Friday, December 19, 2008

IFFK 2008 – Final Day

IFFK 2008 is over. Parque Via directed by Enrique Rivero won the Golden Crow Pheasant award for the best film. Mariana Rondon, who directed the movie Postcards from Leningrad, was adjudged the best director.
Huseyin Karabey who directed My Marlon and Brando bagged the award for the best debutant director. Machan directed by Uberto Pasolini got the spectators’ award for the best film. You can find more details about this and other awards here.

I could not watch any films today. But anyway, I enjoyed the festival. I encountered several good movies and a few bad ones. But there are three films that stand out in my list. These are The Photograph, Half Moon, and Three Monkeys.

For me, the main problem was the Retrospective section. Although Amos Gitai and Karen Shakhnazarov are well respected, they do not have any chance against Pedro Almodovar or Kim Ki Duc. However, the 50 years ago package is an excellent addition.

So, for the next one year till December 2009, we have to contend with the acting and plots of real life. Hope we can enjoy all that just like we enjoyed the movies in IFFK.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

IFFK 2008 – Day 7 – Night

Remya Theatre was jam-packed for Song of the Sparrows, directed by Majid Majidi, one of IFFK’s all-time favorite directors. I was fortunate to get a balcony seat even though I had reserved a seat via the online reservation facility. There were instances, particularly during the screening of Breath by Kim Ki Duc in Kalabhavan Theatre, in which people who had reserved tickets online had to leave the hall shaking their heads because there were no seats available. Also, the DGP of Kerala Police was also present along with family members. So policemen were naturally on their toes.

Well, the film did not live up to my expectations. It is a story about a middle aged laborer who works in an ostrich farm. He is happy despite their poor financial position. One day, an ostrich runs away and as a result he loses his job. He goes to Tehran to get a hearing aid for his daughter and ends up working as motorcycle taxi-walla. His life actually flourishes and he brings a lot of scraps, like broken doors and window frames, from the city in the hope that these would help him to collect enough money to buy a hearing aid for his daughter. He in fact makes a heap of these items. His life takes a new turn as all these items fall over him and he is severely injured. The rest of the film is how he and his family cope with the new development.

As one would expect of a Majidi film, Song of the Sparrows is picturized extremely well. It provides a kind of feel good factor. But beyond that, there is not much in it, or I could not find any thing. The film does not invade your heart, or brain for that matter, like Three Monkeys, which I saw just before this one. But judging from the reaction of the audience – thunderous clapping at the slightest provocation – I think the film is well received here.

After the film, I went to see the Open Forum. The theme was IFFK 2008 feedback. There were good things said about the festival – a few negative aspects as well. The good things included online reservation, a number of good films, and sincere effort from the part of the organizers. The negative things included usual culprits such as lack of sufficient number of good films, poor scheduling, and signature film – and strangely online reservation also. The organizers said scheduling has a lot of constraints such as availability of prints, screening facilities in theatres, and specifications regarding the number of screening from distributors. Interestingly, a number of delegates chose the opportunity to criticize the mainstream Malayalam directors for lack of good films in Malayalam. One of the participants said these people should not be allowed to select films for the festival and hold any organizational positions. He was obviously referring to Kamal, the Malayalam director who was the chairman of the preview committee for competition, Indian, and Malayalam cinema.

Afterwards, I went to Kairali Theatre to watch the Turkish film My Marlon and Brando, directed by Huseyin Karabey. It tells the story about a girl trying to make a trip to the war-torn Suleimania in Northern Iraq to meet her lover during America’s war against Saddam Hussein. The first half of the movie narrates the anguish and agony of the girl waiting for the lover in Istanbul. But then she takes a brave, but dangerous, decision to go to Northern Iraq. The second half of the movie shows her journey. The Turkey-Iraq border is partially closed. One can come from Iraq, but entry to Iraq is not allowed. So, she goes to an Iranian town close to Suleimania, and waits for her lover to turn up.

