November 03, 2015

MAMI 2015 Day 4: Enchanting Colours of Absurdity

I do not consider a film-festival experience complete until it divides the audience and their opinions on the movies we have watched. The most expected form of contrasting opinions are formed over films with strong political statement, those with excruciatingly painful plot-movement and the rare gems of graphic sex and violence. But then, there are films, who are hated by many for just making no sense, for being weird, and absurd. And the same films are loved by many for the very same reasons. My fourth day at the festival and the five movies I watched today had all shades of absurdity. I will only mention what was absurd in these and you watch these at your own risk.

'Blood of My Blood' tells two stories set in the same location but belonging to two different era as well as genre. The first story is a drama, the second a vampire-comedy. There are several actors common in both. And both are connected by the themes of evil and the devil. The film also has a very unusual use of the Metallica track 'Nothing Else Matters'. I hope you love it, the way I did. Thank God I watched this film despite several of my friends dissuading me to watch it, those who had experienced it a few days ago.

'Arabian Nights: Volume 1 - The Restless One' started with several minutes of non-fiction footage and I was shocked. Because I had come to see Miguel Gomes' retelling of the classic tale. Then we saw him, in the film, abandoning the shoot and running away, until he was caught and about to be killed when he started the story. Blending fact with fiction in the most inventive ways, he has created this trilogy, the two remaining parts of which I will catch in the next two days. It was a very demanding film, and it caused the maximum number of walk-outs.

I'm so glad I decided to go for 'The Violin Player' - my only Indian film at the festival this year. It was a 70-minute film, one unusual day in the life of a struggling violinist in Mumbai. The entire suspense and its resolution, in the form of the movie that he plays the viloin to, was so different from any Hindi film that we see. It was the most accessible of all five films I watched today and and generated unanimous applause. It was also the least absurd.

'Anomalisa' followed. The animated story of a man's one-day professional trip that turns very unusual for him. To say the least, women don't sound like women to him any more, until a girl arrives. It is also, as Wikipedia says, an adult animation film! Where do you get that?

And then, my most eagerly awaited movies of the festival, and the best movie of the day - 'The Lobster'. It is set in a dystopian future where the norm of the world is that if you are single, you have to find a partner within forty-five days or you will be turned into an animal. On the other hand, there is a rebel group in which you can live without a partner for all your life. But if you are caught flirting or sharing a romantic or a sexual moment with anyone, you will be punished beyond your imagination. And in this scenario, a love story blooms!

17 movies in 4 days is a good score! I hope I reach the count of 30 this year as well. Insha Allah!


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