THE Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival, which opens today, will showcase nearly 220 films from 49 countries, filmed in 51 languages. Unlike previous years, the first day of the festival will throw open the doors of its venues — PVRs screens in Andheri, Juhu and Kurla, Thane, and Regal, Colaba — for the festival-goers in the morning, much before the opening film Anurag Kashyap-directed Mukkabaaz is screened in the evening. For the third year in a row, an Indian movie will open the festival, after Aligarh in 2015 and A Death in Gunj in 2016. Interestingly, the screening of Mukkabaaz at the iconic Liberty theatre is clashing with show time at Regal, where the much-anticipated Darren Aronofsky-directed Mother!, which features Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, will be screened. After the opening ceremony, the party is expected to move to Antilla.
Oscar Hopefuls Every year, the Oscar hopefuls from Hollywood as well as the official entries from different countries to the Academy under the ‘foreign language film’ category, serve as major draws. One such movie that’s perhaps enjoying maximum attention is Ruben Östlund’s The Square. The Swedish movie, a satirical take on the art world, has already won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Other movies, which are creating a buzz are Argentinian Lucrecia Martel’s critically-acclaimed colonial drama Zama; Senegalese-French director Alain Gomis’ Félicité, which is about a Congolese singer who desperately needs money after her 14-year-old son meets with an accident; and much-acclaimed director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s fifth feature, Loveless — the story of a bitter divorce and its tragic effects on a young boy — which is also the Cannes Jury Prize winner. Spoor (Poland), Summer 1993 (Spain), The Wound (South Africa), A Fantastic Woman (Chile) and Scary Mother (Georgia) are the other entries for Oscar 2018 that the festival-goers in Mumbai would get to watch.
The selection for the ‘India Gold’ category, which features eight fictions and two documentaries, reflects the variety of movies that filmmakers from across the country have been coming up with. This section also celebrates richness of content, brings to focus stories from different regions as well as movies that showcase different Indian languages and sensibilities. Some of these movies, such as Rahul Jain-directed Machines, an immersive documentary about workers at a textile mill in Gujarat, Karma Takapa-directed Ralang Road (Nepali) set in Sikkim, Sanal Kumar Sasidharan-directed Sexy Durga (Malayalam) and Rima Das’s Village Rockstars (Assamese) have already won accolades at international festivals. Devashish Makhija’s Granny (Ajji) is headed to Busan International Film Festival. Dipash Jain’s In the Shadows (Gali Guliyan) and Shlok Sharma’s Zoo are
other attractions. The ‘Discovering India’ section will present a mix of films from the diaspora including Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema by Australian documentary filmmaker Danny Ben-Moshe and Victor’s History by Nicholas Chevailier.
The ‘After Dark’ section, curated by South Korean Jongsuk Thomas Nam, and popular among the fans of horror genre, brings feature films from Uganda, Japan, Poland, Venezuela and Australia. These will give glimpses of recent trends in the fantastic genre such as multi-layered thrill-seekers with female characters as protagonists, besides monsters and action homages. The section also showcases the unlikely sources of such films, with one of this year’s selections, Bad Black coming from the B-movie industry in Uganda. The line-up for the section includes six feature and other short films. These include 68 Kill (USA), It Comes At Night Trey Edward Shults (USA), Killing Ground by Damien Power (Australia), Meatball Machine Kodoku (Japan), Mon Mon Mon Monsters (Taiwan).
The ‘Half Ticket’ section showcases films for children between the ages of five and 17. It would have 14 India premieres, seven Asian premieres and two world premieres. With a mix of fiction and documentaries, recent and classics, this section has a myriad set of stories to fill the curiosity of young audiences. In its third edition, the section introduces a package based on a theme, The Hand Of Friendship, curated by Samina Mishra. This includes a mix of old and new films that reflect the myriad ways in which children form bonds of friendship — with peers, animals, and objects. Some of the features in this section include Cloudboy by Meikeminne Clinckspoor, Little Heroes (Pequeños Heroes) by Juan Pablo Buscarini, Pipsi (Marathi) by Rohan Deshpande, Rabbit School (Die Häschenschule – Jagd nach dem goldenen Ei) by Ute Von Münchow-Pohl and Swagger by Olivier Babinet.
The ‘Spotlight’ section presents The Hungry by Bornila Chatterjee, an adaptation from Shakespeare’s early play Titus Andronicus. The film, which was screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) features Naseeruddin Shah and Tisca Chopra in the lead. The other film in this section is Anup Singh’s The Song of Scorpions, featuring Golshifteh Farahani, who was last seen in Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, and Irrfan Khan. This year, the festival will screen six debut features showcasing the new voices of Marathi cinema in the Marathi Talkies section.