Review by Panchali Kar
Image (above) Avrora Mukhina and company from “Colors”
Roopa Iyer ‘s film Colors tells a tale of unity amongst diversity. The story revolves around Britney, a little girl who has lost her parents in a plane crash while coming to India. However she somehow remains alive. In the course of Britney’s journey through India, the children she comes across stand up by her, take care of her, save her from all kinds of threats, starting from the wild animals to the humans with incorrect motives. It is the children who do not care about the discrimination between them and Britney: difference in language, race, colour, background, food habit, lifestyle, nothing could build up a wall between the kids and Britney. In the end it is the children who hands over Britney to the police, from where she’s sent to her homeland finally.
The USP of the movie is in the subject itself. Such a relevant topic; beautifully established, without being preachy. Very bright colour palette, adding an extra charm to the story progression. The background music is intricate. Decent cinematography, good direction, and mind blowing performances by the kids. The child actors including Britney were spot on in terms of expressions, body language, and dialogue delivery. They were confident in the choreographed dance sequences as well.
Unlike most cult films, which caters only to the serious film audience, or the cinephiles, Colours goes one step ahead by breaking the idea of how a cult film usually looks like. The rebellious act of breaking the notion was evident in each and every section of the film; starting from the casting, to the choice of the outfits, to the use of a few song-and-dance routines which is an important element if the popular commercial cinema. This one hour and forty minutes of duration sets up a perfect balance between a necessary message and the entertainment values. This establishes a ray of hope for good filmmaking. The sooner we break our preconceived boundaries of art, better the society we make, better the films we create.
Review by Panchali Kar
Image (above) from “Water”
Water as a film has a lot to offer because it leaves the major part to the interpretation of the viewers. This short film of a duration of just six minutes is strong enough to give a message, dark enough to keep the audience intrigued, and experimental enough to challenge the traditional way of film making. There is no straight away story to this film, instead it conveys an idea, a concept, a philosophy which is deeply embedded within the progression of the film.
Water could be anything: something you want to achieve, something you long for, something that’s tough to conquer, or maybe the thirst for knowledge, the meaning of life that you’ve been looking for all your life, and you reach the point of salvation only when you leave the earthly pleasure and get submerged in the great unknown. Discrete visuals, repetitive occurrence of incidents, split screen, and the black & white frames with high contrast successfully creates an eerie atmosphere. The background score supports the visuals strongly.
It is a welcome change to see that an interesting film could be made without any proper story or establishing any dramatic personae. The few characters who appear on-screen could be you, me, anyone.
Keeping the aesthetics aside, Water is a strong film in the context of technicalities. Very unconventional cinematography. The edit with abrupt cuts has given an extra punch to the treatment of the film. Fantastic use of music which didn’t let any boredom peep in, even for a fraction of a second. Monochrome with high contrast tone has added to the harshness of the subject. The few characters did not have much to do because the philosophy is the protagonist of the story. Overall a wonderful effort.
Review by Arindam Bhunia
Nicolas Debru (AKA LASKO): Director
Frédéric Belin: Writer
Anne Berlier Pianeti: Bio
Samuel Safa: Music
Whether science is a boon or a bane for mankind? It is a never-ending question. Today Science has so much intent on our life that it is really hard to imagine living without tools. Here the dispute arises. Will too much dependency on scientific tools gradually demolish the human race? ‘Hyperconnexion’ has also raises same question for us.
It’s a scenario of our forthcoming future. Xenia is an ultra powerful universal network. By using this high-powered network people just have to do nothing; in the contrary they may live their life to the full. But, there must be another side of coin. People forget that science without conscience can be destructive. Due to some technical problem or attack of virus Xenia broke down and some mishap happens.
Not more than eight minutes and in such a short duration director Nicolas magnificently represented the purpose. The movie what it is, a perfect 10, because it takes the vision that science without conscience is death of the soul. All the actors have done an extremely impressive job.
Science helps to push forward the mankind. It is Man’s helpmate and has been a great blessing to man. It has conquered nature. It has helped the blind to see, the deaf to hear and the lame to walk. In fact in every field of life it has given us comfort and luxuries. There is no doubt that science has made our life easygoing, but on the other hand it is gradually converting man from master to slave, which is a curse for mankind. It may be high time to take a step back from technology to truly evaluate our position. Let us hope that ultimately sanity prevails and science is used more and more for the benefit of humanity.
