1/10/11

PIFF JOURNAL 2011- PART ONE

The Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) is the event we look forward to every year. In fact, PIFF 2010 was one of our motivations to start this blog. As PIFF 2011 also marks, the one year completed by Cue For Change, the event has become even more special to us. This time around, only one of us is able to cover the event and hence the number of films in the journal would naturally be lesser than our last PIFF Journal. Here are the glimpses of few movies that were seen and Q4C's opinion on them;


PUZZLE (ROMPECABEZAS) (2010, Argentina)

Maria Onetto plays Maria del Carmen, a housewife in Argentina who is at a strange juncture in her life. With a workaholic husband who hardly has time for her and two grown up sons who can very well take care of themselves, this caring woman needs to find a new purpose in her life. Her strange knack in solving "puzzles" becomes her favorite pastime and her skill in the art takes her on a journey where she finds her true self and happiness.


Director Natalia Smirnoff  has incorporated the sentiments of a woman perfectly. And the lovely performance by Onetto is definitely on of the reasons why this movie must be watched. But well, the pointless close ups by the camera make viewing uncomfortable in many parts. Apart from that all is good. The story line is simple, yet deep. Do catch this one.

R (2010, Denmark)

Reune is a cold person, who is prisoned for having stabbed someone. His life awaits misery as the person he killed happened to be a friend of one of his inmates. The other prison inmates harass him which he silently takes everyday. He gives in to their commands like a slave. All that changes when he devices a safe and intelligent method for running the marijuana business that existed within the prison. He along with an inmate from the other prison wing, Raashid are the main hands (and asses) in the job. How long will his new found bliss continue is what constitutes the film.

The drama is poignant and hard hitting. It also incorporates careful study and narrative of Danish prison life. The only problem is the narration. Too much effort in character-building and a not so well composed climax. Even at only 90 minutes, this film feels very long. Good performances especially by the lead guy Michael Noer. Even though directed by a duo, the progression is pretty coherent. A good watch.

DOOMAN RIVER (2010, South Korea)

A twelve year old boy Chang-ho befriends a North Korean guy who just crossed the Dooman River; border between North Korea and China. Other characters are his generous grandfather and a mute sister Soon-hee. His mother works in South Korea, the only earning member of the family. A set of mishaps occur throughout the film in the backdrop of the political tension across North and South Korea and the immediate China.

The narration is extremely slow and pointless. The incidents are incoherent and depressing. Probably the incidents are based on facts and the director and writer have made the film with a cause in mind, but as a film, the incidents hardly assemble in the story line (which is void). The only thing that can be loved in the film and that can keep you seated is the cinematography. Beautiful locations of the Chinese village are a treat to the eyes. But apart from that, a movie that can be easily given a miss.

THE ROWAN WALTZ (2010, Russia)

Polina, a young and beautiful widow with two children lived in a post Second World War Russian village. The village has regions where beautiful fields are embedded with German mines. The military, thus, trains the young girls of the village how to defuse mines. At an age, when the heart is young and seeking for love and when the flower of youth is blooming, these ladies are being trained by a couple of military men. As the story beautifully unfolds, the destiny's plans are revealed.

Probably one of the best movies in the World Competition category, this one takes you by surprise. An off beat subject, dealt in parts with traditional Russian-literature irony and also partly with humor and gloom. Beautifully directed and narrated, this film is a must watch. The climax is very gripping adding new meaning to the story line; this one is a must watch for sure.

ESCAPE FROM CALL CENTRE (2009, Italy)

Gianfranco is our protagonist in this one. A distinction holder graduate in volcanology, he expects to start of a good career in his chosen stream.  But as is statistically pointed out in the film, for three volcanoes in Italy, there are far too many volcanologists. With increasing pressure of a detoriating relationship with his live-in girlfriend, he decides to take up an alluring job at a call center temporarily. His life sees a sudden upswing and a phase of joy. But, how long will that last?

A gripping take on the call centre life in Italy, this film stands out. Met two Italian youngsters after the show who believed that the events in the film are authentic and a true portrayal. The most beautiful aspect of the film is the narrative style and also that no character his redundant (except the unncessary Call Man and his mythology). One of the best in the Global Cinema  category, this Italian contemporary film is not worth a miss.


SOME OTHER STORIES (2010, Various)

The film comprises of five shorts directed by five directors from five different countries. The theme is essentially about female suffering and struggle.

Did not like this one. Too much of pregnant women, too much of abuse. The only segment worth watching is the fifth short story, apart from that, not very impressive!

5 comments:

  1. very nice! especially "escape from the call center": realistic, well done and smart!

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  2. Don't you miss watching Puzzle. It's a brilliant watch. As for "R", you're better off watching FELON. Dooman River might be a little old-fashioned for modern Korean film standards. You need patience, the way you wait for things to happen in a Kim-Ki-Duk film.

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  3. @ilaria: thank you! also grateful to you and gabriel for that little chat we had after the show. keep reading us :)

    @fazil: honor to have your comment here! watched all of the above movies though! will try to catch up with FELON soon. thank you :)

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  4. R was screened at MAMI festival too.. i had written about R in Hindustan Times.., damn gory..specially the end !
    :( :(
    I wish I was there at PIFF.. Very well amalgamated !

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  5. Yea PIFF has a very good range of films and from various countries. Makes it an interesting event. Do read the other two parts of the PIFF Journal too...cheers

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