Osian’s Cinefan Film Fest: Cilmates (Lklimler) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

[Note: spoilers, but this storyline has been used ten trillion, sixty seven thousand times, approximately]

As much as I’d like to be critical of Climates’ predictable storyline, and seemingly restrained performances, I really liked it. At the Cinefan film fest, most of the movies that I enjoyed featured characters who were mature and somewhat subdued: a marked change from the movies I end up watching in theaters in India (most of my college friends watch movies that I call ‘dhinchak’). So, I suppose I ended up cutting Climates some slack because I was comparing it with the regular fare.

We begin at a beach resort, where Isa (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) breaks up with Bahar, his wife/lover of several years. His reasons for breaking up may be summarised as follows: he’s bored. Bahar breaks down, sobs, and is quiet as Isa drives on a scooter across the hills, with the sun setting on their relationship. Suddenly, Bahar, from behind, closes Isa’s eyes, and they fall down. When he leaves her in the bus, he says that he still wants to be friends. She declines, and tells him not to contact her.

They part, and Isa soon finds himself with nothing to do in the evening, as opposed to his friend, who teaches at a college with him. Isa ‘accidentally’ runs into a friend and his girlfriend. Later, he lands up at the girlfriends house, and we’re subjected to a longish rough sex scene that seems to be there only for titillation.

From Serap, later, Isa learns of Bahar’s whereabouts, and follows her to a town that is snowed in, where she’s with a team to shoot a TV serial. There he tries to make up with her, but given the cold parting, she obviously declines. The movie meanders along, and while Isa tries to placate her, she refuses to comply. Eventually they meet one last time, and then part ways. The movie ends abruptly, and there isn’t much to take from this film, apart from Isa’s character being defined by the way he behaves – a bored university professor without scruples, who breaks up with is girlfriend so that he can liven up his life, which he tries to do by sleeping with his ex-mistress and then trying to woo his girlfriend back. All this without the song and dance. On the plus side, there are no wasteful dialogues, and long moments of silence and render a serious feel to the movie.

I also wonder how Nuri Bilge Ceylan would have been able to assess his own performance, since he was both starring in the movie, and directing it. A wholly unremarkable movie with a weak storyline, but with some fairly composed, confident and realistic acting. It’s a story that you would have come aross a thousand of times, just that it doesn’t end happily.

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Osian’s Cinefan Film Fest: When Fish Fall in Love by Ali Raffi

A sleepy, seaside Iranian town. A successful restaurant being run by four feisty, independent women. Everything is running smoothly until one womans lover gets arrested for anti-national activities, and anothers returns after being in prison for 25 years for the same charge, possibly to reclaim the house in which the restaurant is being run.

Aziz, a recently released convict who is on his way home, makes friends with Reza, a young man working on a fish farm. The cab is stopped, and Reza is arrested. The look at Reza gives Aziz reminds him of his own arrest 25 years ago. He reaches town to find his old home to find that it is now a restaurant, and walks in.

The scene shifts to inside the kitchen, where Atieh, Aziz’ ex-lover is busy preparing meals, assited by three other women, one of whom is Atieh’s daugther and Reza’s lover. The sky seems to fall on their heads as, though a pane in the door, Atieh spies Aziz in disbelief. The house is his, and they’re squatters. If they lose the restaurant, they lose everything.

Aziz is the central character of the film, even when he is not on screen. Everybody’s talking about him and wondering about his next move. Will he sell, or won’t he? He takes it upon himself to get Reza freed, and asks his rich friend who wants to buy the house, to get him a lawyer. This fuels rumours that Aziz is planning to sell the restaurant to his friends, and the women of the restaurant do whatever is possible to prevent it: mostly, of feeding him the most delicious looking food that you will ever see on screen, and of making him feel a part of the family.

The movie is, above all, about food. Watching it makes you regret having that rajma chawal or chicken biryani at the canteen, as dish after this is prepared with appetising sauces and photo-perfect garnishing. My mouth waters even as I think about that food. Must go to north Iran some day, and see if that food tastes as good as it looks.

Throughout the film, a lack of communication between two former lovers, Atieh and Aziz, confounds the issues. Atieh is full of pride, and unwilling to request Aziz to not sell or claim the house, even though he has not once asked for it. In fact, that he hardly speaks about it makes things confusing for the four women, as they try to get him to no sell it. There is also veiled criticism of a social practice – when men are sent to jail, their lovers are simply informed that they have skipped town. That happened when Aziz was arrested and Atieh was lied to, and when Reza was arrested. Also of young men who are forced into (supposedly) transporting arms because alternative occupations don’t yield enough money.