Review by Panchali Kar
Maya is a story about a simple village girl with big dreams. Dreams to pursue education, become self-dependent, and to do something for her family. Hailing from the lower income group, her mother, who happens to be the only earning member of the family takes care of Maya and her younger sister. Being provoked by the neighbors that Maya is at the right age of being married off, her mother decides to give Maya’s hand to a suitable groom.
Things change when Maya reaches her in-laws. Her mother in law is extremely abusive. Maya is shamed for her dreams and her caste all the time. Her priorities are vandalized every now and then. Her dreams get shattered in front of her eyes. According to her mother in law, she’s a girl, and as per societal norms, the girls shouldn’t have big dreams. The torture reaches it’s zenith when Maya gives birth to a girl child. Maya’s infant daughter is killed mercilessly by her mother in law because girl children are burdens to the family. Seeing her motherhood at stake Maya takes the drastic action of stabbing her mother in law to death.
This may sound like a one of a story, however these issues are extremely relevant in several parts of the country. Till date female foeticide happens rampantly, female children are deprived of their education, no matter how bright they are. The film Maya does a brilliant job in portraying the truth. Beautiful use of symbolism has been portrayed in this film, where a man dressed as goddess Kali (Bohurupee) crosses path with Maya, at different crossroads of her life and she offers him whatever she has: this portrayal signifies the inner strength of Maya as goddess Kali, where she herself raises up to kill the power of injustice.
Along with being so brutally relevant, Maya does leave it’s mark in the technical and aesthetic sections as well. Very sleek storytelling, neat cinematography with beautifully captured close ups, brilliant performances by all the actors, interesting soundscape, together results to a fine production.
OUT OF THE BLUE
“My desire was to bring an immersive experience to the viewer, telling the inspiring story of the fishermen families of Cabo Pulmo” – Sophie Ansel
Review by Victor Eustáquio
In ten minutes, Sophie Ansel invites us for a journey into the legacy inherited by 8-years old Yerick, a child amongst a community of fishermen in Cabo Pulmo who became unexpected conservationists when faced the depletion of their marine resources. In an area once described by Jacques Cousteau as the ‘Aquarium of the World’, the fishermen families of Cabo Pulmo chose to sacrifice the source of their food and income in a revolutionary and dramatic decision: a fishing ban in their own waters in order to encourage marine life to return and find shelter. A rebirth followed, transforming the Cabo Pulmo Marine Park into a hope spot for the planet.
For this journey through space, but also through the time, Sophie had to document the tales of the past and a wholly immersive space, combining animation with 360 underwater and drone technologies.
The result is an intensive and fast-paced experience hard to label, which is its main achievement. If ‘Out of the Blue’ can be seen as an environmental documentary, it goes further, by changing the traditional format of a linear story to a compelling and emotional imagetic work, with a deeply poetic sense.
For the viewers, it is not only a question of feeling a connection with the family portrayed and the challenges these people have been through, as well as the choices they’ve made, but also an opportunity to dive into Cabo Pulmo’s underwater heritage with magical sea creature encounters, to be closer to wild ocean animals in a way that probably they’ve never experienced before (thanks to VR and 360 techniques usage).
An inspiring story with an innovative cinematic approach.
I Shall Never Return
Review by Victor Eustáquio
Directed by Levin Garbisch
Lloyd Bacon in 1930. John Huston in 1956. Or Paul Stanley in 1978. They are some of the countless filmmakers who brought to the big screen the story of Melville’s classic novel. In addition to the countless television series. And of other more free adaptations, of which it could be a good example the recent ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ by Ron Howard (2015).
In fact, the obsession, or the mechanisms of how it develops and manifests itself – in Melville’s version, the obsession of Ahab, captain of the whaler the Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, the white whale that on the previous whaling voyage bit off Ahab’s leg at the knee – is a sufficiently passionate and challenging subject for storytellers. But starting from ‘Moby Dick’ does not seem to be a particularly brilliant idea. This was the dilemma of director Levin Garbisch. Obsessed with Melville’s work, he wanted to make a movie about obsession, but he was not finding a solution to escape from ‘Moby Dick’.
One day, driving around downtown LA while listening to Mastodon’s album ‘Leviathan’ (also based on ‘Moby Dick’s story), searching for a place to park, Levin had a crazy idea: what if instead of searching to kill a whale, his Ahab character was just looking for a parking space? It may seem strange, but that’s what it’s about ‘I Shall Never Return’, the first feature film of Levin Garbisch. A surreal adaptation of ‘Moby Dick’, the story of Lake, a young man obsessed with finding the ultimate truth, who is led down a path into the horrifying depths of his own subconscious. With a surreal production budget of 15,000 USD.
