So, the MAMI is back in a bigger and better avatar. As usual, film lovers are going to be blinded by too many options playing simultaneously across five venues over 8 days. Now, everyone has his or her own preferences but here is our attempt to list out the films that we would like to catch if we manage to get entry into the theatres (Yes, it does get very crowded at times).
The festival will open with the screening of Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh. Rest of the films to be played have been divided into several categories. Some are part of the competition while some are classics being played out of competition. This time it has added some more exciting categories such as After Dark and Half Ticket. Read on for more details.
It is open to debut filmmakers worldwide who have films made within one calendar year of the festival. This year it is featuring films from countries as diverse as Canada, Iran, USA, Philippines, Greece and Guatemala. Interestingly the film to watch out in this section is Raam Reddy’s Thithi, a generational comedy set in the hinterlands of Karnataka. It has already bagged two awards at the prestigious Locarno Film Festival earlier this year and although an Indian film, it qualifies for this section as a joint Indo-US production.
India Gold is a competition section for the Indian feature films. This year line up seems pretty strong. A very notable entry is Chauthi Koot by Gurvinder Singh, who won a national award with his previous film and remains one of the few notable art house directors to have emerged from Punjab. Other mentionable entries include Prashant Nair’s Umrika which won an award at the Sundance Film Festival, Ruchika Oberoi’s Island City that won an award at Venice Film Festival and Bhaskar Hazarika’s Assamese film Kothanodi which won the Asian Cinema Fund’s Post Production Fund Award for 2015.
Apart from these there will be the section called Dimensions Mumbai which will screen short films made by young filmmakers of Mumbai under the age of 25.
Out of Competition Section
This section features India premieres of the best films from all over the world made in this calendar year. Among the films by major filmmakers, you can watch out for Hou Hsiao‐Hsien’s The Assassin, Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa, Paulo Sorrentino’s Youth and Atom Agoyan’s Remembers. There are some interesting and unusual entries too such as Sean Baker’s Tangerine, a film shot with only an iPhone, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Junun, a documentary shot in Rajasthan and an array of biographical documentaries on great directors made by other great directors such as “Jia Zhang‐ke, A Guy From Fenyang”, a film on the Chinese auteur Zhang-ke by the Brazilian director Walter Salles (of Motorcycle Diaries fame).
The India Story
India Story features films by Indian filmmakers that highlight and celebrate the diversity of India. Some interesting entries here include Abhay Kumar’s documentary Placebo which is actually a social experiment on four students and Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s The Immortals chronicling 100 years of Indian cinema which follows his much acclaimed first documentary The Celluloid Man.
Films in this category celebrate the Indian Diaspora and the multiple narratives of the Indian experience outside of India. Watch out for Rucha Humnabadkar’s For Here or to Go, which has a fun look at the immigration process and Sturla Gunnarsson’s Monsoon, which is literally about the monsoon season of India, shot with extra high definition cameras.
MAMI Tribute (India and International)
This section showcases the works of masters of Indian and International Cinema. This year the academy has chosen Chetan Anand and Agnes Varda. So, you must not miss Anand’s debut feature Neecha Nagar (1946), one of the earliest Indian films to have won international acclaim (at the very first instalment of the Cannes Festival) and Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7, one of the finest examples of French New Wave not made by Godard or Truffaut.
This section showcases restored classic films from India and around the world. This is your chance to catch gems like Ray’s Apu Trilogy, Guru Dutt’s Pyasa, Ritwik Ghatak’s Komal Gandhar and MS Sathyu’s Garm Hawa. You may have seen them already but they will be on big screen and restored fully to their original glory.
After Dark section will screen the best of horror genre from India and around the world. Japanese maestro Sion Sono will be there with his latest offering Tag but Indian horror buffs will also be looking forward to Ludo by the Bengali auteur Q of Gandu and Tasher Desh fame.
Rendezvous presents the best in contemporary French Filmmaking. So, it is screening several films by French directors. The biggest name being screened in this section is of course Jaques Audiard. His film Dheepan is about a Tamil refugee from Sri Lanka in Paris and it has already won the Palm D’or at Cannes this year.
MAMI is also introducing a couple of special sections this year namely Half Ticket, featuring children’s films from around the world and Hot Docs, featuring the best from the world of documentary filmmaking, specially curated for MAMI Mumbai by the team behind Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary film festival.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your dates and make a wish list because MAMI has more than you can handle in a week.
MAMI is scheduled from the 30th of October to the 5th of November, at various venues across Mumbai.