When Fish Fall in Love (mahiha ashegh mishavand) has a tight, small script centered around few characters and few events, but the suspense, the excitement and the emotions ensure that there’s not a dull moment. The title, though, doesn’t make much sense to me. The picturisation is rich in colour, with food that makes you want to chew at the screen, green mountains, colourful fruits and even the sea splashing against a precarious cafe on the rocks. I’m glad that Makhmalbaf’s ‘Sex and Philosophy’ was housefull.

The Fish Fall in Love (or When Fish fall in love – two names in use) won the Best Film award at the 7th Aubagne International Film Festival. What surprises me is that this is Ali Raffi’s first film, since it has the touch of a veteran. Many more beautiful stories to come, I hope.

Update: Another review, with spoiler (here). I disagree with the review that Aziz should not have been emotionless and confused, since that actually creates the suspense that runs through the movie. Secondly, Ali Raffi is a veteran theatre director and this is first film. His next is based on Romeo and Juliet.

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Osian’s Cinefan Film Fest: Paradise Now by Hany Abu-Assad

[Note: No spoilers]

“If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do it again. It’s not worth endangering your life for a movie.” – Hany Abu-Assad, Director.

Said and Khaled are two young men who work for a car repairman in the West Bank. There are few jobs, and they have little interest in the job or in keeping the customers. Though Said’s family is barely able to make ends meet, life goes on. That’s when Jamal, a family friend, visits Said to inform him that he and Khaled have been chosen for a very important task. From then on, we’re led into the world of the underground, of terrorists who prey on impressionable young men, and sacrifice them for the cause, in exchange for a place in paradise.

Paradise Now is a movie about how the humiliation of the occupation of the West Bank by Israel drives jobless youth to sacrifice themselves to keep a cause alive. The movie seems critical of both sides – of Israel with mentions of the occupation of the West Bank and the constant fear of bombardment, and of Palestine with its storyline that questions repeatedly the suicide bombing tactics employed by the Palestinians. There is justification from the terrorists too: Jamal reasons that if the Palestinians accept the rule of might and forsake their liberty, then they would be no less than animals; to survive, they must fight, and the freedom of a people is more important than the life of individuals.

The making of this film was as troubled as the land where it was filmed: the location manager was kidnapped during the shoot and an Israeli missile blew up a car near the set. The flick is slick, with some smooth camerawork and picturisation. Khalid, played by Ali Suliman, is the slightly comical, less mature and more enthusiastic of the two. Said (Kais Nashef) is the quiet and thoughtful one who repeatedly questions their motives, and the concept of paradise. Most importantly, the two are projected as innocent, naive and impressionable young men, caught between what they see and what they’re told to believe. As outsiders, we tend to believe that there are schools where children are brainwashed and trained to kill. Hany Abu-Assad disagrees, and presents a more humane, sometimes comical picture – there’s a scene where Khalid, with a gun in hand and a flag around his shoulders, speaks first dispassionately into a camera, reading from a text, and then, speaking from the heart, looks at his parents through the lens and apologises to them. On inquiring about how his performance was, he is told that the camera didn’t work and he’d have to give it another shot. Though emotionally spent, he tries again.

The two scraggly boys are shaved and dressed in smart suits. Explosives are stuck to their bodies and they’re brought to barb wire fence through which they make their way into Israel.

From then on, the film comes into its own as the plot takes several turns with one of the two on the loose in Palestine with explosives that could blow up if not deactivated properly, and the other, searching for him. En route to the end, we’re subjected to several, though unfortunately forced, arguments on how Palestine should respond to the humiliation of occupation, and whether the kamikaze course of action is justifiable or not. Eventually, the side you agree with depends on whether you believe in Paradise or not, and how you can get there. Hany Abu-Assad has probably ended up offending both sides by presenting a balanced viewpoint.

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Osian’s Cinefan Film Fest: Grain in Ear (Mangjong) by Zhang Lu

[Note: No spoilers]

For most part of Grain in Ear, I was considering walking out of the theatre. I’m glad I didn’t. Until a few minutes before the end, it is painful to watch as director Zhang Lu carefully constructs for us the life of a Korean minorty woman in China, whose husband is in jail for murder, and who is strugging to making ends meet.

