It’s better late than never, is what I felt after the eight day long IFFK held at Trivandrum, last month. I always regretted not attending the Festival so far, but my first time was a super-enjoyable experience for me, one that’ll remain etched in my mind for quite some time. I am no critic to judge the quality of movies screened this year, but some of the movies I got to watch at the festival were enriching in several ways. ‘Delhi in a day’ , directed by Prashant Nair was a delightful watch, comprising of a tiny mishap that takes place between an upper class family in Delhi and a foreigner who wants to feel the real essence of India. The director got it right with the casting and by portraying an India devoid of slums and snake charmers. Though, I was advised not to indulge much into Indian films, I couldn’t stop myself from checking out ‘Palas in bloom’ by Shalini Usha Nair which was engaging to an extent. With killer acting by Fahadh Faasil, this book adaptation was narrated through his perspective, which made it interesting in certain shots, like the climax. The final Indian movie I watched was ‘At the end of it all’, a Bengali movie that was a total art movie cliché. The initial innings looked promising, but it got too boring with stereotype characterization, where in, almost all the characters spoke poetically, not to forget about a dragging narrative.
Among various categories including an exclusive list of football films, ‘Games of their lives’ came as a surprise as the synopsis given in the handbook was of a completely different one! This documentary told about the development of football in North Korea. French master Robert Bresson’s films were featured in the retrospective category and his ‘Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne’ was a decent black and white experience. Depicting a vengeance filled extra marital affair, this one highlighted French culture of women of those times, which was aptly supported by subtitles. Denying it of unnecessary melodrama, the characters had a balance between emotions like ego, innocence and pride. ‘The Puzzle’ spoke of a bored housewife who leads a monotonous life and finds her true calling in solving jigsaw puzzles. The written material has been well adapted on screen and also has really good performances by the main leads.
My favourite pick from the Festival films has to be Asghar Farhadi’s ‘A Separation’. Every character was simply interwoven within the storyline, connecting with the spectator in an empathetic way. Farhadi is directorially brilliant in his flawless style of narration and kudos to the realistic cast. I couldn’t take my eyes off for even a minute, despite having to keep in pace with the subtitles and facial expressions. Adrian Sitaru’s ‘Best Intentions’ was another flick with unintended humour that came out of serious situations. It juggled with subtle comedy and an over anxious protagonist. The movie mostly comprised of long shots, where in, the leading character had long dialogues to deliver, doing justice to his neurotic personality in the film. But it lagged in few places, yet, stroke back with funny punch lines. ‘The First Grader’ is based on a true story, beautifully directed with the non- fiction element intact. Though, it doesn’t boast of a great technical side, the movie on a whole was very inspiring with some impactful dialogues, speaking of how empowering education is. Visualizing Columbian country side in a modern day portrayal of daily life, ‘The Colours of a Mountain’ is a simple story of a nine year old’s world. In the context of a larger, dangerous issue of the killing of civilians, all that matters to the children is a damn soccer ball. Even in this earthbound hell, a huge round of applause came for Manuel as he risked everything to get his ball.
I had my share of good and not-so-good movies, but watching them with friends and loitering around Kairali theatre for snacks and shamelessly waiting for a free auto is all too memorable to be forgotten. As inspiring as some of the movies were, that enriching it was to share it with friends of the same mind set. Like they say, great minds think alike :p