September 19, 2013

Toronto in Andheri 2013

As mentioned in a previous post, I did organise my own "Toronto in Andheri Film Festival" and ended up watching 10 films in the last few days. The greatest pleasure of such an exercise is to watch some films you wouldn't otherwise, and discover new film-makers. This time, I also watched a couple of films that I had been waiting to watch for a long, long time.

As before, I am embedding the online links of the movies to their titles below. Here are the movies that made my last few days very special:

Opening Film: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (People's Choice Award 2000/Taiwan-Hong Kong-US-China/ Ang Lee) This famous martial-arts fable was a film I had been waiting to watch forever. For many, this was the film that led them to discover Ang Lee. Since I was late, it was my fifth film by him. And the perfect to kickstart start my festival.

Nobody Waved Good-Bye (1964/ Canada/ Don Owen) Since 1984, TIFF has been conducting a poll of the Best Canadian Films of All Time every decade. In its first poll, this coming-of-age film was voted at #9, a film that has rekindled in me the love for long lenses.

Wavelength (1967/ Canada/ Michael Snow) This is one of the most famous short films in cinema history. In what appears to be a single forty-five minute shot, all we get to see is a slow zoom-in from one edge of a room to a photograph on the opposite wall. The film requires some serious patience, but is compulsory viewing for anyone looking for experimental cinema.

Exotica (Best Canadian Feature Film 1994/ Canada/ Atom Egoyan) Today considered one of the best Canadian films of all time, it will remain unforgettable for me, especially because of the mood it builds with the use of Indian-fusion music, and generous nudity. Truly mesmerising.

Incendies (Best Canadian Feature Film 2010/ Canada/ Denis Villeneuve) The twin children of a just-died woman receive in her will some instructions that she wanted them to follow. The two embark on a journey that reveal some ugly truths about their mother and themselves. Mysterious and involving, and with a shocker of an ending, this French-Arabic film went on to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film.

Mon oncle Antoine (1971/ Canada/ Claude Jutra) Widely considered the Greatest Canadian Film of All Time, including the three once-a-decade polls by TIFF, it is funny and it is sad. The film taught me something I'll never forget - to include sufficient well-thought POV shots in the coverage, especially if the film involves a strong "point-of-view character".

Whale Rider (People's Choice Award 2002/ New Zealand/ Niki Caro) This is what I love so much about world cinema. This film tells us the story of a Maori community and turns out to be an unforgettable fable. Before this, I knew nothing about this community and their culture, something I read about as soon as the film ended. And suddenly my life felt richer. The fourteen-year old Keisha Castle-Hughes became the youngest actress to earn an Oscar nomination, a record that she held until this year.

Jesus of Montreal (International Critics' Award 1989/ Canada/Denys Arcand) The similarities with 'Rang De Basanti' (2006) are glaring. But it would be wrong to call the Indian film a copy of this very famous Canadian film, placed at #2 twice by TIFF's last two polls (1993 and 2004). The film was nominated for Foreign Film Oscar, but lost to 'Cinema Paradiso'.

Veronika Voss (International Critics' Award 1982/ Germany/ Rainer Werner Fassbinder) It is always a treat to watch a film by a master at a festival. And 'Veronika Voss' is a stunningly beautiful film, that makes B&W look more powerful than all colours put together. For its immaculate compositions and gutsy lighting, I will keep revisiting this film.

Closing Film: Antonia's Line (People's Choice Award 1995/ Netherlands/ Marleen Gorris) Rightly called a "feminist fairy tale", this Dutch film does what films seldom do. Breaking the rules of conventional film-writing, with a narrative reminiscent of a Marquez novel, and the words flowing like some of the great poems you have read, this Oscar-winner is not only the perfect closing film for this beautiful experience of a festival, but I also name it as a Must-watch-before-you-die. (#38)

This year's "real" TIFF brought another good news for Indian cinema, as Anup Singh's Punjabi film "Qissa" won the NETPAC award for the Best Asian Film from a first/second-time director. Watch its trailer here.


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  2. @ Iniya: Thanks! Please keep watching good cinema! :)

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