Come October and film enthusiasts in Mumbai and elsewhere know that its time to look forward to Mumbai Film Festival and this year the 14th chapter of the same, scheduled from 18-25 Oct seems to be very promising indeed. One of the most important things that bother delegates is to understand and choose the top films. Though a lot of people end up making their own lists, its heartening to see the organizers themselves come up this time with their recommendation of top 20 films to watch out for this year.
So without much ado here we go with the list-
Love (Amour) is a 2012 French-language drama film written and directed by legendary filmmaker Michael Haneke. It narrates the story of an octogenarian couple Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges ( Jean-Louis Trintignan ), both cultivated, retired music teachers whose bond of love is severely tested when one day Anne suffers a stroke which paralyses her on one side of the body and confines her to their Paris apartment.Co-produced by companies in Austria, France, and Germany, the film was screened at Cannes 2012, where it won the Palme d’Or making it Haneke’s second in a span of three years, The White Ribbon winning him the first in 2009. The film has also been selected as the Austrian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards.
Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os), is a 2012 French-Belgian film based on a short story collection of the same name written by Craig Davidson. It tells the story of an unemployed, destitute single father who falls in love with a killer whale trainer and how their relationship and personalities evolve as they face adversities with each other’s support. Directed by two-time Cannes Film Festival award winner (Best Screenplay in 1996 with A Self-Made Hero and Grand Prize in 2009 for A Prophet) Jacques Audiard, the film received rave reviews when it competed for the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2012 and won the Golden Swan for Best Film at the Cabourg Romantic Film Festival 2012.
Acclaimed Canadian writer/director/actress Sarah Polley weaves together a beautifully assembled tapestry of home movies, interviews, and narration in Stories We Tell to examine the repercussions of long-held family secrets finally coming to light, allowing the audience to reflect on each of their own family histories, both real and fabricated.
Renowned Danish director Thomas Vinterberg returned to his trademark brand of intense cinema with The Hunt, a film about the life of Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), a primary school teacher accused of sexual inappropriateness and the situation escalates out of control. The film takes a close look at how family and community, supposedly the bulwarks against chaos and unhappiness, can turn in on themselves through group hysteria and remorseless anti-logic.
Having premiered in competition for the Palme d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Cosmopolis a film by David Cronenberg, tells the story of billionaire asset manager Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) who trudges slowly across Manhattan in his stretch limousine that he uses as his office while on his way to his preferred barber, and how his day devolves into an odyssey with a cast of characters that start to tear his world apart.
The Angels’ Share a British comedy-drama film directed by Ken Loach tells the story of a young father who narrowly avoids a prison sentence and is determined to turn over a new leaf, discovering a route to his life he aspires when he and his friends from the same community payback group visit a whisky distillery. Starring Paul Brannigan, Johan Henshaw, William Ruane, Gary Maitland, Jasmin Riggins, and Siobhan Reilly, the film won the Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival 2012 and was nominated for the Palme d’Or.
A masterpiece by Cristian Mungiu, Romania’s first Director to be awarded the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, Beyond The Hills (Dupa Dealuri) is a drama film centered on the friendship between two young women who grew up in the same orphanage; one has found refuge at a convent in Romania and refuses to leave with her friend, who now lives in Germany. The film starring Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan premiered at Cannes 2012, where Mungiu won the award for Best Screenplay, and Flutur and Stratan shared the award for Best Actress. It has been selected as the Romanian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards.
On the Road (Sur la route) is a 2012 film adaptation of the Jack Kerouac cult classic novel of the same name directed by Walter Salles narrates the story of Sal Paradise, a struggling young writer whose life is shaken following the death of his father and ultimately redefined when he embarks upon a journey across America with his friend and hero, Dean Moriarty, a free-spirited, fearless, traveler and mystic and his girlfriend Marylou. Boasting of executive production by Francis Ford Coppola, the film was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival 2012 and for the Official Competition Award at the Sidney Film Festival 2012.
A prominent figure in the contemporary Iranian cinema, Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami takes another trip abroad to explore the depths of unrequited desire in the Japanese language drama, Like Someone in Love. The film trails the life of a young Japanese woman Akiko (Rin Takanashi) who finances her studies through prostitution and her enchanting affair (of sorts) with a retired, elderly sociologist, Takashi (Tadashi Okuno). A play between what’s seen, what’s heard and what’s really happening becomes the modus operandi for their relationship, and the film constantly toys with the expectations of both its characters and the audience, transforming a classic three-way tale of mistaken identities into something much more mysterious and troubling.
Privileged with a special jury mention at Cannes Film Festival where it was screened in the Un Certain Regard Section, Children of Sarajevo (Djeca) is a 2012 Bosnian drama film written, produced and directed by former Cannes Critics Week Grand Prix award recipient, Aida Begic. The film follows the lives of orphans of the 90’s Bosnian war, Rahima (Marija Pikic) a Muslim woman who after her crime-prone adolescent years has found solace in Islam and works long hours in a restaurant kitchen to provide for her teenage brother Nedim (Ismir Gagula) who lives with her, but is drifting into bad ways. Set in the present-day city, the film conveys a sense of tension and fear, echoes, and re-echoes, of the terrible detonations that have not entirely died away. The film won two awards, Best Actress and Cineuropa Award at the Sarajevo Film Festival 2012 and is the official Bosnian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards in 2013.
