PIFF 2014 – Day 5: 13 Jan 2014

A good day today at PIFF. Managed to watch 3 films today and loving the festival atmosphere there.  Since weekend is over, the visiting delegates now apparently seem to be the ones who are keen on festival films and it is comparatively less crowded now. Though we still had full cinema halls and had to sit on the stairs instead of chairs while watching the last film today.

We decided  to skip Marathi movies for now, and instead decided to focus on international films that we wouldn’t get a chance to watch easily later.  Though I have heard good things about Fandry and Tapal, decided to choose international films instead because these Marathi films would be releasing anyway soon I can always watch them later.

So, I watched these three films today –

  • Papusza by Joanna Kos-Krauze, Krzysztof Krauze (Poland)
  • The passion of Michelangelo by Esteban Larraín (Chile)
  • Night train to Lisbon by Bille August (Germany, Portugal,Switzerland)

We had director of ‘The passion of Michelangelo‘,  Esteban Larraín himself present for the film and one could see that he was quite moved by the response to his film with full cinema hall and people sitting on the stairs to watch it. He mentioned that this was his first time in India and he really loved it. 🙂

Esteban-Larraín at PIFF for The passion of Michelangelo

Esteban-Larraín at PIFF for The passion of Michelangelo

Let me briefly add my inputs about the three films that I watched today.

(3) Papusza by Joanna Kos-Krauze, Krzysztof Krauze (Poland) – It unfolds story of a Gypsy poet Bronislawa Wajs, known as ‘Papusza‘. She was outcast by her own Gypsy community because she learnt to read & write and moreover, her poems were published and the book written apparently revealed secrets of the gypsies. This black-n-white film is a visual treat with its amazing cinematography and there are so many beautiful frames that linger on long after the film finishes. The lead actress (played by Jowita Budnik) was impressive, and the entire story is moving as well disturbing. It is also disturbing to contemplate how much damage the war and Hitler caused to innumerable lives and cultures, though film itself doesn’t depict much of gory details as such. However its non-linear narration style gets confusing often and it is difficult to figure out what is happening on the screen. It becomes all the more difficult because you don’t understand spoken language of the film and then concentrating on screen as well as sub-titles make it quite challenging.

Anyway! Here are some reviews from other sites –

And here is the trailer from YouTube –

(4) The passion of Michelangelo by Esteban Larraín (Chile) – I was rather curious to know about this film since the director himself was present and he sounded quite moved by the response. This film is about 14 year old orphan boy ‘Miguel Angel’ (played by Sebastian Ayala) who claimed to speak to Virgin Mary and as it seemed, the film is based on a real life story of one such boy.  The initial part of the film, especially the conversation of the photographer reminded me of Marathi film ‘Deool‘, but later the film proceeds in a different direction.  As one could predict, the boy turns into a prophet of sorts and  the Church sends a priest to investigate this matter: is it a real miracle or a political manipulation. I liked this film – especially the undercurrents of homosexuality, a deception that borders on the delusion and so on. The scene when Miguel Angel is being wounded by people and wants his mother in heaven with him at that moment, can really give you goosebumps. You can really feel of the agony of the orphan boy longing for his mother and how he connects it to mother Mary.  This Miguel Angel is otherwise quite obviously detestable, but this scene changes the perception and you actually feel sorry for that boy! This is really wonderfully handled, though one wishes that director could have strengthened this character with more details. But a pretty good film otherwise.

Some reviews form the Internet –

The trailer from YouTube –

(5) Night train to Lisbon by Bille August (Germany, Portugal,Switzerland) – This is an interesting story of a Swiss professor, Raimund Gregorius (played by Jeremy Irons), who saves the life of a woman and then unexpectedly boards a train fro Lisbon to find out more about the book  by ‘Amadeu Prado‘ that the woman has left. What follows is quite a interesting way of telling not-so-different story of friends, love-traingle and Resistance. The story unfolds like a mystery and keeps you curious to know about the life of ‘Amadeu Prado’ and his sister, associates and lover against the backdrop of resistance against the Salazar dictatorship.  In the process of discovering life of deceased ‘Amadeu Prado‘,  Raimund Gregorius goes through an intellectual & challenging journey and rediscovers himself through the  subtle romance with local optician Mariana. Based on international bestseller book, this is not a typical festival film, but the narration style kept us interested throughout the film despite it being the third film in succession for the day. The English adaptation helped as well since we didn’t have to rely on sub-titles here.

Some links –

And the  trailer from YouTube –

Tomorrow again I am planning to catch up as much as I can. Though I liked all the films I watched so far, I haven’t yet seen a “great” film as such in this festival. Hope I find such films in the next 2-3 days! 🙂


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