It was yet another busy day at Pune International Film Festival today. Enjoyed watching 4 films today, but decided to take a short break and have proper lunch today for a change! 🙂
Most of us were eager to watch ‘Blue is the warmest colour‘ today evening but it was cancelled due to ‘technical problems with the screening material’ as PIFF announced. As a result, they added 2 films in that time slot – and they both turned out to be quite a delight.
I watched these four films today –
- The Don Juans by Jiri Menzel (Czech Republic)
- Walesa by Andrzej Wajda (Poland)
- Block 12 by Kyriacos Tofarides (Cyprus)
- Bardou by Seyed Hadi Mohaghegh (Iran)
It was heartening to see a light, comedy film (Block 12) that could so easily deliver a very powerful political statement through its awesome political satire!
(10) The Don Juans by Jiri Menzel (Czech Republic) – This is a pleasant comedy film about Opera and lives the artistes involved in Operas. The opera director Vitek (played by Jan Hartl) plays a womanizer running Opera not-so-seriously, as he himself confesses. He’s likeable, funny and catches all those subtleties reasonably well. Markétka (Played by Libuse Safrankova) is a lovable lady who doesn’t watch Operas and directs kids choir & musical plays. She really has very pleasant screen presence and is a delight to watch with her streak of craziness in the film. The bank robbery & her police station visits are hilarious! Yet she could moisten the eyes with apparently casual, but you-can’t-miss-the-grief statement about Don Juans and single mothers they leave behind. A cameo by Martin Huba is predictable, but done convincingly enough! The supporting cast is equally good. Overall, a nice film to watch.
And the trailer from YouTube –
(11) Walesa by Andrzej Wajda (Poland) – It is a film from legendary Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda and we were quite curious to see how it is. The film is a biopic about an extra-ordinary revolutionary & leader from Poalnd – Lech Walesa. The film spans his career as a dockworker, a man who fight for his rights and rights of his fellow workers and his eventual journey as the first president of the new Polish democracy. Being a poor student of history, I didn’t know much about Walesa besides what I read in the film synopsis. The film is powerful though, and as a result I am lot more curious now to know about this part of Polish history, especially about Solidarity. That’s one wonderful thing about these films – they tell us the stories of the people from different cultures & different parts of the world, and these stories could move us, inspire us in many different ways.
Lech Walesa is played very effectively by Robert Wieckiewicz. He has shown several shades of this character; as a man with lot of internal anger, effective orator and for most part of the interview, an arrogant man; with amazing conviction and intensity. The relationship between him and his wife Danuta (played by pretty Agnieszka Grochowska in a small but likeable role) is immensely likeable. Her plight can be sensed through her eyes as she tries to manage all her household chores with 6 kids while her negligent husband is busy inviting trouble and gets fired from his jobs. The scenes where Walesa keeps his watch & ring for her to sell off in case he doesn’t return are moving initially & they become somewhat funny as they get repeated later. Both these actors have performed beautifully in the film.
Somehow, I felt that in the last few minutes the film rushes through the events, and I thought that it could have presented them with some more details. Nevertheless, an excellent film! Sometime later, I’d probably love to write in lot more details about this film, maybe I will do it if I get chance to watch it again.
Here are some reviews –
And here is the trailer from YouTube –
(12) Block 12 by Kyriacos Tofarides (Cyprus) – This turned out to be a very likeable, hilarious, political satire. It was quite hilarious, showing greed of normal people and dark side of international economy & politics. English satellites who conduct research from space discover large oil deposits in the area of the Old Mines in Cyprus. A big part of the area belongs to an old man (played by Costas Demetriou) staying with his wife; and getting frustrated as his two sons land up their due to weak economy. The house turns in to a mad-house as the government officials spy them and keep pressurizing the old man to sell off his property. Indian actress Neetu Chandra plays an interesting role here as an Indian girl who can magically cure people and seduce all the men of the house. The narration is extremely hilarious, and we had entire cinema hall bursting into laughter often. A good-to-watch movie if you like comedies.
Some information from the Internet –
Movie trailer from YouTube –
(13) Bardou by Seyed Hadi Mohaghegh (Iran) – It is always interesting to see films from Iran, I have loved Majid Majidi’s films and am curious to see what kind of films other directors are making there. As I have read, this is Seyed’s debut feature film, though he has produced TV drama and documentary earlier.
Bardou means someone who is good at throwing stones. This is a story of 16 year old Bardou (played by Ahmad Derakhshan) who has lost his father. He is taking care of his ailing mother suffering from asthma and his younger brother as they stay far away from civilization near his father’s grave. He convinces his mother to move to nearby village so that someone could be there to take care of her if something goes wrong while he is away to earn some money. He plans to visit his relative ‘Nasir’ hoping that he’d return the money that he owed to Bardou’s father. Nasir asks him to deliver a box to his friend, and says that he can take that money from the friend himself once he delivers the box. Nasir even calls his friend and instructs him to give him the money on delivery. Predictably, Bardou lands in trouble with that box what follows later is a journey of Bardou with a sympathetic policeman (who has his own story about ‘escaping’) to prove himself innocent.
Though story lacks novelty and is quite predictable, the presentation is simple yet touching. The director captures arid land of desert beautifully and he also captures the availability newer technologies such as cellphones and same old problems of poverty, suffering equally well. The lead actor Ahmad gives reasonable conviction to the role and supporting cast works quite well as well. This is a promising debut film from the director and it would be interesting to see his future films.
Some information from the Internet –
- Bardou official website (Contains trailer, synopsis etc.)
- Couldn’t find any other review or YouTube trailer for this one.