Browsing All Posts filed under »Film Festivals«

Cannes Classics 2020: Martin Scorsese has restored ‘The Hourglass Sanatorium’, by Polish filmmaker Wojciech Jerzy Has, to its hallucinatory glory

August 1, 2020

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All this hallucinatory imagery is rooted in tragedy. The book’s author was shot dead by a Gestapo officer in 1942, for venturing outside the Jewish ghetto and into the Aryan quarter. A bird flies towards the gnarled branches of a leafless tree. It appears oddly lifeless. It doesn’t seem to be flying so much as […]

Kalla Nottam at New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF): Rahul Riji Nair’s interesting, immersive drama sees only what a GoPro camera sees

July 30, 2020

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A regular film tells us a story that has been recorded on a camera, and then edited in a way that (usually) gives the audience knowledge that the characters themselves may not have. Here, we travel only with the camera. Spoilers ahead… This film can be viewed at: https://nyiff.moviesaints.com/bundle/nyiff2020 The owner of a small provisions […]

Run Kalyani at New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF): J Geetha’s Malayalam drama transforms the unremarkable life of a cook into everyday poetry

July 28, 2020

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The music is like a bolero, where a theme is endlessly repeated. The tiny variations in each repetition mirror the tiny variations in each day Kalyani wakes up to face. Spoilers ahead… This film can be viewed at: https://nyiff.moviesaints.com/bundle/nyiff2020 In the morning, before leaving for work, Kalyani (Garggi Ananthan) tends to her aged, bedridden aunt. […]

Cannes Classics 2020: Federico Fellini’s ‘La strada’, The Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and the concept of “existential time”

July 25, 2020

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If you wanted to break the film down along the lines of motive and meaning, then you could say that the title (Italian for “the road”) refers to the road of life. We are all wanderers, and the point is to have some purpose… This is the centenary year of Federico Fellini’s birth, and film […]

Diao Yinan’s Berlinale Golden Bear winner, ‘Black Coal, Thin Ice’, smuggles fascinating layers into a genre film

July 18, 2020

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Genre films can express an attitude towards society, towards reality. In other words, instead of expressing his views on society through a “social” drama, the director is opting to say what he wants to say through stories of crime. The plot of Black Coal, Thin Ice (in Mandarin, and released in 2014) is the stuff […]

Cannes Classics 2020: The ravishing poetry of Wong Kar-wai’s ‘In the Mood for Love’, which turns 20 this year

June 27, 2020

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Part of this mood is created through Su’s wardrobe. Like unhappy, unfulfilled women in the movies — think of Sridevi in ‘English Vinglish’, in Sabyasachi saris — Su’s not-a-hair-out-of-place look is a facade for the turmoil inside. One of my favourite film anecdotes has Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich talking about Greta Garbo. The younger […]

The Cannes 2020 lineup is here, and Wes Anderson is the sole“star director”

June 4, 2020

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High-profile directors matter at film festivals, because here, they are the real stars. Because they have oeuvres we already know, and the excitement is about ‘what next’! The first foreign film I watched on a big screen — that is, apart from  the rare ones Doordarshan used to screen at night — is Federico Fellini’s […]

Chat Masala #1: Cannes & why film festivals matter

May 14, 2020

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Anupama Chopra and Baradwaj Rangan get together for a new series titled Chat Masala. On the first episode, they discuss the Cannes Film Festival that was called off this year, owing to coronavirus, and their memories from the French Riviera. The critics also chat about the importance of film festivals and how the world will […]

The fascinating ‘Stella Dallas’ was screened as part of the King Vidor retrospective at the Berlinale

March 12, 2020

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The beauty of this film lies in how marvellously grey Stella is. Just as you pin her down as one thing, she shows another (unexpected) side. In Stella Dallas (1937), Barbra Stanwyck plays the titular character, the daughter of a millworker who wants more from life. As the film opens — the year is 1919 […]

Fellini’s ‘The Swindle’, part of Berlinale Classics, brings to fore the filmmaker’s deeply Catholic concerns

March 5, 2020

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/federico-fellinis-the-swindle-part-of-berlinale-classics-brings-to-fore-the-filmmakers-deeply-catholic-concerns-8115351.html One of the odder casting decisions in film history is Broderick Crawford in Federico Fellini’s Il bidone (The Swindle). How does one explain the presence of this blustery American, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in All the King’s Men (1949), playing an Italian in […]

“Nasir”… Arun Karthick’s superb second feature, about a Coimbatore Muslim, is a political film about an apparently apolitical man

March 2, 2020

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The genius of the film is that — by shunning conventional cause-and-effect melodrama — its active “plot” about communalism gets relegated to the sidelines, and we focus on the individual. Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/nasir-movie-review-arun-karthicks-superb-second-feature-about-a-coimbatore-muslim-is-a-political-film-about-an-apparently-apolitical-man/ “What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she […]

