Movies

Notes from the festival

The BIFFes has seen a huge response from film goers. A true blue cine buff hardly feels he has had enough and craves for more

There is a sense of inexplicable emptiness as a film festival draws to a close. It’s like a family wedding, after the knot is tied you know you may not meet relatives till the next one. Everybody seems to be busier than they ever were. You meet old friends and make new ones. There is a menu card of movies but it’s more like a buffet. You want to sample everything but just can’t even though it leaves you craving for more. There is no sense of fatigue where film fans are concerned. Are the people who attend film festivals a separate species? Some seem to think so. They feel they’re gourmets in a world that seems to ingest and digest anything churned out. There’s a condescending attitude towards commercial or popular cinema. “Why can’t we make films like this!” exclaimed an enthusiast, emerging from a film that would have been unceremoniously removed from a theatre in Majestic.

The crowds are swelling at BIFFES as the years pass. The queues have grown longer snaking through the lobby, sometimes intertwined confusingly. The success of a film festival depends as much on the organisers as it does with the participants. Some of the cineastes flaunt an aura of sophistication but their behaviour at crucial moments belies that. Strangely it was the so-called senior citizens who made it difficult: they would not form a queue, they crowd the entrance and bully the hapless volunteers . Of course there are exceptions. Arguing with volunteers for delays due to technical glitches was the most puerile thing I witnessed regularly. It was mostly a ploy to jump the swelling queue.

Notes from the festival

The lobby surrounded by the eleven screens at PVR, Orion Mall could be called a ‘selfie’ spot. The biggest superstar I saw was the aging ‘Pranaya Raja’ Srinath. There were no actors or directors from mainstream Kannada cinema. Of course, they’ll claim they were busy shooting! The lack of time between shows means you can’t go out to eat.

It’s still difficult to choose a film to watch even though you have access to IMDB ratings and reviews. ‘Anna’s Life’, a Georgian film about a single mother who takes multiple jobs to look after her autistic child, was a good start.

She’s desperate for money but refuses to steal or sleep with a man who offers a huge sum. It’s when she’s cheated off her hard-earned money that an unseen side in her emerges.

This much feted film directed by Nino Basilia shows the predicament of single mothers who’re perceived as easy prey. ‘The Age Of Shadows’ is a stylish spy thriller by the Korean director Kim Jee-won. It unfolds a classic tale of relentless, engrossing intrigue about Korean resistance fighters and their Japanese occupiers. The consummate ease with which the film shifts between characters and sequences is fascinating. The authentic sets in this period tale, especially a train from that era is remarkable.

Notes from the festival

‘Ma’Rosa’ is a gritty tale, a slice of life from the seedy streets of Manila, depending heavily on the title character who owns a small store but sells drugs on the side to augment her earnings. It’s a large family and money is tight but is crime the way out? The style is candid with a hand-held camera following the family capturing their travails.

It’s all about how the kids rise to the occasion to raise the money. Jaclyn Jose is outstanding in the title role especially in the end, when she with a reputation of being strong breaks down in solitude. Vijay Jayapal’s Indie film ‘Revelations’, complex tale of a young woman grappling with an unhappy marriage, and is drawn to a middle-aged neighbour -- it’s handled with finesse and assurance. Some scenes are not entirely convincing but the way the plot unravels and the handling of the key performers shows confidence. One film that made me burp in cinematic contentment was ‘Train Driver’s Diary’ about the moral dilemma and the lack of culpability when a train driver mows down people crossing the tracks. The film is on track strangely taking a sardonic look, even evoking laughs about something grave, though unintentional.

The strength of the film is that the director doesn’t debate or judge. A great film doesn’t deliver a message but starts a debate and makes you ponder.

S. Shiva Kumar

sshivu@yahoo.com

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:06:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/Notes-from-the-festival/article17278596.ece

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