[A]fter some furious browsing through the festival booklet, I zeroed in on an Italian film The Salt of Life as my first film of the day. A very funny take on the middle- aged generation. A 50-something forced into early retirement is caught between a demanding mother and his own inability to attract young girls. Sort of like Shaukeen with just one lascivious gent.
Jahnu Barua’s first feature Aparoopa was part of the Indian Retrospective segment. A few discerning viewers chose it over other stuff playing elsewhere. Those that stayed till the end were rewarded with a warm Q & A with the director with cinematographer Binod Pradhan. Mercifully, the questions were meaningful and not ‘These are a few of my favourite things’. One question was on the unavailability of his other films. Barua mentioned that he’s working towards getting his films released on DVD. My fingers are crossed.
And now for the tough decision of the day. The fourth show was going to be Adaminte Makan, Abu, a must-watch. Judging by how it has been playing out over the past few days, the only way of getting in would be to skip the previous movie and get into the queue. So I did that with the hope that the film proves to be worth the sacrifice.
When festival director S. Narayan comes in to introduce the film and its director, you get the feeling its going to be a big one. Director Salim Ahamed spoke a bit about his film and then the heavenly experience began. This may well be the best film to come out of India this year. The narrative is straightforward. An old couple prepares to go on a pilgrimage to Haj, putting in their life’s savings and selling off their assets. Bit by bit, you are sucked in on their journey before the journey till you reach an emotional crescendo in the climax. The film has an even pace, which may lead many to brand it as a ‘slow’ film. Well, real pleasure doesn’t come in an instant. I overheard distributors outside already keen on picking up the film for the international market.
Crowds for Lars von Trier’s Melancholia ebbed and flowed. I bypassed them completely, smug in the knowledge that the film is lying on my hard disk at home and that I shall be watching it at my convenience some day. Went straight to a German-Turkish film Almanya by Yasemin Samdereli. A comedy about a Turkish immigrant in Germany who takes his reluctant family back to his native place for a trip. Cross-cultural comedies generally hit the bull’s eye. This one was no different. A better way to end the day than feeling melancholic about a film you did not get to see.