The result is not entirely convincing. Still, Levin’s boldness has several positive aspects. The ability to tell a story, which in theory had everything to fail; the ability to engage and challenge the viewer in front of the strangeness and apparent inversomility he is watching (until finally, he begins to feel Melville’s reminiscences); the ability to translate into a cinematic experience an appeal to the transition between the conscious and the subconscious in search of a reading or of coordinates for an obscure plot, permanently on the edge of the cliff.
In the cinematographic level, the aesthetic sense of Levin Garbisch can be questionable, the camera movements or the editing can be too much conventional when the narrative material was opening the way for other approaches. But the film is based on consistent cinematography and acceptable interpretations.
It is necessary more, but Levin surely will find the solution.
THE SULTAN AND THE SAINT
“Angry dehumanizing words spark violence today as it did before. Transcending differences, the road to peace runs through the common humanity that we all share.” – Jeremy Irons
Review by E.J. Wickes
An example of good set design and construction (above) from www.filmcats.us
From the Films on Religion category comes The Sultan and the Saint. I was surprised to see this strong of an entry in a festival with such humble beginnings as the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival. A film that has obviously made its mark as a top quality production internationally, especially with the auspicious narration from Jeremy Irons. And then I thought, what perfect timing it was to circulate something positive and hopeful about the dynamics between Muslims and Christians….for a change.
This historical drama about a meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan Al-Kamil during one of the many tedious and violent Crusades, is informative if not inspiring. The value of this production lies not only in the cinematography, design and location, but in the many experts who collaborated on the project. Historians, art historians, religious thinkers and social scientists collaborated, to share their areas of expertise to tell this story.
This is a hard review to write for me, being one who is empathetic toward the human condition. I’m an American and my country has been involved in much geopolitical posturing in the Middle East for decades. The War on Terror has thrust many a good person into a state of “nationalist” paranoia and this cannot stand if we are to continue on as a nation and as a species. Even though we all come from our own environmental “nurturing”, we sometimes lose track of the historical causes for unrest when we’re being hit hard by the effects of history today.
Written and Directed by Alex Kronemer, and featuring Alexander McPherson and Zack Beyer, this documentary is an example of what I like to call “good” propaganda. Art, as free as it pretends to be, can always be recruited for the agendas of church and state. The visual art of independent filmmaking demands a departure from the censorship of either. It was refreshing to see how opposites can attract no matter how polarized the status quo has become to form a unifying message.
Like all great art, timely, though provoking and acutely relevant.
CAPE ESPICHEL: IN LAND OF A LOST WORLD
Review by Daniela Lucato
The film introduces us to Cape Espichel through a wonderful journey starting from the ancient time. Cape Espichel is a mystic territory with a beautiful landscape, a charming place on the Portuguese coast. We get fascinated through the multiple stories that the rocks tell us about this cape: if we could touch them we would go back 145 million of years.
We fly over the top of the cliffs to explore how quickly the landscape is changing. We appreciate their colours, the soft shapes of the rocks, their particular texture. The amount of macro and micro fossils reveals us how much life was present on this piece of nature and these fossils are the witnesses of the evolution of the environment. With the amazed eyes of a child we can watch the steps of dinosaurs and we are allowed to imagine them passing by in small groups.
In a new chapter of the film we see how religions influenced the architectonical side of Cape Espichel with the building of the church opposite to a sanctuary of the same scale. The place became also a center for pilgrims and more of fifty congregations are crowding the space many times during the year like a unique community.
Again, we go back to nature and enjoy our small human scale in relation to the space. From the rocks we go deep into the water of this lost paradise and we discover more than 1.400.000 species living there: a geomorphological phenomenon, a great biodiversity. If you walk close to the lighthouse and you raise your eyes up to the sky, you can observe the fantastic choreography of migrating birds going from Cape Espichel to Africa. Cape Espichel is also a very appreciated place for cinema: among the multitude of films shot here, we can remember The House of the Spirit, The invisible circus, Hornblower and Night Train to Lisbon.
The film presents us the cape as a magic place not just for its natural essence but also for the multiple ways we can explore it, in a transversal way.
The mixture of nature, religion, architecture, landscape, the huge variety of animals with thousands of colours and shapes, the sense of freedom that we breath from the stunning photography let us reflect on how much we miss sometimes the contact with other species and how much richness on several levels there could be in the same place. We learn to see a place with new eyes and to start moving them in a direction we were not used to.