Cui, played by Lianji Liu lives with her child in a non-descript building by a railway junction, in a room next to one occupied by a group of prostitutes. She supports herself by selling kimchi, a pickled Korean dish, to factory workers and train drivers. At night, she unsuccessfully attempts to teach her son the Korean alphabet.

One day, Cui�s unregistered food stall gets confiscated. Kim, a factory worker who is also of Korean origin who had earlier attempted to make polite conversation with her helps her. He is a married man with an overbearing wife. He takes her to a bar, and then a karaoke booth where he forces her to drink. One of the prostitutes warns Cui about him as a strictly sexual relationship develops between the two. �The men who come to us,� she says,� are not good men�. The prostitutes are like overgrown kids, playing games among themselves and with Cui’s son during the day, and walking the streets at night. They get bruised and battered regularly, and talk dreamily of the harvest season back home in the village.

Wang, a policeman takes pity on Cui and suggests that she get her food-cart registered. There is a pointless, light moment as the lady in charge of registrations requests Cui to teach her Korean dance, and for a brief moment we see some emotion from Cui as she loses herself in the dance. Dance seems symbolic of the dream world that the inhabitants of this industrial town have lost, and is contrasted with the realities of their difficult existence: In the beginning, as Cui makes her way to the station to give lunch to train drivers, her quiet, almost mechanical existence is contrasted with a group that is practicing for annual festivities. Later, at the end of the movie, as Cui returns from the clinical execution of her murderous plot, the same dance group goes by her.Listlessness pervades Grain in Ear – every character, apart from Cui’s son, is almost like a zombie, quietly accepting the blows that life and men deal them with a sense of �moving-on�. Kim’s wife has Cui arrested as a prostitute, and Wang, the policeman who had earlier helped her, gets drunk and rapes here in the police station. The camera remains outside the room, and as with the sex-scene with Kim, focuses on the door frame and the wall beyond it. In fact, even other scenes, often the camera switches only after the characters have exited the frame, instead of following them.

Tragedy follows tragedy, but Cui takes each blow and moves on. Every time a rat consumes the poison carefully spread across her room, it is replaced by another one. Throughout the film, her son fearlessly picks up the dead rat and deposits it outside while Cui keeps as far away as possible. The final blow justifies the slow pace of the movie: it is quick, emotionless and efficient and makes the wait worth it. Symbolically, she herself picks up the dead rat and throws it out.

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Osian’s Cinefan Film Fest: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter�and Spring by Kim Ki-Duk

[Note: Spoilers, but it doesn’t matter]

The theater was empty and slowly filling up since, like me, most others were unable to get tickets for Rituparno Ghosh�s Dosar, and Sudipto Sen�s The Last Monk.

Spring, Summer… begins in spring, and we are introduced to a monk and his young ward, living on a monastary floating in a lake surrounded by mountains.

One day, the young boy ties a stone each around a fish, a frog and a snake, and laughs at their agony while his master spies on him from a rock above. That night, while the boy is asleep, his master ties a heavy stone around his back, and removes it only after the boy releases the animals that he had burdened. “What goes around, comes around” seems to be the message.

The humour in the film often stems from the use of animals: The appearance of a snake makes the audience fear for the safety of the child, only for him to casually pick it up and toss it away. Later, the master pulls the boat in towards the floating monastary using a rooster, and even paints the sutra on the floor using a cats tail while it mews in protest.

In Summer, the young monk is introduced to lust, by the introduction of a sickly young woman to the monastery. Eventually, his lust takes care of her ailment. On her leaving, the young man runs away, unable to handle the lack of the satisfaction of his lust, as opposed to leaving because he loves the young woman. In consonance with Buddhist philosophy, all such demands are shown as mental manifestations of bodily needs.

The once young man returns in the ‘Fall’ of his life, after having killed his lover because she chose another man over him. His master accepts him, and gives him the arduous task of chiseling a sutra on the monastery floor, which the master had painted with the tail of a cat. The policemen, who are the only characters actually named in the movie, wait in the cold for their captive to finish, and end up assisting the monk in painting the letters. Respect for the monk and his power over his ward seem to supersede standard operating procedures.

