Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 6 of the 16th Mumbai Film Festival ends on a high note

The 16th Mumbai Film Festival’s glitz and glamour was at an all time high as the weekend bonanza of city’s most awaited festival continued on Sunday to its 6th day. The City’s cine goers thronged the three sub-urban theatres, Chandan Cinema, PVR Andheri and Cinemax Versova for an unlimited dose of films, fun and entertainment.

Chandan Cinema marked a celebration of Arab cinema with two Egyptian films back to back, Tewfik Saleh’s 1955 debut feature ‘Fools’ Alley’ and Khairy Beshara’s 1986 war film ‘The Collar and the Bracelet’. Next up were flavors of the world cinema with Lou Ye’s Chinese-French engaging drama ‘Blind Massage’, Matthew Warchus’ real life inspired British  drama ‘Pride’ and Lars von Trier’s sex addiction drama ‘Nymphomaniac Volume II’.

The Sunday at PVR was equally studded with gems such as Turkish director Tayfun Pirselimoğlu’s ‘I Am Not Him’, Jean-Luc Godard’s French drama ‘Goodbye To Language – 3D’ and Bayaneruul Bayaneruul’s Chinese film ‘Norjmaa’, Hiroshi Toda’s Japanese film ‘Early Spring, Kyoto’, Kim ki-Duk’s South Korean film ‘One on One’, Maxime Giroux’s Canadian romantic drama ‘Felix and Meira’ and ‘Clownwise’ directed by Viktor Taus adorning the world cinema segment. 

Director Sajin Babu of 'Unto the Dusk' with Filmmaker Mohan Das
The day stood out with screenings in store across all the three competitive categories International Competition, India Gold 2014 and Dimension Mumbai. Films competing neck to neck were Benjamin Naishtat’s Argentine drama ‘History of Fear’, Chakme Rinpoche’s Chinese-Tibetan film ‘Zhaojian’ and Yann Demange’s British film‘‘71’; besides M S Prakash Babu’s debut Kannada film ‘Fig Fruit and The Wasps’, Sajin Baabu’s Malyalam film ‘Unto the Dusk’ and Bikas Mishra’s ‘Chauranga’ in the first two categories respectively.

Talking of 'Unto the Dusk' Filmmaker Mohan Das says: "its one wonderful Malayalam film I have seen after 3 years again at Mami. Last time it was in 2011 when Salim Ahmed's film 'Adaminte Makan Abu' and Santosh Sivan's 'Urumi' was screened. I guess the regional section is making more waves today and especially the south as compared to Bollywood when it comes to qualitative cinema. 'Unto the Dusk' by my director friend Sajin Babu is one such film. I had last seen his fiction ‘Music of the Broom’ and it was fantastic. When Sajin’s film was selected, I was really happy as that would give me the chance to meet him again - and with another good film of his."

Films that continued to keep the Sunday spirits alive included Matthew Torne’s ‘Lessons in Dissent’, Annette Mari Olsen, Katia Forbert Petersen’s Danish film ‘Mission Rape - A Tool of War’, Anja Marquardt’s stark New York-set indie drama ‘She's Lost Control’, Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger, Samuel Theis’ French film ‘Party Girl’ and Ana Lily Amirpour’s Iranian vampire film ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’.

There were Nikita Mikhalkov’s 1979 Russian classic ‘Several Days of Oblomov's Life’ celebrating 90 Years of MOSFILM Studio and Hany Abu-Assad’s 2013 Palestinian thriller ‘Omar’ celebrating the Arab cinema all under one roof. To add to that, Atul Malhotra’s multicultural coming of age comedy drama ‘Amar Akbar & Tony’ under Film India Worldwide, George Sidney’s 1963 American musical comedy film ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ under Restored Classics, Alain Resnais’ comedy drama ‘Life of Riley’ and Céline Sciamma’s intense gang rape film ‘Girlhood’ offering a Rendez-vous with French Cinema and Jayprad Desai’s Marathi film ‘Nagrik’ under New Face of Indian Cinema segment ensured that the day unfolds as the year’s most cinematic Sunday ever.

Likewise, the cinema vibe was quite contagious at Cinemax Versova that buzzed with variety in all forms - vivid films, diverse experiences and various kinds of cinema lovers. From a French Rendez-vous with  Michel Hazanavicius’ ‘The Search’, Bertrand Bonello ‘s biographical drama ‘Saint Laurent’ and André Téchiné ‘s ‘French Riviera’ to a celebration of Arab cinema with Ismaël Ferroukhi ‘s 2004 pilgrimage road trip film ‘The Big Journey’ and Férid Boughedir’s first fiction feature ‘Halfaouine: Boy of the Terraces’, the one thing that remained constant was the cinematic spell.

From noon till the sun went down, more magic unfolded with films such as Sonja Prosenc’s Slovenian film ‘The Tree’ and Sudabeh Mortezai’s Austrian film ‘Macondo’ competing in International Competition; Dr. Biju’s Malayalam film ‘Names Unknown’, Sanjib Sabhapandit’s Assamese film ‘The Pulsating Mindscape’ in the India Gold 2014 section, alongside Mahendra Teredesai’s Marathi film ‘Dombivli Return’ within New Faces of Indian cinema and Ron Mann’s Canadian film ‘Altman’ under the Real Reel. Screenings in the competitive Dimensions Mumbai segment also followed.

Keeping the weekend spirits alive, Mumbai Film Festival mesmerized the film enthusiasts and budding film makers when Film Critic, Editor Film Companion and Creative Director of the 16th Mumbai Film Festival, Anupama Chopra convened a tete a tete with Tanmay Bhatt and  Rohan Joshi from AIB, Arunabh Kumar from The Viral Fever and Jagdish Mahapatra (Managing Director for India & SAARC at McAfee. Part of Intel Security)  at Social Media and Changing Narrative Panel on social media and changing narrative, that presented some profound insights on social media led changes in modern day storytelling.

As the sun set, the weekend buzz reached a crescendo when Director Goran Paskaljevic, President, India Gold Jury 2014 and immensely talented actor Victor Banerjee announced a first ever Ind0-Serbian co-production titled ‘Dev Bhoomi’ and interacted with media who quizzed the director-actor team on more nuances about this exceptional collaboration.

A glorious day 6 at the 16th Mumbai Film Festival gave way to two more days of cinematic treat as the festival inches closer to its finishing line. Keeping up the promise of variety and surprises alive, the entertainment and engagement on day 7 and 8 is expected to soar even higher.

Day 6 culminated with thanks to the main sponsors:  70 EMG, Andrew T McKay - Music Composers Lab, Asian Paints, Bajaj Group, BookmyShow, Chandan Cinema, Cinestaan & Mumbai Mantra, Embassy of France in India, Fab India, Film Companion, Ford Foundation, Fountainhead, GalaLite, GVK, HBO Premium Channels, HDFC, Hindustan Times, Institute France, J.W. Marriott, LionsGate, Mahindra n Mahindra, McAfee. Part of Intel Security, NDTV, Nitin Desai Studio, Pinkerton, Pulz, PVR, Radio One, Raheja – Infiniti, Real Image (Qube), Reliance Media Works, Rentrak, Star TV, The 120 Media Collective, UniFrance, Varuna Jani, Vinod Chopra Films and Yahoo!. The event was drawn to a close with thanks to the main supporters and special thanks to the Government of Maharashtra.

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