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

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15. TOUCH ME NOT
Directed by: Adina Pintilie
Country: Romania, Germany, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France

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On the fluid border between reality and fiction, Touch Me Not follows the emotional journeys of Laura, Tómas and Christian, offering a deeply empathic insight into their lives. Craving for intimacy yet also deeply afraid of it, they work to overcome old patterns, defense mechanisms and taboos, to cut the cord and finally be free. Touch Me Not looks at how we can find intimacy in the most unexpected ways, at how to love another without losing ourselves.

Structured and presented in a manner so as to blur the lines between fiction and documentary, the film is reminiscent of the seminal docufictions made by Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf in their quest to strip down façades within cinema. The film was screened in the main competition section at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Golden Bear.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Touch Me Not (2018) ‘TIFF’ Review — On A Transformative Quest For Intimacy

14. LE LIVRE D’IMAGE (THE IMAGE BOOK)
Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard
Country: Switzerland

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Winner of the first Special Palme d’Or to be awarded in the history of the Cannes Film Festival, Jean-Luc Godard’s Le livre d’image is another extraordinary addition to the French master’s vast filmography. Ever the iconoclast and always the enquirer, Godard eschews actors and any pretense of narrative in this dazzling and brilliant film essay.

Displaying an encyclopedic grasp of cinema and its history, Godard pieces together fragments and clips them from some of the greatest films of the past, then digitally alters, bleaches, and washes them, all in the service of reflecting on what he sees in front of him and what he makes of the dissonance that surrounds him.

13. GRÄNS (BORDER)
Directed by: Ali Abbasi
Country: Sweden, Denmark

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When a border guard with a sixth sense for identifying smugglers encounters the first person she cannot prove is guilty, she is forced to confront terrifying revelations about herself and humankind. Based on a short story by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, Border conjures up memories of unsettling folk tales that tie us to the natural world and its odder anomalies, a world that now seems distant yet creepily familiar. It won the Un Certain Regard award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and was selected as the Swedish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.

12. I DO NOT CARE IF WE GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS BARBARIANS
Directed by: Radu Jude
Country: Romania, Czech Republic, France, Bulgaria, Germany

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Radu Jude’s resonant feature chronicles a young theatre director’s efforts to stage an accurate re-enactment of the Odessa Massacre — in which Romanian soldiers slaughtered tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews — despite the municipal government’s attempts to censor her. Named Best Feature at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians is a politically incisive, formally engaging, and highly entertaining film.

It was selected as the Romanian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards and it is competing in the ‘International Competition: Innovation in Moving Images’ category at the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival.

11. CAPHARNAÜM
Directed by: Nadine Labaki
Country: Lebanon

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Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) is only 12, but he’s seen enough of this life to resent his very existence. With numerous children to care for, his parents resort to some inventive scams, such as saturating garments with tramadol, which they then pass along to Zain’s incarcerated brother who reconstitutes the drug and sells it to fellow prisoners. More alarmingly, Zain’s parents have sold his 11-year-old sister’s hand in marriage, which prompts Zain to run away.

He befriends an Ethiopian cleaning woman, whose baby he eventually becomes guardian to. But life on the streets offers Zain fewer and fewer places to hide. Encouraged by a current affairs program seeking to draw attention to child poverty, Zain files a lawsuit against his parents for giving birth to him. The trial provides the frame through which Zain’s story unfolds. Nadine Labaki’s latest was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize. The film received a 15-minute standing ovation following its premiere at Cannes and it was also selected as the Lebanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.

10. JONAKI
Directed by: Aditya Vikram Sengupta
Country: India

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Jonaki, an 80-year-old woman, searches for love in a strange world of decaying memories where she relives her past. A film that was borne out of the resounding effect that his grandmother’s death had on him, director Aditya Vikram Sengupta crafts an abstract and meditative film that not only looks gorgeous and poetic but also cements his place as one of India’s best filmmakers working at present.

9. ANG PANAHON NG HALIMAW (SEASON OF THE DEVIL)
Directed by: Lav Diaz
Country: Philippines

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In the late 70s, a gang of militias under the control of the military terrorizes a remote village in the Philippines. The poet/teacher/activist, Hugo Haniway, decides to find out the truth about the disappearance of his wife. A love story set in the darkest period of Philippine history, the Marcos Dictatorship. Based on real events and real characters, Lav Diaz’s latest film is also one of his shorter ones.

8. THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT
Directed by: Lars Von Trier
Country: Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden

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The USA in the 1970s. We follow the highly intelligent Jack over a span of 12 years and are introduced to the murders that define Jack’s development as a serial killer. We experience the story from Jack’s point of view, while he postulates each murder is an artwork in itself. As the inevitable police intervention is drawing nearer, he is taking greater and greater risks in his attempt to create the ultimate artwork.

Along the way we experience Jack’s descriptions of his personal condition, problems and thoughts through a recurring conversation with the unknown Verge – a grotesque mixture of sophistry mixed with an almost childlike self-pity and psychopathic explanations. The House That Jack Built is a dark and sinister story, presented through a philosophical and occasional humorous tale. The polarizing nature of the film is perhaps best reflected in the fact that more than a hundred audience members walked out during its premiere at Cannes, though a ten-minute standing ovation followed the screening.

7. SE ROKH (3 FACES)
Directed by: Jafar Panahi
Country: Iran

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The famous actress Behnaz Jafari has no idea what to do when she receives a video in which a young girl is begging for help after her family did not allow her to study at Tehran Theatrical University. Behnaz abandons her shoot and turns to the director Jafar Panahi so that they can help the girl deal with her problems together. They drive to the northwest of the country, where they meet the charming and generous people of a mountain village. But Behnaz and Jafar also observe that in these places, it is the traditions of their ancestors that completely determine the way of life. At Cannes, Panahi and co-writer Nader Saeivar won the award for Best Screenplay for 3 Faces.

6. PÁJAROS DE VERANO (BIRDS OF PASSAGE)
Directed by: Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra
Country: Colombia, Denmark, Mexico

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During the marijuana bonanza, a violent decade that saw the origins of drug trafficking in Colombia, Rapayet and his indigenous Wayuu family get involved in a booming business of selling marijuana to American youth in the 1970s. When greed, passion, and honor collide, a fratricidal war breaks out that will put their lives, culture and ancestral traditions at stake.

Critics have compared Birds Of Passage favorably to other crime saga films like The Godfather, Scarface and the television series The Sopranos. It was selected to open the 50th edition of the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It was selected as the Colombian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.

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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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