My Marlon and Brando is a subtle realistic movie, not a sentimentally romantic one as the synopsis may have indicated.

IFFK 2008 – Day 7 – Afternoon

I saw two movies today so far: the Japanese movie Achilles and the Tortoise by Takeshi Kitano and the Turkish film Three Monkeys by Nuri Ceylan.

Achilles and the Tortoise is a riches to rags tale of a child who was made to believe that he is a world class painter. It can be divided into two parts. The childhood of the protagonist in which picture postcard frames make a procession and his adulthood which is hilariously sarcastic. He is born to a business magnet who has all the wealth and associated power at his disposal. Because of his father’s wealth everybody praises the boy’s talent. Soon the business collapses and his father and stepmother commit suicide. For a brief while he stays with one of his uncles, who is reluctant to accept him. Then later he was sent to an orphanage.

He sticks on to painting throughout his life. But his paintings are never accepted. He works in a press, attends an art school, and in between marries. His wife is quite supportive of his painting activities. The second half of the movie is filled with a number of humorous incidents, mainly exposing the hypocrisy in the world of elitist arts. One of the characters says: “If you give a Picasso and a bowl of rice to an impoverished man in Africa, he will take the bowl… Art is one big fake.”

Three Monkeys is a tense, out and out art house movie – and a fantastic one at that. It tells, or rather makes us find out, the story of a man, his wife, and their son. The man has agreed to own a crime committed by an influential politician. He will get a large sum after his jail term. Meanwhile his wife starts an affair with the politician. The son finds out the affair. After he was released from jail, the man also becomes suspicious. The film reaches the boiling point when somebody kills the politician.

More than the story, the kind of tense atmosphere it creates is the most notable aspect. The tension between all the character – father and son, mother and son, and the man and his wife – is maintained throughout the movie. The visuals stealthily convey the inner feelings of the characters.

Next I am going to watch the Iranian film Song of the Sparrows by Majid Majidi in Remya Theatre.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

IFFK 2008 – Day 6

Gospel According to Maradona and a Memorable Photograph

Today also I had to satisfy with just two films, or to be precise one film and one documentary. I had decided on watching Tokyo Sonata in New Theatre, directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa – not just because of that famous and irresistible (to filmgoers) surname, but also because it was recommended by a number of experts. But a review in today’s Kerala Kaumudi, about the film The Photograph, convinced me to change my plans. The report stated that the film has ended the reviewer’s days long search for “the” film of IFFK 2008. So, instead of turning right from Thampannoor bus stand I turned left to Remya Theatre.

The Photograph, directed by Nan T. Achnas, is a brilliant and classy film, so far the best I have seen in the competition section. It portrays the lives of a prostitute who is struggling to find enough money to raise her daughter and to provide medical treatment to her aging mother and an old emotionless photographer. The paths of their lives meet when she becomes his tenant. He is probably the most unfortunate photographer in the world – and she the most unfortunate mother. In his youth he learns some people are killed in a train accident and starts taking picture of the dead bodies. There are only broken limbs and other body parts. After a few clicks he realizes that the dead are his own wife and children. And he was on his way after abusing and abandoning them. He lives the remaining of his life in that guilty conscious.

But it is not a tearjerker as the scale of tragedy indicates. It is a pleasant and “sunny” movie. Excellent, and non-intrusive, photography and music are the highlights of the movie. Beautiful frames bombard you in incredible frequency. The pace of the movie is also just right. The fingerprints of a person who knows the secret of filmmaking are very much evident on each frame.

After the movie I dribbled through the crowds of Overbridge to Kripa Theatre to watch Emir Kusturica’s documentary Maradona. A genius on another genius. Considering the No Smoking band background of the director, it is predictably filled with lively music as with the best of goals of Maradona. It is like 20-20 (I mean the Malayalam movie) of world politics, past and present: Fidel Castro, George Bush, Hugo Chavez, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, and Evo Morales make appearances. The documentary is mostly based on casual talks between the footballer and the director at various locations and countries.

