The City of Joy is all prepped up for the best of world cinema with the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) that’s been organised between 10 and 17 November, 2018. Around 171 films and 150 short and documentary films from 70 countries will be screened at the festival that will also celebrate 100 years of Bengali cinema.
Here are some of the movies to watch out this year.
Brazilian Director Eduardo Nunes’ Unicornio
Unicornio, starring Barbara Luz, Patricia Pillar and Zecarlos Machado, is a tale of a young girl of 13 who lives with her mother on an isolated property. They are awaiting the return of their father and husband. But instead, another man appears, transforming the relationship between the mother and daughter.
Egyptian Director Abu Bakr Shawky’s Yomeddine
Translating to ‘Judgement Day’, Yomeddine is an Egyptian drama film based on the dynamics of friendship. A Coptic leper and his orphaned apprentice leave the confines of the leper colony for the first time and embark on a journey across Egypt to search for what is left of their families. It was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Francois Chalais Prize. It was selected as the Egyptian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
Ladli by Sudipta Kundu
Another one in the Documentary category, Ladli is about a young girl who’s searching for meaning in the world. She yearns for a companion who can accept her soul along with her body. Many ups and downs have taught her that love, though, does not come without judgments and conditions. When it does come, however, she finds it hard to accept.
Praveen Morchhale’s Widow of Silence
Also screened at the Busan Film festival this year, Widow of Silence is set in the backdrop of a conflict-ridden Kashmir. A Muslim half-widow finds herself, her 11-year-old daughter and ill mother-in-law in a crisis when she attempts to get her missing husband's death certificate from the government. It will be competing in the category of Indian language films.
Turkish Drama Sibel
Screened at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Contemporary World Cinema section this year, it narrates the story of 25-year-old mute Sibel who lives with her father and sister in a secluded village in the mountains of Turkey's Black Sea region. Rejected by her fellow villagers, she relentlessly hunts down a wolf that is said to be prowling in the neighbouring forest, where she crosses path with a fugitive. Injured, threatening and vulnerable, he is the first one to take a fresh look at her.
The Monks Who Won a Grammy by Aparna Sanyal
National Award-winning director Aparna Sanyal is back with another film that tells us the story of the monks who won a Grammy. It was back in 2004, when the monks of Palpung Sherabling Monastery grabbed the Grammy for their chants. It is competing in the Documentary category.
Churni Ganguly’s Tarikh
The only Bengali film in the competition, Tarikh stars Saswata Chatterjee, Raima Sen and Ritwick Chakraborty. The film shows the bonding, complex relationship and real and impossible aspirations of people and how all these things have an impact on daily lives, also emphasising on how social media plays a significant part in shaping our relationships.
Shaji N Karun’s film Olu (She)
The 12-time National Award-winner’s latest film explores the trauma of a rape victim, a minor girl from Malabar and chronicles around how her concept of love shatters after the episode.
Jorge Perez Solano’s La Negrada
La Negrada is the first Mexican feature film about the Afro-Mexican community, filmed entirely with people from different towns around the Costa Chica in Oaxaca.
Apart from these noted films, among the other exciting sections we have:
Celebrating 100 years of Bengali Cinema
Completing 100 glorious years, Bengali cinema has set a benchmark for good cinema. This edition of KIFF will celebrate this achievement by screening classics like Kabuliwala by Tapan Sinha, Uttar Falguni by Asit Sen and Rituparno Ghosh’s Unishey April.
Homage to Celebrated Filmmakers
Filmmakers like Bimal Ray, Majid Majidi and Ernst Ingmar Bergman, who have contributed enormously to the world of cinema, will be celebrated at KIFF. The screening list includes Bimal Ray’s Pehla Aadmi, Sujata among others; Bergman’s Winter Light, Through A Glass Darkly, Seventh Seal and Majid Majidi’s The Song Of Sparrows, The Willow Tree along with his recent Beyond The Clouds.
With a total of 17 Australian films being screened at the festival, Australia has a great film line-up ranging from contemporary Australian films to iconic films. Phillip Noyce will be honoured with his renowned films like Patriot Games, Salt being screened.
Tunisian cinema has a stellar line-up at the film festival, of around nine films. Dear Son by Mohamed Ben Attia, is a moving tale of a father-son relationship amidst turbulent times. The film was screened at Cannes Film Festival this year.
Nejib Belkadhi’s Look At Me, was screened at Toronto International Film Festival and is a tale of Lotfi, a 40-something Tunisian immigrant. He has to go back home to reclaim custody of his nine-year-old autistic son, Amr, whom he has not seen for six years. It is Amr's avoidance of eye contact that drives Lotfi's quest to connect with his son and open him up to the world.
Thala My Love by Mehdi Hmili is an endearing story of Mohamed, a political prisoner, who escapes from jail and returns to his native town Thala. He finds it in the midst of a revolt. He has only one goal: to find his fiancée Hourya.
The Classic Section
The Maestro section has films by some of the most renowned directors worldwide. Jafar Panama’s 3 Faces, The Image Book by Jean Luc Godard and Human, Space, Time and Human by Kim Ki-duk are some of the films in this category. Classics like Apu trilogy by Satyajit Ray, Bicycle Thieves by Vittorio De Sica and Blow-Up by Michelangelo Antonioni, will finally be able to be watched on the big screen after restoration.
Shoojit Sircar’s October, released early this year, will have a special screening at the festival along with Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s Jonaki, which received much appreciation at the recently concluded MAMI film festival. Sanjoy Nag’s Yours Truly and Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s CzechMate – in Search of Jiri Menzel will also have special screenings.