October 19, 2011

Mumbai 2011 Day #6: Healers and Healing

Out of the three movies that I watched today, three intimately dealt with doctors and the medical profession. Needless to say, terms like 'Transient Ischaemic Attack' and 'Epidural Anaesthesia' do convey something to me despite my lost touch with medicine. So, i don't mind watching cinema featuring healers and healing!

'Best Intentions' (Romania, 2011) was a little demanding to begin with and inspired a major walkout by a good chunk of delegates. But by the time it ended, all of us could relate to the experience - how we react to a situation when a loved one is undergoing hospitalization and treatment, and how everyone around us tries to help with advice. All, doctors and well-wishers, of course have only 'best intentions' in mind!

'Sleeping Sickness' (Germany, 2011) was an extremely difficult film. It won the Best Director award at Berlin film festival this year. Apparently, it talked about a German doctor working in Cameroon for years, but I felt the movie had something more that we couldn't appreciate. At least the final act was baffling beyond words.

'Declaration of War' (France, 2011) was perhaps the most 'commercial' movie I saw during this fest. The story of a couple dealing with the ailment of their baby was treated in a surprisingly funny way, and their spirit was truly inspiring. The treatment of the film however was very 'Bollywoodish' (not in a bad sense). They even had one lip-synced romantic song!

I selected 'Savage' (Sweden, 2011) because of its title. The festival experience is never complete without one movie of brutal violence. And the climax of this movie, a story of four young adults driven by their animal instincts being forced to confirm with the society, did fulfill my desire - a shocking scene of two insane murders gave me the high I was looking for.

As a final note, I must share this beautiful feeling I have during most modern movies from World Cinema. For the first 15-20 minutes, not much sense can be made, but slowly, once you sit through the most difficult and demanding moments, a narrative emerges, organically, and then everything starts making sense. It happens sooner if you realize the 'motive' or the 'worldview' of the director early into the film, and then if you play it from the beginning every scene will make sense. It is this self-assured, purposeful though demanding, nature of these movies that always challenge and fascinate me as a viewer.

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