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A rich and varied fare


The 15th edition of the annual Mumbai Film Festival is showcasing both an array of masters and a clutch of new discoveries
SAIBAL CHATTERJEE | Issue Dated: October 27, 2013, New Delhi
Tags : Mumbai Film Festival | Mumbai Academy of Moving Image | Reliance Entertainment | filmmaker |

The 15th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival (October 17 to 24), which serves each year as a showcase of the best of contemporary world cinema, will also offer cineastes an array of tributes, master classes, panel discussions and other attractions.

The annual eight-day event, presented by Reliance Entertainment and organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), will screen more than 200 titles from 65 countries.

The festival will host the Indian premieres of many films that have been generating a buzz on the international festival circuit, including the likes of Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, Amat Escalante’s Heli, Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin and J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost, a dialogue-less film featuring Robert Redford.

The festival opens with Lee Daniels’ The Butler, starring Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker and closes with Bill Condon’s The Fifth Estate, the story of Wikileaks founder Jlian Assange.

Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal, chairman of MAMI, says: The Mumbai film festival has grown from strength to strength. We are happy to say today that it has reached the stature of being a truly international film festival “
On the formidable line-up of films that the festival has put together, Srinivasan Narayanan, Director, MFF, says: “I’ve had the privilege of seeing the festival grow each year and can safely say that this year too we promise to showcase the best of world cinema.”


His confidence is certainly not misplaced. MFF will witness the Indian premieres of films like Blue is the Warmest Colour, Rocket, Ilo Ilo, Don Jon and Le Passe, among numerous other award-winning films.

MFF 2013 is hosting a celebration of Spanish cinema with as many 17 films representing different eras. The package includes Luis Bunuel’s Viridiana, Carlos Saura’s The Hunt, Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive, Julio Medem’s Lovers of the Arctic Circle and Alejandro Amenabar’s The Sea Inside.

Besides this comprehensive Spanish retrospective, five new films from that country will also be unveiled in the course of MFF this year. Among these films are Isabel Coixet’s Yesterday Never Ends, Alberto Arvelo’s The Liberator and Fernando Colomo’s Picasso’s Gang.

A special spotlight on contemporary Cambodian films is also on the festival’s programme, with Rithy Panh’s latest film, The Missing Picture, serving as the worthy centerpiece. Two other feature-length films will be screened as part of this section – Davy Chou’s Golden Slumbers and Kalyanee Mam’s A River Changes Course.

The steady emergence of Afghan cinema will be showcased in the Kabul Fresh section for the second year in succession. As many as nine films from the strife-torn region, including Atiq Rahimi’s critically acclaimed The Patience Stone, will be screened at the festival.

The festival will present six films by Costa Gavras and three by French director Leos Carax. Both directors will be in attendance.

The International Competition will see 14 films vying for the festival’s top prizes which, taken together, add up to $220,000 in cash terms. The only Indian contender is the Marathi film Fandry, directed by first-timer Nagraj Manjule.
Other films in the running are Kim Mordaunt’s The Rocket, Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo, Ramon Zurcher’s The Strange Little Cat, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon and Mathieu Roy’s Another House.

Heading the International Competition jury will be director Bruce Beresford, whose 1989 film, Driving Miss Daisy, won the Academy Award for the Best Film. He was also nominated for Best Director in 1984 for Tender Mercies.

The jury includes French actress Nathalie Baye, who has worked with the likes of Godard and Truffaut. Also on the jury are Japanese actor Masato Harada and India’s very own Konkana Sen Sharma.

Twelve titles drawn from around the country are part of the India Gold section. Besides the late Rituparno Ghosh’s Sunglass, this section includes Jahnu Barua’s Ajeyo, KR Manoj’s Kanyaka Talkies, Manju Borah’s Ko:Yad, Anup Singh’s Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost and Devashish Makhija’s Oonga.

The India Gold 2013 Competition section jury is headed by Academy Award winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. By his side will be Afghan filmmaker Siddiq Barmak, British director Waris Hussein, Australian film editor Jill Bilcock and Roger Garcia, the executive director of the prestigious Hong Kong International Film Festival, film critic and an authority on Asian Cinema.

This year’s festival will screen seven films in its Fresh Indian Faces section. The titles include Janaki Vishwanathan’s Bakrapur, Amit Masurkar’s Sulemani Keeda, Umashankar Swamy’s Munsif, and Vivek Budakoti’s Pied Piper.

The festivals’s Restored Classics section includes such masterworks as Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar, Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail, Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story and Joseph L Mankiewicz’s All About Eve.

Ten much anticipated titles are part of MFF’s Rendezvous with French Cinema. Presented in association with the Embassy of France in India and Unifrance, this section has films like Michel Gondry;s Mood Indigo, Francois Ozon’s Jeune et Jolie, Asghar Farhadi Le Passe, Mahamat Saleh-Haroun’s Grigris and Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or-winning Blue is the Warmest Colour.


Entertainment industry veterans and international personalities Costa Gavras and Kamal Hassan will be conferred with the annual Lifetime Achievement award.

Sidebar events at this year’s festival include master classes by acclaimed director Bruce Beresford, noted editor Jill Billcock, and special Q&A sessions with Leos Carax and Asghar Farhadi.

MFF will also pay homage to three Indian film personalities who passed away this year – Yash Chopra, Pran and Rituparno Ghosh. While Ghosh’s last film, Satyanweshi, a polished adaptation of a Byomkesh Bakshi adventure, will be premiered, Chopra’s Kabhi Kabhie and the Pran starrer Johny Mera Naam will be screened.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017