I missed IFFK yesterday. But today I saw three movies, all Competition Section films: The Cat Vanishes, an Argentine film directed by Carlos Sorin, Body, a Turkish film directed by Mustafa Nuri (which got rave reviews from the local press in Malayalam), and The Colours of the Mountains, a Colombian film directed by Carlos César Arbeláez.
The Cat Vanishes
It is kind of a psychological drama played out mostly in a single house. It revolves around a professor, who has just been discharged from a psychological clinic, and his wife, who has an eerie feeling that all is not well with her husband even after the rehabilitation. He had been legally forced to undergo the treatment after he had acted violently towards one of his students and his his wife, whom he suspected of stealing his research work.
All the action unfolds in the first three days after the visit. The wife's suspicion about her husband's mental health strengthens when she saw their pet cat reacting violently to him. But he is at his usual self, few words and all sarcasm. The tension grows when the cat disappears. The climax is superbly conceived and executed.
The director employs mostly close-up shots and succeeds in bring out the somewhat hidden tension between the professor and his wife. The actors played the roles of the professor and his wife, Luis Luque and Beatriz Spelzini, respectively, have given nuanced performances, without going overboard. The climax is stunning, though many viewers were seen asking the others, what was it?
Mustafa Nuri, the director of the film, has become a small celebrity in the Malayalam media after his charmed speeches and the film. There were great reviews about the film in almost all newspapers and TV channels. Predictably, a huge crowd assembled in New Theatre before the screening of the movie. I somehow managed to enter the theatre, thanks to reservation and my rugby skills. But I have to say the film was a disappointment. Perhaps the high expectations are to blame.
The film narrates the story of how almost every character in the movie is affected by his or her body. The main protagonists are a 40-something ex-porn actress and her teenaged lover. There is nothing much to write about the story of the film: it's kind of boy meets an old woman. They meet at the shoot of a failed porn film, arranged by her ex-lover, who wants to make some money through porn industry. There are other characters involved too. The boy's mother and sister, both are overweight, his friend, who is a fitness fanatic, but dies at the age of 20. The porn film director emerges as the most interesting character in the movie.
The Colours of the Mountains
This is yet another anti-war film from Columbia, seen through the eyes of a 10-year old boy. The movie is set in a mountainous village which is about to be wrecked by the civil war. Villagers are fearful of both the guerillas and the army.
The boy owns a football and plays in the field along with his friends. He gets a brand new football on his 10th birthday. One of his friends kicks the ball through the slope to the valley. They are about to take the ball. Then a pig ran through the place, and sudden explosion results. The pig has stepped into a land mine. The elder people who gathered there prohibit the kids from playing there. The boy wants to take the ball and nobody allows him. The rest of the film narrates the boys attempts to take the ball while the rest of the village tries to flee the place because of the civil war.
The good thing about the movie is that it does not take sides. It provides a chillingly emotionless narrative. The pace is slow, much like the neorealistic films in Malayalam.