Tag Archives: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Loveless – BEST OF 19TH MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Loveless (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

Loveless Review: Cold and toxic, a disintegration of marriage metaphorically portraying an entire nation’s predicament!  

My Ratings: 4.4/5

A bitter divorce is never an easy experience for any couple but certainly the real victims are always the children. The most traumatic realisation a child has to cope with is that neither his parents wants custody of him, that he is just an unwanted baggage, a burden, that he is a mere glitch in their ugly adult world.

And that is exactly what happens to 12-year-old young Alyosha (Matvey Novikov), the terrible hard-hitting feeling of being loveless.

On one side Alyosha’s father (Aleksey Rozin) is having an affair with a younger woman who is pregnant with his child and on the other hand his harsh-speaking mother (Maryana Spivak) is passionately in love with a wealthy older man. On the verge of a nasty divorce the parents indulge themselves into a spate of brutal outbursts completely oblivious of the child who eventually decides to vanish from their lives for good.

Where is he gone? Has something happened to him? A kid cannot just disappear like that?

lovelessBut then writer/director Andrey Zvyagintsev (of Leviathan fame) along with writer Oleg Negin uses this tragic event to serve a bigger purpose, to narrate and critique the conditions in contemporary Russia, a country where everyone is desperately looking for – a lost loveless kid or may be it is simply Love that they are searching for?

Here we are talking about one nation (though I personally think it is a worldwide problem) where Happiness has become a piece of merchandise that can be negotiated and bought at a price while the value of Family-stability been reduced to a sign of status symbol. Where emotions and duty take the second seat while greed, ego and lust for a better-life gets the priority.

Absolute brilliance in the acting department – especially Maryana Spivak and Aleksey Rozin really make you hate and even sympathise lovelesswith them to a certain extent. The secondary characters Natalya PotapovaMarina Vasileva and Anna Gulyarenko also have such strong impact on the story and the audience.

But the best part is Mikhail Krichman‘s unique cinematography, the long takes and the subtle tracking of the camera brilliantly adds to the sentiments of the characters and the overall feel of the movie.

The music by Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine is spot on and cleverly used only when it is actually required.

Official submission from Russia in the ‘Best Foreign Language Film‘ category at the 2018 Oscars. This is undoubtedly one of the best cinema of last year; very rarely does one film achieves a feat of representing a country and the psychology of its inhabitance with such savage precision and success.

Go watch it!

Similar interest: Leviathan Review

Similar Interest: Best Russian Classic Comedy Films

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Best of World Cinema 2017 (10+1List)

Best of World Cinema 2017

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best of World Cinema 2017: Every year before making this list I have this strange feeling of missing out some good ones, films which I may not have seen or even not know of. And this year is no exception!

And on top of that 2017 has such a variety of good Cinema to choose from, brilliant directors across the globe covering so many genres and what amazing films!

But finally I have made my choices, do let me know if you agree with me (or not). And here is my list of Best of World Cinema 2017. Enjoy!

10. Thelma

Language: Norwegian

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgQMHG9SGlU

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017A strictly raised religious girl explores life on her own for the first time – but little did she know that her subconsciously controlled psychokinetic powers will soon change everything around her!

Directed by Joachim Trier, a unique concept based around a lesbian love affair. Brilliant performance by Eili Harboe, certainly the best fantasy mystery of the year!

9. The Square

Language: Swedish, English.

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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

“The Square” – a unique contemporary show that has gained huge popularity but what does it say about our current society?

Swedish director Ruben Östlund (of Force Majeure fame) has made a brilliant satirical drama, absurd and surreal but entertaining!

Along with many other wins the film swept away the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

8. Okja

Language: Korean, English.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nhz9ctHR0k

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017On the surface a simple story of the friendship between a young girl (Seo-Hyun Ahnand her pet Okja – an oversized pig. But then this movie is so much more complex and layered, and very much socially relevant for today’s world.

Tilda Swinton, Paul DanoJake Gyllenhaal all at their best. From the acclaimed South Korean director Joon-ho Bong, probably the most powerful and important film of this year!

7. The Florida Project

Language: English.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwQ-NH1rRT4

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

Set up just in the outskirts of Disney World this is the story of a mischievous 6-year old (Brooklynn Prince) and her friends, her mother, her neighborhood – basically the world around her!

Directed by Sean Baker (of Tangerine fame), and also featuring Willem Dafoe and Bria Vinaite, a film that focus on human relations – the innocence and the complexities of it. Absolutely brilliant to watch! 

6. On Body and Soul

Teströl és lélekröl (original title). Language: Hungarian.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gZw6GVf2eY

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

Is it possible for two people to dream the same dream?

