Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Foreign«

The captain of the ship

February 11, 2017

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Sensing the director’s touch, at the recently concluded Bengaluru International Film Festival. At a film festival, the brochure is invaluable. It gives you a plot synopsis of the films being screened. It gives you a note about the filmmaker. This not only helps in deciding whether you want to give this particular film a shot, […]

Notes on song-and-dance cinema

December 17, 2016

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Musings on ‘La La Land’, a musical film that leaves us with thoughts about the musical genre. There’s a stunning stretch in Damien Chazelle’s La La Land – which I caught at the 13th Dubai International Film Festival, on a gorgeous big screen, in a theatre that looked like a la la land itself, with […]

Treats from the desert counter

December 16, 2016

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Same, yet different. That became the inadvertent theme of a few films at the 13th Dubai International Film Festival. The films you watch at a festival are the result of a calculated exercise. I picked Certain Women because of the cast (Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, Lily Gladstone). I picked Frantz because it was […]

Communities of cinema

November 26, 2016

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Thoughts on a book on India’s film society movements, with a guest appearance by Jawaharlal Nehru. When was the first official film society movement started in India? Where? And why? If the answers intrigue you – 1940; Bombay; to expose budding Indian documentary filmmakers to the best documentaries in the world, so they could make […]

West side stories

November 5, 2016

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At the Jio MAMI film festival with vampiric mermaids, touchingly liberal Indians, a donkey laden with symbolism, an unusual gay pairing, a rape fantasy, and a sparklingly restored version of ‘Teesri Manzil’. This year’s Mumbai Film Festival played out differently. Usually, I flip through the catalogue and say, “I have to see this film. And […]

Moving images, moving words

July 8, 2016

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A tribute to Abbas Kiarostami in his own words, and words from his cinema. Abbas Kiarostami, the hugely acclaimed and influential Iranian writer-director who passed away this week, was, at heart, a poet. In his contribution to a Guardian series in which photographers talked about their favourite works, he said, “It’s said that in the […]

Stalking point

April 23, 2016

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While celebrating ‘Fan’, let’s not forget Kamal Haasan’s ‘Uttama Villain’. Or the fact that these films can be made only in India. Watching Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan, I kept recalling Kamal Haasan’s Uttama Villain. Both films are not just about the characters these actors play (within the movie) but also about who these actors are […]

Berlin Diary: Local colour, universal stories

February 21, 2016

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‘Goat’. ‘Little Men’. Ghana’s ‘Thevar Magan’. Plus, a great sight gag about Gérard Depardieu’s weight. The puzzling thing while watching Andrew Neel’s Goat – which is being advertised as a “frightening image of reality on American campuses” (hazing, in other words; or as we call it, ragging) – is that Brad (Ben Schnetzer) gets into […]

Berlin Diary: Sketches of pain

February 20, 2016

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Mapplethorpe. Miles Davis.And an eight-hour epic from Lav Diaz. A photograph about a man in a polyester suit sounds innocent enough until you see what’s peeking out of the suit. And then it becomes a question not just about evaluating art but also your own response to it. Are you intrigued? Offended? Physically sickened? Turned […]

Berlin Diary: Eyeing the exit

February 19, 2016

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Festival fatigue. Thomas Vinterberg’s latest. Plus, the green-card soldiers of ‘Soy Nero’. Festival Fatigue. You won’t find it in the medical books, but it’s a real condition, whose symptoms include (a) the gentle drooping of eyelids some 30 minutes into a movie, (b) the mild panic that you have an hour (or three) to go, […]

Berlin Diary: The complex web of life

February 18, 2016

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Brief notes on ‘24 Weeks’, ‘Being 17’, ‘Death in Sarajevo’, and… ‘The End’. When Astrid (Julia Jentsch) learns she’s going to have a child with Down’s syndrome, she storms out of the doctor’s office. Luckily, her boyfriend Markus (Bjarne Mädel) is a good, strong man. “I’m getting two pieces of Danish. One for you, and […]

Berlin Diary: Two worlds

February 17, 2016

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A powerful, non-hectoring documentary about the refugee crisis. Plus, women in trouble. Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) must have begun filming much before the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe, but the recent events – those stories, those images – make us feel that this isn’t documentary, this is actually live footage. The question before […]

Berlin Diary: Only you

February 16, 2016

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A love story about a gay man and his family. Plus, the love story of a straight man in war. Sometimes, the synopsis in the festival brochure doesn’t tell you the real story. Take the Israeli documentary Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?, directed by the brothers Barak and Tomer Heymann. (The title refers to the […]

Berlin Diary: Myths and genre mash-ups

February 14, 2016

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Art cinema with arty touches. Plus, art cinema with blockbuster touches. And the award for the best opening shot goes to… Denis Côté’s Boris Without Béatrice. A tall, lean, bald man stands in a meadow, looking at… something. And then we see, over the trees beyond, a helicopter. Is it coming to pick him up? […]

Berlin Diary: The ties that bind

February 13, 2016

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A middling contender for the festival’s top prize makes you wonder if quality is the only criterion. You can understand why some films of iffy quality find a place at a festival. Like the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar!, which I missed due to a late flight into Berlin. But everyone said it was nothing special […]

Berlin Diary: Hail, Clooney!

February 12, 2016

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Notes from the opening day’s press conference at the Berlinale, when George Clooney lost his cool. There are signs in the press-conference room that something big, something international is afoot. On one wall, there are clocks displaying the time in Los Angeles, New York, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo. At the other end are booths, […]

Mad visuals and melodrama

January 16, 2016

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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

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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

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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

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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 […]