Hallooo my amigos! (I don't know why I wrote that... I'm really sleepy) Since there is something film-related going on in my life right now, I have decided to blog about it like all good bloggers do. So KIFF, or the Kolkata International Film Festival has begun. It's the 20th year of the festival and this is the 3rd one I'm attending. My first year, I saw 3 movies. Last year, I managed to watch 26 films over the week. I don't know how many I will watch this year because I kinda keep walking out of them, as I have elucidated below.
These posts will be like a bigger version of my end-of-the-month posts and smaller than my mini reviews. I am/will be writing these after a full day spent going from theatre to theatre and attending college lectures so I am/will be obviously very tired. The downside of this is that I probably won't write these posts every day of the week and I will club the days together like in this post. The plus side of my sleepy self writing is that my thoughts will come uncensored and I'm probably not even going to edit the post before posting it so yeah, HAVE FUN WITH THAT! TYPOS FOREVER BITCHES!!!!!
1) Lolita (Stanley Kubrick, 1962)- Yaay great start! KIFF focuses on a master filmmaker every year. Last year, it was Billy Wilder and this year, it's Kubrick, both of whom I adore. Coming to Lolita, I had forgotten just how funny it was. I did remember being blown away by Peter Sellers, and he *really* is incredible in this, but this time 'round I was also struck by Shelley Winters. She's so tragic and so brave in this.
2) Charlie's Country (Rolf de Heer, 2014)- This was really v. slow. I don't know why but I am already really tired during this year's fest, probably due to last year of college or old age or whatever. So anyways, it was extremely hard to stay awake at points but it is a quietly powerful film at times. The lead performance by David Gulpilil is really wonderful. There was this point in the film where he makes eye contact with the camera for about a minute, maybe even more, and it will haunt me for a long time. There were issues about aboriginals in Australia that I was not aware of at all that the film explored and I really liked that. I just wish the pace was slightly faster.
2.5) Thanga Meenkal (Ram, 2013)- So, after watching a film which seemed devoid of any drama, we went for this which was overly dramatic. There was a sweet story at its core about a misunderstood pair of father and daughter but my friends and I were far too hungry to sit for the whole thing while also being bombarded with ALL OF THE FEELS! So yeah, we walked out halfway which was smart of us, sorta, 'cuz we ate some really good sandwiches and then stood in the line for the next film which, and this is not an exaggeration, had about 200+ people already in front of us. I know what you're thinking, India needs to sort out its population problem -.- -.-
3) Geronimo (Tony Gatlif, 2014)- As I wrote above, we had walked out of a film for being too dramatic. Little did we know that the film we were walking into next made the previous one seem like a subtle, solemn affair. The movie started out well enough, with lots of spunk and cool music and whatnot. But god, then it just went nuts. It was a bit like West Side Story + City of God + Short Term 12 - ALL of their brilliance. At times, I really did feel that it will turn into a musical but then it got serious with this really committed social worker trying to save these two teenage lovers from their insane families. And god, the couple in this were total idiotic assholes. Not worth ANY of the drama at all.
1) 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)- So in this entire film festival, there are 3 films that I HAVE to watch no matter what. Two are yet to come but this is definitely one of them. Watching 2001 on a 70mm screen has been on my bucket list ever since I saw it for the first time and I guess I can die partly happy now :) Yaay?! Gosh, it was so stunning! It's not my favourite Kubrick movie by a mile but it has to be one of the greatest cinema theatre movies ever.
1.5) Tsili (Amos Gitai, 2014)- This has to be one of the most boring movies ever made. I fell asleep 15 minutes into the film and woke up half an hour later. Upon asking my friend what had happened, she said nothing. Good fucking lord! I tried watching some more but it wasn't gonna happen. Also, there were constantly bombs being dropped in this (apparently it was set during World War 2 or something) and the sound of that gave me headache. So we left this too. According to a friend of a friend, nothing happens till the end. Good call on our part.
1.5) Force of Destiny (Paul Cox, 2014)- For this film, there was 6 of us and we got good seats right in the middle. Btw, this hall is a big one with a seating capacity of 931 persons according to its Wikipedia page. This is important information because by the time the director had stopped introducing it, there were people sitting on the stairs and standing on the sides- basically, the place was overflowing with people and they were getting pissed. Again, this is crucial because once the film started, we immediately understood that it is not a good one. It had the guy who played Faramir in the Lord of the Rings movies and spoiler alert: he has not aged well. Also, I don't think he can act, like everyone else in this film. The script was poor too. It was about a man with liver cancer awaiting organ transplant who falls in love with this Indian woman. The whole image of an Indian woman in this, at least till the point we watched (spoiler alert again!), was so, ugh, colonial? She was like an exotic manic pixie girl just waiting to give the white male a fresh outlook in whatever life he has left. Anyways, we HAD to leave, and that was one of the most awkward things I have ever done. There is this belief about Bengali people being really sweet but the fact is that they are quite bitchy when they want to be. Walking between people sitting on stairs who refused to budge an inch even though I'm here trying to not step on their hands and feet and getting cursed at by women who were oh so engrossed in this ahmazingly awful movie was a real highlight of the festival for me.
2) These Are the Rules (Ognjen Svilicic, 2014)- After walking out of two movies in one day, my friends and I were beginning to despair about this entire festival experience. Were we being too critical? Everyone else seemed happy :/ So a lot was hanging on this film to improve our moods and strengthen our faith. Thankfully, it delivered. Oh god, it delivered. For fans of Buffy out there, this is the best fictional portrayal of death that I have seen since "The Body". This film was simple, shatteringly realistic and powerful. Great performances too. I really liked it.
And that's it for now. Tomorrow they will screen A Clockwork Orange but I will be attending a lecture on something called Legal Awareness because my life is a burning bag of shit. There are a few other movies planned too (which I might or might not walk out of) and I will hopefully update y'all if I am awake enough.