The setting being a slaughter house, this is an exceptional love story between two ordinary people wrapped in identical dreams.

A unique script and such brilliant performances, directed by Ildikó Enyedi, this Hungarian film has won the prestigious FIPRESCI Prize and the Golden Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival!

5. A Gentle Creature

Krotkaya (original title). Language: Russian.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sun3D8VqkGY

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

Nominated for Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, this Russian film is the story of a woman who investigates a return of a parcel that she sent to her husband who is serving prison time in an isolated town in Siberia.

Directed by Sergei Loznitsa, this one is an perfect example of superlative acting and brilliant story-telling, a slow yet highly cinematic experience.

4. The Shape of Water

Language: English.

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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017An amphibious creature in a hidden high-security government laboratory gets to befriend a lonely janitor (Sally Hawkins) but their friendship will be tested soon.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, emotional and highly engaging, a fantastic story and powerful performances – overall a visually stunning fairy tale like never before!

3. Call Me by Your Name

Language: English, Italian.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rgO_TyyOoU

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

‘Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.’

An erotic love affair between two men, a visiting student and the young son of the American professor.

Premiered at Sundance Film Festival, directed by Luca Guadagnino, the film is a heartfelt yet heartbreaking story of two people in love on a hot summer somewhere in a small town of Italy!

2. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Language: English.

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

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017The concepts of Revenge and Redemption have always been the favourite themes for movies but this film manages to twist these notions into a whole new level of awesomeness!

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (of The Lobster fame), a dark psychological thriller that takes its unique stand on morality and justice! Highly odd yet satisfying – just like the previous works of the director.

  1. Loveless

Nelyubov (original title). Language: Russian.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLegoO4NdD8

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

The film that won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the ARRI/OSRAM Award at the Munich Film Festival and was nominated ‘best film’ at the London Film Festival this year!

Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, this one is about a couple who must team up to find their missing son although they are going through a nasty divorce.

Official submission of Russia for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category of the 90th Academy Awards in 2018.

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

+1. The Other Side of Hope

Toivon tuolla puolen (original title). Language: Finnish

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtiFG6utst8

Best-Of-World-Cinema-2017

A Finnish man who opens his own restaurant and a Syrian guy who comes to Finland in order to start a new life. Two stories finally converge and give us one emotional and often hilarious drama!

Realistic yet with a comic touch, acclaimed filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki won the Silver Berlin Bear at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival in the Best director category!

Similar Interest: Best of 2017 you may have missed!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILMS TO WATCH AT MAMI 2017 (10+1LIST)

Best International Films to watch at MAMI 2017

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best International Films to watch at MAMI 2017.

As the Mumbaikars bid adieu to the colorful Navaratri and Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and await for the dazzling Diwali fiesta to begin, there is another very important Festival that the film-lovers of Mumbai simply can’t afford to miss!

A unique festival of Cinema that promises to entertain us for seven days in a row, from 12 to 18 October!

Yes, the 19th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is here, and it’s raining films from all across the globe! To be more specific there are in total 220 films from 49 countries and in 51 languages!

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Along with a number of prestigious International movies under the World Cinema and the International Competition category, MAMI also offers a great selection of Indian Cinema under the sections India Gold and India Story. Other categories are the Half Ticket (for children), After Dark (focused on the horror/fantasy genre), Spotlight, Restored classics and many others.

And then of course if you want a picture with Monica Bellucci, most welcome!

Too many good movies and not so many days, so be specific of which films you pick and I hope this list helps you to choose among some of the Best International Films to watch at MAMI 2017. 

Make sure you don’t miss any of these!

10. On Body and Soul (2017)

Teströl és lélekröl (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfGeMbSEx9k

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017The setting being a slaughter house, this is an exceptional love story between two ordinary people wrapped in strange identical dreams.

Brilliant performances and a unique script, directed by Ildikó Enyedi, the Hungarian film has already won the prestigious FIPRESCI Prize and the Golden Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival!

9. Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9AYPxH5NTM

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017‘Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.’

It is about an affair between two men, a young visiting student and the son of the American professor.

Premiered at Sundance Film Festival, the critics already raving about this one, directed by Luca Guadagnino, the film promises a heartfelt yet heartbreaking story of two people in love on a hot summer somewhere in a small town of Italy!

8. The Florida Project (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwQ-NH1rRT4

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Set up just in the outskirts of Disney World this is the story of a mischievous 6-year old (Brooklynn Prince) and her friends, her mother, her neighborhood – basically the world around her!

Directed by Sean Baker (of Tangerine fame), and also featuring Willem Dafoe this film is attracting a lot of attention (mostly praises) from the critics as well as from the general audience.

7. On the Beach at Night Alone (2017)

Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7CP5ipqqwU

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017‘Where’s love? It’s not even visible. You need to see it in order to search for it.’

