Around 230 films were screened at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival, which was held from October 18-25. Here’s a list of films that got people talking.
There’s nothing better than getting a chance to watch the best of world cinema, if you are a cinephile. This year, films like Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Angel’s Share and Beyond The Hills, which had already created huge buzz when they were screened at prestigious film festivals like Sundance, Cannes, TIFF and Berlin Film festival, were part of the fest in Mumbai. The 14th Mumbai Film Festival left hundreds of cinephiles spoilt for choice with a wide range of films and documentaries from different parts of the globe. Apart from world cinema, the film festival also included a special section on restored classics, tribute to Italian and French cinema.
Considering that one could watch around 35 films on the whole, at the rate of five films per day, it was an impossible task to pick the best. Films like Amour, Beyond the Hills, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Holy Motors, Rust and Bone, Miss Lovely and Ship of Theseus, which were well received in international film festivals drew large number of people at NCPA.
Ship of Theseus, directed by Anand Gandhi, was undoubtedly one of the best films screened at Mumbai Film Festival and it received a standing ovation. The film explores questions related to identity, beauty and meaning among other things and the film’s climax is surreal and overwhelming. Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts starrer Rust and Bone was a big hit with the audience and so was Cristian Mungiu’s heartbreaking drama Beyond the Hills, which fiddles with themes like friendship and religion. However, the star of the fest was Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen who wowed the audience with his stunning performances in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt and Nikolaj Arcel’s A Royal Affair. Both these films are likely to make waves at most of the award ceremonies later this year. Among Indian films which were screened at the film festival, Hansal Mehta’s Shahid made a strong impression. The film is based on the life of lawyer Shahid Azmi who defended several civilians who were wrongly accused of terrorism. Kamal K M’s I.D, a film about a woman searching for a man’s real identity in the bylanes of Mumbai, received great reviews.
While the film festival offered a good mash of films cutting across languages and genres, it was also disappointing to see some of the eagerly awaited films like Beasts of the Southern Wild not living up to the expectations. Emotionally manipulative and slightly over the top, Beasts of the Southern Wild is an overhyped film all the way. Micheal Haneke’s Amour is likely to appeal to serious moviegoers with its eternally depressing tale of an elderly couple, although it’s a strong film if one has the patience to understand the nuances. Leos Carax’s Holy Motors got a mixed response and the audience was sharply divided over the experience of watching such a bizarre film. Perhaps, no other film in the entire film festival was as underwhelming as Walter Salles’ On The Road, which does no justice to Jack Kerouac’s book of the same name. On the other hand, Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely turned out to be an underwhelming experience, despite an interesting story, set in a world of filmmakers, actors and industrywallahs who thrive on C-grade films, and a superb act by Nawazuddin Siddique.
There were plenty of surprises as well, especially in terms of discovering promising filmmakers from different parts of the globe. Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, Rebecca Thomas’ Electrick Children, Michel Franco’s After Lucia, Mads Matthiesen’s Teddy Bear, James Marsh’s Shadow Dancer, Pablo Larraín’s No, and Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry made for an interesting watch. Most of these films might never make it to the theatres in India, but when all hope is lost, you know exactly where to find these films.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.