Three films, Beautiful Beings, the animation film My Love Affair with Marriage, and a ‘family-made’ thriller The Island of Lost Girls were screened at the 53rd International Film Festival of India earlier today. The makers of these films also participated at the ‘Table talk’ session organised by Press Information Bureau.
Beautiful Beings, which is featured under the ‘Cinema of the World’ segment of the festival, is a hard-hitting tale which explores the joys and boundaries of friendship. “Through our film which is based on real situations and stories, we are striving to say that happiness comes from contributing to others, without always thinking about the outcome,” said Anton Máni Svansson, the producer of this Icelandic movie.
“My director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson came up with this idea to make a film on such a delicate subject where violence also plays a critical role, based on his own life experiences,” he added.
Beautiful Beings chronicles the journey of Addi, a boy raised by a clairvoyant mother, who decides to adopt a bullied loner into his gang of outsiders. In their journey to know themselves who are left to their own devices, the boys explore aggression and violence but also learn about loyalty and love. “The conflict between having some bad friends rather than having none at all, and the human instinct to form bonds of mutual care plays a key role in this movie”, Anton added.
My Love Affair with Marriage, an animated feature, is inspired by filmmaker Signe Baumane’s own personal life – the failure of her second marriage, growing up with typecasting of women into specific roles, and rebellion against such notions – apart from being her take on the complexity and essence of love & relationships.
“From an early age, songs and fairytales had convinced Zelma that love would solve all her problems as long as she abided by societal expectations of how a girl should act. But as she grew older, something did not seem right with the concept of love. The more she tried to conform, the more her body resisted. A story about the acceptance of the inner female rebellion,” reads the logline at the Press Information Bureau site.
Baumane spoke about how women grow up with norms on how to eat, dress, sit, behave and how/whom to marry – often conditioned by the most intimate of relations like mothers – and with total disregard for individual agency. When asked about whether she would like her movie to be labelled as feminist, she pointed out how the word “feminist” is more about social, economic & political equality of women.“I told a personal story – it appears feminist & political because of societal forces controlling what women should do,” she said.
The Island of Lost Girls is billed as a unique ‘family-made’ thriller. The film was made by Ann Marie Schmidt along with her husband and producer Brian Schmidt and features their six kids, three of whom are aged ten, six and four. Ann said that it is quite interesting to work with children in general and one’s own kids in particular. “Working on a movie with a baby in a backpack is not at all glamorous; it is a lot of hard work. We captured our kids’ capabilities and put them in a movie to present to the world”, she said.
“Three young girls stick together as they get trapped in a sea cave with crashing waves, hundreds of sea lions, and giant elephant seals,” reads the logline
The film is competing in the ‘The Best Debut Feature Film of a Director’ segment of the festival.