Kolkata Film Festival: Best Films of all times

Bela Tarr The Turin HorseKolkata, Nov 17 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) Which are the best films at the 17th Kolkata Film Festival? It is very difficult to make a short-list from the long list in International Cinema. So one has to make do by picking the ones one liked the best, share comments with peers and then arrive at a decision.

Abbas Kiarostami, the path-breaking filmmaker from Iran who has given us unforgettable masterpieces like Where is My Friend’s House, The Wind Will Carry Us and other films, was represented by his latest film Certified Copy (2010) that drew a packed house that watched the film in pin-drop silence and clapped as of forever.

Certified Copy is a very different film from Kiarostami, more European that Iranian in characterisation, storyline and the language used within the film.

The film revolves around a long range of conversations between a British writer and a French woman against the backdrop of Southern Tuscany in Italy. The message that comes across is universal crossing barriers of time, place, language, culture and geography.

Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse (2011) won the Silver Bear Prix and the FIPRESCI Prize at Berlin earlier this year. It is based on a story based on the observational experience of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche.

Shot entirely in Black-and-White, the film traces its roots back into a period we have known only through history books, holding up one perspective on the language of pure cinema that dispenses with the need of a strong story and yet gets its message across.

Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura’s new film Flamenco Flamenco (2010) takes his cinematic argument of using music and dance as the subject of his films. It is perhaps the best  example of his mastery over musical cinema that extends from his earlier passion for photography.

Jean-Luc Goddard’s Film Socialism (2010) is a fascinating comment “in three symphonies” as he explains, of his use of cinema itself as a language of images rather than of story-telling.

His ideology of cinema that justifies that “the image comes first” is communicated through collages of images shot, seemingly at random in terms of geography, content, language and characterisation.
But underneath we find his scathing attack on the evils of globalization that has extended the parameters of racial and economic violence across the world and has increased the gap between the haves and the have-nots.
If one cares to watch his films closely, one can read in his films, his mastery over the fluidity of images that allows the audience to interpret, question, extract and negotiate with them individually, through each image, or collectively, through a blending of them, offering cinema a completely new and free world to float and wander in.

At 68, UK filmmaker Mike Leigh is as outstanding as ever as his new film Another Year (2010) brings across. Though this is not really as counter-cinematic as Goddard’s works, it offers nuggets of different aspects of life’s philosophy beautifully.

Noted filmmaker Alexander Sokurov also had his new film Faust (2011) at the festival which won the Golden Award for the Best Film at the Venice Film Festival this year.

– Shoma A. Chatterji

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *