Monday, December 25, 2006

I remember......IFFK '06

The ten days one sets apart every year merely to watch films has come and gone. What does one carry back after such a feast of films. None can deny that, despite the large crowds and the fact that the hustle and bustle were a distraction, the characters from some, the music from others, the structure of yet others and the themes of some more, keep coming back to you.

Having started my viewing only on the third day, I lost the the opportunity to see films from the Indian Panorama and from the Retrospectives except for 'Fanny and Alexander"(Ingmar Bergman-Nykvist combine). Yet a dozen films which were a treat, though not sumptuous gives one enough to talk about.

Wonder if anybody else felt the way I did-there were many films with women and women-centric themes. Going a step further, I felt many of them seemed to show the violence 'in' the woman-in thoughts and action-for example the films, Angel's Fall, Climates.

Marion Hansel's "Sound of the Sands" took me to a film I saw last year. Then it was the beauty of the desert that remained with me. In contrast the 'desert' continues to haunt this time after Hansel's movie for just the opposite reason-an oasis that is distant, not a patch of shade to shield you from the piercing sun and the sound of those crisp grains of sand as Rehne and his family cross the desert stretches looking for a habitat. The hostile terrain, the arid human existence and everything that we hear of about the unenviable condition of the Sub-Saharan Africa reminds us of the hordes that migrate year after year looking for water annd shrubs to take care of themselves their livestock, and many perish. The son who volunteers to go with the rebels is a reality in many regions controlled by armed brigands. The rest move on...Sound of Sands was reward enough, to give us a film we may never get to see on a commercial circuit.

Film Festivals bring us films that do less of story-telling/entertain, but give us meaningful moments from reality. It often happens that criticiam of the selection of films is often by those who have refused to see the other 'point of view'.

"Sankara" was the last film seen at the festival. A debut film by Sri Lankan Prasanna Jayakody. Was amazed at the economy in dialogue, and the slow pace which made it a more effective film. Dunia and the exquisite music, made "Kiss Me not on the Eyes" a film to remember. Jocelyne Saab - defining aspirations of the belly dancer's daughter Dunia as well as showing her constant urge to be counted not merely as a 'woman' but also one who writes poetry etc, the film journeys through the typical male attitude to the woman he loves-it must end in bed(!) and those delightful pieces where veteran dancers teach her how she uses her body to lure the male.

Iranian films, missed many of them. But, Sepideh Farsi's "The Gaze" had displacement and what it does to relshps, including blood relationships. As an exile you yearn for home. But can one equate the experience of those traumatised by the developments in the country with those who left the homeland to live abroad.Who pays the price and how? One can never tell, whose loss is greater.

Santiago Loza's 'Four Women Barefoot' makes you wonder - how do men make such strong films on women. Keen observers of human nature, are they? Or, by bringing 4 women on screen the director has given it a starkness and even given a view of the loss of pallor in each while they are groping for answers or for something lost. One never will know. Wonder if a second viewing in a less disturbed ambience would make things more clear. am reminded of the many who shuffled out of the hall after they felt(probably)that it did not promise any titillating shots!!!

Aadum Koothu, Saira and Nottam were the Malayalam films on which there will be a host of opinions, because we believe that unless harsh comments are made, we have failed as a cine-literate audience. TVC has moved away from his usual treatment of theme, but the multiple levels have been woven with a slickness, which by itseld is a display of his control over the medium and the quality of editing. Do correct me if this is not so. "Saira" has been wriiten about earlier in this blog. 'Nottam' was refreshing though I still believe the good songs could have been used somewhere else, b'cos it seemed to have beeb planned to introduce those newcomers. Does any one share this view?