Saturday, September 26, 2009

CIFF 2009: Kick-off

Day One, Friday Sept 25

There are plenty of titles that hover in the big world of film festivals. But it often seems that only a few films are ever talked about. What about the rest? Why is no one talking about them? Is anyone talking about Katalin Varga? I have not heard any noise about this film, so let me start the sound waves rolling.

Katalin Varga, the Film: Devastating cinema. Simple but extraordinary.
Katalin Varga, the Character: Hilda Péter puts in a mesmerizing and incredible performance. I could have watched her character all day long.

The film does not waste any time. Within a few minutes, Katalin’s husband kicks her out of her home along with her son. She has nowhere to go. A journey begins. But the music points to a dark past and even a darker future. Yes, there is some darkness, for this is a revenge tale. But it is unlike any other revenge movie. In fact, it carves out its own rules for vengeance. That means no dramatic dialogues but instead we are treated to beautiful images and haunting music, music which conveys the hovering tension in the air.

After such a beautiful and powerful film, something light was required. And the fun Icelandic feature White Night Wedding more than provided for that. There are plenty of laughs in White Night Wedding which feature unique and interesting characters/scenarios. The film also balances its funny side with some dramatic scenes of a strained relationship and question of death.

Overall, an excellent start for the opening day.


Katalin Varga (2009, Romania/Hungary/UK, Peter Strickland): 9/10

White Night Wedding
(2009, Iceland, Baltasar Kormákur): 7.5/10


Brown Country said...

White Night Wedding was screened in International Film of Festival of Kerala (IFFK) 2008. But I missed the screening. It was reasonably well received here also.

Thanks for introducing Katalin Varga. Looking forward to watch it in this year's IFFK. Are they showing the Japanese movie Departures? I have just read an excellent review of the movie in a Malayalam weekly.

Sachin said...

Thanks for dropping by again. I believe you last dropped by inquiring about the Euro 2008 film festival, for which I hope you found the link via the main page.

I have yet to see Departures. It had played in a theater here earlier in the summer but I couldn't make it then. Because it got a theatrical release in the city, it is not showing at the festival but I think in North America, the DVD may be out by the end of the year (sometime in December).