THE HIDDEN CORNER (HAANDUK)
Review by Miguel Ángel Barroso
Image (above) from “The Hidden Corner”
Many times, the most discreet film in appearance, is the one that surprises the viewer. This is the case of this film titled Haanduk, the young director Jaicheng Jai Dohutia, who not being young, interests us, but because his youth is a mature maturity when dealing with a subject as delicate as that of political extremisms and their social connotations, Political and military.
But one can still add more: the aesthetic point of view in the narrative chosen by Dohutia, who bets on a cinema that is clearly far from industrial conventions, and very concerned about developing the narrative applied to the art of cinema, as some of us want to understand The cinema and not like anything else, although it may exist. The world is a business and the economy, unfortunately, is responsible for all our ills, although paradoxically it brings us all the goods we enjoy.
If to these two values that we find in this film, namely: youth coupled with maturity, and aesthetic risk, we add that it is an opera prima, we not only have to admire ourselves, but to get excited, because in today’s world, it is It is increasingly difficult for an artist to be an artist from the very first moment of giving birth to his work.
Lately I mention the great French director, Robert Bresson, but I can not stop doing it, because I want to assume his total and absolute commitment to art, and in this case the art of cinema. Bresson says that there are two kinds of cinema: one is the theater of theatrical performance, which brings nothing and serves the laws of commerce nobly; To this form he simply calls it: Cinema; And the second is the Cinematograph, which pretends to be the development and artistic expression of an art that was born from the invention of an object capable of reproducing our reality in moving images. That said, I do not want to insist that (like Bresson) I have nothing against Cinema, but I am not interested as an artist, because it serves no independent art form, but the economic dictates of the industry of each country .
And although all this seems to distance me from such an extraordinary film as The Hidden Corner, this is not the case, since this film aligns itself and is dedicated to this predicate or this Bressonian religion that we love a great minority in the world.
Precisely, this film has evoked me to Bresson, in a wonderful sequence in which a woman runs behind the camera and throws herself into a lake. Such a tale is irrelevant, but told by Jaicheng Jai Dohutia, it is simply dazzling by its simplicity. The viewer knows that the woman has jumped into the water to end her life, but we never see the falling into the water materialize; We hear the sound of a body falling into the water and then we see white aquatic plants that float as if someone wants to pull it and drag them to the bottom of the lake. Shattering beauty to represent the intimacy of the act of taking life that must be modesty and not shameful. It is so intense the purity that is obtained at the end of this brief sequence, that the emotions rise to the top and remain alert to the future of history and its resolution.
The hidden corner is full of influences of style, but not contaminated by any. She only aspires to be herself, through the soul of her director. And when the soul is transparent, it highlights the beauty, the volume of art is formed and each plane is a direct brushstroke to the white canvas of the screen, which takes its time, which is born in each new brushstroke. And the soul creates the colors, and the complexity of existence comes out, and the tense human relationships in the most extreme situations and in the most atypical societies.
The story unfolds in India, but it looks like another India, an India that forgets the postcard and cliché of so many Indian films that they forget their own diversity as an immense and complex country.
The action takes place in the state of Assam, in the Northeast region of India that is divided into seven states, being this one of the most conflictive in popular uprisings. In fact, the central theme lies in the story of Mukti, an extremist belonging to a group that emerged in the early 1970s, which, he said, was opposed to the entry of undocumented aliens into his region. Mukti is disappeared and is persecuted by the authorities. The film’s analysis of this closed and marginal society, which is absolutely rural in nature, is illuminating to study how India has evolved since its independence from the English in 1947, and what the population’s journey is in terms of social liberties, Political and cultural from that moment until today.
A great find this young director, telling us the political history of India through another India, perhaps too forgotten by all, but still alive and very revulsive within a huge body that is not satisfied with being only one Arm, or even less.
It is admirable the work of production carried out with very little money, which has achieved a film of great formal beauty, composing its fabric of images through general plans well planned and well interpreted by all its actors, cut from time to time, By disturbing close-ups and smooth camera movements. Also admired is the worked soundtrack (without music) highlighting the sounds of nature, mysterious, daring; Sometimes plagued with terror in the shadows and in the sunlight. We must congratulate ourselves for finding films like this and directors like Jaicheng Jai Dohutia, who make the world advance and us with it.
STRANGERS IN THE PARK
Review by Arindam Bhunia
We can become infatuated with or lose our heart to someone in different ways. Sometimes we use to struck by someone’s beauty…and sometimes one’s word continues to exist in our heart of hearts forever. But, none of these actions created the magic between the two ‘STRANGERS’ in the park. In spite of yours weakness someone’s true love will help your hidden talent to come out. This simple and internal feeling has beautifully presented in this award winning short film.
