommodation) is located. The security wouldn’t let them enter because they don’t have the delegate card. And they can’t get the cards until they enter. And like everyone else, the poor souls had no clue that babus dont work after sunset. Managed to help them to get inside. Not sure if they found the village.

Last year i had experienced another similar situation. A European filmmaker was lost outside the venue and was trying to figure out how to go back to his hotel. The shuttle service was closed by the time his film screening got over. It was his first visit to India and he could hardly manage in English. I tried calling up few people to help him out. With no response from anywhere, finally helped him with a cab. I am sure he is not coming back to the fest again.

Films – One could overlook everything else if the films are good. But with such inept people at the helm of the affairs, you can blindly trust them to fail in every aspect. Except counted few films, most others were either old or bad or haven’t made much news anywhere. They even screened films like The First Grader which i saw it at another fest last year. Ah, just a year late.

If there was one film which made the fest any good, it was Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary The Cave Of Forgotten Dreams. The best 3D film i have ever seen. Watch it only in theater, only in 3D. Otherwise it will be complete injustice to the film. DEPTH has never been captured so gorgeously on the big screen and not just for the sake of it.

It’s a sad state of affairs. And it’s getting worse every year. Pity that they can’t organise a good fest at a place which could easily become the mecca for film buffs. Nice location, spacious venue by the river Mandovi, proximity to beaches, liquor cheaper than water, and you can even drink at the venue – what else does one need to have a good vacation. But if only the sarkari babus could get out of this film business and just give it “support from outside” as the political parties do while playing the seat game.  Or it can learn something from NFDC’s Film Bazaar. The sarkari baggage is there too but in just five years it has managed to at least look professional. Big money talks might not be happening yet but once you step in there, you know it’s going in right direction. Hopefully we will be able to put a first person account of the Bazaar very soon.

Dear IFFI Goa, cut the government umbilical cords as it’s killing you slowly.  Get rid of the protocols because they just create distances. Get some film buffs and filmmakers in and pick some great films that can get the buzz in. You are already off radar as far as the mainstream media is concerned. Someone will write the epitaph soon. And forget the Cannes dream forever. Just a decent fest will do. Gear up or pack up.