Meenakshi Shedde: Top 10 of Mumbai Film Festival

Oct 21, 2018, 07:40 IST | Meenakshi Shedde

Presenting my Top 10 films of the Presenting my Top 10 films of the 20th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, that runs from October 25-November 1

Meenakshi Shedde: Top 10 of Mumbai Film Festival
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Presenting my Top 10 films of the Presenting my Top 10 films of the 20th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, that runs from October 25-November 1.


Top 5 Foreign Films:
1. ROMA by Alfonso Cuaron: Winner of the Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion, this is a semi-autobiographical film about Cuaron's upbringing in Mexico in the 1970s. A Netflix film, it is also scheduled to release theatrically, with an eye on the Oscars.

2. SHOPLIFTERS by Hirokazu Kore-eda: Winner of the Cannes Film Festival's Palm e d'Or, this is a richly satisfying film about a dodgy family of shoplifters, that becomes a surrogate family for an abused child they find on the street.

3. THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen: Winner of the Venice Film Festival's Best Screenplay Award, this six-part Western anthology film, starring James Franco and Liam Neeson, tells tales of the American frontier. Another Netflix film.

4. TOUCH ME NOT by Adina Pintilie: Winner of the Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear, this Romanian (woman) director makes a deeply affecting, docu-fiction debut feature, that explores sexual intimacy and the trouble many people have enjoying it — and how disabled people can enjoy it too. It will polarise men and women viewers.

5. RUBEN BRANDT, COLLECTORdaciously-crafted, animation debut feature from Hungary, about a psychotherapist who suffers nightmares, inspired by famous works of art. Original and playfully intellectual thriller.

Special mention must be made of Jafar Panahi's 3 Faces; Marcelo Martinessi's The Heiresses; Christian Petzold's Transit; Phuttiphong Aroonpheng's Manta Ray; and Yeo Siew Hua's A Land Imagined, winner of the Golden Leopard in Locarno. (Full disclosure: I was Script Mentor on Yeo's project at the Asia Pacific Screen Lab, Australia, for emerging Asian film-makers.)

Top 5 Indian Films:

1. BALEKEMPA (The Bangle Seller) by Eregowda, Kannada: Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the Rotterdam Film Festival, this superbly crafted debut feature observes how burning desire is quenched in small-town Karnataka.

2. SONI by Ivan Ayr, Hindi: Selected at the Venice and London film festivals, this excellent debut feature explores the pressures on Soni, an idealistic young policewoman in Delhi, who tackles violent crimes against women.

3. BULBUL CAN SING by Rima Das, Assamese: Presented at the Toronto and Busan film festivals, this coming-of-age story is about three teenage friends, who pay a high price for exploring love. Das's Village Rockstars is India's entry for the Oscars: a big achievement for the North-east, and for women directors.

4. MA'AMA (Moan) by Dominic Megam Sangma, Garo (Meghalaya): This North-eastern film is India's only entry in the international competition. And it's an Indo-Chinese co-production. After his wife's death, Philip Sangma (the director's father), nearly 90, feels guilty about not having cared enough for her. With images of quiet power, it feels like docu-fiction, featuring the director's family, including himself.

5. HAMID by Aijaz Khan: This charming, heart-breaking story is about Hamid, a small Kashmiri boy, whose father has "disappeared"; his mother explains that his father has gone to Allah. He learns that 786 is God's number and phones him. The line goes to a military officer, and two lives are connected by a delicate thread of love and guilt. Exquisite dialogues and performances by Talha Arshad Reshi and Rasika Dugal.

Special mention must be made of a few other South Asian films: Devashish Makhija's Bhonsle; Steve Loveridge's Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., a superb documentary on the Sri Lankan singer-activist M.I.A.; Suba Sivakumaran's House of My Fathers (Sri Lanka); Vasanth Sai's Sivaranjani and Two Other Women; Pawan K Shrivastava's Life of an Outcast; and Aadish Keluskar's Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil.

Meenakshi Shedde is South Asia Consultant to the Berlin Film Festival, award-winning critic, curator to festivals worldwide and journalist. Reach her at meenakshishedde@gmail.com

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