Credited as one of the founding fathers of French New Wave and still creating cinematic magic at the ripe age of 90 with his latest film You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet is veteran French – German film maker Alain Resnais. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2012, the film is based on two plays by Jean Anouilh. The film’s protagonist Antoine d’Anthac gathers together all his friends who have appeared over the years in his play ‘Eurydice’. These actors watch a recording of the work performed by a young acting company, La Compagnie de la Colombe. During the screening, Antoine’s friends are so overwhelmed by their memories of the play that they start performing it together, despite no longer being the appropriate age for their various roles.
Ace Filipino film director Brillante Mendoza presents yet another riveting drama film with Captive, a film recreating the 2001 kidnapping and torturous life of hostages during their 377 day ordeal, focusing on Therese Burgeoine (Isabelle Huppert), a Christian missionary, by the Abu Sayyaf. The multi-national production was nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival 2012.
Me and You (Io e Te) the latest film by Italian cinematic genius and maker of cinematic gems such as Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor, Little Buddha, Besieged, The Conformist goes to establish that Bernardo Bertolucci is still a force to reckon with. The film is the story of an introvert teenager Lorenzo (Jacopo Olmo Antinori), a disturbed 14-year-old boy who hates school, and whose mother Arianna (Sonia Bergamasco) sends him to a psychotherapist and is relieved when Lorenzo shows an interest in going on a week’s skiing trip organized by his school. Instead of getting on the bus, Lorenzo sneaks back and hides out in the house’s manky basement to which he has the separate entrance key, glad of the chance to be on his own for a week but is horrified when his twenty something half-sister, Olivia (Tea Falco) shows up, needing a place to stay. During their week long confinement in the basement, Olivia fascinates and horrifies Lorenzo with her attitude problem, her smack addiction, her artistic aspirations, and some dark hints about her (and Lorenzo’s) father.
In competition for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival, Outrage Beyond is a 2012 Japanese yakuza film directed by Takeshi Kitano and sequel of Kitano’s 2010 film Outrage . The film accounts the struggle between the Sanno of the East and Hanabishi of the West when the police launches a full-scale crackdown on organized crime and ignites a national yakuza struggle.
Based on a play by Raul Brandão, Gebo And The Shadow (Gebo et l’ombre) is a film by Manoel de Oliveira, who at 103 is the oldest active filmmaker in the world. Set in the late 19th century, the film is about an honoured but poor patriarch who sacrifices himself to protect his fugitive son. With a film career that began in the 1920s, the celebrated Portuguese filmmaker has won 43 awards and 23 nominations at film festivals across the globe and been at the helm of films such as Voyage to the Beginning of the World (1997), Os Canibais(1988), La Lettre (1999), Je Rentre à la Maison (2001) and the Magic Mirror (2005).
Exiled from his homeland, Iranian New Wave director Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s film The Gardener explores how different generations view religion and peace. Filmed in Israel in collaboration with his son Maysam, the film adopts an experimental approach of both father and son conversing while filming each other.
Writer-Director Olivier Assayas‘ French drama film Something in the Air (Après mai) will enthrall audiences with its depiction of Paris in the early 1970s. The movie narrates the story of a young high school student completely swept up in the political and creative effervescence at the time and the oscillation of his beliefs between radical commitment to the leftist cause and the pursuit of more personal aspirations, a conundrum not understood by his girlfriend or schoolmates. The film was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival where Assayas won the Ostella for Best Screenplay.
Blancanieves a film by Spanish director, publicist and professor of management at NYFA (New York Film Academy) Pablo Berger chronicles the story of Carmen, a beautiful young woman with a childhood tormented by her terrible stepmother, Encarna. Running from her past, Carmen, will undertake an exciting journey accompanied by her new friends: a troupe of dwarves Toreros. The film is the official Spanish entry for the the Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards in 2013.
Having competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival 2012, Renoir by distinguished filmmaker Gilles Bourdos is about the twilight years of illustrious painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir who is tormented by the loss of his wife, the pains of arthritic old age and the terrible news that his son Jean has been wounded in action. But when a young girl miraculously enters his world, the old painter is filled with a new, wholly unexpected energy.
Alex de la Iglesia returns with As Luck Would Have It, yet another darkly comic exercise in capricious causality about an out-of-work publicist Roberto Goméz (José Mota) who suffers an accident looks to sell the exclusive interview rights to the highest bidder in an attempt to provide for his family. The film also features Mexican screen scorcher Salma Hayek.
The list of the promising documentaries at the festival along with their trailers can be found here.