In the documentary Maradona’s life is analyzed on various angles as a teenage prodigy, successful footballer, drug addict and an activist. Like the films of Kusturica, the documentary also provides a number of hilarious moments. There is a religion called the Church of Maradona. It has a peculiar way of baptism: by scoring a hand of god goal! Also, there is a scene in which stripping women in dance bars complain that people stop watching them when Maradona’s goals appear on television.

There are several quotable quotes with Maradona’s pungent humor. This one about the FIFA presidents is what appeared best to me: “Havalanche [former president] was an arms dealer. Blatter [current president] sells bullets”. Also, he became very emotional when he says that he is jealous of his wife because she could spend more time with the children. Also, he says that he would have been a better player if not for his habit of taking cocaine. (But how can one play better?)

The documentary also contains a number of stunning goals scored by the most famous left foot of soccer and one with the fist. Animations – in which Maradona toying with Western leaders – and scenes from several movies of Kasturica are interspersed to the narrative to enliven the documentary.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

IFFK 2008 Day 5

I managed to see the movie Blindness. There was frantic rush for this movie despite today’s being its second screening. The queues (there were two queues for some reason) extended to the narrow roads outside Ramya-Dhanya theatre complex. The movie was worth standing even a lengthier queue, if that can be a yardstick. I have a feeling that it is likely to be the film that we are going to mention about this festival in future.

Blindness, based on a novel with the same name by Nobel Prize winning writer Jose Saramago, is directed by Fernando Meirelles. The film is a mix of fantasy and allegory topped with merciless satire of the human nature. Its story goes like this. People in a city suddenly start losing their eyesight one by one. It is not the conventional type of blindness. But what people “see” is whiteness around, not darkness. Soon the early birds were confined to a specially created sanatorium, because of the infectious nature of the disease. A doctor is also affected by the disease. His wife is the only person who can see. But she also pretends as blind. Food will be provided from outside. The film narrates how people react to this situation. Soon a group of inmates take control of the sanatorium, very much like an armed coup. They began to enjoy the privileges like better food, woman, etc. But the inmates manage to escape from the sanatorium. What they see outside is a city devastated by the outbreak of blindness.

The film has been shot with great imagination. The first scene itself, in which a man driving a car suddenly losing his eye sight at a traffic signal, is an example. This film is a treat for those who love cinematic metaphors and symbolic narration. At certain points, the film brings to mind the novels such as Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies.

But that was all for today. I came back to the office in the afternoon.

There has been decent mainstream media coverage of IFFK 2008. Kerala Kaumudi reporters are generally disappointed with the quality of the films of this festival. A report on The Hindu focuses more on the problems and budget of organizing the festival. If you want to read decent write-ups about the films in the competition section, check out for articles in and manoramaonline.

Monday, December 15, 2008

IFFK 2008 - Day 5 - Morning

Today morning, I watched the film Short Sharp Shock Turk, directed by Faith Akin, part of Akin Retrospective. It is a story of three youths growing up in “dirty” streets of Hamburg. They are fun-loving blokes. Things take a serious turn when one of them decides to join a mafia group, while another decides to live a “normal” peace-loving life. To make thing worse, the person who wants to lead a normal life starts an affair with the girl friend of the mafia-going person. The film portrays how their friendship tragically and fatally breaks up. But, may be because of the fatigue of the last four days, I could not spot anything extraordinary in the film. Not my kinda movie, I guess. But the film shows us a novel way of expressing one’s love: “We just did not fuck. I love you”. That is what the girl tells the bloke when he feels guilty about making love to his best friend’s girl friend.

Next I am going to Dhanya Theatre, where Blindness, directed by Fernando Meirelles, is going to be screened.

