Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Foreign«

Mad visuals and melodrama

January 16, 2016


Brief notes from the 13th Chennai International Film Festival. Where are the great images? I kept asking this question during this year’s edition of the Chennai International Film Festival, usually a December fixture in the city’s cultural calendar but postponed a month due to the floods. When I say “great images,” I’m not talking about […]

On the watch

January 9, 2016


Looking back at my vacation viewing, which included heavily intellectual entertainment like… um, ‘Downton Abbey’. What does a film critic watch while on vacation? I was surprised people even thought this was a question worth asking, but then someone explained why. With “normal” folks (a category I clearly do not belong to), holidays are a […]

Festival dates

November 7, 2015


Thoughts from a few days when Fassbinder rubbed shoulders with Rajinikanth and Guru Dutt…. How do you plan your viewing schedule at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival? One way is to simply let the film find you. Earlier this year, at the Berlinale, the documentary Fassbinder – To Love Without Demands was one of […]

All about Berlinale

February 14, 2015


Long queues, freezing air, bad palak paneer… here I am, pretending that covering Berlinale 2015 is cruel work. The first couple of days about a film festival, you realise, aren’t about the film festival. At least, not entirely. They’re about being in a new city, about the relief that most people here speak English; about […]

Berlin Diary: The heat is on

February 14, 2015


Holmes is older. Mainstream sex becomes bolder. And Peter Greenaway blasts the cobwebs off biopic conventions. After a lot of earnest, well-intentioned, even well-made films, there was still the sense that there has been nothing yet that really shook you, shocked you. That probably explained the crowds at the screening of the new Peter Greenaway […]

Berlin Diary: Ice cream, cheesecake…

February 13, 2015


All good things, including film festivals, must come to an end. Midway through the festival, I decided I hadn’t seen much Asian cinema. I missed Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak, thinking that I’ll get to see it back home anyway. (A friend who was at the screening said the response was rapturous.) The in-competition Chinese film Gone […]

Berlin Diary: Franco-philia

February 13, 2015


When does James Franco sleep? That question isn’t likely to be answered soon, given the number of films he has at the Berlinale. James Franco spreads himself so thin that for every film he bombs out in, like Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, the law of averages practically guarantees something better somewhere else. We get […]

Berlin Diary: Art from the other America

February 12, 2015


Two affecting and very “local” films, from Guatemala and Chile. In an early scene in the Guatemalan feature Ixcanul, directed by first-timer Jayro Bustamante, a peasant family living in an outback is visited by the family of the man who’s to marry their daughter Maria. The groom-to-be, during the lavish feast laid out in his […]

Berlin Diary: Red, white and blue

February 11, 2015


Thoughts on the festival’s tribute to Technicolor films, mainly from Hollywood. It’s strange in this internet-booking era to find oneself queuing up for a film. It’s stranger still when the film isn’t new, or when it’s the kind that hardly anyone sees, save for committed (and, yes, should-be-committed) cinephiles. But long lines are a regular […]

Berlin Diary: Lost in translation

February 10, 2015


On Terrence Malick’s new movie, which is very much in the vein of his recent work. Knight of Cups, Terrence Malick’s latest head-scratcher movie, starring Christian Bale, features an earthquake, a temperamental sibling, an emotional ex-wife (Cate Blanchett), several dalliances (including one with Freida Pinto, who sticks her toes into Bale’s mouth), a hold-up in […]

Berlin Diary: Birds of a feather

February 9, 2015


Other journalists. Plus, a needless update of material that was much better served by Buñuel. Jabba the Hutt. Princess Leia. These aren’t names you expect to hear at a film festival. And yet, here this man was, one seat away from me at the screening of Isabel Coixet’s Nobody Wants the Night, talking about… I […]

Berlin Diary: Love across continents, and over time

February 7, 2015


Herzog disappoints. Plus, an excellent character study about a long-married couple. The next time we begin to accuse an Indian filmmaker of choosing stars who command press attention rather than actors who’d actually vanish into the part, we should remember that well-regarded foreign filmmakers do this all the time, sometimes to the detriment of their […]

Berlin Diary: Two women

February 7, 2015


The opening-night movie was hardly what you’d call a “festival film,” but one couldn’t write it off either. The press screenings at the Berlinale are special affairs. They are scheduled before the world premiere of the films in competition, which means we are literally the first audience for these films. I’m going to keep this […]

Berlin Diary: The jury has spoken

February 6, 2015


Film watching is subjective, and the Berlinale jury just emphasised that. At a press conference on the first day of the 65th Berlinale, jury president Darren Aronofsky strongly underlined the subjective nature of movie-watching. A critic in the audience asked if the jury – which includes German actor Daniel Brühl, French star Audrey Tautou, Mad […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A ticket to Bizarro World”

December 26, 2014


Notes from a random day at the 12th Chennai International Film Festival. Under normal circumstances, this would have given me an aneurysm. I walked into a film a couple of minutes late. If that wasn’t bad enough, I did not know the name of the film. I know you think I’m being overdramatic with all […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Hell on screen”

October 24, 2014


Thoughts on the violence in ‘12 Years a Slave’ versus ‘Lacombe Lucien,’ which was co-written by this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. I wanted to write about Louis Malle’s Lacombe Lucien when I saw 12 Years a Slave. The brutality depicted in the latter film bothered me, and it took me back […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The hunt for other cinema”

October 3, 2014


Scattered thoughts on foreign films. Plus, the disturbing ‘Jagten,’ a ‘child sex abuse’ movie that isn’t really about child sex abuse. I wanted to write about one of the better foreign films I’ve seen this year – Thomas Vinterberg’s Danish film Jagten (The Hunt) – but first I thought I should write about our relationship […]

Seeking unity in diversity

January 29, 2014


In a country as diverse as ours, how do we prevent the ghettoisation of the regional film industries? Subtitles could be a start… When an Elizabeth Taylor or a Paul Newman dies, all of America grieves. One reason, of course, is that these stars belonged to a time when we had to go to the movies, like […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A separation of audiences?”

October 25, 2013


Movies for everyone versus movies for a few. Notes from the recently concluded Mumbai International Film Festival. Why do people laugh in the movies? The obvious answer is that they find something funny,  and mainstream cinema – even given that rarely do two people respond to a movie the same way – sometimes manages to […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “And the Oscar doesn’t go to…”

September 27, 2013


Some thoughts on cricket and baseball and the movies we send out for Best Foreign Film consideration. So the powers that be chose The Good Road over The Lunchbox, and Twitter exploded. I thought, first, that this was an overreaction. (Then again, what’s Twitter for if not overreacting?) After all, isn’t this the same system […]


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