A synopsis of all that we experienced on the second day of the 20th Mumbai Film Festival.
1:30 p.m.: Screening of Spanish film Champions at PVR Nirmal Lifestyle, Mulund
Director: Javier Fesser
Spanish film Champions is a real tearjerker, a laugh-out-loud comedy, and an excellent feel-good film all rolled into one. It’s not only the first sports film that features differentially abled people in the thick of the action, but also does complete justice to its unique premise by being different in its treatment — winners or losers, all who compete are champions, and they threat their opponents like that, too; something rarely observed in other sports films. However, such statements along with other pertinent ones are made while never letting go of the film’s heartwarming touch, and that’s what makes it such a pleasing rollercoaster. Of course, some plot points appear contrived, and maybe, even a tad far-fetched, but I double dare you to sit through champions without laughing heartily and choking up at several junctures through its runtime.
3:30 p.m.: Screening of Spanish film Champions at PVR Nirmal Lifestyle, Mulund
Director: Aijaz Khan
Hamid is a heartfelt, honest portrait of the current socio-political structure in Kashmir, seen through the innocent eyes of an 8-year old boy and the unlikely bond he strikes with a hard-as-nails army officer. A special mention to my dear friend, John Wilmor, who has captured Kashmir in all its beauty and brutality, with his brilliant camerawork, which adds heavily to the essence of the film. The only place where Director Aijaz Khan loses his grip slightly over the narration is during the climax. Nevertheless, Hamid is highly recommended when it hits screens in its wide release.
6:30 p.m.: Screening of Mandarin film A Land Imagined at PVR Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla
Director: Siew Hua Yeo
A Land Imagined beings with a lot of dialogue that simply drags and takes the film nowhere, followed by a slightly suspenseful turn around the halfway stage, involving a close friend of the hero going missing, only to revert to said hero again talking too much and doing too little to find said friend, culminating in an entirely vague, half-baked, and unconvincing finale. If I ever go missing, I sincerely hope that my friend and family do a better job. Barring a handful of suspenseful moments, this one has precious little else to offer.
8:30 p.m.: Screening of Argentinian film Terrified at PVR Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla
Director: Demián Rugna
If, like me, you, too, have been finding conventional jump scares, sudden shocks, and jarring sound effects in recent horror films to be less than effective, and if you’re a diehard horror movie-buff, then you need to drop everything and watch the Argentinian film, Terrified (Aterrados), which makes chilling use of genre tropes to scare the living heebie-jeebies out of you and constantly keep you on edge in anticipation of what’ll happen next. I haven’t jumped from my seat, felt shivers down my spine, and had my fists clenched at so many instances in single film since ages. And all these sensations are backed by mysterious plot that not only keeps you guessing, but also leaves certain questions unanswered, compelling you to ponder over them long after the film is over while also leaving the scope ripe for a sequel. Remember the number of times when horror filmmakers claim that their next scary feature is “not for the faint of heart”? Well, writer-Director Demián Rugna has actually made one such film without tooting the hoot to have done so. A bit more clarity over the origin of the paranormal entities would have been welcome, but it looks that’ll be explored further in a possible sequel.
Over to the final day of (day 7) of MAMI 2018.