IFFI 2017: Oscar nominated, National Award winning movies to watch out at ongoing film festival
It is that season of the year when the usually quiet and laid back Panjim bustles with activity of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) The walk by the riverside opposite the primary screening venues of Inox and Kala Academy are being rushed to its final best dressed look for the ongoing film festival.
IFFI has already had a tricky start in the news cycle with the event of the two films — Nude (directed by Ravi Jadhav) and S Durga (directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan) — getting dropped without jury consultation, leading to several members of the 12-member jury resigning, including jury chairperson Sujoy Ghosh, filmmaker Gyan Correa and writer-editor Apurva Asrani.
Even while the debate around autonomy of the jury and questions around press accreditation (or the absence of it) continue to surround the festival, an interesting selection of films wait for their audience. The show as always must go on, rightly said way back in Elizabethan England when the Queen sat while Tudor politics was carefully clothed for entertainment for both dissidents and authority by Shakespeare.
The festival has several sections including the Indian Panorama, World Cinema and International Competition of films, which are India Premiere, Biennale College from the Venice Film Festival, a section of Bond Retrospective films right from 1960 up to 2012. The Restored Classics this year includes Godard’s Two Or Three Things I Know About Her (1967), Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) and Bunuel’s Belle De Jour (1967).
The other exciting enterprise this year devised by The Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) is the idea of the Bioscope Village. ESG Vice Chairman Rajendra Talak, over the past one year, has been actively encouraging a cinema culture in Goa by setting a Cinephile Club with regular screenings, masterclasses by filmmakers, journalists and other film professionals at the Maquinez palace. In the same vein of encouraging film viewing in theatres, The Bioscope Village is a first for IFFI and is targeted towards getting the non-delegates to watch films, according to Rajendra Talak. Three inflatable air-conditioned theatres with a 5.1 sound system will be set up and like the days of mobile theatre and performing tents making the experience of cinema accessible of every one in Panjim. The idea would be colour everything around Panjim in the soft light of cinema.
Along with this, there will be a skill studio to encourage young and new filmmakers to make short films. The skill studio will have editing equipment and the help of film professionals for aspiring filmmakers. The studio activities will end with a short film contest of the films made over the week of the Festival. There is also a special section for regional cinema in the mobile theatres.
For the world cinema enthusiasts, there are several films to queue up for including Palm d’Or winner The Square (Ruben Ostlund), a satirical take on the art world. There is the new and stylish Murder on The Orient Express (Kenneth Branagh) which premiers just before its India release. The closing film of the IFFI is Pablo Cesar’s Thinking of Him. The Argentinian — an Indian production — is set around the relationship between Rabindranath Tagore and Victoia Ocampo seen through a teacher at a detention centre.
Young Pianist Mila prepares for a summer abroad in Bulgarian film ¾, a story about a family’s last summer before they disperse into adulthood. A Berlin pastry chef remembers his closeted relationship when his wife and a child die in a car accident in Jerusalem in The Cakemaker. A story about closeted relationships and catharsis, this would be an interesting film to watch. Beats Per Minute (director Robin Campillo, Grand Prize of the Jury Cannes and FIPRESCI) is set in Paris of the 1990s around a group of activists.
Iranian film Man of Integrity (Un Certain Regard) tells a story that resonates, about a man and his goldfish farm in Northern Iran that is slowly taken over under the corrupt circles of a private company with links to the government. Another film that ran to packed shows at the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival is Chilean movie Fantastic Woman. It also screens here and is a story about the complex, fascinating transgender woman Maria. The UK film The Party (Sally Potter), set in an intimate party hosted by Janet, will also be screened.
In the Indian Panorama section, there is Marathi film Kaasav (Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar), the winner of National Award for Best Feature to watch out for. There are over 20 Oscar entries from all over the world showing at the IFFI this year.