In the movie, hero use to stammer whenever he is in tension and can’t talk properly to the very strangers though he is an ace ventriloquist. In the fear that everyone may jest at him, the hero confides himself in his own world…Heroine is a very lively and bubbly girl having a very positive frame of mind. She consciously ignores hero’s shortcoming, in fact when she comes to know about his hidden talent she cheerfully joins and motivates him.
At variance of romantic movies are there but very few ends up with a ‘feel good’ and glorious feeling. And if it is a short film then the prospect naturally declines. In this case ‘Strangers in the Park’ must gain a pass in excellence. In case of acting the duo are superb to watch exuding chemistry that seems that will last for a long time. The background music serves as the perfect foil. Direction is so sensible and level-headed that it is really hard to explore or scrutinize director Danilo Zambrano as a student film maker.
One’s abhorrence and revulsion can make a person’s life like a nightmare. On the contrary one’s love, adoration and warmth can make our life full of merriment and pleasure. This 5:42 minutes short film has beautifully apprise us this message. We know Danilo Zambrano will certainly gift us with such touching story in the coming times.
Review by Miguel Ángel Barroso
Image (above) from Hear Me
Have we ever wondered what we hear perfectly, how should all those who do not hear at all? Surely not. I, at least, have never asked myself that question. It is not good to ignore the rest of the society with which we live, because in a certain moment, our lives can pass to the other side, that side in which we have never thought, or never wanted to belong. And it is that the deficiencies belong to everyone, both those who are supposed to “not have”, as well as those who “have them.” And it is good to think that we are all equal, precisely because of our differences. This is the first step to respect between men and women, each with their own baggage and personal freedoms. And it is that “difference” is the greatest sign of rapprochement that human beings can have; And yet we do not know how to make good use of this sign that marks us from birth. I think thanks to this film by Olga Arlauskas and Svetlana Gorlo, we can start to learn it, to practice it and to develop it for life.
Hear me, is a documentary film, although it does not move closely in its rules, but it makes use of a great visual imagination that confers to him tone of fiction, where the personages speak with each other with naturalness; As if the camera was not in front of them to shoot them with the seriousness of a report.
What is this film so imaginative and spontaneous? As the title can tell us, it has to do with communication, with music, with words, with sounds. And all this is correct, because Hear me, approaches the world of the deaf and their difficult relations with the rest of the people who hear with all clarity.
In a world such as ours, where noise is increasingly increased, and values such as sticking headphones to the ears exceeding the decibels allowed so as not to damage our delicate interior acoustics, it seems more appropriate to approach a film like this, which puts The finger on the sore, but openly, and totally honest. This means that the directors of the film do not seek the effectiveness or the sensationalism of the subject, and, fortunately, do not seek the viewer to pity or become victims with people who can not hear.
It’s just the opposite. The approach of the film is: Since there are more people who can hear, why not approach head-on those who can not hear, instead of leaving them away in silence, hoping, in any case, they are the ones who give The first step towards us, happy because our ears do hear sounds and words?
A series of characters deprived of sound, star in the film; And through them, we attend the experience of their encounters with people who can hear perfectly. The quote is a little blind, and the surprise occurs when the person who hears, realizes that his interlocutor or interlocutor is deaf, and he does not know sign language. How to understand then? Most decide that writing is a good idea, but most feel discouraged and despair as the appointment progresses and realizes that the person in front will never be like him, a privileged listener to the noises of life.
In Russia there are 13 million people with hearing impairments, and 250,000 live in complete or partial silence. The figure is huge and should make us think. The plot of the film is effective and helps us in this work of “discovering” the other that, although different, is exactly like us: loves the same, suffers the same and develops the same. Life, finally, is the same for everyone: deaf and not deaf.
Hear me, play with music and dance showing how effective this is, for communication with the world of silence. Musical vibrations transmit sound energies through the body – the physical contact is almost sensual – and give the sound to a person who can not hear. You can dance to the rhythm of music and make it better than a person who physically listens to musical notes.
Hear me, it is filmed with gusto, with an amazing agility achieved through a careful montage that strongly binds the film. Another of the added value of the film is its interest as teaching material that could be offered through schools, exerting a highly beneficial influence on children and young people.
Artists are often asked to be careful in dealing with issues, so as not to hurt sensibilities and be morally responsible. This film offers an unblemished ethic that helps us to be better people. We also demand that the public authorities and governments make use of the artists when they offer their help unselfishly. What a better gift than a movie that delights us, talking about the problems that affect us and we have no right to ignore!
