October 29, 2010

Mumbai 2010 Day #7: Is It Over?

"Is it over?", a helpless Chris MacNeil asks Father Karras after a horrifying session of exorcism performed on her daughter Regan.

"Is it over?". I am saddened as I leave PVR and the festival ends. During the last one week it has been a part of me. It will be a difficult year-long wait for the next edition.

It was my first experience of William Friedkin's 'The Exorcist'(1973) and I believe all the reputation, legacy, and notoriety associated with this classic is justified. Unlike other horror films, it doesn't depend greatly on 'chills' and 'shocks', but there is a lingering, disturbing impact of the film achieved by long sequences of possession and exorcism of the little girl. After all these years, the scariness might have aged, but the psychological impact has not worn out. The film was followed by a discussion on it by Jane Campion.

The German film 'Shahada'(2010), by Burhan Qurbani was like the Islamic equivalent of yesterday's 'Of Men & Gods'. Tackling similar issues of faith, quoting extensively from the religious texts, and made equally brilliantly, 'Shahada' also has a more popular appeal. Undoubtedly, one of the best movies of the year. This film also made me realize that these days I am very fascinated by movies asking spiritual and theological questions.

'Shahada' could have been a beautiful 'last film' of the festival. And after that I was confused whether I should risk its impact by watching the 10.30pm screening of the Turkish film, 'Kosmos'(2010), by Reha Erdem. Some said it was an ordinary film. Thank god I decided to go for it, and discovered that it wasn't ordinary at all. It was in fact very unusual, a tale of a corrupt, lustful 'messiah' who steals compulsively and 'heals' people mysteriously. I won't be able to forget this film. And weird films like these are necessary to complete your festival experience.

As I was returning home late night, I crossed the Lakshmi-Narayan temple on my way. As a habit, I closed my eyes and uttered a prayer. What instantly came to my lips was a 'Thank You God' along with a wide smile that lasted for some time. Blessed to experience cinema at its best!

P.S. For the record Must Watch Movie Before You Die #6 The Exorcist (1973)

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