IFFK 2008 Day 4

I saw two films today. In the afternoon I returned to office to check whether I still have the job. These are the troubles of watching films during the times of recession. I think I have to follow this trend on the days to come also.

In fact the first film I saw today, a Hungarian film titled Adventurers (directed by Béla Paczolay), would inspire anybody to say goodbye to such mundane things as egotist bosses and silly deadlines. The film is about three men: grandfather, father and son (played by different people; apparently, Kamalhasan does not have much influence in Hungary.)

The film starts stylishly. A middle aged person picks up a much younger person and they are off for a trip. Later we find out that they are father and son and they are going to meet the grandfather. The father has quitted his job as a trumpeter and the son does not have any job even to quit from. After some brief adventures on the way, they find the grandfather who wants to relocate to Budapest and stay with his son. But his son is reluctant, because he does not have any house. At last the grandfather has his way. The rest of the film narrates the fun-filled account of their journey.

At last they realize that a streak of wastefulness has been genetically embedded on them. And they decide to live with it, nevertheless. The film for most of the part retains a Dil Chahta Hai like carefree atmosphere. Also the mannerisms of the “son” resemble that of Aamir Khan in the Hindi film.

The next film was also about the relationship between father and son. But it is more like an arthouse film than an entertainer. Yellow House directed by Amor Hakkar is a film in the competition section of the festival. It is set in an arid village in Algeria. A farmer learns that his son, who was working in the armed forces, has been killed in an accident. He makes a trip to the place of tragedy on his tractor and brings the dead body of the son to the village. To wash away the sorrows of his wife, he paints his house yellow, based on a pharmacist’s advice. Later he brings home a TV and video player to watch the video footage of his son.

This simple story has been narrated in the true neorealistic style. At times the film becomes very slow. But it springs back to life through incidents that show the tenacious spirit of the father. It is a serious film which offers different parallel readings such as this and this. And a person who calls himself "payyan" has this to say about the first three days of IFFK 2008. If you want more IFFK stuff, try this blog also.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

IFFK 2008 Day 3 – Night

The Mindset of a Terrorist

The Rider Named Death, directed by Karen Shakhnazarov, is a movie about terrorism. The fundamental question the film raises is how the political killing differs from personal killings in the context of terrorist activities in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. It is based on a book called The Pale Horse.

The protagonist of the movie is a communist terrorist (should it be naxalite or revolutionary for political correctness?), who fights against the tsars and their dukes. The whole movie is narrated from his point of view. His primary aim is to kill a duke. Along with some followers, he makes several futile attempts to kill the duke. In between they also discuss their anxieties and doubts about killing a person. Finally he does manage to kill the duke. But the question of morality of killing continues to haunt him.

The film sheds light into the psychology of terrorists. It quite rightly predicts that governments cannot contain terrorism, because terrorism is the attack of a few individuals against the government.

The film starts with a bang. A stunningly beautiful lady walks into the office of a duke (after getting permission, of course). Most of the delegates would have expected them to make love. Instead, she takes a gun and shoots him, bang bang.

Before the start of the movie, the director Karen Shakhnazarov gave an introduction to the movie. He made reference to the Mumbai terrorist attack also.

IFFK -2008- Day 3 – Evening

Ashes and Diamonds of Andrej Wajda, as the whole world knows, is a class film. The film follows the familiar pattern of the Eastern European war films. It takes us through the life of a youth in Poland just the after the surrender of Germany, which marked the end of the Second World War. He is a confident, woman hunting and trigger happy (in and out of the bed) youth at the beginning. He fought against the Germans and is presently in search of enemies. He mistakenly kills two innocent young people. He gradually develops an identity crisis, probably because of the killings. Despite the heavy dose of satire and romance, one could feel the sadness that underlines the behavior the major characters. At times, you experience that distinct feeling of worthlessness of urban life that is so common in Hemingway’s novels.

