The last time I came to Trivandrum was in April ’17 and had a good time watching Dhanush’s directorial debut “Pa Paandi”. I had to drop my IFFI (Goa) plans due to prosperity of education so I decided to treat myself in God’s Own Country. The first things one notices on arrival in towns/cities down south are the life size film posters and actor cutouts. Last time, it was Mohanlal whose “1971: Beyond Borders” and this time it’s my favorite actor’s Tamil film debut “Richie” – Nivin Pauly. I rescheduled my IFFK Schedule to watch “Richie” since handful films were screened on Day 1.
The 22nd Edition of the IFFK- International Film Festival of Kerala opened on a sombre note since the Ockhi Cyclone caused mishap in the region. IFFK also takes a critical political stand and stands out from the rest of its kind which primarily consider marketing films on entertainment value. The competition section includes the films of third world countries only, especially the Afro-Asian and Latin American. 465 Screenings of the 190 Films from 65 Countries will take place at the 14 Screens spread across the heart of Trivandrum.
First day started on a low-key note since I struggled with the language barrier. Nevertheless, since I watch a lot of Malayalam films and even worked as an AD on one I managed to cope up. While the line up of the films is great, the first day had few screenings I managed to watch two.
Dogs and Fools (Iran)
While the winds howl and clouds visit the village more often than people in the remote location at the border of the Iran near the snow-cladded, the film focused on loss, destruction and insanity. Even the day is dark, mostly in silhouettes and passionately directed. Though it starts as a clumsy and coping up with the characters is difficult with many characters accompanied by the voice of old narrator. Everything is torn in the village, the older generation can’t help the younger as a family is falling apart. Miscommunication and misunderstanding occurs more before I knew that it’s a simple old worn out story told from an Iranian perspective. Synopsis: a man is missing while his wife is pregnant. The woman gives birth in hiding since the villagers accuse her of prostitution. The man returns back devastated and failed while the evidences suggesting an extramarital affair drive him crazy. And he suspects her of the same with a young Kurd widower.
It’s so heartening to watch the growth of Iranian Cinema. [WATCH TRAILER]
Colo (France, Portugal)
Synopsis: In Portugal, a father, a mother and a daughter’s daily lives are being subsumed by the effects of the economic crisis. As the tension grows with silence and guilt in the drab slab of anti-social realism, the number of audience were rapidly finding their way out of the screening. A Competition-contender at the 67 Berlin Film Festival, the director Teresa Villaverde aspires honestly to show the alienating effects of capitalism which hits hard the family. There’s a family collapse, attempted suicide, teenage pregnancy, harming oneself and insanity in the tedious film which needs much more patience than just standing 15 minutes in the queue for the same film.
The film slowly proceeds while there is estrangement and alienation within the family with causes an immediate effect upon the audience too(?). With some clever shots and long silences with long wife shots, the apathy prevailed and by the end of this challenging and un-engaging saga, from 100 only 30 were left in state of bewilderment. Even though the film put out it’s sole aim to showcase the effects of capitalism and social realism, an insight into the Portugal life was satisfying but was highly led down by its writing. [WATCH TRAILER]
So the struggle to leave the auditorium was real but I wanted to experience the silence in the Cinema. And then Beef Curry and Malabari Porottas powered a delicious insight with nourishment.
Also the festival is welcoming 90 Years of Malayalam Cinema. What a great year to be a part of and part away with!
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