“Laila Aur Satt Geet”… Pushpendra Singh’s Kashmir-set folktale, which had its world premiere at Berlinale, is gorgeously moody poetry

February 29, 2020

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Laila herself may be a stand-in for Kashmir. Look how people keep talking about her beauty. Isn’t that what Jahangir implied in the most famous lines about the state! Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/laila-aur-satt-geet-movie-review-pushpendra-singhs-kashmir-set-folktale-which-had-its-world-premiere-at-berlinale-is-gorgeously-moody-poetry/ Titles don’t get much more instructive than that of Pushpendra Singh’s Laila Aur […]

Tsai Ming-Liang’s ‘Days’, ‘Dry Wind’, and Mohammad Rasoulof’s ‘There Is No Evil’

February 29, 2020

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An entrancing slow-burn drama about loneliness, a provocative gay triangle, a rock-solid update on the executioner’s dilemma… Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/tsai-ming-liangs-days-dry-wind-and-mohammad-rasoulofs-there-is-no-evil/ What does “slow cinema” — a term often associated with Tsai Ming-Liang — give you that a 3x speeded-up version doesn’t? Take the opening scene […]

Hong Sangsoo’s ‘The Woman Who Ran’, old gay love in ‘Suk Suk’, and Javier Bardem in ‘The Roads Not Taken’

February 28, 2020

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A trascendental talkathon, a senior-citizen take on ‘Brokeback Mountain’, the festival’s biggest bummer… Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/hong-sangsoos-the-woman-who-ran-old-gay-love-in-suk-suk-and-javier-bardem-in-the-roads-not-taken/ Hong Sangsoo’s new film opens with the image of chicken pecking at grains. A little later, we get a snatch of conversation between two women, neither of whom has […]

Willem Dafoe’s ‘Siberia’, gay-cleansing in ‘Welcome to Chechnya’, and ‘My Little Sister’

February 27, 2020

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The festival’s WTF-iest drama, a classy weepie about a woman on the verge, and a wrenching documentary about Chechnya’s anti-gay situation. Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/willem-dafoes-siberia-gay-cleansing-in-welcome-to-chechnya-and-my-little-sister/ One talking fish per film festival, you’d think, would be plenty — and I got one in Matteo Garrone’s Pinochhio. Imagine […]

‘Cruel Tale of Bushido’, 1963 Golden Bear winner and part of Berlinale Classics, debunks the samurai mythos

February 27, 2020

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/how-cruel-tale-of-bushido1963-golden-bear-winner-and-part-of-berlinale-classics-debunks-the-samurai-mythos-8092961.html The 70th anniversary of the Berlin Film Festival coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Tokyo Film Distribution Company, now known as Toei. It is one of Japan’s Big Four film studios, the others being Shochiku, Kadokawa and Toho. (The latter is better known as the home […]

“Sthalpuran”… In Akshay Indikar’s deeply felt portrait of a young boy, technique replaces traditional storytelling

February 27, 2020

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World-premiering at the Berlinale, this Marathi drama will compete for the Crystal Bear for Best Film in the Generation Kplus section. Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/sthalpuran-chronicle-of-space-movie-review-in-akshay-indikars-deeply-felt-portrait-of-a-young-boy-technique-replaces-traditional-storytelling/ Childhood is usually the most dynamic phase of existence. Even those of us who grow up ball-and-chained to desk jobs begin […]

Kelly Reichardt’s ‘First Cow’, Jia Zhang-ke’s ‘Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue’, and ‘The Salt of Tears’

February 26, 2020

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A Coen Brothers’ film with heart, and without the snark. A touching literary documentary. And a badly behaved man. Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/kelly-reichardts-first-cow-jia-zhang-kes-swimming-out-till-the-sea-turns-blue-and-the-salt-of-tears/ In Meek’s Cutoff (2010), Kelly Reichardt told a nineteenth-century story about people crossing the Oregon High Desert. Old Joy (2006) was about two […]

Pixar’s middling but fun ‘Onward’, plus Matteo Garrone’s take on ‘Pinocchio’

February 25, 2020

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Proof that even a not-great Pixar movie has traces of genius, proof that not every fairy tale lends itself to earthy remakes… Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/pixars-middling-but-fun-onward-plus-matteo-garrones-take-on-pinocchio/ “Long ago, the world was full of wonder.” These are the opening words of Onward, the new Pixar feature, directed […]

Johnny Depp in ‘Minamata’, the engaging ‘Persian Lessons’, and ‘The Intruder’

February 25, 2020

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A war against mercury contamination, a WWII survival story, and a woman’s worst nightmares… Spoilers ahead… You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/johnny-depp-stars-in-minamata-a-generic-drama-about-mercury-poisoning-in-japan/ The middlebrow is the most perplexing of brows. Call something “highbrow”, and you gold-plate it. You elevate it to the realm of scholars and connoisseurs. The “lowbrow” may […]