Anomalisa (2015)

Anomalisa review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Charlie Kaufman’s first stop-motion animation feature; a highly entertaining melancholic tale of an apparently mundane life!  

My Ratings: 4.4/5

Charlie Kaufman is probably the best creatively complex mind in Hollywood who is responsible for some of the most innovative concepts/scripts for films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindAdaptation. and Being John Malkovich.

anomalisa-poster1And this time, along with talented animation director Duke JohnsonCharlie Kaufman writes and directs a brilliant ‘stop-motion animation’ film called Anomalisa.    

A multilayered film that dares to interpret life.

Sometimes life becomes dull, monotonous, repetitive and one gets bored of everything and everyone. That is exactly what has happened to Michael Stone, an authoritative mentor on ‘customer service’ by profession and is depressed in his life to the core.

Michael (voice by David Thewlis) arrives in Cincinnati, a place supposedly famous for its ‘zoo’ and ‘chili’ and eventually checks in at The Fregoli Hotel. 

And interestingly enough in reality (i am sure that this is not a coincidence), there is this rare medical disorder known as the Fregoli delusion,  a case where the delusional person beliefs that all the people he meets are actually one single person who changes appearance or may be is in disguise!

For Michael, the voice of every person he meets (male or female) sounds the same (voice by Tom Noonan), which is a subtle yet disturbing hint of Michael’s state of mind.

anomalisa-poster3But then, he meets Lisa (voice by Jennifer Jason Leigh), finally a girl with a different voice; and also a hope for Michael to escape from his colorless life. Well, at least a thought to hold onto.

Not only the script and direction are top class but Anomalisa also sets new standards for the unique technique of stop motion animation films. Incredibly realistic animation gives the film a level of seriousness that is essential for it’s concept.

Produced through crowd funding, the film is a dreamy, poetic, some what surrealistic story, simple yet dealing with exceedingly complex emotions.

One of the best films of this year, and also was one of the most sought after films of JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival.

Remember, Anomalisa shouldn’t be missed at any cost.

Poster courtesy: www.filmaffinity.com, www.impawards.com

Jafar Panahi’s Taxi (2015)

Jafar Panahi’s Taxi review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

‘Nothing can prevent me from making films since when being pushed to the ultimate corners I connect with my inner-self and, in such private spaces, despite all limitations, the necessity to create becomes even more of an urge.’ – Jafar Panahi.

My Ratings: 4.3/5.

Jafar Panahi is an Iranian filmmaker of great calibre, one of the pioneers of the Iranian New Wave, who made acclaimed films like The White Balloon (1995), The Mirror (1997), The Circle (2000) and Offside (2006).

But in his own country, his films were seen as propaganda against the Iranian government and on March 2010, Jafar Panahi along with his wife, daughter, and 15 friends were arrested!

Jafar-Panahi's-Taxi-poster420-year ban was put on him preventing him from directing any movies, writing screenplays or even giving interviews with Iranian or foreign media. He is not even allowed to leave the country except for medical treatment or making the Hajj pilgrimage.

But the voice of a true film maker can never be silenced and thus Jafar Panahi can never be stopped from making his films.

Since his ban in 2010, Jafar Panahi has already made three brilliant films This Is Not a Film (2011), Closed Curtain (2013) and his latest Jafar Panahi’s Taxi (2015). All these films were eventually smuggled out of Iran (one of them was smuggled on a flash drive put inside a baked cake) and screened in numerous prestigious film festivals. 

Jafar-Panahi's-Taxi-posterTaxi Tehran aka Jafar Panahi’s Taxi was recently a part of the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival, and was very well received – it even won the Audience Choice award.

The whole film was made from inside a car, yes, the camera never goes out of the Taxi!

The concept is simple enough, director Jafar Panahi himself posing as a taxi driver goes around the streets of Iran and record his interactions with other people who hires/rides his taxi. The style is that of a documentary and these funny yet crucial conversations make the content of the film.

A well rehearsed and cleverly scripted film, brilliantly acted by everyone including the director – incredibly natural performances!

Jafar Panahi’s Taxi is very entertaining film but that’s not where it stops.

Jafar-Panahi's-Taxi-poster1The film is also a socio-political statement on the modern day Iran, a country that is still clouded with superstition and poverty, where capital punishment still exists for crimes like petty theft and women are jailed for trying to attend men’s volleyball match!

