The Mumbai Film Festival, scheduled to take from from 25th October to 1st November, has unveiled the 64 titles that will be screened under its World Cinema section. The section, which is a non-competitive one, features critically acclaimed feature and documentary films from all over the world. This year’s line-up features several foreign language Oscar entries and films by auteurs like Jia Zhangke, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Jean-Luc Godard, Lars Von Trier and Alfonso Cuarón.
1. Faces, dir: Jafar Panahi
This is the Iranian auteur’s fourth film made under his 20-year filmmaking ban imposed by his country’s government. The film follows Iranian actress and Panahi’s friend Behnaz Jafari (playing herself), as she searches for a young girl seeking help to leave her conservative family in northwestern Iran; Panahi plays himself. At Cannes, the director and co-writer Nader Saeivar won the Best Screenplay.
2. A Land Imagined, dir: Yeo Siew Hua
After forming a virtual friendship with a mysterious gamer, Wang, a lonely Chinese construction worker goes missing at a Singapore land reclamation site. Lok, the investigating police officer must uncover the truth in order to find him. With this film, director Yeo Siew Hua became the first Singaporean to win the Golden Leopard at Locarno.
3. A Twelve-Year Night, dir: Alvaro Brechner
Alvaro Brechner’s film is inspired by the 12-year incarceration of Jose “Pepe” Mujica in solitary confinement under Uruguay military dictatorship. Mujica went on to become president of Uruguay. The film was the Uruguayan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 Academy Awards.
4. All You Can Eat Buddha, dir: Ian Lagarde
At the Palacio, an all-inclusive resort in the Carribeans, Mike’s arrival complicates the normal flow of operations. Montreal-based filmmaker Ian Lagarde makes his feature film directorial debut with this film that critics have called “unclassifiable.”
5. Amal, dir: Mohamed Siam
Documentary filmmaker Mohamed Siam’s debut fiction feature tells the story of Egyptian teenager Amal, who deals with the aftermath of the Tahrir Square protests and the death of her father and boyfriend. This coming-of-age film follows her over the years after the revolution.
6. Ash Is Purest White, dir: Jia Zhangke
During a fight, a dancer fires a gun to protect her mobster boyfriend. After release from prison 5 years later, she sets out to find him. Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
7. Boy Erased, dir: Joel Edgerton
The teenage son of a Baptist pastor is forced to join a gay-conversion program. Actor-director Joel Edgerton’s film stars Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Lucas Hedges.
8. Birds Of Passage, dir: Ciro Guerra, Cristina Gallego
A Wayuu man becomes increasingly involved in northern Colombia’s drug trade. Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra’s film details his downward spiral and the effects it has on his indigenous community.
9. Border, dir: Ali Abbasi
Ali Abbasi’s film, one of the highlights of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section this year, is about a border guard with a heightened sense of smell that helps her identify smugglers. One day, for the first time, she identifies a person she cannot prove is guilty.
10. Blackkklansman, dir: Spike Lee
Spike Lee’s film is based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth. Stallworth was the the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs police department. In an unlikely turn of events, he infiltrated and exposed the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. The film won the Grand Prix at Cannes.
11. Burning, dir: Lee Chang-dong
Deliveryman Jongsu is out on a job when he runs into Haemi, a girl who once lived in his neighborhood. She asks him if he’d mind looking after her cat while she’s away on a trip to Africa. On her return she introduces Jongsu to Ben, an enigmatic young man she met during the trip. And one day Ben tells Jongsu about his most unusual hobby. Based on a Haruki Murakami short story, the film is South Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s first since 2010.
12. Colette, dir: Wash Westmoreland
Wash Westmoreland’s biographical film stars Keira Knightley as the novelist Colette, a woman who is pushed by her husband to write novels under his name. When they find success, she must fight gender norms to make her talents known.
13. Carmine Street Guitars, dir: Ron Mann
Ron Mann takes an intimate look at a maker of guitars in New York’s Greenwich Village. What separates this maker from the rest is the fact that he builds custom instruments out of wood salvaged from demolished buildings.
