Wandered into the Film Festival happening here in Delhi. Ended up watching 2 ½ movies. Here goes..
Silent Big Man (Kikansha Sensei, Japan) by Japanese Director Hiroki Ryuichi. I found the movie a refereshing, simple story told very well. Seigo Yoshioka is a young man who goes back from Hokkaido to his mother’s birthplace to teach for the last time. His inability to speak does not deter him from imparting lessons to his wards – a small group of naughty kids from the local fisherman community. Neither does it stop him from teaching the children the little lessons about following the right path, aiming higher and the true meaning of strength. His mother’s ties with the village, the issues raised by the local fishermen’s boss and a kendo tournament make up the connects in the plot. The film has some great visuals of Hana island (where the story is based) – of the sea, beaches and in general, of life in the simple Japanese villages; good sound recording and background score. Score: 4/5
The Best Times (Ahla Al Awkat, Egypt). Directed by Hala Khalil, Best Times has at its centre, Salma, who has just lost her mother. Salma rejoins with two childhood friends, seeking to trace out an anonymous sender of mails containing a musictape first, later a horoscope and at another time a childhood photo of Salma with her friends. As the three friends zero down on one suspect after another, their search and verification effort leads to comical and at times, touching situations. The movie also involves some intertwined subplots of a wife’s attempt to balance her personal space and her husband’s expectations, a yound woman torn between pursuing her ambitions and a safer option of settling down into marriage with her partner and a stepfather’s attempt to win the affection of his step daughter. The movie was good in parts; decent entertainment value. The movie was a box-office hit in Egypt and also won Second Prize at the Rotterdam Arab Film Festival, 2004. Score: 2.5/5
Paradise Girls (Netherlands). The director Fow Pyung Hu sews together the stories of the lives of three girls. The first deals with a Japanese girl who follows her Dutch boyfriend to Holland only to realize its not to be. The second is about the tribulations of a Chinese girl in Holland. This is the precise point where your film reviewer had to leave the cinema hall and the movie half way. Promising to return with more reviews and half movies…