The film is a silent scream against Iran’s harsh, non-democratic government policies; for example: in the entertainment sector who or what exactly defines publishable or screenable cinema?

Through the often hilarious and seemingly lighthearted film, Jafar Panahi asks many such invaluable questions to the world knowing very well that the answers are buried deep in his own country.

He smiles, sympathies, often shows discomfort and in his own leisurely way, he guides us through a few hours of a very cleverly mapped taxi route.

Jafar Panahi’s Taxi is also the director’s personal protest, a loud yet peaceful way of defying injustice, of breaking away the shackles; it’s a celebration of freedom through cinema.

Jafar Panahi may not be the best cabbie but this is one taxi ride that is highly recommended for all film lovers.

Poster courtesy: filmmakermagazine.comhttp://www.cinenews.be

Best of Bollywood police officers fighting against corruption (10+1list)

Best of Bollywood police officers fighting against corruption

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best of Bollywood police officers fighting against corruption: The police officers in notorious crime world of Bollywood are rarely taken seriously!

Either they are shown as the corrupt sadistic nuisance with no honor, conscience or sense of duty (generally villain’s sidekicks who will be bashed up by the hero towards the end of the film). Or else they are fabricated into these caricatured super heroes who can singlehandedly beat up an entire town of bad guys (the likes of DabanggSingham and Rowdy Rathore).

In the history of Bollywood only a few handful films portray a cop in the right perspective; someone who has dignity, honesty, the will to fight against corruption and most importantly a common man with no superhuman powers.

And here’s some of Best of Bollywood police officers fighting against corruption, a list that celebrates all those real life brave Indian police officers who respects their uniform and we respect them.

Let’s hear the sirens!

10. Sehar (2005)

Film clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uzJPW7qqxE

Sehar-posterAn uncorrupted cop, Ajay Kumar (Arshad Warsi) when transferred to Uttar Pradesh, clashes with the brutal mafia don Gajraj Singh (Sushant Singh).

Ajay Kumar leads a team of daring officers who took up the mission to stop organized crimes in Lucknow.

Directed by Kabeer Kaushik, the film is a dramatic take based on the real lives of gangster Shiv Prakash Shukla and gallant SSP Arun Kumar. Also watch Pankaj Kapur in a unique role as Prof. Tiwari. 

9. Yeshwant (1997)

Film clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yPO2EA_YEE

Yeshwant-posterMaverick, tough and committed Inspector Yeshwant Lohar (Nana Patekar) is the man to watch out for in this film.

Directed by Anil Mattoo, this is a cop who struggles in-between his professional and personal lives; a man who is too straightforward and undiluted for surviving our current work system.

Basically, a one man show for Nana Patekar and a must watch for his superb energetic performance.

8. Gangaajal (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf5mD-Q05_8

Gangaajal-posterSP Amit Kumar (Ajay Devgn) is given the charge of Tezpur police station in Bihar, where law and order is known by the name of a corrupted politician Sadhu Yadav (Mohan Joshi).

But of course the situation changes by the time our strict and honest SP is done with the notorious Yadav gang.

As with most of Prakash Jha‘s films, this one too tries to restore our faith in law, constitution, and democracy by the end of the film.

7. Mardaani (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04E-jHtWrDA

Mardaani-posterA girl goes missing and eventually senior inspector of the criminal branch Mumbai, Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji) takes up the case.

Soon she is confronted by the child trafficking mafia kingpin Walt (Tahir Raj Bhasin) who wants her to stop the investigation.

Directed by Pradeep Sarkar, this lady cop drama is one of the pretty realistic sketch of a devoted cop trying to accomplish her duty at any cost.

6. Sarfarosh (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlULorEPMig

Sarfarosh-posterA personal tragedy makes Ajay Singh Rathod (Aamir Khan) to join the police force to fight against terrorism.

And soon famous Pakistan-based Ghazal singer Gulfam Hassan (Naseeruddin Shah) becomes a suspect of Ajay’s hunt for terrorists.

Directed by John Mathew Matthan, this one is a fine crime drama that is portrayed in a very realistic manner, a thriller at its best.  

5. Khakee (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuo5cq2QBcg

Khakee-posterDirected by Rajkumar Santoshi, this is the story of DCP Anant Shrivastav (Amitabh Bachchan), who is responsible to escort a terrorist Iqbal Ansari (Atul Kulkarni) from Chandangarh to Mumbai.

