Sunday, November 01, 2015

So Good, I Was Hankering For A Fifth Film: Day 2 at MAMI Film Fest

Happy to watch movies from 9am!

I want to have breakfast with Ingrid Bergman, or eat Kaqchikel bread made by te'ej who wears a traditional huipil... Movies should start early, so we can watch five a day instead of a measly 4 when they start movies at 10.30

That said, Day 2 at the Mumbai Film Festival was simply amazing.


Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words (Jagar Ingrid)




To start the day with a documentary (the kinds that make it to 'film festivals') is usually not a good idea. The artiness of some of them might drive you to snore... And predictably there were less than 20 people sighing away at every frame. But I was glad. Did not need selfie-obsessed young women clicking pictures through the screening. Thankfully, the ones in this screening were people who have seen Gaslight and Autumn Sonata and Casablanca several times... My day was made when they show Ingrid Bergman's screen test ('no lip rouge', reads the board).

Rest of it was simply stunning. Thank goodness she saved everything. From her baby passport, to the pictures her dad took of her, her diaries, her children's pictures, and videos and home movies, and carried them with her when she moved from Sweden to Hollywood and to Italy and then to Paris and to London and then back to Sweden again...

And when it makes Deepa Deosthalee (my partner in crime and an enlightened being of cinema) say that she needs to now watch the Golda Meir docu-drama Ingrid Bergman's last big work, you know the documentary has been exceptional. 

I was converted into a mush puddle of memories to see shoot videos of Casablanca and Notorious and to hear about Bogart and Cary Grant in her own words...

How we scrambled for Dheepan could have been an entry to 'funniest home video' contest. Dheepan turned out to be 'How To Make Textbook Festival Winners'. It checked all the right boxes.
Refugee family who have escaped from a war-torn third world country accepted in socialist France, given a job, a home in projects where violence is just across the street. 

You just have to wait out for the circle of violence to be complete. You don't mind watching the movie play out in set pieces - it's three people stuck together as 'family', how they learn to be one slowly, how violence plays the villain that won't go away...

Surprising how there was no 'fancy' Bollywood introduction with extra spotlights thrown in, despite the fact that this film won the highest accolade at Cannes and the award winning actor was present.  

A short drive from PVR Juhu to PVR ECX was thankfully in quick moving traffic. The bar code reading made entering the theater so easy. And even though I felt like produce being checked out of a supermarket, I am grateful for this super-efficient method.

Stepped into Ixcanul.

And fell in love with Maria Telon who plays the mom, or 'te-ej' as Kaqchikel Mayan people will address her.

What a mother! She is empathy personified. She is the glue that keeps her poor peasant family together. Her beautiful daughter and her farmer husband. She is shown to be disapproving, cajoling, determined, has the never-give-up spirit... She is full of poetic folklore dreams when she offers advice, and yet amazingly practical. 

'Touch me here' she demands of her husband, and orders her daughter to 'jump on both feet' when trying to...

No, no, no! You will have to watch this brilliantly shot (made me google travel routes to Gautemala after I came back home!) story. If not at the festival, then somehow, some other time. 

Maria Telon is so amazing, I am looking forward to the 18 minute short film Tether which will be released soon.

Walked into Atlantic after dinner at a nearby restaurant, not suspecting a thing.

If you could fall in love with the first frame of a film, then this would be it.

And the feeling just grows and grows on you with the movie. The film is so fabulously shot, it made the silent as a ghost (when she watches movies) Deepa exclaim rightfully in a whisper, 'Deserves the Cinematography Oscar, no?'

I simply nodded. The last time I felt this level of envy was when I was reading everything I could about Ernest Shackleton. 

Atlantic is not just about some guy who wants to windsurf 3000 kilometers of the ocean, it is about answers he seeks as he glides across waves.

The fishing village, the music, the little girl... I have been seduced.

I have yet to see anything more visually stunning than this film. 

P.S. I have unfriended three people who said Atlantic made them sea-sick and it was like an extended Old Spice ad. 


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