ur pick of the films to watch out for as the city gears up for its annual film festival
Having gotten back to its feet after the chaos of the cyclone, Chennai is ready to host its 14th International Film Festival, with activities spread across seven days at different venues across the city. Organised by the Indo Cine appreciation Foundation, “this episode of the festival will see films from across the world, from amateur shorts to Academy Award winners, with countries like Iran (10 films) and Luxembourg (6 films) participating for the first time,” says director E Thangaraj. While regulars will miss the familiar wooden seats and creaking fans of the screen at Woodlands, which isn’t part of the list of venues this time, the array of films chosen to be screened this time make up well. As the
festival kicks off in full swing today, we bring you our pick of movies you can’t afford to miss this week.
From today till January 12. `500 onwards. Details: chennaifilmfest.com
Son of Saul (Hungary)
Director: László Nemes
Set in the WW II era, this movie revolves around Saul Auslander, who was among the many forced into concentration camps in Auschwitz, who while burning the corpses of his own kin, comes across a body of a boy who he thinks is of his son. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Grand Prix at the Cannes Festival in 2015.
Director: Florian Gaad
This 90-minute German movie shot in Munich and Bavaria follows the tale of a young Lena who disappears following a crumbling friendship and her interactions with an online mystery man. As the facade of harmonious suburban life breaks down, not only is Lena’s life at risk, the town folks begin to question loyalties and friendships.
A Historia da Eternidade (Brazil)
Director: Camilo Cavalcante
This movie is a poetic take on desires and dreams. The film is set in a desert village with hardly 40 inhabitants in Brazil, where events transpire in a calculated pace, inspiring visceral moments within the cycle of time. The movie is a rather abstract take on human tragedy and emotion.
On The Other Side (Croatia)
Director: Zrinko Ogresta
Croatia’s official entry to the Academy Awards last year, the movie depicts the destructive consequences for a family after the Balkan civil war. Having moved away from the place and events that destroyed her life, Vesna is suddenly taken back to the ghosts of her past, when an unexpected call comes her way 20 years later.
Ashes and Diamonds (Poland)
With a title that is inspired from a 19th-century poem by Cyprian Norwid, Ashes and Diamonds is based on the 1948 novel by Polish writer Jerzy Andrzejewski. It centres around a love story in the midst of strife that starts right after the end of German occupation. The film is considered by many to be one of the best Polish movies of all time.
Director: Hassan Nazer
Nazer’s 2015 film was in the news following his movie’s disqualification from the Academy Award race for not being ‘foreign’ enough. The movie follows Janah, an Afghani woman, as she travels to the UK to get artifically inseminated. What happens when a
medical studentWilliam, switches the donor’s semen for his own, forms the crux of this film. The movie was well received at the film festivals in Jaipur and Delhi last year.
The Salesman (Iran)
Playing the lead roles in a local rendition of Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman, Emad and Rana, a young couple see their relationship taking a turn for the worst as they rent an apartment formerly inhabited by a prostitute. Trouble comes calling as one of her old customers decides to visit. The movie won best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival earlier last year and has been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.
Mr Hublot (Luxembourg )
Director: Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares
An Oscar winner for Best Animated Short Film, this movie traces the life of Mr Hublot. This withdrawn OCD sufferer, who is petrified of change, finds himself facing new possibilities when he has to share his home with an abandoned robot pet.
Post Tenebras Lux (USA)
Director: Carlos Reygadas
Latin for light after darkness, this movie follows John, a wealthy householder who decides to move to the Mexican countryside with his urban family. While he and his wife face a crumbling marriage, their children seem to find solace in the new surrounds. The movie offers an interesting take on the intimacy a family shares and got Reygadas the best director award at Cannes in 2012.
Director: Mohamed Diab
A much-anticipated follow-up to his Cairo 678, comes a tale of riots between Egypt’s pro-military supporters and the Muslim brotherhood. Egypt’s official entry for the 2016 Cannes Film festival, the movie revolves around the onset of violence in the aftermath of the June 2013 political upheaval. Shot entirely in the confines of a police van, the movie carries a riveting message about chaos and cruelty.
Pick of the fest
In the running for the Best Tamil film are 12 movies — critically acclaimed and commercial blockbusters. Set to be judged by veteran actor, director and producer Bhagyaraj, movies like Iraivi, Pasanga 2 and Sila Samayangalil are likely to be crowd favourites. Starring Amala Paul, the movie Amma Kanakku also makes its presence felt. A remake of the Hindi movie Nil Battey Sannata, the movie follows the lives of a mother-daughter duo, the spirit of human sacrifice and the love of a mother. Vijay Sethupathy’s dominance over his contemporaries is evident with three of his movies vying for the top spot.
The festival will also see a tribute to Amma with a trip down memory lane to two of her most popular films, Aayirathil Oruvan (1965) and Adimaippenn (1969). Known to be an enthusiastic supporter of the film festival, the screenings of the best films from her prime as an actress seem to be a fitting tribute.
A different shade
The third edition of the Chennai Rainbow Film Festival is here with the best works of emerging gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer filmmakers on offer. Our eyes are on the American film Stonewall, based on the 1969 riots that triggered the gay revolution in New York City. Catch close to 50 features and shorts at this five-day festival. Entry free. Details: 9003043442
Daeho (South Korea)
Director: Park Hoon-jung
This South Korean period film, that is also titled The Tiger: An Old Hunter’s Tale, depicts how an experienced hunter goes about hunting the last tiger in Joseon during the Japanese occupation of Korea.The movie stars the popular Choi Min-sik.
Director: Kongdej Jaturanrasamee
Set against the backdrop of Thailand’s 2014 military coup, this compelling tale traces the difference between social media existence and actual
reality. The romantic drama revolves around an Instagram-obsessed 26-year-old who meets an old friend at a reunion, bringing back unresolved feelings and old memories as well as doubts about her impending marriage.
In Bed with Victoria (France)
Director: Justine Triet
This comedy drama revolves around the life of a divorced criminal lawyer, struggling to make ends meet with her two daughters. Things however take a turn for good after she meets an old friend and client. The movie was screened in Cannes last year to positive reviews.