Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Amazing London Film Festival, 2008 edition

The London Film Festival will always have a special place in my heart. My only visit to it back in 2005 was part of an amazing 5 day trip to London. The trip was about seeing two Arsenal games in the final year of their historic 93 year old stadium Highbury. After seeing Arsenal's win in the Champions League game on Wed night, the next day I found myself with the chance to catch films on the final day of the London film Festival. I saw three very interesting films in Factotum, Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures and Sangre. I could have seen a fourth film, Citizen Dog, but instead opted for a relaxing night of shopping (London has some of the best bookstores). Personally, Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures was not only the best of the three but easily my favourite film of 2005.

So every year, when the line-up for the London film festival is announced, I can't help but look at the new titles and think back to that magical rainy day in Thursday when I scrambled in between the venues taking the tube, having a coffee or two and observing the well heeled stylish women. Heck, even if the women were not in heels, they were still stylish.

This year, there are plenty of intriguing and mouth-watering titles in the different categories. However, it is in the World Cinema category that I came across the following names. I had not heard of any of these films previously but I am now more than willing to view them, if given the chance.

  • Welcome to Sajjanpur: The new film from Shyam Benegal.

  • Teza: Having never seen a film from Ethiopia, this would get my vote.

  • The Sky, the Earth and the Rain

  • The Secret: I enjoyed portions of Joko Anwar's previous film (Joni's Promise) so I am curious about his new film and Tony Rayns' comments add to my interest:
    Second-time director Anwar (his debut was a hit rom-com) traverses genres as confidently and unpredictably as Hong Kong movies once did, here evoking Costa-Gavras, there evoking Highlander. Recklessly entertaining, superbly cast and underpinned by a combative anger.
    Praise indeed!

  • Salt of this sea: One of the two films from Palestine in this category. This one re-visits events of 1948, that crucial year when "the people of one country gave the people of another country the land of the people of a third country".

  • Ramchand Pakistani

  • Quick Gun Murugan: This one sounds like an over the top Rajnikant Tamil film packed with CGI effects. But could be worth a few laughs.

  • Last Thakur: A Western themed film from Bangladesh.

  • Jay

  • Beirut Open City

  • Colours of Passion: I admit that the only thing that attracts me about Ketan Mehta's latest film is the presence of Nandana Sen!!! But Mehta does make interesting films, with 2005's Mangal Pandey being an exception (not interesting, just bad). Maya Memsaab was his seductive Indian take on Madame Bovary and even a thriller like Aar Ya Paar had some edge to it. Although I have yet to see Mehta's 1995 film Oh Darling Yeh Hai India, a film that my local video store owner refused to rent out to me. He said the film was terrible but I had loved the music and was curious about seeing it. Almost a few months went by and he still kept refusing. In the end, I forgot about the film.

  • Plus plenty of other titles.....


    nitesh said...

    Shyam Benegal return to filmmaking should be an interesting watch. The movie is releasing on the 19th here, and after having seen plenty of thrash in the last couple of weeks-the ones I had to review. This should bring a breath of fresh air.

    Salt of the Sea was one of the best film screened at Osian Film Festival this year in India. But most cinephile weren't aware of the film. I too, got to know about it from Derek Malcolm then went about watching it, and seriously it deserved the accolades it got.

    Not too excited about Khetan Mehta latest offering, like Nihalani he too shifted to commercial filmmaking in the later years, more so than Govind Nihalani.

    PS: looks like ur a gunnners fan- same here.

    Sachin said...

    I just saw the trailer of the Benegal one and it has songs..hmm...well I still hope it is good and like you said, much better than the rest nonsense.

    I am not sure what to expect with Mehta anymore. I had looked forward to Mangal Pandey but it was so awful that I could not believe he directed it.

    Good to know you are a Gunner fan as well :)
    Then you might enjoy some of these entries I wrote at the end of last season when things got really painful as Arsenal collapsed.

    Also, you will enjoy this Henry mini documentary.