24th Kolkata International Film Festival 2018: 25 New Films To Watch

It is that time of the year again. The 24th Kolkata International Film Festival is about to begin and will be screening 171 feature films, 150 short films and documentaries from across 70 countries, spread across 16 venues between November 10 and November 17, 2018. 15 films will be competing in the International Competition: Innovation in Moving Images category, with another 13 in the Competition on Indian Language’s Films, all vying for the prestigious Golden Royal Bengal Tiger trophy.

There’s a lot to be excited about, with a large selection of new films from across the globe being screened alongside restored classics such as The Apu Trilogy (Sayajit Ray, 1955-59), Blow-Up (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966), Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973) etc. There’s also a Bergman retrospective section, in honour of the acclaimed Swedish director’s birth centenary, which will have screenings of The Seventh Seal (1957), Winter Light (1963) among others. The country in focus this year is Australia, in celebration of 100 years of Australian cinema, and a number of contemporary and classic films from the country down under are slated to be screened across the festival. Of special interest is also Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s mammoth 7-hours-plus documentary CzechMate: In Search of Jiri Menzel, an exhaustive history of the Czech New Wave which took the world of cinema by storm in the 1950s.

We have combed through all the various categories in this year’s official selection to present our top 25 most-anticipated new films to watch at the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival. Read on.

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25. THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE
Directed by: Terry Gilliam
Country: Spain, France, Belgium, Portugal

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Toby, a cynical advertising director finds himself trapped in the outrageous delusions of an old Spanish shoe-maker who believes himself to be Don Quixote. In the course of their comic and increasingly surreal adventures, Toby is forced to confront the tragic repercussions of a film he made in his idealistic youth – a film that changed the hopes and dreams of a small Spanish village forever. Can Toby make amends and regain his humanity? Can Don Quixote survive his madness and imminent death? Or will love conquer all?

Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will go down in film history as one of the most infamous examples of development hell. Gilliam’s repeated unsuccessful attempts to make the film over a span of 29 years finally paid off in March 2017 when it was reported that filming had finally started with Adam Driver, who was confirmed in 2016 and helped secure funding as Grisoni, and Jonathan Pryce as Quixote. On 4 June Gilliam announced that the shooting of the film was complete, 17 years after it originally started.

24. KRABEN RAHU (MANTA RAY)
Directed by: Phuttiphong Aroonpheng
Country: China, France, Thailand

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Near a coastal village of Thailand, by the sea where thousands of Rohingya refugees have drowned, a local fisherman finds an injured man lying unconscious in the forest. He rescues the stranger, who does not speak a word, offers him his friendship and names him Thongchai. But when the fisherman suddenly disappears at sea, Thongchai slowly begins to take over his friend’s life – his house, his job, and his ex-wife.

Manta Ray, Aroonpheng’s debut feature film, is a continuation of his 2015 short Ferris Wheel, which also deals with migrant workers and the porous border between Thailand and neighbors. The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival 2018 and received the award for the best movie in Orizzonti/ Horizon Prize selection. It also won the Golden Gateway Award in International Competition at the 20th Mumbai Film Festival and is competing for the NETPAC Award at the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival 2018.

23. YOMEDDINE
Directed by: Abu Bakr Shawky
Country: Egypt, Austria, USA

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A Coptic leper and his orphaned apprentice leave the confines of the leper colony for the first time and embark on a journey across Egypt to search for what is left of their families. The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the François Chalais Prize. It was also selected as the Egyptian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.

At the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival, it is competing in the ‘International Competition: Innovation in Moving Images’ category.

22. LORO
Directed by: Paolo Sorrentino
Country: Italy, France

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Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty, 2013) skewers Italian politics in this satirical, profane, and imaginative fictionalization of controversial Italian tycoon and politician Silvio Berlusconi and his inner circle. It is a corrosive and wildly profane comedy, skewering both its subject and modern Italy itself. Loro pulls out all the stops in what is initially a supercharged vision of the country and the flawed forces behind it, namely Berlusconi and his cronies at their point of decline in the late 2000s.