Though determined to accomplish his mission, he faces tremendous resistance from the terrorist leader Yashwant Angre (Ajay Devgn).

Along with Akshay KumarAishwarya Rai Bachchan and Tusshar Kapoor this one is a cool police drama to consider.

4. Ab Tak Chhappan (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tKzKJko34A

Ab-Tak-Chhappan-posterWith Inspector Sadhu Agashe Nana Patekar is back as the encounter specialist, who believes that its better to eliminate the rouges of our society than taking them into custody.

Directed by Shimit Amin, this is one gritty tale of how the volatile equation between the police and the underworld is maintained.

Probably Nana Patekar’s best performance till date.

3. Shool (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqU4vpL-0LA

shool-posterInspector Samar Pratap Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) is transferred to Motihari, in the Indian state of Bihar along with his wife (Raveena Tandon) and kid.

And there, the officer’s honesty and diligence is tested against the local MLA Bachoo Yadav (Sayaji Shinde).

Directed by Eeshwar Nivas, outstanding performances and the film also won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.

2. Zanjeer (1973)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfvbZsPsBZU

Zanjeer-posterBollywood has never seen such an honest cop story told with such conviction before the release of this super hit film.

The film that made Amitabh Bachchan a super star and gave him the iconic screen name ‘Vijay’!

Along with Jaya BhaduriAjit and Pran, and directed by Prakash Mehra, this film established the well known ‘angry young man’ image!

  1. Ardh Satya (1983)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EesInevxpAs

Ardh-satya-posterWhen talking about a lone honest police officer fighting against the odds of the system, this is the first film that comes to my mind!

A newly appointed Sub-Inspector Anant Velankar (Om Puri) wants to make the world a better place but soon finds out the reality of how our system works.

Directed by Govind Nihalani, along with Smita PatilAmrish Puri and Sadashiv Amrapurkar, this is a film that perfectly depicts an honest cop’s humiliation and frustration as he is sucked into the whirlpool of corruption.

and now, (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. Black Friday (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR1mkPQI9z0

Black-friday-posterThe film (though it’s not exactly a story based on an honest cop’s struggle) shows the thorough investigation process that followed the 1993 serial Bombay bomb blasts.

Directed by Anurag Kashyap, one of his earlier films and of course the most controversial one.

A superb thriller and Kay Kay Menon as DCP Rakesh Maria is an absolute delight to watch.

Poster curtsey: en.wikipedia.orgwww.imdb.com, www.koimoi.com/www.filmiclub.com.

Spectre (2015)

Spectre review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Few spectacular action sequences that struggles to patch up a very disoriented plot line.

My Ratings: 3/5.

spectre-poster6In 1953, novelist Ian Fleming created the fictional British spy James Bond (code name 007), and ever since, the daring MI6 special agent has managed to entertaining us (through his books and films) by taking up some of the most dangerous missions while valiantly serving his country!

And it’s early Christmas for all the James Bond fans out there (including me), the 24th Bond film is finally released, it’s called Spectre.

James Bond played by the dashing Daniel Craig (his 4th Bond film till date), along with renowned actors Christoph Waltz, Ralph FiennesBen WhishawAndrew Scott and the sizzling Léa Seydoux and Monica Bellucci.  

From talented director Sam Mendes, who also directed the last super hit Bond film Skyfall and is rumored to be directing the next one as well, Bond 25.

spectre-poster2Spectre starts with a thrilling helicopter sequence in Mexico that promises a power pact film but unfortunately, by the end of it’s almost two and a half hours run time, the film struggles to keep you entertained.

An intense Bond and Blofeld confrontation drama was expected from Spectre but instead, mostly due to the lack of a strong script, there seems to be a complete absence of emotional storytelling.

And even the dialogues, the witty punch lines (which is one of Bond’s speciality) are rare to find.

The extreme action sequences, the numerous chasing stunts, the visually appealing titles in the beginning, the explosive destruction in the end, the theme music, the M, the Q, the car, the gadgets, the bond spectre-poster4girl, the villain with a master plan – you get everything as expected from a Bond movie but without much of emotions in them!

After a point of time the film kind of goes into an auto-pilot mode and lets you cruise through the so called Bond theme-park and then finally, when it comes to an end, there is No surprise, No twists – nothing!