In Winter, the convict returns, no longer young. His master had ended his own life when he felt that his time had come, and a snake has taken his place, perhaps explaining the concept of rebirth. A child is brought to the monk by a young mother, and with Spring, begins another Buddhist cycle of life.

Two things in the movie stand out: The first and most obvious one is the beauty of the surroundings. Whether you agree with, or even care for the philosophy and the excessive moralizing, you�re likely to be amazed by the shots of the mist as it flows across the valley lake, of the temple, and the green, sometimes iceladen mountains. The second thing, and I didn�t notice it till much later in the movie, is that there are almost no dialogues. Materialistic life isn�t condemned as much as it is shown as mental weakness, and there are no �Bad Guys� whom the Buddhist defeats with his will, or martial arts. The lessons in Spring, Summer� are in the actions.

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Still with Cinefan

Today was disappointing. I think I should now go through storylines before selecting films, though I’d hate killing the suspense. Sadly, Dosar was sold out by the time I reached, and I settled for Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…and Spring Again, which was visually very appealing. Hardly a dialogue in the film. Unfortunately, it was Buddhist, and hence too moralistic and biased. But the visuals..wow. Next was the first ever movie out of Saudi Arabia, Today and Tomorrow. Very Hindi movie-like, but the directors explanation greatly lowered my expectations, hence it was only a little disappointing. Couldn’t even leave early because I, by mistake, sat next to all the delegates, and I thought it would be rude to get up in between. Also didn’t help that the gentleman to my left, an Arab VIP, kept laughing at all the jokes, some of which I didn’t get, and kept looking at me, expecting me to laugh as well. Met Rohit, Amitava, Deepan and Priya. Last was Grain-in-ear, which was slow and seemed pointless until the end. Should have watched the Stanley Kwan film instead. Reviews tomorrow.

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Osian’s Cinefan Film Fest: Everlasting Regret by Stanley Kwan

[Note: I went for this movie because I was told that a Stanley Kwan movie would at least be better than the last two that I had seen. Anyway, I didn’t want to give up on the Cinefan Film Fest after watching only the Indian films, which had given me a headache]

Stanley Kwan’s Everlasting Regret is the story of Qiyao (Sammi Cheng), a quiet young girl who becomes Ms. Shanghai in pre-communist China, quite by chance. She is naive to begin with, and nagged often by her schoolmate Lili (Yan Su), who considers herself far more beautiful than Qiyao. However, Cheng (Tony Leung Ka-Fai), a photographer of some importance, chooses Qiyao over Lili much to the latters disappointment. Cheng asks Qiyou her to enter the Ms. Shanghai competition. Officer Li, an officer of some importance, takes a liking to her at the competition, and with his influence, she becomes Ms.Shanghai. Important people seem to like Qiyao.

The movie then jumps to a remarkably different looking Qiyao who is the mistress of Officer Li. The two are deeply in love with each other. Everything is hunky dory until the communist revolution begins: Officer Li has to go underground, Lili eventually flees to Hong Kong and gets married. Only Cheng remains as a faithful friend to Qiyao. The screenplay jumps as abruptly as Qiyao does from one relationship to another, and I found myself quite lost in bits, trying to understand what was going on. ( With frequent hairstyle changes, and the relative inability to distinguish between various Asian characters, this was a difficult film to watch. I guess I need to watch more Asian cinema. )

Qiyao is told of Li’s death by Cheng, which he immediately confesses as a lie that Li had asked him to tell her. She has to give up her beautiful apartment to the People’s Republic of China. At some point, Cheng leaves for rural areas to help in reconstruction, and returns briefly. When Lili comes over from Hong Kong, Qiyao is involved with a young man, Ming, the son of a businessman. Qiyao has a child off him, and is forced to arrange for a fake marriage because Ming is unable to marry her. He leaves for Hong Kong, but continues to send her money. Officer Li, she’s told, owns a ranch in Brazil, but she never pursues him. Qiyao’s daugther gets married at a young age, and flees to the US with her husband. Then a black-marketeer called Kela falls for Qiyao, while Cheng, who introduced the two, watches on haplessly. That relationship ends disastrously too.

I loved the whole sepia-tone feel of the movie, and the music. At times, the music was most pleasant when the scene was most grim: Qiyao went into pangs of anguish on being told by Cheng about Li’s death; the anguish could have been best depicted by allowing Qiyao’s screams to reverberate through the theatre in isolation. Unfortunately, a happy-happy jive tune kills the pain.