Well, it was sort of a hectic day. Anyway, there is time, and energy, left for one more film. It will be The Rider Named Death in the Karen Shakhnazarov package. Hope there will not be much rush, as it is a kind of all-the-roads-lead-to-Kalabhavan situation here now, because that is where Kim Ki Duk’ Breath is going to be shown. Yes, breathless for Breath.

IFFK – Day 3 – Afternoon

The film Half Moon (an Iranian film directed by Barhman Ghorbadi) is not about Saddam Hussein or post-war Iraq. It is about a roller coaster journey a musician, Mamo, and his “sons” make in their attempt to participate in a concert in Iraqi Kurdistan. The concert is going to be held to celebrate the freedom from oppression that Kurdistan music faced during Saddam’s regime. There are several hurdles. The musician himself is a very old man. They have to overcome many difficulties including some reluctant team members, rough weather and security guards. They reach a village where 1334 woman singers who have been exiled to. They smuggle their lead female singer from the village. But eventually the security personnel catch them. In the process they lose their musical instruments. Some members ran away from the journey also.

But they cleverly bribe the security personnel to bring back the singer. But the singer herself is struggling with confidence crisis. Soon she runs away from the troupe. Then they go to the village of another famous musician to get musical instruments and a singer, only to find out that the musician died immediately after they contacted him. Later the number of people in the band is reduced to five. They get a female singer, but they lost the vehicle and odds are really against them. Will they make it? (It is not clearly shown in the movie whether they make it or not. But I would like to interpret as they haven’t, which indicates the present state of Iraqi affairs.)

The film is really very fun to watch. The journey is conceptualized with imagination and comedy. Other notable aspects are good photography and music, the features by now one comes to expect from Iranian films. In short, a highly enjoyable meaningful movie.

The most widely anticipated film of IFFK 2008, Breath (directed by, who else, Kim Ki Duk) is going to be screened in Kalabhavan Theatre today evening at 6.45. The whole seats of online balcony reservation were plucked out by technologically advanced delegates by yesterday morning itself. So, some of the Kim Ki Duk fidayen, who haven’t been able to reserve via internet, are planning about going to the 3.30 show in Kalabhavan, and staying there for the prize catch. All the best for them. But I am not going to check into Kalabhavan for bread and breakfast. I am going to watch another classic, Ashes and Diamonds by Andrej Wajda.

You can read insightful reviews and reports about IFFK in dearcinema website also.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

IFFK 2008 – Day 3- Morning

I am planning today as a day of classics. As a beginning, I watched The Magician by Ingmar Bergman in the morning. (Ashes and Diamonds by Andrej Wajda is also there in the afternoon.) The Magician is an intriguing film that portrays the battle of wits between a quirky magician and an official doctor with scientific thinking. The latter is backed by the authorities, who are hell-bent on exposing the true face of the magician. But in the end the magician wins by performing an ultimate real-life magic trick. The black and white film provides glimpses of various shades of human psyche. Have to watch it again to experience the full impact.

Among other websites that follow the IFFK “action”, Thushar on PFC has posted another set of fine reviews. Some of the films we both watched have same name. But it appears that the movies we have watched were different!

Next I am going to watch Half Moon, directed by Barhman Ghorbadi, in Remya Theatre. I heard this film is about post-Saddam Iraq and the life there.

IFFK 2008 – Day 2 – Evening

Postcards from a lost generation

Postcards from Leningrad is a brilliantly crafted film. The film deals with the plight of the guerilla fighters and their family members of Venezuela in 1960s. The situation was pretty similar across the whole of Latin America during that era, in which most of the countries were under some sort of dictatorship or military rule.

There is no structured storyline in the conventional manner in this movie. The whole film is narrated though the eyes and memories of two children. But the director, Mariana Rondon (who appeared on the stage before the screening and was extremely humble in her talk), superbly employs a zigzag narrative to portray the incidents.

