Cover Story - Sydney Film festival 2016
Sydney Film Festival is one of the world's longest-running film festivals celebrating 12 days around important cinemas of the city including the Magnifique State Theatre, screening feature films, documentaries, short films and animations from around the world. The flagship program of Sydney Film Festival is the Official Competition, which was established in 2008 and celebrates 'courageous, audacious and cutting-edge' cinema.
This year's line-up had a variety of films coming directly from Cannes (four out of which participated in competition), Australian documentaries and Competitive Short films among others. The main highlight about the festival is all the films that premiered for competition were introduced by the filmmakers themselves and they were available for a short Q&A session after that as well. It was good to know a lot of interesting things about these films straight from the directors themselves. This festival also has a Travelling Film Festival that happens throughout the year among the best cinemas of NSW and Queensland. I was lucky enough to attend this festival given I've just moved to this crazy busy harbour city.
P.S: I only managed to watch Viva, a Spanish-language Irish drama about Cuban drag clubs, Anurag Kashyap's Psycho Raman (which also features in this month's Two cents worth column), Ten Years an insightful film from Hong kong and Comoara a Romanian drama.
Two Cents Worth : RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 (International title : Psycho Raman)
a still from RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0
Based on true events of the notorious serial-killer Raman Raghav, comes Anurag Kashyap's next Raghav Raghav 2.0 straight from Cannes director's fortnight. As the budget was on a shoestring, Kashyap couldn't do a biopic or a periodical one and it's called 2.0 as it tells the story of Ramanna a character loosely based on the real-life antagonist. I watched this in Sydney Film Festival where it was part of the competition screenings. Anurag Kashyap couldn't make it to the festival due to his recent fight against the Board of Censorship, India.
Though I had a slight disappointment this could not be made as a biopic, a positive thing out of the decision is the film turned out to be a stylish psychological thriller, thanks to the killer background score from Ram Sampath and stunning and lurid visuals by the debutant Jay Oza. The screenplay turns monotonous after a point but what carries the movie amidst few shallow performances is Nawazuddin Siddiqui's intense and creepy performance.
Facts : Did you know ?
Time Travel depictions in Movies and TV are banned in China.
Are they building a real time machine in secret and didn't want the scientists to get distracted by the reel ones ??? God knows.
Vis Beau - Stories written by the lens
Cinematography is the powerful aspect of a film and is the aesthetic which helps to unfold a story. Cinematography is not just about the technique or the lighting aspects, it's a visual style adapted to each story to enhance it and reveal it to the audience as visualized by the storyteller. Here in this section, I'll take one of the best cinematography rich films (I categorize them as Vis Beau in my collections) of all time and talk a bit about it. This month I'm going to talk about Ennu Ninte Moideen (Malayalam) a rare gem of Indian Cinema which had cinematography by Jomon.T.John.
This Vis beau, a biographical romantic drama directed by R.S. Vimal is a timeless love story between real-life characters Moideen and Kanchanamala that focuses on the issues of inter-religious marriages of 70's in India. I didn't just choose this movie for it's beautiful cinematography, but also due to it's uniqueness in bringing out emotions of humanity through the lens. Jomon's lens captures the character's emotions well you could just see the contrast between them just in the visuals especially of the lead pair's patience and Moideen's father. Jomon.T.John always surprises me with his great skills for such a young cinematographer.
The lighting was brilliant throughout the film especially in the rain shots. Beautiful portrayal of rain makes it part of the cast. I was especially stunned by the top angle shot when Moideen's dad stabs him in the rain, subtle way to show a horrific scene. There's no surprise Jomon.T.John got the honor with the inclusion of his work in this film in ARRI Show reel that only includes work from 18 other cinematographers including Oscar winners Emmanuel Lubezki and Roger Deakins. He also won the prestigious Kerala State Award for Best Cinematography this year.
New films I can't wait to check out
Our Kind of Traitor (July) - Apart from the fact that I'm not gonna miss watching John le Carré's adaptations in big screen and have read this novel, there's Evan Mcgreggor in the cast and the screenplay is by Hossein Amino, the guy who got my attention after his stylish thriller The two faces of January.
Maggie's Plan (July) - There's been a lot of buzz around this movie lately especially after it's run in few of the festivals including Toronto Film Festival last year. And I always like Julianne Moore's performance and a fan of Greta Gerwig after seeing her performances in Frances Ha and Mistress America. Also with Sam Levy's camera (who also was associated in Frances Ha and Mistress America), I'm not gonna miss this one on big screen.
This month's cinema I'm so glad to tell you all about one of the best theatres I've been : The State Theatre, Sydney. I happen to see few movies as part of Sydney Film Festival here.
The State Theatre is not a cinema, this majorly hosts theatricals, plays and musical concerts, except for some film festivals and carpet premieres that shows motion pictures including the infamous Sydney Film Festival. It's running since 1929 and is located in the heart of Sydney city. It hosted the Sydney Film Festival for the first time in 1974 and it's been the home for the festival since then and has continued to play host to this event for two weeks in June, each subsequent year.
The State Theatre has capacity of 2775 comprising three levels from the lower Stalls Main Floor, Mezzanine in the middle and Dress circle in the top. Since this is not much of a cinema, I thought they won't use the full sound capacity when they premiere movies, and they knocked me wrong completely. I was blown away by the sound especially for the movies Viva and Psycho Raman whose highlights were the songs and the background score.
I'd definitely come to Sydney Film Festival always just to watch films in this theatre even until I'm in Australia.
About the Author
I am Manick, a movie fanatic based out of Sydney, Australia. I'm a programmer by profession and crazy about movies, photography and music. I currently watch movies in over twenty different languages. I'm creating this newsletter Movingtales to share my passion with you and to bring you inside my world of movie watching. Thanks for reading. Happy watching movies.
Until the next issue, Manick.