FC@Berlin 2019, Dispatch 2 – The ‘Gully Boy’ press screening, plus 40 years of Panorama

Posted on February 8, 2019

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/berlin-film-festival-2019-gully-boy-press-screening-40-years-of-panorama-baradwaj-rangan/

No, not the review. But it was very different to watch a very musical movie with a very sedate festival audience.

While waiting for the press screening of Gully Boy, I glanced at the press notes: “Bollywood meets hip-hop in Zoya Akhtar’s colourful but socially critical story about music and love.” The film runs 148 minutes, which is par for the course for us, of course. But at festivals, where people plan their days so that they can see as many films as possible, length can become a consideration. The other films being presented as part of the Berlinale Special programme are mostly less than two hours long. Anthropocene: The Human Epoch — the final part of the documentary trilogy by directors Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky, in which they document the consequences of humankind’s actions on our planet (this one’s set in Kenya, “where tusks are being measured and stacked”) — runs a mere 87 minutes.

I looked at the other films in this section. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, directed by the actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (and based on William Kamkwamba’s autobiographical novel) — runs 113 minutes. But Zoya Akhtar need not worry. El Norte — Gregory Nava’s 1984 epic about Guatemalan civil war refugees fleeing to the USA (the promised land of the title) and one of the first US indie films to break out and become a big hit — is 141 minutes long. And Heinrich Breloer’s Brecht (yes, about the writer), runs a whopping 182 minutes. Ritesh Batra’s Photograph (110 minutes) is playing in this section, too. “In atmospheric images that exude a quiet charm he almost casually depicts how social stratification divides Indian society and creates a sensitive portrait of everyday life in this megacity caught between tradition and progress.” If the film lives up to this description, it should be something.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Film Festivals