Though music by Thomas Newman is as usual effective and blends well with Hoyte Van Hoytema‘s cinematography.

On the acting department nothing extraordinary but everyone pretty much did their part. I think brilliant actors like Christoph Waltz and Ralph Fiennes are wasted because they didn’t have much of a role to show off their talents.

spectre-poster3Overall, definitely not the best Bond movie i have seen.

Then again, the sheer excitement of watching the iconic black-suited man walking through the circles and then shooting at you, the red curtain of blood coming down with the classic bond theme music in the background – all that in the big screen is always something to look forward to.

And now, a long wait for Bond 25. Hope it’s worth the wait.

P.S. – Thank God, we ‘sanskari’ Indians are prohibited from viewing all the sinful kissing scenes which were so abruptly edited out; our protective and caring Indian Censor Board have saved our moral and culture once again! Applause.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

The Lobster (2015)

The Lobster review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

It’s dangerous when you are entertained by such an extremely twisted and dark comedy, sick and revengeful at times – but again you cannot help but chuckle and giggle helplessly through out the film! 

My Ratings: 4.4/5.

Many filmmakers, over the years have attempted to make futuristic dystopian films (most of them have been zippy action based adventures), but with The Lobster, the Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (of Dogtooth fame) has achieved something unique in that genre.

And that too with mostly fine-tuning the exclusive comic timings in some of the most absurdly realistic situations!

lobster-poster1The basic premise of the film is simple yet weird – imagine a dystopian world where all the single people are sent to this hotel where within a limited number of days they are expected to choose their partner, or else they’ll be transformed into an animal of their choice.

And when David (Colin Farrell), arrives at this peculiar hotel, he declares that his choice of animal (if he fails to find a partner) would be The Lobster!

David soon befriends with a few other guests John C. Reilly (the Lisping man) and Ben Whishaw (the Limping man), and he also desperately tries to fix a match with an emotionally disturbed woman Angeliki Papoulia (the Heartless Woman). 

lobster-poster2But then, David meets Léa Seydoux (the Loner Leader) and Rachel Weisz (the short sighted woman) and his life changes forever.

Brilliant acting by each and every one, specially by Colin Farrell, probably his career best performance.

But the best thing about the film is it’s brilliant concept and the powerful script (written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou)

Real human characters/emotions put in a surreal situation, an ideal way to question our human behaviors in context with the current social and political scenario. For example, how any society tends to fight against those who doesn’t fit-in or doesn’t respect the rules in general, and then these so-called misfits and rule breakers form their own society where they make their own rules and then again, a few have a problem to fit in there!

Fortunately The Lobster was part of JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival and it was among my list of films that shouldn’t be missed.

A brilliant black comedy, a take on ‘love’ and ‘life’ in the most quirky and entertaining way possible. The film has already won the ‘Jury Prize’ at the Cannes Film Festival and is now nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or.

Best of luck!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015)

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo_Poster_Wallpaper_Salman Khan_Sonam Kapoor_Swara Bhaskar_BollywoodirectRating: 2/10
Release Date: 12th November 2015
Time: 174 minutes
Director, Writer: Sooraj Barjatya; Music: Himesh Reshammiya;
Starring: Salman Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Swara Bhaskar, Deepak Dobriyal, Armaan Kohli, Aashika Bhatia

This is not just a silly story, it’s a flawed, silly story dipped in gulab jamun ki chasni. It’s death with a thousand, slow, torturous cuts, and each cut is coated with sugar. It’s the same old, packaged as the same old – no attempts to give the story a modern twist – the heroine still simpers and makes semi-orgasmic expressions when the hero touches her and the hero still speaks as if he’s stuck in the black and white era. Nothing bad happens in the film, but everything occurs in agonizing slow-motion, with camera shots from three different angles, music at every turn and characters looking like they are all in a Maanyavar ad.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo_Poster_Wallpaper_Salman Khan_Sonam Kapoor_Swara Bhaskar_Bollywoodirect1

