MAMI Glimpses

The 20th edition of MAMI (Mumbai International Film Festival), under the aegis of Jio and Star, was a stupendous success. From 25th October to 1st November, cineastes from all over rubbed shoulders at the 18 screens spread across the city. PT Film Critic Hoshang Katrak shares a glimpse of some of MAMI’s best…


SHOPLIFTERS (Japan, 121 m) Dir. Hirokazu Koreeda
Palme D’or winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, ‘Shoplifters’ was arguably the film of the festival. An impoverished joint family, none of them blood-related, makes ends meet by indulging in shoplifting in supermarkets. Backhanded bonhomie amongst them, and an explosive ending makes this film a must-watch. Laced with witty dialogues, Shoplifters attempts to answer several questions, eg. what constitutes a family? … what is the role of each family?

ROMA (Mexico, 135 m) Dir. Alfonso Cuaron)
Having bagged The Golden Lion for Best Film this year, and directed by Academy Award recipient, the autobiographical ROMA is set in 1970 and filmed entirely in Mexico City. It tells the story of a young, loyal maid working in an upper middle-class household. Evolving circumstances – her unintended pregnancy and the mistress’s separation from her husband – highlight personal equations and political unrest at the time. The black-and-white frames, with brilliant cinematography, add to the sights and sounds of the film.

3 FACES (Iran, 100 m) Dir. Jafar Panahi)
A Cannes Film Festival award-winner, it begins with a young woman sending a well-known actress a selfie of hers in the act of committing suicide, along with a plea for help. Abandoning her shoot, she rushes to the countryside to seek the truth. Amusing interactions with the rustic village-folk and their customs help to lighten the film’s mood – before the truth is uncovered.

KUSAMA-INFINITY (USA, 80 m) Dir. Heather Lenz
Comprising interviews with art historians, it’s a documentary on the top-selling female artist Yayoi Kusama. Ignored by some and understood by none, she achieved the same cult status as Andy Warhol. Starting from obscurity she acquired fame in the early 60s, with her exhibitions in the US attracting thousands of visitors. Now 88, she’s been institutionalized due to mental issues since 1976.

JAOON KAHAN BATA AE DIL (india, 105 m) Dir. Aarish Keluskar
Against the backdrop of songs from the Golden Era, a working couple makes out in a taxi and later in a room-by-the-hour lodge. What begins as a stroll along Marine Drive – discussing marriage and allied subjects – soon turns into a vicious wordplay where the male character’s verbal browbeating soon turns physical. Shot with a handheld camera, it’s a low-budget film which depicts a woman’s voluntary submission and capitulation (mental and physical) to win the affection of her man. The ending, justifiably goes against the grain of the film.

THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT (Denmark, 155 m) Dir. Lars Von Triers
Five murders over a period of 12 years in the US in the 70s, it’s a gruesome tale of a sadistic psychopath who has no compunctions in killing, irrespective of age. The dialogues with a non-existent entity make the proceedings even more sinister. The final 20 minutes and the abstract ending, from the master director, makes the film less impactful, though.

THE SOUND MAN – MANGESH DESAI (India, 122 m) Dir. Subash Sahoo
While the legendary Minoo Katrak specialised in song recording, Desai was a master in re-recording and sound mixing. In this documentary, the director, a National Award-winning sound designer, explores various facets of Desai’s life, including his stint as a freedom fighter. Having learnt under legendary sound recordist B M Tata, his knowledge gave novel twists to films including Pakeezah, Deewar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Padosan and Yaadon Ki Baaraat. For fans of Hindi films and music, an unmissable film.

Hoshang K. Katrak

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