Confused about which movies to put on your must-watch list at the 17th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival? Here are a few films that we’ve pulled out that should figure in your list.
1. The Forbidden Room
Dir: Guy Maddin
The latest from director Guy Maddin has been described as a ‘narcotized fever dream’ thanks to its batshit crazy bizarre imagery. The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year and contains a crew in a submarine, thugs who live in a forest, a medical surgeon, child soldiers who collide into each other to unravel the meaning of life. If that plot sounds abstract check out the insane trailer below:
2. Mountains May Depart
Dir: Jia Zhangke
Zhangke deconstructed the ignominy of modern China in the deliciously violent A Touch of Sin and it looks like he’s doing some more of that, on a much bigger canvas in his new film. This time the filmmaker takes us through three timelines of evolving China – 1999, 2014 and a futuristic 2025.
3. The Lobster
Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos
The Greek filmmaker who made us sick to our stomach with Dogtooth and Alps and still made us love those two films is back with another impressionist dark comedy about doomed love. Lanthimos goes mainstream this time with a cast of Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux and John C Reilly. The film won the Jury Prize at the 2015 Cannes film festival.
Dir: Jacques Audiard
Director Audiard who blew us away with A Prophet five years ago never quite managed to capture our attention with his subsequent film Rust and Bone. His latest, however seems like a return to form seeing as it won the Palm d’Or at the Cannes film festival earlier this year. The film chronicles three Tamil refugees who escape the Sri Lankan civil war and migrate to France to start afresh.
Dir: Lenny Abrahamson
After wowing us last year with the strange masked rocker comedy drama Frank director Abrahamson has allegedly taken things to another level with his new film. Room chronicles the story of a mother (Brie Larson) and her child who must cope with the outside world after being imprisoned in a room for years. With her performance in last year’s Short Term 12 and the acclaim she’s garnering from Room, Larson has fast become an indie darling.
Dir: Jafar Panahi
Hands down the most fascinating filmmaker in the world, Panahi makes films using his limited resources in Iran, where he’s kept under house arrest for making films which were supposedly damaging to country’s culture. He’s now made films secretly in his house and smuggled them in a cake to film festivals, he’s shot his latest entire inside a taxi ride through Iran. Taxi won the Golden Bear and the FIPRESCI at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.
7. Heavenly Nomadic
Dir: Mirlan Abdykalykov
Kyrgystan’s official entry to the Oscars, Heavenly Nomadic has been described as a sweeping epic made out of a simple tale of paradise lost. The film chronicles the lives of three generations of nomads who undergo a change when a meteorologist from a more modern world moves in next door.
Dir: Sean Baker
Shot entirely on iPhones and universally acclaimed, director Sean Baker’s comedy has been called a true indie revolution and major case for DIY (Do It Yourself) filmmaking.
9. Ixcanul Volcano
Dir: Jayro Bustamante
How often does one hear about Guatemalan films, that too ones that are critically acclaimed? Ixcanul Volcano, this year’s Oscar entry from Guatemala takes us through a clash between the modern world and a Mayan farming family in a remote jungle. Indigenous South American tribes being exploited by the Western world has been captured in documentaries, but never in a feature film. The French co-production won the Alfred Bauer prize at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year.
10. He Named Me Malala
Dir: David Guggenheim
A chronicle of the life and near death of the young Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai, He Named me Malala received middling reviews from critics. But given the subject matter and the fact that director Guggenheim earlier made the terrific An Invonvenient Truth, this one becomes a must watch.
Indian Films to Look Out For:
Chuathi Koot (The Fourth Direction): Directed by Gurvinder Singh, which was screened at Cannes earlier this year.
Thithi: Director Raam Reddy’s Kannada film which won two awards at Locarno this year.
Island City: FTII grad Ruchika Oberoi’s debut film won the FEDORA prize at the Venice film festival and stars Tannishta Chatterjee, Vinay Pathak and Amruta Subhash. The film mashes together three stories with the singular stark backdrop of Mumbai.
Umrika: Director Prashant Nair’s film won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance, and stars Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi) as a village urchin looking for his lost brother last seen leaving for the States.
Placebo: Director Abhay Kumar’s debut film follows the lives of four students at one of the toughest educational institutes of India, contemplating life, death and the educational system in between.
Other Biggies to Keep An Eye Out For:
99 Homes: The latest film from director Ramin Bahrani tackles the issues of capitalism against the housing market debacle of 2008.
Mistress America: The new post modern alienation fable from the world’s most beloved reel and real life couple – Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig.
Youth: The new film from director Paolo Sorrentino who made the best film of 2013 – The Great Beauty. This one stars Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel and Paul Dano.
A Bigger Splash: Described as a ‘sunny noir’, Ralph Feinnes, Tilda Swinton Dakota Johnson and Matthias Schoenaerts star in a film about a harmless debauchery gone horribly wrong.
Junun: Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s camera follows his escapade with Radiohead member Jonny Greenwood through the winding lanes of Rajasthan to create a new kind of music.
The Assassin: Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s critically acclaimed, beautiful looking Wuxia martial arts film which has been on the festival circuit, finally comes to the big screen in India.
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