The first scene after the titles itself gives an indication that you are going to watch something special. A child is lifted up from between the legs of the mother. That girl child is the narrator of the events and her cousin brother is the other kid who used to receive postcards from Leningrad (it refers to the letters children write to their jailed (or killed) parents and the letters they receive from the parents from jail). She was born to a young guerilla fighter who had fallen in love with another fighter during their battle with the military in the mountains. Their lovemaking scene when a gun battle was going on in the surroundings is a memorable one.

Footage of another documentary shot within the film and the commentary by the child are cleverly interspersed with “normal” cinematic incidents in the movie. Graphics are also used to good effect. In one particular scene, a guerilla fighter is shot and the blood comes out of his body becomes a flower.

IFFK in blogosphere

There have been an increasing number of blogs and websites providing variety accounts of IFFK (at least on the first day). The most notable among them is the post by Thushar on passion of cinema. The reviews are very detailed and excellently written. In another website, Satyaki Roy was not that much impressed with the first day and hoped for a better second day. And Haree, the famous film reviewer in Boologam (for those who don’t understand the meaning of the word, it is Malayalam blogosphere), has this report about the first day of the festival. Other blogs that I could find through a quick search on Google include tvmtalkies, varnachitram, playingwithsid, and viewfinder. Feel free to suggest any other blog or webpage that captures the spirit of IFFK.

IFFK 2008 – Day 2 – Afternoon

I watched two films so far today: Boarding Gate and The Lost Empire, all in New Theatre. The first one was a Hollywood style lifeless flick. But the second one, a straight from-the-heart account of 1970s Soviet Union, more than made up for it.

I do not have nothing much to say about Boarding Gate, which is an English speaking French film directed by Olivier Assayas. I blame only myself for selecting to watch this film when other films were available.

Next I saw The Lost Empire, directed by one of the “contemporary Russian masters” (this is the official IFFK phrase describing the director), Karen Shakhnazarov. The director made an appearance at the venue and delivered a brief speech in thickly Russian-accented English. But the film spoke the universal language of cinema. It tells the story of a fatherless youth growing up in Russia in 1970s, surprisingly amidst Beatles and Rolling Stones. His romantic adventures, friendships, love failure, and coming of age are portrayed in the background of subtle political humor.

As the second day unfolded, delegates’ patience with the police frisking began to wear thin. Also, boos and claps started to make their appearance just after the signature film. Perhaps boos were provoked by a self-congratulatory article about the signature film in today’s daily bulletin. Well, the boos-and-clap affair after the signature film may become an annual event like Open Forum.

Next I am going to stay at new Theater for watching the Venezuelan film Postcards from Leningrad. It is a film in the competition section, directed by Mariana Rondon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

IFFK 2008 – Day 1 – Evening

Juju Factory turned out to be a good movie as well. So that marks the end of the first day. I am not watching the opening ceremony. There were unprecedented security arrangements in Kairali Theater. There were whispers about State Police Intelligence gathering information about a bomb threat. For a brief while IFFK appeared as International Film Festival of Kashmir. But nobody except the police officials appeared to have taken it seriously.

Juju Factory is written, directed, and produced by Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda. The film weaves a complex web of subjects: history of Congo, existential struggles of a writer, issues of exile and lack of roots, and problems in relationships. One can go on and on. Perhaps this film is an ideal subject for a PhD thesis. One has to know a bit of Congolese history for feeling the full gravity of the film.

The main character of the movie is Kongo Congo who lives in Matonge, the "Congolese area" in the outskirts of Brussels, Belgium. He is writing a book about Congo (the country). He is accepted by a ruthless and egoistic publisher called Desire. The writer wants to write a poetic and nostalgic account of Congo, its assassinated leaders, and its people settled in the Belgian village. But the publisher, on the other hand, pressurizes the writer to churn out a tourist-friendly book. At last the writer gets the poetic justice.

