Looking back at MAMI 2014

The story of humans on this planet is the story of struggle; to survive and live with dignity; to feel part of something. Every human and the society they are part of have their own struggles. There is almost familiar themes running through these struggles – fighting the unjust government (Pride), people displaced from their homes and trying to start a new life in an unfamiliar country (Macondo), women fighting social prejudices and unjust system of justice (Difret, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem), economic struggle (Two Days, One Night), love. The themes are familiar but still the story needs to be told. And, cinema is one such medium to explore these themes.

I have always wanted to attend an International Film Festival. My first attempt was MAMI 2013 but could not manage to fulfill my wish. But, MAMI 2014 happened and it turned out to be an unforgettable experience. Everyday I left home early to watch 4-5 movies per day, and returned home late in the night. The first show usually started at 10am. And, reached home by 11pm. My son was perplexed. I tried to share some stories from films to satiate his curiosity.

How did I choose which films to watch? Don’t remember now. I had not read too many previews; just a couple before day 1. So, just went with my gut feeling in choosing films to watch, for each day.

One great feature of the festival is that the audience gets to talk to the producers, directors or the actors of the film.

One of the defining experience of the festival was watching ‘Corn Island’. It is a beautifully shot film but has minimal dialogues. There is no dialogue almost for 20 minutes but I was completely hooked and eager to follow the journey of the protagonist. ‘Court’ was another movie which was unconventional but engaging, sometimes humorous. Here is a review

A Dalit activist-poet is held ‘responsible’ for the ‘suicide’ of a sewage cleaner. ‘Court’ leads us through his arrest and ‘judicial remand’ and hearings, resulting in a film that is throbbing, urgent, vital, belying the sparse, near-documentarian manner of the telling.

Some other movies which I liked -

  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
  • – A vampire movie shot in black and white

  • Refugiado
  • – A wife (with her son) running away from the abusive husband

  • Vessel ( Documentary )
  • – A woman’s fight to help women from around the world in getting abortions.

  • Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
  • – An enthralling court drama; mesmerizing performance by the lead actress.

  • Difret
  • – An Ethopian film which tells a story of girl escaping from the inhuman practice of ‘abduction into marriage’.

  • Lessons in Dissent (Documentary )
  • The Tree (Drevo)
  • Macondo
  • – The film explores the life of refugees in Austria.

  • The Fort (Killa)
  • – Story of childhood; beautiful background; some funny moments.

  • Labour Of Love (Asha Jaoar Majhe)
  • – A silent film

  • The Ambassador To Bern
  • – A political thriller

  • The Little House
  • Pride
  • – A fun film based on true events.

  • Two Days, One Night
  • – Will you accept taking a cut in salary/bonus if it would help someone to keep their job?

Some of the duds I watched –

  • Dombivli Return
  • Honeycomb Lodge
  • Buddha In a Traffic Jam

The festival was well organised; though there were some hiccups. Now, looking forward to October 29th, 2015.