Sunday , 26 May 2019

IFFI Dairy: Day 5


The festival has reached the half way mark and it is far from hitting a high as far as the films are concerned. Almost every year, there is at least one day at the festival where your heart, mind and soul are satiated with the films. If you get to watch four or more very good to outstanding films in a day, what more can you ask for? But given the schedule of films, it is unlikely that we’ll see such a day at the fest this year, but then we live in hope.

As for the films screened on day 5, there was very little to choose from, but it was a day about quality rather than quantity. The Vietnamese film ‘Flapping In The Middle Of Nowhere’ was a bold and commendable effort. Very well acted, grittily shot and superbly edited, it is no wonder that it has won a handful of awards, including the Fedeora award at the Venice Film Festival. Set in one of the shanty little places, it is about a girl who gets pregnant and since her boyfriend is not exactly the ideal partner, she wants to get an abortion. On just about every count, the film makes the cut.

The Mid-Fest film ‘The Postman’s White Nights’ by Andrei Konchalovsky (who has also dabbled with English films) was one of those relatively light weight films with striking visuals. Set in a remote island with very few inhabitants, the main protagonist is a postman, who is their connection with the outer world. Along with letters, he also brings them other necessary items. The film also poignantly dwells on migration and man’s (in this case a woman) desire to seek greener pastures.

On a different note, among other things happening at the festival is the excessive attention to this VIP and VVIP culture. Just when you thought we’ve had enough of this VIP business, you come across it at many junctures at the festival. Seats in the theatre are reserved for VIP’s and there is also a lounge which is not just a VIP lounge, but a VVIP lounge (whatever that is supposed to mean). It would be most interesting to know who and what qualifies as a VVIP (usually we associate that word with politicians, but then this is a film festival). The other day, a well-known Goan director was asked to leave this VVIP lounge. The question begs to be asked, if a director doesn’t qualify as an important person at a festival then what happens to other mortals?

While it is understandable that certain areas are demarcated for specific purposes, allowing or denying entry (mostly denying) on the basis of a ‘VIP’ tag just smacks of an attitude that needs to be done away with – and quickly.  Mind you, they don’t distribute gold biscuits in this VIP lounge, all you apparently get is a cup of coffee or tea along with cookies. Why this exclusivity then, and that too with volunteers who make you feel like you’ve committed a heinous crime in case you stray into that place by mistake? You can’t blame them though, they are just following orders.

There are way too many things going wrong with the festival. It is better to focus on films and enjoy them.