Tony Leung Ka-Fai, who played Cheng was the most powerful presence on screen. Sammy Cheng as Qiyao was disappointing only because Qiyao’s character wasn’t explored. The scene jumped from one segment to another without a connection, or an adequate follow up.

In fact, the only relationship that is developed in the novel is that which remained unfulfilled – between Qiyao and Cheng. They remained friends, and either because of Qiyao’s unwillingness to take it further, or Cheng’s need for survival and apparent lack of financial resources, the ‘Everlasting Regret’ in the film is that of Cheng, the narrator. It must have been a wonderful book, but was a disappointing movie.

(Also: On the way out, I overheard one middle aged woman telling another about how Qiyao managed to look so young through the ages and attract men much younger than her.)


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Osian’s Cinefan Film Fest: It Could Be You

YES! It could be you who gets stuck watching this film. It could also be you who walks out of the theatre twenty-thirty minutes into the film. Unfortunately, it was me who stayed for the entire length of the film, and me, who got a once-in-a-blue-moon headache while watching this disaster.

Taranjeet Singh, the director of the film, told us before the screening that we’d be experiencing ground breaking performances from Naseeruddin Shah and Kirron Kher. Always a dangerous ploy, but even if he hadn’t said that, I would have classified their performance as ground breaking – the kind that breaks the ground and goes under, hopefully never to be seen again.

The storyline: Naseerudding Shah plays Dhillon, a baggage clerk at the airport whose daughter is getting married in typical Punjabi style. He’s got extremely loud friends and family coming over from all across the globe. His daughter is marrying a good-for-nothing good-for-nothing, the other daughter wants to get into films and is dating someone who’s trying to bed her and get her to do a porn flick, one of his sons is as good-for-nothing as his going-to-be brother in law. He’s also got a nagging wife (Kirron Kher) who keeps cribbing how her fledgling career was cut short because Dhillon decided to move to England. There’s also Dhillon’s beer loving, overtly religious, don’t-give-a-damn-about-the-world-but-love-my-son-anyway father. And there’s his friends son from Canada who likes his daughter, but no one pays attention to him so they cut him out of most of the film. And there’s Dhillon’s other son who is more worried about his career and his overbearing wife.

I feel the onset of a headache just thinking about this movie, so I’ll keep this short: Dhillon fills a lottery ticket every day with the same number. One day, he wins and gets a heart attack, but nobody knows because his wife is at the gym, his son’s fooling around stealing food from fast food joints, his daughter’s fooling around with the supposed movie producer, his father’s downing beers at the pub, and his wife is working out at the gym. His other daughter quarrels with greedy her in-laws and finds him on the floor and takes him to the hospital. He has the winning ticket, but while his father spends all his time there, his wife comes over only to get him to sign cheques. Eventually, he collects the prize and the money gives him the authority to order his family around. Things get worse from here on, as we jump from one predictable outcome to another, and it all ends very stupidly.

The only enjoyable part of the movie is Kirron Kher’s ridiculous accent, and her acting as a overbearing , nagging punjabi wife/mother. Sample of her accent: she’s probably say Oi think ki ji this-a is-a movie that ju would like. She has this accent throughout the movie, and it is hilarious.

At some level, this is a confused movie – it would work rather well as an out-and-out parody of Monsoon Wedding, but they’ve messed things up by bringing in some element of seriousness. They should have gone the whole distance in either direction, instead of attempting to flit between the two genres. The scenes with the hitman and the grandfather are really very stupid.

The film gets three stamps – one that says CLICHED, another that says DUMB, and the third resembles the sole of my shoe. Man, I got a headache, just writing about the film.

Addendum: Jai zips through three of the four that I watched. About ‘It Could Be You’, he adds:

[…] after just 20 or so minutes I was crying out for the restrained, tasteful sensibility of a Govinda-David Dhawan movie. It meanders from unfunny slapstick comedy to unintentionally funny morality tale about the relative importance of family and money, to an inept hired-killer yarn with a family solemnly planning the demise of their patriarch (in a scene that�s around 15 minutes longer than it needed to be).

