As one of the most cinema affluent cities in India welcomes the 23rd edition of Kolkata International Film Festival, FilmSpell ensures that you make the best out of this festive season for the cinephiles. The festival began on November 10th and ends on November 17th, presenting 142 movies from 65 countries. Out of the 19 categories of films, a few coveted categories include- Innovation in Moving Images, Indian Language films, Asian Select (NETPAC Award), Country Focus: UK and Cinema International. Here is the list of the best films showing at Kolkata International Film Festival 2017, as a cinephile you don’t want to miss any of them.
Country Focus: UK Retrospective – Michael Winterbottom
Michael Winterbottom was born in Blackburn in 1961. He made his directorial debut in 1988 with the Ingmar Bergman documentary “The Magic Lantern” and “The Director”, winner of Best Documentary at the Valladolid Film Festival. His television credits include the BAFTA award winning series “Cracker” and “Family”. He made his feature film directorial debut with “Butterfly Kiss” in 1995 and since then has went on to make over 30 films. Michael Winterbottom has been at Cannes “Welcome to Sarajevo”, “Wonderland” and “24 Hour Party People” competing for Palme d’Or over the years.
‘Trishna’ tells the story of one woman whose life is destroyed by a combination of love and circumstances. Set in contemporary Rajasthan, Trishna meets a wealthy young British businessman Jay Singh who has come to India to work in his father’s hotel business. After an accident destroys her father’s Jeep, Trishna goes to work for Jay, and they fall in love. But despite their feelings for each other, they cannot escape the conflicting pressures of a rural society which is changing rapidly through industrialisation, urbanisation and, above all, education. Trishna’s tragedy is that she is torn between the traditions of her family life and the dreams and ambitions that her education has given her.
Where to watch: 14th November, 11:15 at Rabindra Sadan.
Welcome to Sarajevo –
Michael Henderson, a British foreign correspondent is stationed in Sarajevo, during the war in Bosnia. The city is under siege from enemy artillery, positioned in the hills that circle the city. Henderson, his cameraman Greg and producer Jane Carson, file regular reports from the city, for the television news in Britain. Henderson discovers an orphanage, situated on the front line, under continuous bombardment from artillery fire. Horrified by the terrible conditions the children live under, he repeatedly films reports from the orphanage urging the international community to take action to remove the children to safety. Frustrated by the lack of response and no longer able to maintain journalistic detachment, he determines to smuggle one of the children back to England.
Where to watch: 15th November, 14:00 at Sisir Mancha.
Cinema International at Kolkata International Film Festival
Rainbow – A Private Affair (Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani) –
Summer 1943, Piedmont, Italy. Milton loves Fulvia who plays with his love: she only likes the depth of his thought and the letters he writes to her. One year later, Milton has joined the Resistance and fights beside other partisans. He learns during a conversation that Fulvia was secretly in love with his best friend Giorgio, a partisan like him. Milton decides to go find Giorgio in the Langhe region of Italy with all its misty hills…But Giorgio has just been arrested by the Fascists.
Where to watch: 15th November, 11:15 at Rabindra Sadan or 17th November, 17:30 at Inox, City Centre.
The Tree Goddess ( Sumitra Peries ) –
1930’s, Sri Lanka. Partly a compelling domestic drama, and a demonic love story, the narrative follows a puppet-maker who’s set to be married to a young girl. Unfortunately, the girl elopes with her secret lover. Devastated, the grieving puppetmaker ends up carving a puppet in her likeness, which eventually comes to life, setting in motion a fantastical chain of events. Aptly titled, “Vaishnavee” refers to the consort of Lord Shiva-a creator, destroyer and transformer. It is the transformative aspect that is personified by the protagonist (the puppet-maker) in this film. During the powerful climax, the puppeteer realizes the transcendent, spiritual nature of love.
Where to watch: 15th November, 17:15 at Rabindra Sadan or 17th November, 11:45 at Star Theater.
On Body and Soul ( Ildiko Enyedi) –
Endre and Maria work at an abattoir. He is the financial director, she the new quality inspector. By day, their urban workplace houses scenes of animals being slaughtered – and Enyedi does not shy away from the carnage. By night, they dream of the same pastoral scene in which deer rub against each other in the snow. Endre is mild-mannered, while the OCD-afflicted Maria is nervous and introverted. In everyday life, these two can’t quite connect, then a company psychiatrist realizes that they see identical images during sleep. Should these subconsciously kindred coworkers commingle in their waking hours? Or are they better off resigning themselves to being lovers only in dreams?
Where to watch: 13th November, 10:00 at Mitra Cinema or 15th November, 19:30 at Rabindra Sadan.
Loveless ( Andrey Zvyagintsev) –
Zhenya and Boris are going through a vicious divorce marked by resentment, frustration and recriminations. Already embarking on new lives, each with a new partner, they are impatient to start again, to turn the page -even if it means threatening to abandon their 12-year-old son Alyosha. Until, after witnessing one of their fights, Alyosha disappears.
Where to watch: 14th November, 12:00 at Navina Cinema
Afterimage (Andrzej Wajda) –
Art is freedom. As Stalin rose to power, freedom was under attack; art was under attack. The film is the story of Wladyslaw Strzeminski (Boguslaw Linda), the most important Polish painter of the 20th century. World War I left him with a missing arm and leg, but this didn’t stop him from pursuing art. Strzeminski’s avant-garde paintings and sculptures were abstract and playful, yet sophisticated. People recognized this, and his art became successful internationally. At the peak of his career, Stalin came to power, ordering all art to be objectified, serving as Soviet propaganda. Afterimage is a heartbreaking yet hopeful story of resilience. Its affecting score offers a glimpse into the emotions of those living in desperation, clinging to any amount of faith. The miserable, gray environment contrasts with the artist’s whimsical creations, reminding us that without art, life is joyless.
Where to watch: 17th November, 14:00 at Nazrul Tirtha.
Godard’s Rise and Fall of Small Company
Kolkata International Film Festival will be the first film festival to bring this rare film to India. French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard’s crime thriller was made in 1986 and was lost. It was recently digitally restored and was released in the first week of October in France.
Where to watch: 17th November, 11:00 at Nazrul Tirtha.