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Winners’ Circle

We at Cult Critic take pride in championing independent world cinema and it is this motivation that drives our monthly film awards. Like every month, a host of films spanning genre, form, and length was inducted into the Cult Criticvie Award – Winner’s Circle for August.

Impressing viewers and jury with their finesse, filmmakers from across the world showcased their craft, sharing the fruits of collective labor put in by exceptional writers, editors, cinematographers, and actors. Here’s a glimpse into some of the entries that bagged CULT CRITICS’ coveted titles this month.

Finite Water by Zachary Thomson&Dianne Wennick, United States 

Best Documentary Film

Runtime – 40.00

The resources of water may seem infinite but it is not. The film tries to delve deep into this infinity of water resources and show us some important aspects of water consumption and usage and the fatality of doing so. The directors wanted to make this documentary from the point of view of an average person
reflecting on the issue of the global water crisis. Her venture is a commendable one. Even more so if we keep in mind that it’s her first venture as a filmmaker.

The title of the film sums up the film for us with ‘In’ blurred and ‘Finite’ highlighted, The directors make their stand loud and clear. The conversations with common men and their views help to enrich the film. The cinematography deserves a special mention. The facts that the documentary provides are alarming. It makes us aware that it’s high time that we stop taking Earth’s resources taken for granted.

Time Decides by Dinesh Vishe, India

Category- Short film

Genre- Experimental, Feature, Student

Runtime – 10.00

Time Decides is a tale of hope. A man leaves his job and what follows is a series of self- doubt, depression and self-loathing. He even decides to take his life. But as they say, if there is another person who believes in you, you can win the world. Or at least, you get the hope that you can win against any adverse situation. This is what happens in Time Decides.

The Director uses the landscape pretty well. The silhouette scene is breathtaking; the credit of which goes to the man behind the camera. The use of light outdoors is done brilliantly. The philosophical conversation with the mystery man inspires us as well. And after all, that’s the goal
of cinema. Isn’t it?

Chhe by Dilip Sood, India

Category- Horror/Science Fiction/Genre Feature Film

Genre-Horror, Feature

Runtime – 1.42.00

The film is what the title is about. Six people. Six friends. They are of today’s generation; the sort who doesn’t believe in legends, the sort who testifies everything with reason. So what happens when they encounter something which cannot be justified with any logic or reason?

Horror is not a very well-discovered genre in the Indian film industry. Horror ends up being comedy almost most of the time. Dilip Sood took good care not to repeat the same mistake that his predecessors did in that matter. The legend of Bhangargh is an infamous one. He explores the fort as well as its history. The cinematographer brings out nooks and corners of the fort before us to make it all the more horrifying. You can taste the film here.

Cakewalk by Ram Kamal Mukherjee and Abhra Chakrabarty, India

Category-  Short films

Genre- Short

Runtime – 00.25.26

“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got”
– Robert Brault
Life isn’t a cakewalk – this is what the director duo wanted to show in a nutshell in their short feature Cakewalk. Were they successful? Let’s find out. The movie opens with a troubled woman who is facing multiple problems on her way to work. We get to know that she is a chef in a famous hotel by the virtue of being a runner up in a television cook show. The movie doesn’t talk about her formal training. Her colleagues are visibly skeptical about her. The solution of all her problems comes as an incentive which her boss offers the chefs if they can make a business tycoon happy. But things are not as simple as it seems. The drama intensifies as a past relationship between Shilpa and the businessman is revealed. We get a sneak-peek of Shilpa’s past life and her journey to overcome all the hurdles of life. The rest of the story is about winning and forgiving.

The movie features Esha Deol Takhtani as the protagonist Shilpa Sen. Esha makes a comeback to the silver screen after a long time. And no, she doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it might be the best acting she has ever done. Her supporting cast Tarun Malhotra gave her ample opportunity to act. Anindita Bose did justice to her role. We wonder what would happen if Esha and she shared a frame.

The only complaint to the director duo is that this could well be a feature film. Maybe, next time. You can click to watch the movie here.

Teenagers by Paul De Métairy, France

Category – Film on Religion

Genre- Feature

Runtime – 2.45.00

This is a story about the love and connection between young boys; connection and not eroticism. The film has faced many difficulties for its voyeuristic nature but what the director wanted to do in his pseudo-documentary is to convey the message that love can win anything over, even terrorism.

The film Teenagers revolve around a young boy Lucas and his ideologies. The film is in three parts. A fourteen-year-old Said is sent to execute Lucas because he has written a song about the ills of terrorism. The two bond well. But if Said fails to kill Lucas, his family will be killed. This part of the film ends tragically but powerfully as a white catholic male gives his life for a brown Muslim. The next part of the movie concentrates on Lucas’ childhood and how he was humiliated inhumanly, ‘like a dog’ when he was 12, by an older boy, faced with courage all the bullying, forgave him all and became even his friend! The last part shows a young man Alexis and how he saves a few young men from themselves following Lucas’ ideology.

“If Ben Laden had could watch this film on the little TV in his hideout, he had received the shock of his life!” says Paul de Métairy. The film talks about life before death and after it. It deals with the futility of terrorism and how we are capable of championing any terror within ourselves. You can check out the movie here.

Linoleum by Niki Noves, France

Category- Music Video, Short

Genre- Debut Filmmaker

Runtime – 00.5.50

Himself an artist, Niki Noves takes up Alan Chamfort’s classic Linoleum and translates into a post- the apocalyptical journey of men through the medium of dance. We see two men in different dimensions –clothed in white in one plain and in black in another. In the dark dimension, they are surrounded by a
few immobile bodies. They are connected by a black organic root coming out from their heads. Both of the worlds are connected. So are the characters. The only person who can penetrate these dimensions singing Linoleum is Alan Chamfort. Eventually, he resurrects humankind from death and appears as a
messiah to the new men. The war between both dimensions is finally over. What emerges is a yellow horizon promising life and nourishment.

Niki Noves does a brilliant job with the song. It’s aesthetically pleasing. The song stays with you even when the video is over. And it’s tough to stop going back to the song again and again. Francois Ray did a mind-blowing job with his camera. You can watch it here.


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