This South Korean cinema is about an actress who roams around a seaside town contemplating on her realtionship with a married man.

Directed by Sang-soo Hon, the protagonist Min-hee Kim already won the Silver Berlin Bear as the best actress for this year.

6. The Third Murder (2017)

Sandome no satsujin (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Plr3V4TYBQE

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017A man with a criminal record gets accused and arrested again and this time it seems to be an open and shut case. But then a prominent lawyer turns around the facts and this will make all the difference between life and death!

Directed by aclaimed Hirokazu Koreeda, this Japanese film with two brilliant actors Masaharu Fukuyama and Kôji Yakusho looks promising court-room drama!

5. The Other Side of Hope (2017)

Toivon tuolla puolen (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85cyiMBvPXQ

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017A Finnish man who opens his own restaurant and a Syrian guy who comes to Finland in order to start a new life. The stories of these two men finally meet up and become one!

Realistic et with a comic touch, acclaimed filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki won the Silver Berlin Bear at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival in the Best director category!

4. A Gentle Creature (2017)

Krotkaya (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sun3D8VqkGY

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Nominated for Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, this Russian film is the story of a woman who investigates a return of a parcel that she sent to her husband who is serving prison time in an isolated town in Siberia.

Directed by Sergei Loznitsa, this one is an perfect example of superlative acting and brilliant story-telling, a slow yet highly cinematic experience.

3. 24 Frames (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBO0rqY4uQY

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017A collection of 24 short four-and-a-half minutes films inspired by still images, including paintings and photographs!

An experimental project directed by the acclaimed filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami over the last three years of his life. I am sure this will be a film with great aesthetics, simple yet artistic like all the earlier films from the director.

2. Loveless (2017)

Nelyubov (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLegoO4NdD8

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017The film that won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the ARRI/OSRAM Award at the Munich Film Festival and was nominated ‘best film’ at the London Film Festival this year!

Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, this one is about a couple who must team up to find their missing son although they are going through a divorce.

Official submission of Russia for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category of the 90th Academy Awards in 2018.

  1. The Square (2017)

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

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017“The Square” is the name of a unique contemporary show that has gained huge popularity

Swedish director Ruben Östlund (of Force Majeure fame) has made a brilliant satirical drama, absurd and surreal but very entertaining!

Along with many other wins in numerous film festivals, the film swept away the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year!

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

+1. Mother! (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpICoc65uh0

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017The peaceful life of a couple is disturbed by some uninvited guests.

Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer all together in a psychological horror thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky – this only should be reason enough to watch this film!

Though incredibly mixed reactions from the audiences, I guess it will be one of those films which you will passionately love or hate!

A few other films that are very much worth checking out are 

November directed by Rainer SarnetCity of Ghosts directed by Matthew HeinemanBeach Rats directed by Eliza HittmanIt Comes at Night directed by Trey Edward Shults.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

Best Foreign Language Films of 2014 (10+1list)

Best Foreign Language Films of 2014.

Written by Souranath Banerjee

2014 was a unique year for world Cinema.

Quality films were made across the globe; stories that denounced war and corruption, films which tested complex relationships, cinemas that didn’t shy away from portraying the many complexities of our human nature.

Directors skilfully explored the subtlety of emotions and managed to create an immense impact upon the worldwide audiences.

And so, here is a list of some of the Best Foreign Language Films of 2014 that shouldn’t be missed at any cost.

1. Force Majeure 

Original title: Turist. Country: Sweden.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjjzVbTBF8o

Force-Majeure-poster1

Now how does a person react in that split second of time when one assumes his life to be in danger? In such a life-threatening moment will a man prove himself to be ‘man’ enough and defend his family or will he panic and run for his own life?

(Click for the film review)

Directed by Ruben Östlund, Force Majeure won the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival

2. Stations of the Cross

Original title: Kreuzweg, Country: Germany. 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNp7lb1OWow

stations-of-the-cross1

Story of a 14 year old Catholic girl who decides to dedicate his life to God.

Conservative family, the teachings of the Church and a young vulnerable mind that tries to cope with the tough religious restrictions.

Directed by Dietrich Brüggemann, one of the most powerful films ever!

3. Tangerines

Original title: Mandariinid, Country: Estonia.

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

Tangerine-poster

War has always been the cause for destruction, be it human lives or the season’s crop – the Tangerines.

(Click for the film review)

Directed by Zaza Urushadze the film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film in the Oscars.

An unpredictable ending and superb performances.

4. Mommy

Original title: Mommy, Country: Canada.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9LVLCYvqSI

mommy-posterXavier Dolan (who won the jury prize at 2014 Cannes Film Festival) directed this brilliant film that tells the story of a widowed single mother and her fifteen year old son and also their mysterious neighbors. 