NIL: NO BLOOD FOR COFFEE
Review by E.J. Wickes
James Turner: Director
Andrew Foerster: Co-Director/Animation
Devin Polaski: Music/Sound Design
Best Animated Film went to Nil: No Blood for Coffee, by James Turner and associates. The story is based on characters from the 2005 graphic novel, Nil: A Land Beyond Belief and follows Proun Nul from bed to absurdist battlefield, where the ultimate prize is a morning coffee. It’s a delightful two and a half minute romp through a dystopian art-deco landscape, graphically stylized in “neo-fascist chic”.
Our character wakes from his sleep and proceeds with his day, passing by advertisements for the big box stores like “Best Bomb” and other mind control propaganda. On his way to work, he finds himself shanghaied into the military and thrust onto the battlefield in search of a cup of coffee. Apparently the totalitarian bureaucracy of the state has neglected the coffee supply and Proun Nul must risk life and limb to acquire this rare commodity for his commanders under heavy fire.
The irony is rich, considering that number one traded commodity in the world is oil. Any guesses what the number two traded commodity is? That’s right, coffee! This is a very intelligent piece of work and conveys an important message. That mankind will stop at nothing to placate his wants and addictions, wherever it serves the propagandist nature of an illegitimate state. The industrialized style of animation by Andrew Foerster is clean, not overworked and the sound design by Devin Polaski is tasteful and not without its own elegance.
No matter how much it’s masked with humor and wit, the reality of the message forges through its own absurdity. The question that the filmmakers seem to be asking is, how absurd does it need to get before the paradigm of war as an industry or an “economic principle” instead of a last resort, finally changes?
Review by Sandip Pratihar
Directed by Paul Hoenberger
Neuschwanstein is known all over the world as a symbol of idealised romantic architecture and for the tragic story of its owner. After losing sovereignty in his own kingdom, Ludwig II withdrew into his own world of myths, legend and fairytales. Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Bavaria is without a doubt one of the most frequently photographed sights in Germany. Ludwig II’s ambitious project, begun in 1869, united aspects of Wartburg Castle with those attributed to the Castle of the Holy Grail from Wagner’s ‘Parsifal’. For Ludwig, Neuschwanstein was primarily a retreat. After ascending the Bavarian throne in 1864, he was forced to cede power to the Prussians just two years later, which left him with a hatred of the royal seat of Munich.
To compensate, he devoted more and more of his time to the fine arts. After his sovereignty was taken away, he withdrew into his own world of myths, legend and fairytales. Among the castle’s finest rooms are two magnificent halls. One of these, the Singers’ Hall, is a larger and more exquisite version of the same room in the Wartburg, and also incorporates elements from the medieval castle’s banqueting hall – though it never echoed to the sound of singing or festivities. The double-storey throne room reaches fifteen metres in height and is encircled by galleries on both floors. Its extravagant decorations dazzle in gold and blue.
Ludwig’s great passion, however, was for the Hall of the Holy Grail, in which he united his nostalgia for the Middle Ages with the latest technology of the time. The king even chose to wallow in the Middle Ages at mealtimes – his dining room is a veritable shrine to the minnesingers’ contest at Wartburg Castle. Ludwig’s sleeping quarters show a clear Gothic influence and are even embellished with details referencing Wagner’s operas. The dressing table has a swan-shaped tap inspired by ‘Lohengrin’. Another well-known feature of Neuschwanstein is the grotto, whose little waterfalls and coloured lighting create the impression of a mysterious cave. Excursions to neo-Gothic Hohenschwangau Castle, which was rebuilt from 12th century ruins in 1832, and to the Roman bath at Mount Tegelberg are also recommended.
This is the history of this castle. Director Paul well done his job with help of drone style. When I saw this film I wondered why I’m not there as the myth and story touched my heart.
Review by E.J. Wickes
Image (above), Peter Gyllenborg from “Decay”
First time filmmaker Matilda Wikingson makes a great first impression with Decay. With what appears to be a non-existent production budget she effectively delivers a fairly complex narrative in sixty seconds about the effects of gambling addiction. I was impressed by her minimalist approach and her care to not overwork the set dressing. Even with no dialogue the film’s pacing and structure remains strong.
Simplicity is the obvious solution to a cluttered reality and it’s serene to see it applied to filmmaking. Matilda’s plot develops logically; naturally. From the young couple nesting, to their fist child and ultimately into the disintegration of the relationship. As the exiting shot pulls away, we leave our hapless young man looking back into a complete reversal of our original point of view, as if we are the ones who are leaving.