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Osian’s Cinefan Film Fest: Faltu

Anjan Das’ Faltu , which means ‘useless’ in Hindi, is a story that could have been told better. Adapted from Bengali author Syed Mustafa Siraj’s novel Ranirghater Brittanto, Faltu is set in rural Bengal, in a small village called Ranirght that has a population of 148, according to the census mentioned in the movie.

A visit from a census officer to the village (Ranirghat) after over twenty years sets the cat among the pigeons, when he asks about a pregnant madwoman called Surikhepi who had been there the last time he had visited. Surikhepi, at that time, had been in the village for over a year, and it was thus obvious that someone from the village had impregnated her. He also asks about Faltu’s father, the fathers name being essential for the census.

As the story unfolds, we’re told, not to discreetly, that Faltu has many fathers, and a majority of the village men and a dacoit had had their way with the mad woman. Unfortunately, while the audience can easily come to this realisation by the time a quarter of the movie has lapsed, the writers emphasise and re-emphasise this fact by repeatedly showing bits and pieces of how each major character went about this sin. In between, we get glimpses of how the entire village (and possibly all of Faltu’s guilt-afflicted fathers) has helped bring the young boy up, and how the dimwitted lad of around 20 goes from guilty person to guilty person in the village, trying to find out who his father is. Ibrahim, the dacoit, also remembers him on his release from jail, and offers him some sweets.

Beyond a point, this entire exercise becomes pointless and the movie is at least three times longer than it could have been. I amused myself by cracking jokes, calling the congregation of Faltu’s fathers ‘Surikhepi Anonymous’, among other jokes. Also wondered if Arindam Chaudhary had done a cameo in the film (his company Planman, produced it), and tried to spot him in various scenes. If things get really boring, which they might, you may also joke about the subtitles.

It’s sick and amusing that everyone knows what the they’ve all done, and since they’re all guilty, no one is open to talking about it. No one makes a confession, no one accuses, and they all share responsibility. There is one scene where three of Faltu’s fathers dote over him as he eats a meal, and all talk lovingly to him about his marriage to Tuktuki, the village belle. And all turn silent when Faltu asks them about his father. The suspense of what will happen when young, dumb Faltu finds out who his fathers are, runs through the entire movie. Given that there was no DNA testing at the time, it’s impossible to zoom in on one. There is also an additional problem of the village being destroyed to construct a bridge, but that’s inconsequential to the main story.

Fortunately, the acting was quite good- even Faltu played the dumb village guy role quite well (intentionally, I hope). But the two characters on the promos and posters were the weakest actors of the lot. The story was stretched, and hence very boring and repititive beyond a point. I liked the camerawork, the way it zoomed into trees, the river and rice fields. Jabberwock thought it was gimmicky. I’m a noob.

I can’t tell you how it ended because we got up before the end to switch to a greater disaster – It Could Be You.

[Note: Images here are taken via Google Imagesearch. If an image is yours and you mind, let me know and I’ll remove it. This applies to the rest of the blog too.]

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Thoughts on Osian’s Cinefan Film Fest

For those who don’t know, The 8th Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival is on in Delhi. 10 days and lots of films at Rs.20/film, unless you have a press pass or complimentary passes.

Went today. Met Jai, his friend Shougat, Annie and bumped into Sushil right at the end. The last time I met Sushil was at the end of the Jazz Utsav. Saw four films from 2:00 onwards – Faltu, It Could Be You, Everlasting Regret and Paradise Now. The first two were awful, the third was nice, and the last was fantastic. Zonked out..reviews later. Based on my experience today:

1. Even though there’s now a place to keep mobile phones (they’re not allowed inside unless you’re a delegate or a journo), it’s best to park close to the entrance and leave your phone there. Give the queue for reclaiming mobiles, you’re better off walking into the carpark to check for calls.

2. If you know what to watch, buy tickets well in advance, especially if the film is in Siri Fort 2, which has very little space. This applies to evening shows, and popular films (like Siddhartha, Little Buddha, Being Cyrus and Valley of Flowers). Don’t forget to grumble about lack of tickets whenever you’re near an organiser. I’d prefer it if they had had a day pass, or general tickets so you could squat in the aisles to watch a movie that you really wanted to.

3. Careful about the water – strange policy changes at the fest. Sometimes they allow water bottles in the auditoriums, and sometimes they don’t.

4. Based on my experience today, most of the Indian films are avoidable. Asian and Arab films seem to be much better.

The schedule is here

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