Monday, October 21, 2013

MAMI 2013: Day 3

Back is beginning to sore, neck is beginning to sprain, eyes are beginning to redden & it's only day 3! But who cares when there's awesome cinema on display? Right then let's get on with it. 5 films seen. Took some chances which pleasantly paid off & I was more or less pleased with all of them.

Language: Arabic (Some Hebrew)
Director: Rani Massalha

The Israel-Palestine conflict has interested me for quite some time so I did not want to miss out an opportunity to catch cinema coming out from that troubled & tempestuous part of the world. The word 'Giraffada' is a portmanteau of the words 'Giraffe' & 'Intifada'.

This is an important film. It is lovely & heartfelt at the same time hard hitting & audacious.

Plot: Yacine is a veterinarian of the only remaining Palestinian zoo. His 10 year old son Ziad has a special bond with the 2 giraffes at the zoo, When the male giraffe is killed in an Israeli air raid, Ziad & his father set on a mission to steal a giraffe from an Israeli zoo & smuggle it back into Palestinian territories. The film is inspired by real life events.

The film portrays the terrible, hostile & stale conditions the Palestinian people have to live & face every single day, how they've been relegated to quite literally being prisoners in their own land. In one striking scene as a group of young boys are sitting & playing around when an Israeli military vehicle swoops in  & asks them to 'Go back home' they flailingly reply "We ARE home".

This bleakness of reality is countered by telling us the story from the perspective of the child. The green eyed Ahmad Bayatri gives an endearing performance as Ziad to whom the heart instantly reaches out. Ultimately that is what Giraffada's appeal is, it's a story with a lot of heart. Sadly thousands of Palestinian children like Ziad are losing the essence of their childhood every single day. At least 'Giraffada' gives us a tale where a brave father fights to keep his child's innocence alive. This is my favourite film at the fest till now. It made me feel thankful for the freedom I have in my country.

Beyond All Boundaries
Language: English, Hindi & Marathi
Director: Sushrut Jain

My first documentary of the fest, it was everything I expected it to be. The film follows 3 cricket fanatics who gave up everything to pursue their passion in the backdrop of the 2011 World Cup. This is real-life feel good cinema where the under dog finally triumphs. The central theme is how in a country divided by innumerable factors cricket miraculously unites us. Lighthearted, evocative, straightforward & most importantly enjoyable, BAB is a delight. It's a testimony to the Mark Twain quote "Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isn't".

Check out the trailer below.

Beyond All Boundaries - NEW TRAILER from Sushrut Jain on Vimeo.

60 Going On 12 (12 Ans D'Age)
Language: French
Director: Fredric Proust

Another feel good fare. 2 old friends in their post retirement stage want to relive their youth & do everything they couldn't in their younger days. It's a crowd pleaser with lots of funny moments all the while building up on a climax that centralizes the importance of family, friendship, love & the yin-yang relationship between youth & old age. There were instances when it reminded me of the similarly themed Basu Chatterjee gem 'Shaukeen'.

Some terrific acting all round, an easy to follow, brisk screenplay only elevates its status.

This was my 4th French film at the fest & yet my knowledge of the language starts with 'Oui' & ends with 'Merci'. Sigh.

Language: Bengali
Director Rituparno Ghosh

This played as part of a retrospective to pay tribute to the late Rituparno Ghosh. It was his last full length film

I love myself a good whodunnit where a detective solves a crime & that exactly what 'Satyanweshi' is. Though it takes it's own leisurely pace to unravel which I felt at certain brief instances was bordering on dull, the moody atmospherics, wonderful eery background score & an authentic recreation of the period it is set in create an absorbing mystery.

Bad Hair (Pelo Malo)
Language: Spanish
Director: Mariana Rondon

Tired & exhausted, my foremost objective while this screening was not to fall asleep & to it's credit it did engage me enough to not doze off.

It's a film about a 9 yr-old boy obsessed with his hair living with his thankless single mom who never fully appreciates him & would be a nominee for the 'worst mom ever' award if ever there was one

The scenes with the children are quite adorable (The little girl playing Junior's beauty queen aspirant neighbour is a hoot)..In turns funny & stoic I thought it was well made but felt something missing. Probably my sleep.

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