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Friday, April 16, 2021

DIFF’s Viewing Room showcases six movies that generated Oscar buzz

Dharamshala International Film Festival's Viewing Room returns with six curated films that have been Oscar contenders this year.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Dharmashala |
Updated: April 2, 2021 5:51:04 pm
Dharamshala International Film Festival's Viewing Room returns with six curated films that have been Oscar contenders this yearDIFF Virtual Viewing Room: Films from the Oscar Season will stream for one week from April 2 to 8. (Photo: online.diff.co.in)

The Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) has launched its year-round programme for 2021 with the ‘DIFF Virtual Viewing Room: Films from the Oscar Season’ with six much-talked-about movies — Apples, Atlantis, The Dissident, Night of the Kings, Quo Vadis, Aida?, and Two of Us. This selection of six films curated by veteran film programmer Anu Rangachar will stream for one week from April 2 to 8 and is available on online.diff.co.in.

Speaking about the package, DIFF’s festival director Ritu Sarin said, “As the pandemic continues to rage around the world, DIFF is programming a series of online film packages throughout the year so that our audiences can continue to have the opportunity to watch a wide range of films from the comfort of their homes.” DIFF was started in 2012 by Sarin and Tenzing Sonam to expose local audiences to meaningful independent cinema, and encourage regional filmmaking talent. DIFF is collaborating with Gratitude Films Inc for this initiative. Rangachar said: “I launched my company Gratitude Films during the pandemic. I am excited to bring some of the most talked-about Oscar contenders this year from around the world to audiences in India.”

Apples, directed by Christos Nikou was Greece’s official Oscar entry for the Best International Feature Film category. This surreal comedy-drama is an exploration of memory, identity and loss through the eyes of the middle-aged Aris. The victim of a global pandemic that causes sudden amnesia, he is instructed to document a set of daily tasks to rebuild his identity. Directed by Valentyn Vasyanovych, Atlantis is set in Eastern Ukraine in 2025. Ukraine’s official Oscar entry, this military drama, follows Sergiy, a former soldier suffering from PTSD, struggling to navigate his life and a land which is in ruins.

The viewing room will stream one of the most acclaimed docu-thrillers, Bryan Fogel-directed The Dissident. The documentary is about the international cover-up behind the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and captures the dangers of speaking truth to power. The movie Night of the Kings is inspired by a real-life tradition at the secluded MACA prison in the Ivory Coast, where one inmate is chosen to tell a story to the others. Operating as a modern-day Sheherezade, he starts narrating a rich tale of the Zama King, going from realism to magic, borrowing from political fact and legend, in a story that lasts through the night. The film, directed by Philippe Lacôte, was conceptualised from the director’s experiences of visiting the notorious prison as a child.

Bosnian movie Quo Vadis, Aida?, directed by Jasmila Žbanic, is nominated in the Best International Feature Film category of the Oscars 2021. It is about Aida, who works as a translator for the UN in the small town of Srebrenica. Her life turns upside down when the Serbian army takes over, leaving her and her family scrambling for shelter. France’s official Oscar entry for the Best International Feature Film category, Two Of Us, is about Nina and Madeline, two retirees who have been secretly in love for decades. Posing as neighbours to the outside world, they traipse in and out with ease. Trouble brews in paradise when Madeleine’s daughter stumbles upon the truth about their relationship. The film, directed by Filippo Meneghetti, is a fascinating exploration of desire and how the gaze of others can mediate and censor it.

The passes for DIFF Virtual Viewing Room: Films from the Oscar Season is available on online.diff.co.in

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