October 19, 2013

Mumbai 2013 Day #1: Deja vu

The return of the annual festival. Same known faces, and the number keeps increasing every year. Cinemax Versova being a venue for the third consecutive year. Same old technical problems, which are truly a trademark of our festival. And a first day that leaves you guessing about the next six days to follow. Despite the introduction of, and what is an effective step, I must say, the online reservation of shows, Mumbai Film Festival's first day was very much a deja vu for me.

'In the Name of' (Poland/ 2013) by Malgoska Szumowska was the opening movie for me. I must mention that all the new learnings of the year give you some enhanced perspective of cinema during this annual festival. For example, I was very curious to know what camera must have been used to shoot this film, and how the sets have been lit, and what is the general lensing and camera equipment being used. Hence, this film, with excellent cinematography and sound design (except for a couple of instance of background score that didn't go well with me), rose above its content and writing.

'Matterhorn' (Netherlands/ 2013) by Diederik Ebbinge followed. When the first two movies are from Poland and Netherlands, you do feel good. And this dramedy was a certain success among the audience. Also, it is incredible to see the first-time film-makers from abroad doing so well. The competition out there is really tough.

The third film was interrupted due to problems with the projection and when it was played in an adjacent screen, I had to leave it to attend the next film.

'All is Lost' (USA/ 2013) by JC Chandor proved yet again that movies are often provide surrogate emotional experiences that you don't have every day. Survival and fear of death was so closely felt in this single-character, almost dialogue-less film that I could hardly focus on the craft. And the film, despite the terrifying journey it showed, did inspire me to undertake one lonely voyage of my own. Some day, may be...

Takashi Miike's 'Shield of Straw' (Japan/ 2013) was the perfect movie to close the day. A mainstream crime thriller, with a riveting situational and ethical conflict, kept me on the edge of my seat. The final act was a little underwhelming, but I won't complain, as I was thoroughly entertained by then.

The bad news is that I won't be able to score 35 this year too, as I am already one movie behind (thanks to the technical problem). Also, the overall quality of the movies today was not the best you get to see at such festivals. The good news is that tomorrow might just be an unforgettable day in my life as a cinephile, thanks to the brilliant line-up. Going to bed now, to take some rest and gear up for the second day. Ciao!

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