Salman Khan has two roles. For his first one, he doesn’t have to stray too far from his previous film (Bajrangi Bhaijaan) and is a Ram-bhakt, expert participant of his local village Ram-Leela. Who fell in love with a princess, Sonam, as she descended from the steps of a helicopter (impeccably dressed) while conducting flood relief operations for her charity. He decides he’s going to meet her (with his side-kick Deepak Dobriyal), as she’s going to attend her fiancée, a big-shot prince’s (the other Salman) crowning ceremony. However, evil forces are trying to take the life of this prince – there is a dastardly attack – and Ram-Leela Avatar is forced to step into the shoes of the Prince by the kingdom’s loyal advisor, Anupam Kher.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo_Poster_Wallpaper_Salman Khan_Sonam Kapoor_Swara Bhaskar_Bollywoodirect2

The Ram Bhakt soon realizes the Prince’s forte wasn’t human relationships – he has to mend quite a few fences – first with the Princess, Sonam, who’s mad at him for some past errors. Then with his step-sisters (Swara and Aashika) and then also with his step-brother (Neil). He proceeds to do this in full nautanki style, behaving illogically, inappropriately at every occasion. Like converting a formal function into a football match between men and women. Doing everything the Prince didn’t do – eat spicy food, cook, roam around with his fiancée etc. We then have a couple of very predictable twists, dealt with in an equally predictable manner – some tears, some muscles, some melodrama – followed by an even more predictable ending.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo_Poster_Wallpaper_Salman Khan_Sonam Kapoor_Swara Bhaskar_Bollywoodirect3

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo_Poster_Wallpaper_Salman Khan_Sonam Kapoor_Swara Bhaskar_Bollywoodirect4

Sonam continues to irritate. And display her lack of acting prowess. The fact that she also looks less than half her hero’s age doesn’t help the film. Salman has either of two expressions in the film – one is his beatific one, with folded hands, asking for forgiveness / love / help etc (in the villager role). The other is angry (in the Prince role). Anupam Kher takes over the Alok Nath sanskaari role, while Neil Nitin tries unsuccessfully to look angry while leading the spoilt, rich lifestyle.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo_Poster_Wallpaper_Salman Khan_Sonam Kapoor_Swara Bhaskar_Bollywoodirect5

Nothing, of course, makes any sense. You can begin with the logical questions (what was the villain’s grand plan at the end?). And then ask a few existential ones (why does Sonam get so many roles despite her impressive failure rate and equally impressive lack of acting skills ? Or even, Why do films like this get made at all ?)

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo_Poster_Wallpaper_Salman Khan_Sonam Kapoor_Swara Bhaskar_Bollywoodirect6

There are a few moments of mirth but they are too far and few and are sandwiched between many minutes of agony. Every scene is stretched, really ridiculous songs are inserted at every possible opportunity (there is one song – I’ve named it the chaatwala song – where basically Deepak Dobriyal and Salman recount all the different kinds of savouries you get in India), tears milked whenever the chance presents itself – and it’s really a gooey, syrupy painful film where the hero can do and experience nothing bad. Apart from his heroine.

My review of the film in one sentence is presented in this audio file: Click Here

Review Written By- Apurv Nagpal Author of Eighteen Plus 

Featured article from Bollywoodirect.

Caution: The opinion expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the author. Bollywoodirect and Cinemaforensic is not responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information in this article. The information/Opinion, facts appearing in it do not reflect the views of Bollywoodirect & Bollywoodirect doesn’t assume any responsibility or liability of the same.

Haraamkhor (2015)

Haraamkhor review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4/5.

Haraamkhor recently won the Silver Gateway Award at the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival and according to it’s producer Guneet Monga of Sikhya Entertainment, the film is all set to release in the theaters very soon.

It is a rural tale of a teacher-student liaison.

Till now Bollywood has always played the safe game while portraying the ‘sacred’ emotions of a teacher-student relationship; such relations have always been handled delicately, from a safe distance and that too often dipped in deliberately dramatized dignity.

Haraamkhor-poster1But in the film Haraamkhor, the only emotions that are taken into consideration are unprocessed and raw, intense, realistic, and devoid of any kind of sugar-coating for sure.

Set in a small town of Gujarat, a school teacher named Shyam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is said to be having an affair with one of his student Sandhya (Shweta Tripathi).

At the initial stage though, it all seems to be just a rumor, a small-town gossip but as the film reveals itself along with it’s characters, it soon becomes pretty evident that Shyam and Sandhya’s relation is way beyond the usually expected tutor-pupil correlation. It’s a strange mix of lust and passion, of naive innocence and also a bit of love.

And then, Sandhya being underage (15-year-old) and Shyam being a 35-year-old married man makes their relationship more of a taboo!

