Like every year there are plenty of great films playing at the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival with Star but we at Film Companion decided this time to make your selection process a little simpler. I will help you navigate through this seven-day movie mayhem and plan your festival day for you. These are of course my personal recommendations; the selection does not imply that the films not chosen here are in any way inferior.
ECX / ICON / JUHU
ON BODY AND SOUL – an unusual love story set against the backdrop of a slaughterhouse, this film juxtaposes two radically different worlds, one fragile and dream-like and the other disturbing and brutal. The winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlinale this year, this Hungarian feature should put you in the perfect ‘festival’ state of mind for the days to come.
Or, for a lighter and energetic start to Day 1, join THE PARTY! Illustrious guests gather to celebrate a political promotion at a swanky London house but secrets start to tumble out and soon the party mutates into chaos and ultimately farce. Written and directed by British director Sally Potter and shot in black and white, this is a short sharp political comedy with a stellar cast.
In BEAUTY AND THE DOGS, a young woman gets raped by local policemen and decides whether or not to report the crime. The story of that one traumatic night and her ordeal thereafter is told through nine chapters and lots of seamless long takes. There are two shows: the first at ECX 1 at 1:00 PM and the second at JUHU 2 at 2:00 PM. Or, for a slightly different cinematic experience, watch LOVING VINCENT, the ambitious animation project which hired close to hundred artists to hand-paint thousands of frames in the Post-Impressionist style of Van Gogh. These were brought to life through animation to tell the story of the famous Dutch painter.
The Safdie brothers’ GOOD TIME, a crime story full of thrills and goof-ups in equal measure and coupled with a powerful performance from Robert Pattinson promises to excite. Alternatively, you could catch Hong Sang-soo’s ON THE BEACH AT NIGHT ALONE about an actress recovering from a failed relationship and coming to terms with her life. The film stars Sang-soo’s long-time muse Kim Min-hee and curiously parallels the actress and filmmaker’s own real-life personal dynamic.
THE FLORIDA PROJECT – End the day with this uplifting film which has a mischievous six-year-old who lives in a motel with her single mother at its centre and features what critics are calling a career-best performance from Willem Dafoe. Or, head to Juhu to watch THELMA, Joachim Trier’s dark psychological thriller which is sure to haunt and astonish. The film is Norway’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 Oscars.
REGAL / PHOENIX
LOVING PIA – A slow film which delves into the lives and struggles of 60-year-old Pia who is mentally disabled and her mother, and gently explores issues of attachment, dependence and loss. A mellow start to Day 1 for those in the South.
CLAIRE’S CAMERA – Set in Cannes and apparently shot during the festival last year, this Hong Sang-soo film starring muse Kim Min-hee and veteran Isabelle Huppert could be a nice follow up. However, for fans of Carol-director Todd Haynes, WONDERSTRUCK may be the more exciting option. The film is an adaptation of the children’s novel of the same name by Brian Selznick whose The Invention of Hugo Cabret was famously adapted in 2011 by Martin Scorsese in his 3D fantasy Hugo. New York and the charms of silent cinema abound in this Haynes feature.
LAST FLAG FLYING – Audiences are sure to flock to this latest Linklater offering about war veterans – an unofficial sequel to Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail (1973) – replete with a star-studded cast featuring the likes of Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne, so book early! However, for those eager to try something else, there is MARLINA THE MURDERER IN FOUR ACTS, a female-driven revenge drama playing at PHOENIX 5 from 4:00 PM – 5:35 PM. Applying the same logic by which hybrids such as Spaghetti Westerns or Curry Westerns came into being, critics believe that this Indonesian film has given birth to a new genre - that of the Satay Western.
MOTHER! – For those watching the Richard Linklater film, stick around at Regal and end your day with Darren Aronofsky’s much-talked-about and repeatedly described as ‘disturbing’ and ‘intense’ Jennifer Lawrence-starrer mother! However if you went for Marlina or happen to find yourself at Phoenix in the evening, go for LOVELESS playing at 6:25 PM at PHOENIX 6. This film from Leviathan-director Andrey Zvyagintsev about a failing marriage and a child gone missing, received the Jury Prize at Cannes this year.