Seventh BIFFes: Day Three

07 Dec. Day three at the Seventh Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFes) brought in conflicting views and experiences regarding films.
First, soon after watching the first film, I sighted Mr Girish Kasaravalli with his daughter also at the same screen. And then, there was Prof. Manu Chakravarthy. After exchanging a few opinions on the festival (as varied as we are!), we shared a coffee/tea and then watched the second film (The Lesson) together. Interestingly, all of us had watched the same first film of the day, too, though separately! And all of had some very good things to share about the film.

On my part, I could watch four films: i) The Longest Distance (Claudia Pinto, 2013, Venezuela), ii) The Lesson (Kristinagrozeva & Peter Valchanov, 2014, Bulgaria & Greece), iii) 13 / Sizda (Hooman Seyadi, 2014, Iran), and iv) The Ballad of Poor Jean (Fellipe Barbosa, 2014, Brazil).

The Longest Distance is all about a little one’s journey to join his grand mother Martina before she dies on the other side of the country. His mother wanted to join her; she died before that – and the boy’s suspicion is pointed towards his father. Once the boy reaches, there is visual treat, the emotional surge between the ailing granny who does not want the boy to know about her health condition, and the innocence and effervescence of the boy!

The poignant struggles of a bankrupt school-teacher Nade to save herself and her dignity from the unscruplous world around. But she has a heart for one of her students who has indulged in stealth. Finally, pushed to the corner from every side, you wait for her to make her next move; and that is the most interesting part of it; you hardly expect it. A journey directly into her heart.

There was this Iranian film 13 or Sizda. I have high expectations from Iranian cinema. But this one disappointed me. A neglected 13-year old gets into wrong company of older boys & a girl, and goes on the rampage. You see raw, unbridled violence. Most violent and cruel of all is Sami, a young girl. I could not find the film rising beyond raw violence; art was forgotten.

And the last film before I left for the day was The Ballad of Poor Jean. When the society goes through socio-economic turmoil, how do family and emotional lives of people get affected and the turmoil that follows -especially in the life of a young boy who does not know the poor condition of his parents- is moving. Subtle issues are brought to the fore by using the social-peer life of a boy Jean. I loved the film.

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