The premise is simple but the execution is savagely precise and gritty and very entertaining as well.

Now of course, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is the selling point of the film as undoubtedly he is the most gifted actor of our recent times. And yes, he has done a tremendous job with his character in Haraamkhor; the cunning, libidinous, occasionally violent school teacher who at the same time is desperate to maintain his reputation!

But this film is not a one man show.

Haraamkhor-posterThe stage is been shared by another very talented actor Shweta Tripathi, who already appeared earlier in a soulful film called Masaan, and yet again in this film has proved herself to be one of the best upcoming talents of our industry.

Along with the two child actors who added enough humor to the script, Trimala Adhikari‘s performance is also much creditable as Sunita, the wife of the flirtatious school-teacher Shyam.  

Written and directed by debutant Shlok Sharma, the film is an unique combination of serious adult drama and numerous fun-filled moments. An awesome debut film!

Though the ending is not the part to be particularly proud of but overall the film is based on a taut script, beautifully portrayed emotions, attention given to every little details in preparing the characters and superb acting.  

If you prefer realistic films and aren’t shy of looking into an illicit relationship between a minor girl and a much older married man, this film is definitely worth a watch.

poster curtsey: www.clickmaza.comwww.ibnlive.com

Best of New Generation Chinese Cinema (10+1list)

Best of New Generation Chinese Cinema.

written by Souranath Banerjee

In a broader sense, Chinese Film Industry includes films made in the mainland China as well as the Cinema of Hong Kong and Taiwan, and they are primarily in two different dialects – Mandarin and Cantonese.

In the year 1905, the Peking opera-themed The Battle of Dingjunshan was the first Chinese film ever made.

Since then, over the years, in spite of several political interferences such as the Japanese invasion, periods of Communist Party propaganda and the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Film Industry has managed to flourish and create it’s own place globally.

Many Chinese films including Infernal Affairs (directed by Wai-Keung Lau and Alan Mak) and Eat Drink Man Woman (directed by Ang Lee) are successfully remade in the west as The Departed and Tortilla Soup respectively.

And today, China has evolved as one of the biggest movie market in the world!

So, let’s celebrate some of the finest films from the most talented New-Gen Chinese directors who beautifully portray the history of their nation and are also directly responsible for the recent global success of Chinese Cinema.

Let the show begin.

10. In the Heat of the Sun (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeWN-SWLLbE

in-the-heat-of-the-sun-posterDuring Cultural Revolution in Beijing there was absolute freedom for the younger generation.

Directed by Wen Jiang, this is the brutal story of a young boy who along with his teenage friends grew up recklessly in the 60s, a turbulent time for China and her people. 

The film successfully preserves the mood and feel of that era, the boy’s emotions, infatuations and bravery.

Other famous films by the same director Devils on the Doorstep (2000) and Let the Bullets Fly (2010)

9. A City of Sadness (1989)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caU7X7LV-5E

city-of-sadness-posterDirected by Hsiao-Hsien Hou, this one is probably the most underrated and yet one of the best historical films made in China.

The film depicts the traumatic history of Taiwan through the lives of four brothers who struggle to coup with the ever changing political scenario around them. Brilliant acting and superb storytelling.

Other famous films by the same director The Assassin (2015) and Three Times (2005)

8. Mountain Patrol (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9hCEsOSQiA

mountain-patrol-posterThe vast mountains of tibet, the home of the wild and elegant antelopes, the land of peace.

And when their land is threatened by hunters who illegally slaughtered the endangered Tibetan Antelopes, the local villagers form a team – The Tibetan Mountain Patrol to fight with the poachers. 

Directed by Chuan Lu, this beautiful film is a must watch.

Other famous films by the same director City of Life and Death (2009).

7. Red Cliff (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd0bqLQrtdE

red-cliff-posterChina’s Three Kingdoms period (220-280 A.D.), the final days of the Han Dynasty and the time when the biggest battle in Chinese History was fought – the battle of Red Cliff.  

Directed by John Woo, this is the first part of that epic battle, the second one being Red Cliff II (2009).

Best historical war film from China.

Other famous films by the same director The Killer (1989) and Hard Boiled (1992).

6. Lust, Caution (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0o3yNnbCR4

lust-caution-poster1A dangerous and cautious plan of seduction is being executed by a young woman to entrap an influential politician.

