PIFF 2018: National Award-winner To Let, documentary Vaikhari among films to watch on Day 1
Day 1 of PIFF offers a mix of films to attendees, from the dark comedy Sink Hole, to a documentary on Padhant titled Vaikhari, and a story of people torn by war and conflict, Across
The Pondicherry International Film Festival, set to flag off on 26 September, promises to be a melting pot of cinema showcasing features, shorts, thrillers, documentaries, fantasy and much more. The first edition of the film festival will not only host events such as an acting session with PIFF's brand ambassador Adil Hussain but will also screen some award-winning and critically acclaimed works throughout its five-day run. Day 1 which will see the inauguration of the festival at the hands of Chief Minister V Narayansamy will open with Chezhiyan Ra's National Award winner To Let.
Diving into a pool of well-crafted cinema, every day we will bring to you some of the best works to watch out for at the Pondicherry International Film Festival. The event will be held at Alliance Française de Pondichéry and the Multimedia Center Auditorium, Auroville.
What Will People Say (2017): Iram Haq's feature film tells the story of a young Pakistani girl Nisha, who leads a double life — that of an ideal daughter at home and of a regular Norwegian teenager when she is out with her friends. This Adil Hussain-starrer is Norway's official entry to the Oscars this year and has bagged six Norwegian National Awards in 2018. Hussain, who essays the role of Nisha's father, also became the first Indian to win the Norwegian National Award for Best Actor. The film will be screened at the Multimedia Center Auditorium, Auroville.
To Let (2017): Written and directed by Cheziyan, this film won the award for the Best Feature in Tamil at the 65th National Film Awards. Set in Chennai, it follows the story of Illango, an assistant director, who along with his wife and their five-year-old son is forced to vacate their rented apartment in a month's time. Cheziyan attempts to explore the skyrocketing rents in 2007 Chennai as a direct result of the growth in the IT sector and the plight of middle-class families looking for housing that they can afford.
Sink Hole (2018): A regular tale of new beginnings and epiphanies when a suicidal friend runs into an old mate seems like a stale prospect. But what happens when this friend is not a guardian angel but a buddy out to unveil his own demons? Catch duo Alex Serafini and Madeline Kelly aka Holysmoke's dark comedy Sink Hole, a six-minute short about an IT professional about to commit suicide who meets a schoolmate, bleak like his own self. Holysmoke's debut short has previously been screened at The Buddha International Film Festival in Pune and the Redline International Film Festival in Toronto.
Plague (2017): Koldo Almandoz's documentary derives its name from the Latin word “plaga". Anything in abundance is harmful, a plague. And an excess of one particular species is detrimental to nature's animal and plant population. The nearly 10-minute silent musical from Spain has no language but a clear and surreal message. It will be screened on the afternoon of the first day of the PIFF. Plague was previously screened at the Bilbao International Festival of Documentary and Short Films, 2017.
Across (2017): Director Ansh Vohra aims to sensitise the audience with his documentary on wars and conflict that tear families apart and destroy countless lives. Across explores the story of four people from a village called Turtuk in Ladakh, who narrate their experiences of the night in 1971 when India and Pakistan went to war. This documentary is a peek into the ramifications of conflict faced by those that people the lands closest to the fronts. The film is a narrative of those who witnessed first hand the mobilisation of the two forces and the aftereffects of a war that ravaged thousands of lives.
Vaikhari (2018): For classical music and dance enthusiasts, Vaikhari is a real treat — an hour-long documentary on the art of Padhant, the recitation of the bol (composition) and rhythms in Hindustani sangeet and Kathak. Shot in the Mahagami Gurukul in Aurangabad run by Kathak exponent Parwati Dutta, Lubdhak Chatterjee's Vaikhari captures the scenic setting of the Gurukul that complements Dutta's euphonious pandhant as her school gears up for their presentation, Meghadootam, an adaptation of Kalidas's Sanskrit work. Vaikhari has been screened at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute in Kolkata earlier in September. It is born out of the director's passion for the subject cultivated over years through his own understanding of classical music.
Manusangada (Cry Humanity) (2017): A commentary on caste discrimination, an issue widespread even today, Cry Humanity is based on the true story of a Dalit man who goes to court after being barred from carrying his father's corpse to the graveyard through the commonly used road. The film premiered in the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival in 2017 and subsequently won the Best Feature Film award at the 35th Indian Panorama Festival. Voices fighting the atrocities against Dalits are increasing today and this Tamil feature is yet another attempt to bring the problem to the fore.
Eden (2014): Underground hip-hop is a global movement and thousands of artists have given their all in pursuit of success. Mia Hansen-Love's Eden, which will close the first day of the PIFF, is a biographical work about one such DJ from Paris who becomes successful only to battle addiction, debt and loss later in his life. Vincent Lacoste and Arnold Azoulay play the DJ duo Daft Punk in Eden while the real-life duo has contributed to the film's music. Eden is said to be loosely based on the life of Hansen-Love's brother. It premiered in the Special Presentations category at the Toronto International Film Festival, 2014 and is a must watch for all EDM aficionados.