The ‘MAMI’ experience

To the uninitiated, MAMI is Mumbai Academy of Moving Images, our own Mumbai based movie academy and they hosted their 18th edition of Mumbai Film fest in October. Well, this time around, it was not simply ‘MAMI’, but ‘Jio MAMI with STAR’ where brands vied for a spot in the name. It was too long a name to be taken was all the complaint that I had, for surely, the money seems to have fueled an incredible film festival experience for me.

Just thought of writing a few tidbits on the movies I managed to catch . Here are the best 4 out of the 10 movies I managed to catch :)

1. PARADISE (Ray)

Russia’s entry to the Oscar’s this year, is a remarkable story of what a lady undergoes during the Nazi tyranny of World War II. The most impressive bit about the movie was its framing of the story and frames. The shooting techniques and DOP was amazing. The movie stood out in terms of the way the story was told — through the eyes of the three main characters, talking about their life in parallel through the lenses they don — the Russian victim, the French collaborator and the Nazi SS officer. The movie is shot fully in Black and white ((I was hoping for a Schindler’s List kinda ending with color — Didn’t happen). Yuliya Vysotskaya steals the show with her acting making you empathise with her throughout the movie. Trivia — She is married to the director Andrey Konchalovsky.

Rating: 8/10

2. AFTER THE STORM

Possibly my first Japanese movie, started off with the producer present at the function putting in a caveat that we may not be able to associate with the Japanese nuances of the movie. Well, surprise surprise, human emotions are all the same all over the world. A separated couple, a dad who loves his kid to the moon and back and is jealous of the guy the mom is now seeing, a kid who asks the dad to get the money so that he can visit the kid, an adorable grandmom who is so much like the one all of us know and a storm form the main cornerstones of the movie. Its one of those movies, which end up tugging your heart and you end up hoping that maybe, maybe the couple will get back together again!

Rating: 7.5/10

3. SALESMAN

We were in for a surprise when we reached the venue to catch this movie. The queue for walk-ins (depends on luck, really) was so so very serpentine, that only around 8–10 people got a chance among them and most of them had been sitting there waiting for a chance for some 2 hours! And that’s when I realised whose movie I was getting to watch. Call me ignorant, but I didn’t know the name Asghar Farhadi, until the movie “A separation” rang a bell. Remembered downloading it due to its’ huge popularity and not getting down to watching it. And my my, the movie was awesome. The movie has obvious references to the play “Death of a Salesman” and another subtle reference to a play called “ Cow”. The actors were so much in the skin of the characters that you totally empathize with them. Its an extremely morally complex narrative and you tend to think “What if I were in that situation” questions in your mind. I realise now, after seeing “A separation” that Farhadi loves to play with such complex situations. It may not be the best of Farhadi, and for one I presume he could have interwoven the play into the movie narrative in a better manner. Nevertheless, a great watch.

Rating 8.5/10

4. NERUDA

Neruda is a poetic tribute to, hmm, not Pablo Neruda…but to this police officer Oscar Peluchonneau. The narrative is extremely different from what I have seen in any other movies and that is the major plus point to a fairly simple cop story. But a Neruda cop story cannot be the same as that of a Pablo Escobar chase. And that’s where this narrative trumps. Chile’s official nomination for this year’s Oscar foreign film, the movie provides a window to the prevailing political situations at that point in time. The standout scene for me was when a commie lady asks Neruda what will socialist equality mean — that everyone becomes like her or that everyone becomes like him… inherently hinting that there never is equality! The other aspect that is working for him is the brilliant Gael García Bernal who just doesnt want to be known as a supporting actor ;)

Rating: 7.5/10

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