As the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival began on November 15, HT asked National Award-winning filmmaker Sekhar Das to list 10 must-watch films at the film fest. “Cinegoers generally watch films of iconic directors at a film festival. They might have watched those films on DVDs, but watching them on the giant screen is a different experience altogether. Also, films, which have controversial content, attract audiences. Audiences also come in huge numbers to watch a film if it has travelled to prestigious international film festivals. Films, which have strong sexual overtones, also attract large footfall,” says Das, who has directed Bengali films such as Mahulbanir Sereng and Krantikaal.
MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART
Director: Jia Zhangke
It’s a family story and talks about modern-day alienation. Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke is at his best. The story is set in three time horizons - 1990s, 2014 and 2025. The film competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
I AM NOJOOM AGE 10 AND DIVORCED
Director: Khadija Al-Salami
Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Khadija Al-Salami from Yemen, it’s a disturbing film that tells the story of a 10-year-old girl who is forced to marry a man, who is 20 years older than her. Later, the tortured child-bride asks for divorce.
DORA OR THE SEXUAL NEUROSES OF OUR PARENTS
Director: Stina Werenfels
Directed by Swiss playwright Stina Werenfels, the film follows the journey of Dora, who witnesses a sudden sexual awakening. How do her parents react to the sudden crisis? It’s also a disturbing film.
Director: Irena Pavlaskova
Based on the life of internationally-acclaimed Czech photographer Jan Saudek, the screenplay of the film too has been co-written by Saudek. The photographer is known for his colourful personality, relationship with women and nude photography.
THE BURMESE HARP
Director: Kon Ichikawa
Directed by Japanese master filmmaker Kon Ichikawa, this is his best film and a must watch. The film showcases Japanese soldiers returning to Japan during the last days of World War II. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1957.
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, this is Greek filmmaker Lanthimos’s first English language film. The film, a romantic drama, was selected at the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and won the Jury Prize. The film has an unusual setting and has sexual overtones.
IN THE ROOM
Director: Eric Khoo
Directed by Singaporean filmmaker Eric Khoo, the erotic drama has six different stories of six couples in a particular room in a hotel in Singapore.
Director: Jafar Panahi
One of the most recognised Iranian filmmakers, Panahi’s films always make for an interesting watch. Taxi won the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival. Panahi, who plays the protagonist in the film, is also banned from making films for several years.
THE RULES OF THE GAME
Director: Jean Renoir
Made in 1939, this film and is often considered to be one of the greatest films in the history of cinema. It’s one of Renior’s best films and is a must-watch for all cine buffs.
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
I have always loved watching Sorrentino’s works. The film, starring Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, talks about two septuagenarian friends who go on a vacation. It’s the director’s second English film, and was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, 2015.