The music was a great choice. The repetitive and melancholy ambiance reverberates the futility. And, the editing was barely short of perfect. When an artist engages any new experience, it is always better to perform one or two things brilliantly, than four or five things half-assed! And Ms. Wikingson (below) delivers with flying colors.
CHRONICLES OF A WILDLIFER
Review by Sandip Pratihar
A Film by Amit Goswamy
“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”
Ranthambore National Park is in Sawai Madhopur District of Rajasthan state. Located at the junction of the Aravalli and Vindhya hill range, this is one of the finest places to view animals, especially as they are used to being stared at here.The park covers an area of Approximately 400 sq Km and if combined it with the area of Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary area, it is around 500 Sq km. Ranthambore National Park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1957 and in 1974 it gained the protection of “Project Tiger”. It got status as a National Park in 1981.
The land of legends-Ranthambore (established-1980) in every case is unusual among the Indian reserves, with one and only reason, the presence of large number of Bengal tigers in the area. It is the ideal location to find a major tiger preserve. If anybody knows Ranthambore it’s all because of its reputation as the Tigers Paradise which was once the private hunting ground for the kings of Jaipur.
In Chronicles of a Wildlifer, Director Amit Goswamy portrays this issue in a good way. In the beginning of his film we see a small blue kingfisher hunting or just perching on a small rock. Then the snake meeting reminds the next part of their life. Gradually we saw some animals and then we saw Homo sapiens. It’s a beautiful way to present the directorial part. Goswamy not only wants to spread the message about the life of a wildlife researcher and what their day-to-day work entails; he also wants to bring an awareness about crimes against wildlife.
He shows the infrastructure and other subtle details of Ranthambore National Park, which benefit the animals’ existence and survival. The cinematography is remarkable; capturing the beautiful sunsets and of course, the editing portion is also done well. The morning atmosphere was caught by the camera brilliantly. The last scene of the documentary was a marvelous blend of the hunter’s time and the night time in the jungle.
“All creatures are deserving of a life free from fear and pain.” And others hand “I prefer the company of animals more than the company of humans. Certainly, a wild animal is cruel. But to be merciless is the privilege of civilized humans.” – Director’s Statement
THE CRADLE OF CULTIVATION
I want to leave, to go somewhere where I should be really in my place, where I would fit in…but my place is nowhere; I am unwanted.” – Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea
Review by Shailik Bhaumik
It is obvious that a more limited amount of freedom is granted to women, so that it is reasonable to ask oneself whether feminists can afford to be Sartreans. While watching The Cradle of Cultivation of Stephanie McCarthy, one is convinced that Sartre’s theories, after all, can be of interest to feminist filmmakers; to demonstrate this point is probably the task of the film. Fortunately director Stephanie succeeds in all aspects.
Since the beginning of 21st century, it has been observed that emerging filmmakers enjoy playing with narrative, form and structure of film. Sometimes it becomes difficult to identify a film whether fiction or documentary. The Cradle of Cultivation is not an exception of this trend. The protagonist tells her story verbally throughout the film. By construction the film is a documentary.
The film’s subject such as the look, the distinction between series and group, and the importance of the body that have become important for a feminist viewpoint. In addition, the themes of freedom, consciousness, bad faith, and authenticity are themes raised in the film that are of concern to both women and men. Yet, women’s specific issues, such as that of equality between the two sexes and the problem of oppression, are at the margin of filmmaker’s thought, as it is to be expected from the perspective of a masculine imaginary that stresses male transcendence as opposed to sheer immanence.
The film is shot in different landscapes of Australia. Filmmaker explores her past life behind the memory lane and becomes nostalgic sometimes.
The entire film is shot in Super 8mm film stock and old 4:3 aspect ratio is kept in the final format although it has been edited completely digitally. Experimental non linear editing style goes with the story telling. Being a 1st time filmmaker Stephanie shows promise and deserves appreciation.
Review by Victor Eustáquio
Directed by Nilesh Arun Kunjir
CICFF Best Children / Family Film of February 2017 season, ‘Soneri’ is a sweet and honest short film. It film follows the visit of an Indian child with his mother to his grandparents’ house, in a remote village, where he stays for a few days. Time to discover the joy and the pleasure of playing, with a local child, without toys. Play by interacting with the environment that surrounds him. Both with the physical space itself (unique to him, because it contrasts with the urban world he knows) and with the activities that take place in it (the everyday gestures of a rural community).
