April 19, 2014

True to the Image

The immortal image of the star-director 'Guido', played by Marcello Mastroianni, from Fellini's "8 1/2" is the official face of this year's Cannes film festival, arguably the greatest on this planet. And the recently-announced list of movies to be screened there in the third and fourth week of May shows how the festival has lived up to all expectations, bringing several star-directors under the same roof.

Imagine Jean-Luc Godard, Atom Egoyan, Ken Loach, David Cronenberg, Mike Leigh, and the Dardenne Brothers in competition for the highest prize of the festival - the Palme d'or. And there are more names to this list. Michel Hazanavicius is coming with his next film after 'The Artist'. Tommy Lee Jones has a film he just directed. Then we have Bennett Miller ('Capote', 'Moneyball'), Olivier Assayas (with his fourth Palme d'or nomination; his last film 'Something in the Air' had won awards at Venice 2012), the 25-year old Xavier Dolan with his fifth feature film (all his four films, including 'Laurence Anyways' and 'Tom at the Farm' have won awards at Cannes or Venice), Naomi Kawase (had won Camera d'or in 1997 and this is her fourth Palme d'or nomination since then), and Nuri Bilge Ceylan (five of his films, including 'Distant' and 'Once Upon a Time in Anatolia' have won awards at Cannes and Berlin).

The latest films by Zhang Yimou and Olivier Dahan ('La vie en Rose') are being screened out of competition.

And then we have Wim Wenders, Rolf de Heer from the Netherlands (with seventh film at either Berlin, Venice or Cannes), and Ryan Gosling with his directorial debut among the eighteen films in the Un Certain Regard category. This list also has the sole Indian film, 'Titli' by Kanu Behl.

Meanwhile, I am planning my own "Cannes in Andheri 2014" film festival that will start once I get back to Mumbai.

April 08, 2014

The Most Scandalous Film I Have Watched?

A Lars von Trier film does not shock me any more. It seems I have accepted him as an unapologetically provocative film-maker and am willing to watch anything he creates, and mostly he offers something much more than just blood and gore and graphic nudity. There have been films like 'Eraserhead', 'Dogtooth', and 'Cannibal Holocaust', which have been very disturbing to watch.Then there are films which are made to cash on their sensational content without any real merit. But to watch an acclaimed master like Nagisa Oshima make 'In the Realm of the Senses (1976)', a film with endless and tiring unsimulated sex and hardly any plot movement or character development, was very shocking for me. And then the climax is graphically so repulsive that I really think this is the most scandalous film I have watched. Please watch it only if you have the gut and the spirit to forgive and forget.

P.S. Have been travelling since the first week of March. Hence no post all this while. Really missing writing on this space. Wish I could multi-task more effectively.