14. Cold War, dir: Pawel Pawlikowski
Pawel Pawlikowski’s follow-up to 2013’s much acclaimed Ida won him the award for Best Director at Cannes. Set against the background of the Cold War in 1950s Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris, it tells the story of two vastly different people who are fatefully mismatched and yet condemned to each other. Cold War was selected as the Polish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
15. CzechMate – In Search of Jiří Menzel, dir: Shivendra Singh Dungarpur
Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s seven hour and 10 minute-long documentary is an exhaustive history of the Czech New Wave, which took world of cinema by storm in the 1950s. It is the longest documentary to have been passed by the Central Board of Film Certification.
16. Champions, dir: Javier Fesser
Javier Fesser’s film follows a basketball coach who is made to work with a team of mentally disabled players as part of his community service. It was selected as Spain’s Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film.
17. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot, dir: Gus Van Sant
Based on the memoir of the same name by John Callahan, Gus Van Sant’s film tells the story of Callahan, a quadriplegic alcoholic who fought addiction to become a famous cartoonist known for his off-colour newspaper cartoons. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Callahan in a performance that will his raise his Oscar chances.
18. Diamantino, dir: Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt
Diamantino by co-directors Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt won the annual Critics Week sidebar at Cannes. The film chronicles the fall from grace of a top football (soccer) player after his knee collapses and ends his career.
19. Fahrenheit 11/9, dir: Michael Moore
In 2004, Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 questioned the Bush government’s intentions in the Middle East in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the United States. In Fahrenheit 11/9, named after the day the 2016 presidential elections were announced, Moore examines the events that led to Donald Trump becoming President.
20. Freedom Fields, dir: Naziha Arebi
Naziha Arebi’s debut documentary uses the story of an aspiring all-female soccer team struggling to gain mainstream acceptance as a microcosm of the multiple challenges women face in contemporary Libyan society.
21. First Reformed, dir: Paul Schrader
Writer-director Paul Schrader’s (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) film features Ethan Hawke a pastor of a small church in upstate New York whose life spirals out of control after a life-changing encounter with an unstable environmental activist and his pregnant wife.
22. Fugue, dir: Agnieszka Smoczynska
After suffering from memory loss, Alicja has rebuilt her own free-spirited way of life. Two years later, she has to return to her former family against her will, and once again assume her role as wife, mother and daughter. Agnieszka Smoczynska’s film played as part of the Cannes Critics’ Week this year.
23. Generation Wealth, dir: Lauren Greenfield
Lauren Greenfield’s documentary is an extraordinary visual history of our growing obsession with wealth. The film serves as a cautionary tale that discusses facets like consumerism, beauty, gender, body commodification, aging and more.
24. Grass, dir: Hong Sang-soo
The prolific South Korean director’s first film of 2018 features muse Min-hee Kim as a guest who spends most of her time eavesdropping on conversations in a cafe. Hong Sang-soo has two films screening at the festival this year.
25. Hotel By The River, dir: Hong Sang-soo
Sang-soo’s second film at this year’s MAMI centers around an awkward family reunion. At a hotel where he believes he will soon die, a well-regarded poet invites his estranged sons to meet him. He soon realises he has little to say.
26. House Of My Fathers, dir: Suba Sivakumaran
Two Sri Lankan villages –one Tamil, one Sinhala– have been at war with each other since time immemorial. When, on both sides, villagers become infertile, they receive a message from the gods. A Sinhala man and a Tamil woman are to be sent to an isolated forest where they will find the secret to renew life. But only one of them will return. House of My Fathers marks Sri Lankan filmmaker’s Suba Sivakumaran feature debut.
27. In My Room, dir: Ulrich Köhler
A nowhere-bound manchild from Berlin finds out mankind has disappeared and he is the last man on earth. In My Room is a film about the frightening gift of maximum freedom. German director Ulrich Köhler’s film screened as part of the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes.
28. In The Aisles, dir: Thomas Stuber
German stars Sandra Hüller and Franz Rogowski feature in Thomas Stuber’s bittersweet romance set in a wholesale supermarket. It picked up an award at the Berlin Film Festival.
29. Kusama: Infinity, dir: Heather Lenz
Director Heather Lenz spent 17 years making this documentary about Yayoi Kusama – the Japanese painter, sculptor and performance artist.