Nilesh Arun Kunjir thus portrays, through the eyes of this child, another world in which life proceeds slowly and simply, in which apparent trivial acts acquire a singular importance: the pleasure of playing with a plow, or of observing a small monkey, cows crossing a lake, birds flying from tree to tree, the bottom of a wide pool of water.
Practically everything without dialogues, because the image says it all. And it is also at this level that ‘Soneri’ is irreproachable. With a remarkable cinematography by Prathmesh Ragole, combining several classic camera moves with modern ones, this is an exemplary cinematic exercise.
Review by Victor Eustáquio
This is a short story of two teenagers indulging in underage driving, abusing substances, and road-rage. They end up in a huge trouble for their trivial thrills.
A straight story ‘to create a resounding impact on the youths psyche and to sensitive them’ for dangerous behaviors, as states, alias, the Indian young filmmaker Manuj Kathuria.
Rue is his film debut and needs to be put in that context. If we may say it has a linear plot and a predictable end, we can also accept it has the virtue to underline the idea that all acts have consequences. Even the most trivial. And this is something we always should be aware of, something that everyone should learn, no matter how inoffensive the acts can apparent to be.
But ‘Rue’ is not only a narrative. It is a cinematic experience and an interesting effort to create a tense and high-speed atmosphere of people in ‘high spirits’.
Despite some sound issues and editing redundancy, ‘Rue’ is served by a good cinematography (with very good composition moments and a clearly intentional color saturation to underline the dramatic crescent) and a considerable good acting.
So far, an achievement and a promise that we are in front of a young director who certainly will offer us good projects for the future.
Panchali Kar is a Dancer, Choreographer, Actor and Filmmaker. In addition, Panchali is a devout advocate for egalitarian social change, is affiliated with the NGO, Responsible Charity and currently working on a photo documentary on LGBT rights. She is an avid scholar and veteran of the performing arts and a seasoned instructor. Panchali maintains several degrees in the Arts including a M.Mus degree. Ms. Kar is also affiliated with AKTO, a Kolkata theater group based in the city in which she resides.
Shailik Bhaumik is an award-winning filmmaker and entrepreneur. Known for his feature film “Dasein”, Shailik is the founder and Chairman of Human Lab Corporation, a Multinational Film Company whose mission it is to help Independent Filmmakers survive and thrive in this highly competitive industry. Shailik oversees worldwide operations including production, distribution, and marketing for HLC’s live-action films, as well as films released under the HLC banner.
Arindam Bhunia is a marketing manager in an MNC with more than eight years of work experience in electrical field. Apart from his corporate job, he has interest in cultural activities so he joined Human Lab Corporation as Chief Executive Officer. He oversees strategic planning for film, television and video game production, marketing and distribution for the company’s business verticals worldwide. He is also responsible for overseeing finance, legal, labour relations, technology and HLC Studio operations.
Victor Eustáquio is an award-winning film producer and screenwriter and the Director of Calcutta International Cult Film Festival. A novelist; screenwriter; film producer and composer, Victor currently lives in Portugal and holds a BA in Political Science and a PhD in African Studies. As COO of HLC Studios, Victor coordinates the company’s various distribution strategies to maximize the value of HLC’s content across all current and emerging digital exhibition platforms.
Sandip Pratihar is an award-winning director, writer and filmmaker. As a screenwriter, director and independent filmmaker, he is very pro-active and follows his calling to communicate artistically intrinsic social messages. From West Bengal, India, Sandip is currently living in Kolkata. He has directed three films all currently playing the festival circuit. The short film “SITA”, is his most recent work, just took top honours at sixteen International film festivals.
Daniela Lucato started acting in Padua, Italy. She’s lived in Rome, Wellington and Berlin. In 2013 she wrote and directed the theatre piece “Call Me Reality” that debuted in several theater festivals. The Birthday (2014) is her first short film, written and directed in Mandarin and English. “Connecting Fingers” (2015) is her last dance-theatre production and “When I Dance” (2016) is her first feature documentary. Daniela is currently in pre-production on a short film and writing the script for her next feature.
E. J. Wickes is a visual artist and the Managing Editor of Cult Critic Film Magazine, as well as the creator and publisher of The Metamodern Magazine. His aesthetics lie somewhere in the vortex between fine art painting and filmmaking. Eric has worked in the Art Department on a variety of Hollywood, TV and independent film productions and as the Creative Director of HLC Studios, he oversees the company’s media and publishing division.