21. GANGBYUN HOTEL (HOTEL BY THE RIVER)
Directed by: Hong Sang-soo
Country: South Korea

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In his latest creative venture Hotel By The River, renowned Korean director Hong Sang-Soo presents us with a simple and endearing slice-of-life that is stylistically one among his more austere works to date. Primarily set in and around a riverside hotel, it juxtaposes an awkward family meeting between a poet and his sons with that of two women who also happen to be residing there. The minimalist black and white frames are engulfed by an atmosphere of melancholy and quiet desperation that is rather typical across Sang-Soo’s oeuvre of films. Hotel By The River draws up sensitive portraits of its characters, composed out of a series of seemingly-ordinary plot details.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Hotel By The River (2018) ‘TIFF’ Review – A Delicately Told Family Drama

20. DOUBLES VIES (NON-FICTION)
Directed by: Olivier Assayas
Country: France

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Alain and Léonard, a writer and a publisher, are overwhelmed by the new practices of the publishing world. Deaf to the desires of their wives, they struggle to find their place in a society whose code they can no longer crack. French auteur Olivier Assayas probes the promises and pitfalls of art in the age of digital communication, in this comedy about a Parisian publisher (Guillaume Canet) and his successful-actor wife (Juliette Binoche) adapting to the new media landscape. The film was selected in the main competition section of the 75th Venice International Film Festival.

19. THE THIRD WIFE
Directed by: Ash Mayfair
Country: Vietnam

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Ash Mayfair’s feminist film The Third Wife is most definitely going to evoke feels of Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden throughout due to how tonally similar the films are. It is the story of 14-year-old Mây (Nguyễn Phương Trà My) who is given away in an arranged marriage and becomes the third wife of a landlord. She realizes that giving birth to a boy means a high status in the household. This becomes a possibility when she is found to be pregnant.

The film deals primarily with the three different wives and how they sustain in the household, along with exploring female sexuality by observing the tragedies of forbidden love in the household and the eternal quest in our minds about settling for the culture and norm or vying for our own personal freedom. At the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival, it is competing in the ‘International Competition: Innovation in Moving Images’ category.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The Third Wife (2018) ‘TIFF’ Review

18. LA NOCHE DE 12 AÑOS (A TWELVE-YEAR NIGHT)
Directed by: Álvaro Brechner
Country: Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, France

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Uruguay, 1973. The country is governed by a military dictatorship. One autumn night, Tupamaro prisoners are taken from their prison cells in a secret military operation. The order is precise: “As we can’t kill them, let’s drive them mad”. The three men will remain in solitary confinement for twelve years. Among them is Pepe Mujica – later to become president of Uruguay. The film premiered in Official Selection at the 75th Venice International Film Festival and was selected as the Uruguayan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.

17. SUPA MODO
Directed by: Likarion Wainaina
Country: Kenya, Germany

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Jo, a witty 9-year old terminally ill girl is taken back to her rural village to live out the rest of her short life. Her only comfort during these dull times are her dreams of being a superhero, which prove to be something her rebellious teenage sister Mwix, overprotective mother Kathryn and the entire village of Maweni think they can fulfill. Even though her dream of living as a superhero is marred by terminal illness, Jo remains unfazed as the villagers rally on to make her dream come true. Thoughtful but tragic, Supa Modo, Kenya’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, shows us the best of life and the best of people.

16. ASH IS PUREST WHITE
Directed by: Jia Zhang-ke
Country: China, France

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Set in China’s underworld, this tale of love and betrayal follows a dancer who fired a gun to protect her mobster boyfriend during a fight. On release from prison 5 years later, she sets out to find him. Directed by Jia Zhangke, who won the Venice Film Festival’s top award Golden Lion for his 2006 film Still Life, it was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

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When not watching films or TV series, Shaswata can usually be found either reviewing them or battling writer’s block. His obsession lies with framing and composition in cinema, something he explores by capturing the most memorable moments through screenshots and sharing them on social media.

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