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Delhi: Catch two Hollywood hits

hollywood Updated: Apr 26, 2018 19:13 IST
Rohan Naahar
A still from The Shape of Water

A still from The Shape of Water

Academy Award-winning fantasy drama The Shape of Water and its biggest challenger at the 90th Oscars, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will be screened at the American Center on Friday. If you’ve missed these films, the festival is your chance to watch two of the most acclaimed and passionately debated movies of 2017. The Festival is jointly organised by the American Center, the Motion Pictures Distribution Association (India) and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The Shape of Water
Director Guillermo del Toro is, in many ways, like his contemporary, Christopher Nolan. They might not operate within the same genres – del Toro has always been fascinated with the macabre while Nolan’s films are proudly cerebral – but they have acquired a similarly devoted fanbase over the years. Theirs is a cult audience that turns up for their films regardless of the chatter around them – they are perhaps two of only a handful of filmmakers working today who are crowd-pullers in their own right.

Much was written about how a Best Picture victory for The Shape of Water signalled an evolution for the famously homogenous Academy. Awarding what is essentially an unabashedly nerdy love letter to classic Hollywood moviemaking was seen as a momentous occasion. How else can a film about a love story between a mute woman and a humanoid sea creature be described?

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was a scream of anguish in a year that seemed to be filled with nothing else. Directed by the great Irish playwright and filmmaker Martin McDonagh, the film is a capsule of a very particular moment in our history, when half the population of the world rose from an eternity of oppression and demanded what is rightfully theirs.

Like McDonagh’s previous films, Seven Psychopaths and more significantly, In Bruges, Three Billboards walks a precarious tonal tightrope – it’s funny when other films would have been sad, it’s moving when others would have been sappy and it’s angry when others would have averted their eyes. McDonagh not only nails the landing – itself a monumental achievement, but he adds a flourish, a sign of tremendous self-confidence.

For several weeks before the Oscars, the pundits had narrowed it down to a two-horse race. There was even talk of an upset win for Three Billboards, what with it being so remarkably – and if McDonagh is to be believed, inadvertently – topical. It told the story of a strong single mother, played by Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning role, whose teen daughter was raped and murdered several months ago. After having had her faith in law enforcement rewarded with silence, she erected three billboards directly questioning the local police chief – a symbol of her dissent, and eventually appropriated by many real-life protestors.

McDonagh is one of the finest writers working in film today, blessed with a voice that is as unique as Quentin Tarantino’s or the Coen Brothers’, with whose work Three Billboards is often compared.

WHAT: World IP Day Film Festival

WHEN: April 28
3pm: The Shape of Water

6pm: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

ENTRY: On a first come-first served basis. For registration, check delhievents.com.

WHERE: The American Center, Kasturba Gandhi Marg.

CALL: 2347 2000

NEAREST METRO STATION: Rajiv Chowk.