Set in Japanese-ruled Shanghai during World War II era, the game of lust is being played between Tony Chiu Wai Leung and Wei Tang, the two superb actors. 

A fine piece of cinema by none other than ace director Ang Lee.

Other famous films by the same director The Wedding Banquet (1993) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).

5. To Live (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAZUbjttUPc

to-live-posterFrom the 40’s to the 70’s, through the turbulent and uncertain times in China, a family desperately struggles ‘to live’.

Even though they lost their personal fortunes and are caught up in the war, the family is determined to survive.

Directed by Yimou Zhang, a bag of mixed emotions and a complete package of Chinese history.

Other famous films by the same director Raise the Red Lantern (1991) and Hero (2002).

4. Yi Yi (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F6tSorwYqw

yi-yi-posterThe film tells the story of a family living in Taipei, an ordinary family with simple day to day emotions like love, fear, disappointment, anxieties and joy.

Directed by Edward Yang, the little emotional tales of each of these family members makes you unconsciously become a part of them. A powerful film of great simplicity.

Other famous films by the same director A Brighter Summer Day (1991) and That Day, on the Beach (1983).

3. Comrades: Almost a Love Story (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVyeMkUy9KI

comrades-almost-a-love-story-posterA boy meets a girl and even if they didn’t want to, they fall for each other.

How many films have been made on the above storyline but yet when director Peter Chan made this film, it became one of the most intriguing love story!

Set in Hong kong and New York, this one is one of the best romantic film ever made. 

Other famous films by the same director Dragon (2011) and The Warlords (2007).

2. A Touch of Sin (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUJt_kf7uKQ

touch-of-sin-poster1Director Zhangke Jia has been the best thing that happened to China in the recent years and this film is one of his best work till date.

Four stories, connected with the act of violence in them!

The film is a statement on China’s present social and political scenario, a chilling take on the country’s oppression and corruption, a story of revolt and despair.

Other famous films by the same director are The World (2004) and Pick Pocket (1997).

1. In the Mood for Love (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnFjSHQFVkA

in-the-mood-for-love-posterThe direction of Kar Wai Wong, the powerful acting by Tony Chiu Wai LeungMaggie Cheung, the brilliant cinematography by Christopher Doyle, the melancholic and soulful music of Michael Galasso and Shigeru Umebayashi – all in one package and it doesn’t get better than this!

A film that is the ultimate take on love and separation, a visual masterpiece, an experience.

Other famous films by the same director Chungking Express (1994) and 2046 (2004).

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most profound and unique one. A must watch).

+1. Farewell My Concubine (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC-_SLiRnJE

farewell-my-concubine-posterTwo men who were apprentices in the Peking Opera (Beijing), two performers,stage brothers, and their two parallel yet intertwined stories!

A film of extraordinary beauty and masterful acting, the story of two who remain friends for life.

Directed by Kaige Chen, the film is a visual treat, elaborate costumes and exotic locations and historical accurate story telling.

Other famous films by the same director The Emperor and the Assassin (1998) and Yellow Earth (1984).

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.listal.com, www.freecodesource.comwww.cinemagora.co.ukchinesemov.com.

Titli (2014)

Titli review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

Throughout the film, even when there is no actual violence shown, there is a sense of muffled tension and subdued hostility that tends to suffocate the audience.

Finally i had the privilege to watch the most anticipated film of this year!

Titli-posterA film that was completed mid last year (2014) and since then it has being taking the rounds of numerous international festivals including the prestigious Cannes Film Festival; a film that makes Indian Cinema proud – Titli.

‘har family, family nehi hoti’

Residing in the dark underbelly of Delhi is this unique family of three brothers and their retired elderly father, who by profession are all car-jackers. They forcefully stop cars and violently rob the people inside.

The youngest brother among them is named Titli.

Though Titli regularly takes part in the dangerous episodes of their brutal family profession, he secretly has plans to escape. And his quest for freedom is what propels the dark film ahead – into more darkness!

Directed by Kanu Behlco-produced by Dibakar Banerjee and Yash Raj Films, Titli is probably the most realistic and intense cinema of our recent times.

Titli-poster1

Throughout the film, even when there is no actual violence shown, debutant director Kanu Bhel has managed to maintain a sense of muffled tension and subdued hostility that tends to suffocate the audience.

And that’s the most important achievement of Titli.

