The Bangalore International Film Festival is slowly getting recognized as one of the better film festivals in India. Though the first edition was held in 2006 the Karnataka Chalan Chitra Academy hasn’t been able to organize the event annually. But after last year’s event they are back this year and with the impressive line-up of films on show the festival must not be missed by the movie buffs of Bengaluru. Choosing over 140 films will be quite a task for the attendees and hence we are trying to lend you a helping hand here by recommending films from the festival which MAM authors have happened to see before or have at least heard a lot about and feel that these films must not be missed.
In this part we shall recommend the latest International and Asian films. The schedule can be read here. So, here we go with the reccos:-
Cinema of The World Section
This is the official Dutch entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards in 2013 and has even won the Best First Feature Award at the Berlin Film Festival this year. Kauwboy talks about Jojo, a lively 10-year-old with a difficult life at home marked by a volatile father & an absent mother. One day he finds an abandoned baby jackdaw and brings it home. Through the special friendship he builds with the bird, the wall between him & his father will be brought down. It is easily one of the best films this year. A very simple plot with very few characters, this is filmmaking and storytelling at its effective best. Some of authors who caught the film at the Mumbai Film Fest have been charmed by it. Don’t miss this film at any cost.
2. Rust and Bone
Jacques Audiard wowed everybody with his last film Un prophète (A Prophet) that won the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes in 2009. His latest venture Rust and Bone is based on a short story collection of the same name written by Craig Davidson. It tells the story of an unemployed, destitute single father who falls in love with a killer whale trainer and how their relationship and personalities evolve as they face adversities with each other’s support. Though it doesn’t match the excellence of Un prophète, Rust and Bone, with a searing performance by the lovely Marion Cotillard, is a powerful romantic drama that shouldn’t be missed.
Michael Haneke has become popular over the years for exploring the violence in modern urban society. This film, though, is unlike any film Haneke has made before. In Amour, Georges and Anne are retired music teachers who live a contented life by themselves. Their only daughter is married & lives abroad. One fine day Anne suffers an attack which paralyses her and slowly but surely things are never the same for the couple. An intense emotional tale, Amour works and works well primarily aided by the lead actors who do a stellar job. The film moves along at a very leisurely pace and is almost lifelike. But therein also lies the strength of the movie. It has won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year. Need we say anything more?
ASIAN FILMS SECTION
Directed by debutante Manjeet Singh, this is an indie film in the complete sense and the film is a humble attempt to peep into the lives of kids living in the slums of Mumbai. It’s a tribute to their spirit of finding joy in trivial things and living life to the fullest. Rahul is a misunderstood and troubled adolescent who lives in the slums bordering the nouveau riche areas of Northern Mumbai with his alcoholic father, hard working mother and kid brother. He hangs out with his balloon seller streetwise younger friend, Arbaaz.
When Rahul’s alcoholic father beats and humiliates him by tying him up with a polythene bag for trying to save his mother from his anger, Rahul runs away from home. Rahul and Arbaaz try to escape from the grim realities of life by soaking in simple pleasures including roasting stolen potatoes, playing pranks on others, having a crush on a girl etc. The film is set during the last days of the grand festival devoted to Lord Ganesha when huge idols of the elephant headed God are taken in procession to the beach for immersion. Rahul has to handle the chaos in his life amidst the chaos of colorful and vibrant festival.
The film is a celebration of life and shows how one can find happiness in simple pursuits as well. The kids who play Rahul and Arbaaz are wonderful and the dialogues are witty and impactful. This is certainly a film to watch out for. Here’s Variety showering praise on the film.
A prominent figure in contemporary Iranian cinema, Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami takes another trip abroad ( after his previous film, Certified Copy ) to explore the depths of unrequited desire in the Japanese language drama, Like Someone in Love. The film trails the life of a young Japanese woman Akiko who finances her studies through prostitution and her enchanting affair (of sorts) with a retired, elderly sociologist, Takashi. A play between what’s seen, what’s heard and what’s really happening becomes the modus operandi for their relationship, and the film constantly toys with the expectations of both its characters and the audience, transforming a classic three-way tale of mistaken identities into something much more mysterious and troubling. Might seem a tad slow and a bit too heavy on the conversation side, this one is still a good watch though nowhere close to the veteran filmmaker’s best.
This is prolific South Korean director Kim Ki Duk’s 18th film and the acclaim it has garnered clearly shows that he is not going to fade away any time soon. Pieta depicts the mysterious relationship between a brutal man who works for loan sharks and a middle-aged woman who claims that she is his mother, mixing Christian symbolism and highly sexual content. It has won the Golden Lion at Venice this year and seems to be totally simply unmissable.
4.Beyond the Hill
This Turkish film by Emin Alper uses a dark wry tale of a rural family patriarch’s resentment of the nomads who graze their animals on his land to explore the mechanics of racism and society’s ways of looking at ‘others’, and to stand, perhaps, as a parable of contemporary Turkey. The film was premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival this year where the director won a special mention for the best first feature. The film has also been to various other festivals including Tribecca, Karlovy Vary etc.