Sunday, 17 October 2010

BFI London Film Festival 2010

The BFI London Film Festival started last week, running to 28 October. What an absolute smorgasbord of film offered all over London. It's a feast and I just wish I had a week off to indulge myself. Here's some quick picks of films on India  /diaspora-related themes which will prove an antidote to Bollywood  -though there's plenty else on offer:

Dhobi Ghat 
This debut feature by Kiran Rao takes us into the multi-layered world of modern Mumbai, where its inhabitants, separated by class and culture, rarely interact in a deeper way. Successful, reclusive artist Arun (played by India's most popular actor, Aamir Khan) looks to find new inspiration, moving to an apartment... (image above from this film)

Pink Saris
Pink saris are worn by the Gulabi Gang, a group of women vigilantes in Northern India. From the untouchable caste, they resist being condescended to as the lowest social class. They have a champion in the form of the formidable Sampat Pal, who takes up their cases of social injustice...

Gripping filmmaking, Aamir Bashir's tale throws you into the heart of the conflict in Indian Kashmir, often dramatised by Indian cinema but rarely shown from the perspective of the common man. Rafiq is a sensitive, young Kashmiri man haunted by the loss of his elder, photographer brother, who has disappeared...

Just Another Love Story
Acclaimed Bengali director Rituparno Ghosh moves in front of the camera to act in Kaushik Ganguly's film, which unashamedly shakes the foundations of contemporary Indian sexuality. Abhiroop (Ghosh) is an openly gay filmmaker from Delhi intrigued by the story of 70-plus Bengali performer Chapal Bhaduri, famous for playing roles as...

The Nine Muses
Sharing some thematic and aesthetic ground with his widely acclaimed gallery piece Mnemosyne, but developing and extending the focus, this new feature work confirms John Akomfrah as one of the UK's most singular and visionary filmmakers. In this work of uncommon intelligence, a vast array of archival material is combined...

The Good North

The people of a remote Yorkshire village come to terms with the recent beating of a young Asian lad (a 7min short)

Paan Singh Tomar
Leading character actor Irrfan Khan (BAFTA-winning The Warrior), breathes life into this action-packed biopic of Paan Singh Tomar - a real-life athlete who turned into a feared bandit king. Wild-eyed villager Paan Singh joins the army with dreams of serving his country, but his unpredictable nature doesn't sit well with...

The Indian Boundary Line

Comerford's essay maps a historical demarcation which originally divided Native American land from that which was ceded to white settlers in 1812. Modern life has obscured the traces of this history in the current Rogers Park district of Chicago. Juxtaposing past with present, footage shot along this formerly disputed territory...

Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed 

An exploration of turn-of-the-century colonial life along the Durand Line, the frontier between Afghanistan and British India (now Pakistan). Remarkable period photographs are closely analysed as we listen to reports of exchanges between westerners, natives and mullahs written by missionary doctor TL Pennell.

A Cannes selection in Un Certain Regard, this debut feature by Vikramaditya Motwane offers a new, cool image of middle-class India. Rohan and his 17-year-old fun-loving buddies get into trouble at public school for the last time, and are all expelled. Unlike his richer mates, Rohan must return to a...


Plummy Mummy said...

Good summary - how I wish I could go.
The special galas look very good this year and it would be fun to see West is West even though Archie Punjabi isn't it in.
I wouldn't mind seeing Irrfan Khan in another film as the Warrior reminded me of Kurosawa in a good way.
I do remember reading reports of the problems besetting Dhobi Ghat, including the naming of the film so it's good to see it finally released.
Have you noticed that the film lengths are more suitable to Western audiences. I am keen to see Endhiran as asian scifi is so rare but at 176 minutes, I fear that my backside would protest a bit too much. Have to wait until it's on dvd.
I'd also like to see "I am Kalaam", "Sawako Decides", "The Book of Masters", ooooh and Mammuth with G Depardieu who is superb.

Raven said...

The films you mention sound interesting. I noticed the shorter film lengths too. I agree that 3 hours or so is far too long!

(I should have made clearer, the summaries are not my own of course - they're from the BFI website...)