[A]fter a list of the 20 films you must watch at the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) this year, we thought of sharing with you five little known films that you shouldn’t miss either. These five gems have won the hearts of selectors and programmers of the MFF and secured their respective places in the lineup of the festival.
Valley of Saints by Musa Sayeed
Section: International Competition for the First Feature Films of Directors
Valley of Saints has played on the screens of numerous festivals. If not possible in theatres many a cinephiles have seen the film in its festival screenings. The film was screened at the 33rd Durban International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival 2012, was a part of the Bright Future section at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2012 and competed in the Narrative Feature section of the 55th San Francisco International Film Festival.
It won the World Cinema Audience Award and shared the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize with Robot & Frank directed by Jake Schreier at Sundance Film Festival 2012. Musa Sayeed also won the Ashland Independent Film Award for Best Feature at the Ashland Independent Film Festival 2012.
Sayeed’s first feature film, Valley of Saints was shot in Kashmir during the peak of unrest in 2010. It tells the story of a boatman who wants out of Kashmir but a beautiful young woman researching the dying Dal lake leads him to contemplate a different future. See here for an interview with the director on the making of the film. (interview with Musa Syeed)
Kathaa by Prashant Rasaily
Section: India Gold 2012
Prashant Rasaily has made his state proud again. Kathaa, his second feature is the first movie from Sikkim to compete at the festival. Rasaily’s debut feature Acharya, a Nepali film was screened last year at Mumbai Film Festival. His progression is evident. States not heard before at festivals too are churning out competitive films.
Kathaa is based on a tale of love and friendship set in the Himalayas. Starring Saugaat Malla, Usha Rajak and Timothy Rai, the film was shot in 14 days in the high altitudes of the Himalayas.
Neighbouring Sounds by Kleber Mendonça Filho
Section: Above the Cut
Next in the line is from the Brazilian land of South America. The film traveled across seas for a world premiere at the 41st International Film Festival Rotterdam, won the FIPRESCI Award and was nominated for the Tiger Award there. It competed for the Official Competition Award at the Sydney Film Festival 2012 and won the Audience Award, Golden Kikito and the Kikito Critics Prize at the Gramado Film Festival 2012.
Life in a middle-class neighborhood in present day Recife, Brazil, takes an unexpected turn after the arrival of an independent private security firm. The presence of these men brings a sense of safety and a good deal of anxiety to a culture which runs on fear. Meanwhile, Bia, married and mother of two, must find a way to deal with the constant barking and howling of her neighbor’s dog.
Director Filho was a jury member for the Leopards of Tomorrow section at the 65th Locarno International Film Festival 2012. He has a total of 16 awards to his name. Neighbouring Sounds is his directorial feature with four shorts and one documentary to his credit.
Stories We Tell by Sarah Polley
Section: Real Reel
Stories We Tell comes from Canada, North America and is produced by the National Film Board of Canada. The film was screened at the 69th Venice International Film Festival, 39th Telluride Film Festival, and the 37th Toronto International Film Festival.
Directed by noted Canadian actress Sarah Polley, the film is a documentary that captures the story of her family, including the revelation that the filmmaker herself was born of an extramarital affair. Stories We Tell reveals the real life relationship between the three siblings through a series of interviews with them and the parents.
Sarah has had a long and boasting career in cinema. She has acted in fifty-five titles, directed eight films, written screenplays for seven and produced two films. She has thirty awards and 35 nominations to her credit. In 2008, Sarah was nominated for Oscar the Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay for Away from Her.
Peculiar vacation and other illnesses by Yosep Anggi Noen
Section: World Cinema
The director’s debut feature film is the only Indonesian film in the Mumbai Film Festival. It made its world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival and was nominated for the Golden Leopard – Filmmakers of the Present.
“Fed up with her daily routine, Ning takes on a new job at a furniture shop. There, she gets the opportunity to get away from her indifferent husband Jarot for a couple of days, having to deliver a sofa with her colleague Mur. Driving on windy roads up the mountains to the remote village where the client lives, a delicate love story evolves between the two. Meanwhile, left-behind Jarot is trying to figure out the meaning of the word “husband” while watching the matchmaking programs on TV,” reads the synopsis on the official website of the film.