My itinerary for the Mumbai Film Fest 2010

I expect to have a colossal time this week when the 12th Mumbai Film Festival kicks off - over 200 films from over 60 countries have been packaged to be screened during the event. Watching 200 films in five days would be a tad knotty. Therefore, I shall  watch the following:

1) The Social Network - USA

Hailed by most critics as the second coming of Christ, David Fincher's biographical thriller is guaranteed to be a fascinating, absorbing film. Indeed, an excellent choice by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images for the opening night.

2) Veettilekkulla Vazhi (The Way Home) - Kerala

I'd never head of this film until a friend posted its trailer on Twitter earlier this week. VV is a terrorist thriller set in Kashmir and Ladakh. Prithviraj stars as a doctor who has lost his family in a Mujahideen attack. In a desperate attempt at self healing he sets off on a journey to find the missing son of the lone surviving member of the suicide attack. Gorgeous cinematography and haunting music. At least in the trailer.

3) Semshook - India/Spain

An Indo-Spanish production, Semshook boasts some breathtaking imagery of Tibet and glowing reviews. This one's about a Christopher McCandless-esque young poet road tripping across the Himalayas, from Dharamsala to Ladakh to find himself. With Thoreau by my side, I shall enjoy this with a large glass of Thums Up.

4) The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project -

The mind bending trailer of Srinivas Sunderrajan's surrealistic feature was enough to give me the heebeejeebees. Google directed me to a number of bloggers raving abut the film. Apparently this gem was shot on an HD camera in just 30 days with a budget of a third of a lakh. Not impressed? Watch the trailer.

5) Hahaha - Korea

This Korean flick, about a filmmaker's nostalgia trip while traveling from Korea to Canada, won the Un Certain Regard trophy at Cannes this year. Metacritic hasn't been kind to this one, but to Beelzebub with that - I swear by Cannes.

6) Biutiful -Mexico

Alejandro González Iñárritu's follow up to Babel has Javier Bardem in the lead - a gangster plagued with a conscience, and a firm grasp on an Oscar. The only damper is that this film was not written by Guillermo Arriaga.

7)  Last Train Home - China

A powerful documentary covering the journey of  over 200 million Chinese peasant workers to reunite with their distant families. Any film that exposes the underbelly of a superpower gets my nod. The trailer itself is quite spectacular.

8) Bunraku - USA

Easily the craziest pick of the lot - Bunraku is a super-stylized martial arts revenge tale that mashes together genres like western, samurai and noir. Very intriguing, if you ignore the fact that Josh Hartnett, Demi Moore and Ron Perlman lead the cast.

9) Good Night Good Morning - India

Film critic Sudhish Kamath's second film, co-written by Shilpa Rathnam, is a slickly shot experimental independent dramedy that revolves around two characters engaged in a long phone call. GNGM stars the quirky Seema Rahmani (Loins of Punjab) & Manu Narayan (Bombay Dreams). Judging by the promos, this one should make for a razor sharp watch, and a polished vehicle for the leads' talents.            

10)  Winter's Bone - USA

Debra Granik's film is the story of a 17-year-old girl in Alaska forced to track down her meth-cooking father to save her home that's haunted by a bail bond. As the wolves close in on her two younger siblings and invalid mother, the girl channels every emotion outside of happiness as she scratches, scrapes and splashes her way through the unforgiving landscape where helpful words are hard to come by.

11) L'enface du mal (Sweet Evil) - France 

Olivier Coussemacq's thriller chronicles the double life of fifteen-year-old Celine, who is found by a rich attorney sleeping in the garden of his villa.  Despite his wife's disapproval, the man offers Celine his guest room and warm food. The new family member is a welcome change, until her real motives slowly unravel.

12) Another Year - UK

Mike Leigh impressed and gained a rousing applause from the 63rd Cannes Film Festival audience. The story is told through the lives of Tom and Gerri (a clever bit of naming) and Mary - a wreck who was divorced before she was 30 only to fall in love with, and be left by a married man before she was 40. Starring Ruth Sheen, Jim Broadbent and frequent Leigh collaborator Lesley Manville.

13) Mirch - Hindi

Mirch is supposedly a drama crammed with four interweaving stories on infidelity. Starring Shreyas Talpade,  Konkona Sen Sharma , Raima Sen and Shahana Goswami. I'm sold - bring on the offbeat goodness.

14)  The Infidel - UK

 This British satire starring Omid Djalili and Archie Panjabi supposedly features the former's pitch perfect comic timing and the latter's charm. Djalili plays a Muslim cabbie who while marrying his son off to the stepdaughter of a fundamentalist cleric, discovers that he was adopted as a baby, and that his biological parents were Jewish.

 15) I am Kalam - India

Won the Best Film award at a German film festival. Also selected for the Vienna Intl Children's Film Festival. Debutant director Nila Madhab Panda pays homage to Satyajit Ray in this story of a slum kid who yearns for education and works to realise his cherished dreams. If you think an issue like child education need not be addressed, then you shouldn't watch this.

16) Rizhao Chongqing (Chogqing Blues) - China

Veteran director Wang Xiaoshuai's latest  revolves around a neglectful father's journey in discovering the truth behind the police shooting of his son. This one apparently is a crushing, riveting, non linear tale.

17) When Harry tries to Marry - USA

Another ABCD-based film? Check. Guy's marriage drives plot? Check. So then why bother? The trailer looks good.

18) Kokuhaku (Confessions) - Japan

Twisted, gory and stunning. A Japanese psychological thriller in which a teacher takes a blood-soaked revenge against a bunch of students in her class who were responsible for her daughter's death. I recommend you avoid watching the trailer if you wish to see the film.

19) Harud

Amir Bashir's directorial debut has already generated a heck of a lot of buzz - the film, shot entirely in Kashmir chronicles the struggle of a Kashmiri family coming to terms with the disappearance of the eldest son, a tourist photographer during military insurgency.

Bunch of promising Marathi films

'Burzwagaman: Biography of a farmer' seems like Ghabricha Paus redux, but that doesn't the least bit lower my expectations. Then there's 'Platform' and 'Alif' which I wish watch just because they're Marathi films. I haven't got any plot details; I shall, however, put up their reviews.

20) RED - USA

A comic spy caper starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Karl Urban, Mary-Louise Parker and Helen Mirren brandishing guns? Bring it on.

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