The love and the endless struggle a single mother has to go through; the film portrays the roller-coaster of emotions and the sacrifices of a mother to raise her teenage son.

5. Leviathan

Original title: Leviafan, Country: Russia.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oo7H25kirk

Leviathan-poster1

Official submission of Russia for Oscars, nominated among the best five Foreign Language Films; won the Golden Globes and also competed for the most prestigious Palme d’Or award in the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

(Click for the film review)

Director Andrey Zvyagintsev doesn’t flinch away from showing the ugly face of corruption.

6. Ida

Original title: Ida, Country: Poland.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXhCaVqB0x0

ida-poster3

Only a few very rare films have images so powerful that they tend to overshadow everything else, even the narrative and the story-line seems to dissolve in the pure beauty of each and every frame.

(Click for the film review)

Directed by Pawel PawlikowskiOfficial submission of Poland to the Best Foreign Language Film category and Ida won the Oscar!

7. Corn Island

Original title: Simindis Kundzuli, Country: Georgia.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5Fc9ydpP_Q

Corn-Island-poster

The film is a take on the dominance of nature over mankind; in a very subtle way the film shows the foolishness of man who are in constant battle with each other but can never fight the nature.

George Ovashvili in his film uses only a handful of dialogues, but the impact of the visuals and the story are so strong that it speaks volumes to the audience.

8. Wild Tales

Original title: Relatos salvajes. Country: Spain.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUnXv6R2HI8

wild-tales-poster

An anthology with six individual short films, all of which having a common theme of retribution and vengeance.

(Click for the film review)

These films (all six of them) are wicked, satirical and deranged (to some extent) but again at the same time they are clever, hilarious and highly entertaining. Awesome work by director Damián Szifrón.

9. Two Days, One Night

Original title: Deux jours, une nuit. Country: Belgium.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb3zBq6gVRk

Two-Days-One-Night-poster3

Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne this film is all about being positive and standing your ground.

(Click for the film review)

Long takes, simple camera angles, natural dialogues and flawless acting – the brilliant performance by mesmerizing French actress and singer Marion Cotillard really makes this film worth it.

10. Winter Sleep 

Original title: Kis Uykusu. Country: Turkey.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBAa-QtTxxE

winter-sleep-poster2

This year Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the prestigious Palme d’Or award for Winter Sleep at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

(Click for the film review)

Set in the picturesque backdrop of central Anatolia, Winter Sleep is the story of an aged, rich, philosophical hotel-owner named Aydin (Haluk Bilginer). A rare cinematic experience.

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

+1. The Raid 2

Original title: The Raid 2: Berandal, Country: Indonesia.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG9uFX3uYq4

the-raid-2-poster

SWAT team member Rama goes undercover to fight against the corrupt police and the underworld kingpins.

Exceptionally realistic fight scenes shot with brutal precision, all the actions showcase the Indonesian fighting style of Pencak silat.

Great story and performances but overall this is THE best action film of the recent times!

A few awesome films that didn’t make this list but are totally worth mentioning are BlindGoodbye to LanguageA Girl Walks Home Alone at NightWe Are the Best!Like Father, Like SonThe AttorneyA Coffee in BerlinStranger by the LakeThe Dance of Reality and Timbuktu.

Leviathan (2014)

Leviathan (2014)

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4/5.

Leviathan Review: Leviathan is the Official submission of Russia at the Oscars and was nominated among the best five Foreign Language Films of 2014.

Leviathan also won the Golden Globe Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category this year. 

In the Cannes Film Festival Leviathan won the best screenplay award and also competed for the most prestigious Palme d’Or award.

Leviathan-poster1Well, just by the film’s track-record for awards it is evident that Leviathan is a film of exquisite quality.

Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev the film portrays the helplessness of the general public in the hands of the corrupted, powerful  political authority.

An ordinary family trying to stay afloat as dangerous ‘Biblical sea monsters’ (that’s what ‘Leviathan’ actually means) in the form of unscrupulous political leaders (the Mayor in this case) plans a deluge that will sweep away the powerless  and the common forever.

Brilliant performances by all the main leads Aleksey SerebryakovElena LyadovaRoman MadyanovVladimir Vdovichenkov

It is interesting to notice how the relations between the characters continuously change as the film progresses and the audience is always left guessing about the unpredictable storyline.

Awesome cinematography by Mikhail Krichman and beautiful musical score by Andrey Dergachev.

A refreshingly honest film that manages to project the much realistic  scenario of today’s corrupted world. Film enthusiasts, trust me – you don’t want to miss Leviathan.

Similar Interest: Loveless Review