Brilliant work by cinematographer Siddharth Diwan and editor Namrata RaoThe claustrophobic feel of the dingy rooms in comparison to the wide shots of Delhi-skyscrapers make young Titli’s yearning for freedom more real and desirable.

Apart from excellent direction and script, the reason for the film’s success is the brilliant performances by each and every actor. Thanks to casting director Atul Mongia.

Debutant Shashank Arora has done a terrific job in portraying the anger and ruthlessness, and also the frustration and helplessness of the lead character Titli.  

Titli-poster2Shivani Raghuvanshi, also introduced in this film has shown great potential. Amit SialLalit Behl and Sumit Gulati are all spot on.

But Ranvir Shorey is one actor who has reinvented himself through this film, or may be been utilized to his full potential – outstanding performance!   

The actors were allowed to explore the scenes and improvise as there was no proper scripts provided on the set!

Gritty circumstances and such casual aggressiveness, unpredictable characters and their selfish motives, so damn real and mean.

Titli is an experience, disturbing and totally worth it.

poster curtsey: newznew.com/www.ebharat.in 

JIO MAMI – DAY6 AND 7 (Nawazuddin’s Haraamkhor and much more)

JIO MAMI – DAY6 AND 7.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Every good thing in this world comes to an end and so did the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival.

Featuring 200 films from over 35 countries and this is what the last two days of the festival had in store for me.

 

Day 6 (4nd NOV)

The first film that was waiting for me on the sixth day of the festival was Haraamkhor (2015). A very interesting film to start the day.

haraamkhor1Directed by debutant Shlok Sharma, a film that though gives an impression of light comedy (specially looking at it’s poster) but then it’s not.

A few comic moments here and there, but essentially the film is based on the illicit relationship between a teacher and his student and it’s brutally realistic. 

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is as usual the heart of the film, his acting skills are currently the best in the Indian film industry and we all know it. But Shweta Tripathi is one actress to look forward to. She is brilliant in the film and has all the potential of becoming a great actress.

 

And then there was this animated gem of a beautiful film called Belladonna of Sadness (1973).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdp85x9d0A4

Belladon-posterA peasant woman who has a pact with the devil and challenges the social norms!

Directed by genius Eiichi Yamamoto, a master of visual art and animation.

A film that is considered to be as a classic and why not? Extraordinary visuals and spectacular color play, powerful erotic imagery and a very thin narrative structure.

A must watch for people who are more into visual arts and animation.

 

And then there was The Club (2015).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqv8PPDfiyw

club-posterDirected by Pablo Larraín, this is both an innovative and a disturbing film.

In a Chilean beach town, the disgraced priests and nuns (suspected of crimes in their past) are sent to stay in a house. And then one day a crisis counselor comes in and everything changes!

Beautiful images and great acting, a terrific story that is too real and hard hitting at times. Something that lasts an impact on you.

 

And the day ended with a superb film called Mia Madre (2015) aka My Mother.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWiFif96t3Y

mia-madre-posterDirected by Nanni Moratti, this one is a film so sensitive and emotional that it makes you miss your own mother/parents.

A film director whose mother in in the hospital, and in-between her busy schedule she visits her and try to comfort her.

Brilliant performances by Margherita BuyNanni MorettiGiulia Lazzaroni and some well deserved comic reliefs by John Turturro – a film that that is complete in it’s own unique way.

 

Day 7 (5nd NOV)

On the last day i watched the only 3D animated film in the festival, Monster Hunt (2015).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR6JRIlf1jM

monster-hunt-posterThe monster’s world and the human’s world collide and two humans become responsible to protect a baby monster (the future monster king).

The film boasts of awesome animation and superb use of VFX.

Directed by Raman Hui, this Chinese animated film reminded me of my all time favorite film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).

A bit kiddish of course but a good watch.

 

And then, there was this soulful film Ottal (2014) aka Trap.

Ottal-posterDirected by Jayaraj, this one is about a poor, young boy whose grandfather wants him to study and become somebody respectable.

But instead of going to a school, the boy ends up as a child worker in a distant town away from the love and protection of his grandfather.

The film is the voice of thousands of such children who are illegally being forced to work under inhuman conditions.

 

Well, this ends the spectacular journey of films and also the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival. I was glad to be a part of it and will eagerly wait for it the next year.

Thank you.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.ibnlive.comisammakesstuff.tumblr.comwww.cinenews.be.