Eight films you shouldn’t overlook at the Mumbai Film Festival

From ‘Lathe Joshi’ to ‘The Saragossa Manuscript’, here are 8 films that should be on your radar


‘My Life as a Courgette’ is about a 10-year-old who has to learn to adjust to life in an orphanage.
‘My Life as a Courgette’ is about a 10-year-old who has to learn to adjust to life in an orphanage.

You don’t need us to tell you to watch Elle or I, Daniel Blake or The Red Turtle. Here, instead, are some films that you may not have noticed in the lineup.

1. Letters from War

It wouldn’t be a film festival without at least one poetic black-and-white film. Ivo M Ferreira’s Letters from War is based on the letters Portuguese novelist António Lobo Antunes wrote to his wife while fighting in the Angolan War of Independence. The trailer, with its hushed voiceover and mixture of intense beauty and violence, brings to mind Terence Malick’s The Thin Red Line.

2. A Journey Through French Cinema

Veteran filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier (Coup de Torchon, Round Midnight) takes a personal look at French cinema from the 1930s to the 1970s.

3. Diamond Island

An under-construction luxury township near Phnom Penh is the setting for this film by Cambodian-French filmmaker Davy Chou. Trailers suggest that this will be, at the very least, a stunning-looking film.

4. Goodbye Berlin

German filmmaker Fatih Akin returns with Goodbye Berlin, which looks – unlike his most famous works, the very serious Head-on and The Edge of Heaven – to be a whacky road trip comedy. The film, about two teenagers who steal a car and drive across Germany, is based on Wolfgang Herrndorf’s cult novel.

5. The Saragossa Manuscript

If you’re a fan of the playful narratives of Charlie Kauffman or of Raúl Ruiz’s Mysteries of Lisbon, you shouldn’t miss this mind-bending 1965 Polish film by Wojciech Has. The less you know going in the better; suffice to say it stars Zbigniew Cybulski (the “Polish James Dean”) and counts amongst its fans Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Jerry Garcia.

6. My Life as a Courgette

Animation fans have plenty to look forward to at this year’s festival: a Ghibli production (The Red Turtle), rotoscopy (Tower), slapstick stop motion (A Town Called Panic). And there’s the melancholic stop motion of Claude Barras’ My Life as a Courgette, about a 10-year-old who has to learn to adjust to life in an orphanage.

7. Lathe Joshi

Mangesh Joshi’s film, about a lathe worker who loses his job, looks to be another in a line of quiet, observant Marathi films about everyday lives and dreams.

‘Sand Storm’ promises to be an emotionally charged look at Israel’s Bedouin community.
‘Sand Storm’ promises to be an emotionally charged look at Israel’s Bedouin community.

8. Sand Storm

Sand Storm recently made news by becoming the first Arabic-language film to be chosen as Israel’s official entry for the foreign language Oscar. Directed by Elite Zexer, a Jewish Israeli woman, it promises to be an emotionally charged look at Israel’s Bedouin community and the position of women in it.

Visithere for the full programme.

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