The International Film Festival of India (IFFI), organised by the Entertainment Society of Goa, begins tonight in the coastal town of Panjim, Goa. While the festival courted controversy in 2017, when it arbitrarily dropped two key films, Sexy Durga and Nude, from the line-up, it seems the organisers have preempted potential problematic situations this year already.
In an interview, jury member Ujjwal Chatterjee said that out of 45 Malayalam films they watched, many were 'anti-national' and were 'outright rejected.' He said, "We have no problems with criticism but no film should hurt the sentiments of a certain section of people. One can't express anti-Indian sentiments."
While it is not known which films were rejected, the festival that runs from 20 to 28 November, will showcase 212 films from over 68 countries. Among other attractions, a retrospective of legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman is one of this edition's key highlights. Summer With Monika, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Persona, Autumn Sonata are just some of his films that will be screened at IFFI this year.
Running parallel to the festival is the Film Bazaar, organised by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), which brings together aspiring writers, filmmakers, producers, sales agents and distributors under one roof at the Goa Marriott.
Among other things that are more heavily industry-centric, the bazaar will see the Knowledge Series, curated by Anupama Bose. Sriram Raghavan, coming close on the success of AndhaDhun, is expected to host a talk titled 'The Dark, the Pulpy, and the Love Story," while Sholay director Ramesh Sippy, Udta Punjab maker Abhishek Chaubey, and Vishal Bhardwaj will attend a panel titled 'Directors and Producers who changed the Game.'
If you are interested only in films and not the frills attached with festivals, here are some of the best films to watch.
The Argentine provocateur is back to do what he does best — make the viewer's stomach churn while giving an adrenaline high. In Climax, Noe explores the worst traits known to humanity as a night of dance rehearsals in a remote rundown French hamlet turns into a nightmare after one of the members of the troupe spikes the sangria with LSD. Stylistic, hypnotic and almost unbearable to look away from, Climax is a psychological thriller that will stay with you. Forever.
Kore-eda Hirokazu's Japanese film is a haunting portrait of vulnerable family ties, specifically of a family living on the margins. A humanist drama directed with the trademark sensitivity one usually associates with Kore-eda's work, the film won the prestigious Palm'd Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival and has turned out to be the fourth highest grossing film of 2018 in Japan.
The Wild Pear Tree
Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Turkish film was one of the most acclaimed films to come out of Cannes this year and has enjoyed a steady festival run ever since. A heart-wrenching story of a man's quest to become a writer, The Wild Pear Tree offers a nuanced window into the everyday realities of Turkish youth and what it means to let go of your dreams.
Lijo Jose Pellisser's new film after the clutter-breaking Angamaly Diaries is a dark comedy that examines the fragility of life through a delicate father-son relationship, where the father has suddenly passed away and the son is trying everything in his capacity to give him a grand funeral, as he had promised. Deeply unsettling and shot with a hauntingly melancholic lens, Ee.Ma.Yau (or Rest in Peace) is easily one of the best Indian films of 2018.
Birds of Passage
Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra's film about the rise and fall of the Wayyu family's narcotics empire in 70s Columbia offers a fascinating insight into the violence-ridden country. Visually stunning, the film chronicles the family's story through a series of five chapters. The film, which opened to universal critical acclaim, was screened at the Director's Fortnight section at this year's Cannes Film Festival and is Colombia's official entry to the 2019 Oscars.