30. Leave No Trace, dir: Debra Granik
Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik returns to fiction storytelling with an adaptation of the book My Abandonment by Peter Rock. The film follows a veteran father with PTSD who lives in the forest with his young daughter. It premiered at Sundance.
31. Long Day’s Journey Into Night, dir: Bi Gan
Chinese director Bi Gan’s sophomore effort revolves around a man’s return to Kaili, the hometown from which he fled several years ago, to search for the woman he loved. It screened at the Cannes Film Festival where it made headlines for its 55-minute-long single take shot in 3D.
32. Los Silencios, dir: Beatriz Seigner
After running away from the Colombian armed conflict in which their father disappeared, two children and their mother arrive in a small island at the border of Brazil, Colombia and Peru. One day, he reappears in their new house. Soon they discover that the island is peopled with ghosts. The film is directed by Beatriz Seigner whose Bollywood Dream (2010) was the first co-production between Brazil and India.
33. Madeline’s Madeline, dir: Josephine Decker
Josephine Decker’s film stars Molly Parker as a theatre director whose latest project takes on a life of its own when her young star (Helena Howard) takes her performance too seriously.
34. Matangi/MAYA/MIA, dir: Steve Loveridge
Steve Loveridge’s biographical documentary follows the journey of critically acclaimed Sri Lankan artist M.I.A from refugee immigrant to pop star. It has been drawn from a cache of personal video recordings from the past 22 years.
35. Memories Of My Body, dir: Garin Nugroho
Garin Nugroho’s film revolves around a young dancer’s rite of passage as he comes to terms with his sexuality within Indonesia’s conservative social norms. It is inspired by the life of famous dancer-actor Rianto.
36. Season Of The Devil, dir: Lav Diaz
Filipino independent filmmaker Lav Diaz is regarded as one of the key names in the slow cinema movement. His latest 234-minute-long film has been described as an “anti-musical musical.”
37. Mug, dir: Malgorzata Szumowska
Post an accident, Jacek becomes the first person in Poland to receive a face transplant, which leads to his status as a national hero and martyr. Malgorzata Szumowska’s tragicomedy exposes the deep roots of prejudice in small-town Poland.
38. Our Time, dir: Carlos Reygadas
The latest from Mexican director Carlos Reygadas is about a family that lives in the Mexican countryside raising fighting bulls. Esther is in charge of running the ranch, while her husband Juan, a world-renowned poet, raises and selects the beasts. When Esther becomes infatuated with a horse trainer named Phil, the couple struggles to stride through the emotional crisis.
39. Open Seas, dir: Michiel Van Erp
Dutch filmmaker Michiel Van Erp’s latest follows three young friends who grow up as students in Amsterdam when a sudden death within the group puts everything into a new perspective.
40. Pity, dir: Babis Makridis
Babis Makridis’ second film is the story of a man who feels happy only when he is unhappy. His immense need for pity makes him go to all lengths to evoke the emotion from others.
41. Roma, dir: Alfonso Cuarón
Afonso Cuarón’s Netflix film that chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. It is a semi-biographical take on the director’s own upbringing in Mexico City.
42. Rafiki, dir: Wanuri Kahiu
Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki is the story of friendship and tender love that grows between two young Kenyan women amidst family and political pressures. The film had its international premiere in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
43. Ruben Brandt, Collector, dir: Milorad Krstic
Characters from various famous paintings haunting a shrink’s nightmares. He teams with four of his patients to steal priceless works of Western art in the hope that these nightmares will stop. Slovenian-born animator Milorad Krstic premiered at the Locarno Film Festival.
44. Samouni Road, dir: Stefano Massi
Stefano Massi combines live action, scratchboard animation and recreated drone footage to capture the lives of an extended farming family before and after the 2009 Israeli invasion that left 29 people dead.
45. Shadow, dir: Zhang Yimou
Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s film tells the story of a powerful King and his people who have been displaced from their homeland and long to win it back. It screened at the Venice and Toronto film festivals.
46. Shoplifters, dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year. The film is about a shoplifting family that adopts a little girl they find abandoned.