The film has won several awards. You could see why. It is impeccably crafted. The thing I liked most is the dialogues. Excerpts from the book are imaginatively interspersed with the other dialogues. But the visuals also speak more than a thousand words.

IFFK 2008 – Day 1 –Afternoon

I watched Flower in the Pocket, a Malaysian film directed by Liew Tat. The film is a decent appetizer. Initially, I had planned to watch Girl Cut in Two by Claude Chabrol. But a couple of scathing reviews about the film on Rotten Tomatoes made me rethink. But it turned out to be a good decision.

Flower in the Pocket portrays the life of two motherless kids, negligently brought up by a workaholic father. It is not a laugh riot as some of the reviews indicated. It is a kind of an informal and ultra-realistic movie. It indeed has some funny and utterly humorous sequences. One can surely call it Chaplinesque. Particularly a sequence towards the end, where the father learns swimming on the floor and later teaching the children how to swim on the playground, is a classic example of tragic-comedy.

Also, there are other scenes that are genuinely comic, especially the mischief of the children. But amidst all this, the film conveys an underlining sorrow of the motherless children, their wayward life, and their strange relationship with the father. Another feature of the film is the sparingly used background music, which sounds like computer generated. The camera functions more like a television camera. There are no spectacular long shots and stunning close-ups. But the whole film is more than the sum of its parts. Not a great movie. But a nice one.

And the signature film was not booed at. I think it is unlikely to be. But you never know. It went in a jiffy. It is almost in the tradition of the good old signature films. Perhaps those who clapped for the signature film last year may boo at this one.

On the aside, there was some off-screen comedy as well. Two people who sat nearby actually slept midway through the film. After some time one of them suddenly started to snore loudly – perhaps to make up for the lack of background music in the movie. The other sleeping person, who had comfortably rested his head on my shoulder, suddenly woke up by the loud snoring.

Next I am going to watch Juju Factory, in Kairali. From the reviews on the Internet, it looks like a good movie.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

13th IFFK Comes to Life Tomorrow

The International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), the year-end celluloid bash at Thiruvananthapuram, gets underway tomorrow. This is its 13th edition – unknowingly and unnoticed, like a girl child, the festival has reached its first step of teenage. For a week from tomorrow, the people who throng the Thampannoor area of the city can be divided into two: those whose heads spin at 24 frames per second and those who wonder why the hell these strange people are scrambling for theaters under the hot sun.

I went to the city after a long time to collect the delegate pass. The traffic and the pollution of the city are becoming quite insufferable like Vinayan’s films. But I saw a board that is worthy as a scene in a political satire. There was a big banner of DYFI near Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium, extolling the virtues of freedom. The bearded man on the board was not Carl Marx, as one would expect. But it rather looked like Carl Marx after a weight loss program. Well, it was comrade Saddam Hussein. When I told this to a communist friend, he said Saddham was a great fan of Joseph Stalin, the Kurosawa of Kerala communists. So, it has nothing to do with the appeasement of minorities, as I foolishly thought at first.

Coming back to IFFK, the first show of tomorrow is at 11.30 AM, not at 9 AM, as was the case previously. There are some interesting films. French New Wave veteran Claude Chabrol’s The Girl Cut in Two is one. But there is also Flower in the Pocket, directed by Liew Seng Tat, whom many label as one of the main figures of the so-called Malaysian New Wave. Also, there is a documentary titled Chevolution – about the evolution of Che Guevara’s image as a poster boy of capitalist products. Other notable films going to be screened tomorrow are Music Box, Juju Factory, and Wonderful Town. Also, after the controversy surrounding it during the previous festival, the signature film also should be in the “eagerly awaited” list.

Happy viewing to all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

IFFK Screening Schedule for First Two Days

The complete and modified schedule is now available here.

The schedule has been obtained from You need your ID number and password to view the schedule and book balcony tickets on the website. The ID number and password are printed on the delegate card.