Probably one of the most anticipated titles in Venice -- along with Luca Guadagnino's remake of Dario Argento's 'Suspiria' also a horror film -- is the opening work at the Venice International Film Critics Week, a cool sidebar of first features and shorts curated by film journalist Giona A. Nazzaro. 'Tumbbad' is a collaboration between two filmmakers from India, Rahi Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad and the synopsis alone gave me shivers…Read More
Yes, that is a mouthful up there and quite a loaded title, I agree.
But Barbara Miller's latest documentary, '#Female Pleasure' which premiered in Locarno in their Semaine de la Critique sidebar and walked away with the Zonta Club Locarno Price for Extraordinary Social Commitment is a film chock-full of important messages and loaded with human causes. So, nothing less than a long title could do.Read More
A couple of days ago I woke up to a quote by beloved Mexican artist and all around cool woman Frida Kahlo on Twitter -- it was her birth day: "I do not think the banks of a river suffer because they let the river flow.." It seemed significant in my life because it was the day I'd received from two wondrous filmmakers their latest work, 'Searching for Saraswati' -- a NY Times Op-Docs 20-minute documentary supported by the Sundance Institute and the MacArthur Foundation on the rediscovery of the mythical Saraswati river in Northern India.
Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya first appeared on my cinematic radar two years ago, when their feature 'The Cinema Travellers' premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. When I was sent a screener of the film, I ended up watching it spellbound, for its duration, never stopping or even daring to look away. And more than two years later, the images from this masterpiece -- their first feature film, if you can believe it! -- still color my consciousness. I find myself, from time to time, yearning for that feeling of wonder I had watching it for the first time, and the second time and even a third, finally on the big screen in Dubai. Truly, 'The Cinema Travellers' is a masterpiece of sensitivity and a love song by two poets of our times to the Seventh Art.
So how would the duo ever outdo themselves, I wondered, and felt a bit of nervous apprehension as I prepared to watch 'Searching for Saraswati' -- which premieres on the 10th of July on the NY Times site.Read More
The wonder that is Indian filmmaker and actress Nandita Das first appeared on my radar through her performance in the film ‘Fire’ by Deepa Mehta. The story of two women trapped in respectively loveless marriages with brothers, who discover within each other the companion they crave, it was a film that created as much sizzle on as it did off the screen. It was passed uncut by India’s censor board which then gave into (sort of, then retracted it) religious zealots who started to burn down cinemas and attack audiences to protest its release.
Fast forward twenty years and Das once again flirted with controversy with her feature directorial debut ‘Firaaq’, an unsentimental account of the impact of the Gujarat riots on the Indian Muslim population. The film left such an impact on me, I could hardly think about anything else for weeks after viewing it. I remember researching articles about the riots and I craved to go back to Ahmedabad, which I’d visited the year before I watched the film, to revisit the city with Das’ haunting vision in mind.
These days, the beautiful, smart, and wonderfully strong Das is working on a film about Saadat Hasan Manto, an Indian-Pakistani writer and playwright who once wrote this hauntingly true phrase “If you cannot bear my stories, it is because we live in unbearable times.” Prophetic, wasn’t he.Read More