47. Sorry To Bother You, dir: Boots Riley
An African-American telemarketer puts on a white accent to rise up the corporate ladder. Boots Riley’s acclaimed debut feature is an absurdist comedy dissection of race, aspiration and labour rights.
48. Supa Modo, dir: Likarion Wainaina
A young girl with terminal illness dreams of becoming a superhero. Her village gets together to make her dream come true. Likarion Wainaina’s film was selected as the Kenyan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
49. The House That Jack Built, dir: Lars von Trier
Provocateur Lars von Trier’s returns with this psychological horror that follows the highly intelligent Jack over a span of 12 years and depict the murders that define his development as a serial killer.
50. The Image Book, dir: Jean-Luc Godard
The French New Wave auteur Jean-Luc Godard’s latest film is a cinematic essay and a distinctive discourse on life, art, war, and cinema itself. The film is a melange of clips of classic films, news reports, documentary footage with a voiceover by Godard.
51. The Miseducation Of Cameron Post, dir: Desiree Akhavan
Based upon the 2012 novel of the same name by Emily M. Danforth and starring Chloë Grace Moretz, director Desiree Akhavan’s film is about a high school girl who is sent to gay conversion therapy after she is caught with another girl in the backseat of a car.
52. The Price of Free, dir: Derek Doneen
Derek Doneen’s documentary tell the story of countless children forced into slave labour due to rising global demands for cheap goods and how Nobel Prize-winner Kailash Satyarthi built a global movement to rescue these children.
53. The Wild Pear Tree, dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film is about an aspiring writer who returns to his village only to find his dreams thwarted by his father’s debt.
54. A Tramway In Jerusalem, dir: Amos Gitai
Amos Gitai’s A Tramway In Jerusalem revolves around a tramway that connects several of Jerusalem’s neighborhoods from East to West, where a mosaic of people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds are brought together.
55. The Day I Lost My Shadow, dir: Soudade Kaadan
In 2012, during the coldest winter Syria has witnessed, all Sana dreams of is cooking gas to prepare a meal for her son. She takes a day off from her job to search for a gas cylinder and suddenly finds herself stuck in the besieged area and dragged deeper into the conflict.
56. Three Identical Strangers, dir: Tim Wardle
In 1980 New York, three young men who were all adopted meet each other and find out they’re triplets who were separated at birth. Tim Wardle’s award-winning documentary is a harrowing and emotional rumination on nature versus nurture.
57. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, dir: Joel and Ethan Coen
The Coen Brother’s latest film is a six-part Western anthology film, a series of tales about the American frontier. Each chapter tells a distinct story about the American West.
58. The Eyes Of Orson Welles, dir: Mark Cousins
Mark Cousins’ documentary is an examination of the legendary filmmaker’s paintings and sketches. It brings to life his passions, politics and explores how the genius of Welles still holds today.
59. The Gentle Indifference Of The World, dir: Adilkhan Yerzhanov
After her father’s untimely death, Saltanat is forced to move to the city to find money to pay off her large family debt. Kuandyk, her loyal but penniless admirer follows her just to make sure his sweetheart is safe. Their resilience is tested when things don’t go as planned.
60. Too Late To Die Young, dir: Dominga Sotomayor Castillo
During the summer of 1990 in Chila, three youngsters must face their first loves and fears. Dominga Sotomayor Castillo became the first woman ever to win the Leopard for Best Direction at the Locarno Festival.
61. Thunder Road, dir: Jim Cummings
After the death of his beloved mother, a police officer faces a personal meltdown. He tries to father his daughter in the best way he can.
62. Transit, dir: Christian Petzold
Fleeing France after the Nazi invasion, a man assumes the identity of a dead author whose papers he possesses. Stuck in Marseilles, he meets a young woman desperate to find her missing husband who happens to be the very man he’s impersonating.
63. Vision, dir: Naomi Kawase
Naomi Kawase’s film follows Jeanne, a French journalist who comes to Japan in search of Vision, a rare medicinal herb said to strip away all spiritual anguish and weakness in human beings.
64. Woman At War, dir: Benedikt Erlingsson
Halla, an environmental activist is determined to bring down the local aluminum industry to prevent it from disfiguring her country. But the situation changes when her application for adoption gets accepted. She plots one final attack to deal a crippling blow.