The husband says I’m a pessimist. Maybe, just maybe, he’s right.
After all, just last month I proclaimed that new, good (read bleak) movies were unlikely to come to a cinema near you. Of the five movies nominated for the Best Film Oscar, I said we were only likely to see the film that finally won. I also said some distributor would buy the rights to Michael Clayton because of God Clooney. This film did release, I saw it in a theatre that wasn’t even 10% full. The folks sitting behind me in the couple seats talked incessantly—why book lovers’ seats if you’re going to talk?
Well, nobody’s releasing No Country For Old Men (Best Film) or Atonement yet, though a lonesome print of There Will Be Blood has hopped from PVR Naraina in west Delhi to PVR Juhu in Mumbai (where first weekend collections were at least 60% its exhibitors say). The print’s next stop is likely to be Bangalore.
Ready for some Spanish horror?
PVR also released Death at a Funeral, an off-centre comedy by the director who made Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. An official from PVR told me that in their theatres, the film is doing better than the second week collections of a certain popular but unwatchable film about an American president.
In Mumbai and Pune, first week collections of the three prints of The Lives of Others surprised its distributors BharatBala Productions—don’t tell me you still haven’t seen it despite my repeated appeals? The film travels to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata.
Now—if all is on schedule—we’ve made another leap.
As we went to press, two must-see films were due to be released in your neighbourhood theatre on Friday. The first, Juno, is a critically acclaimed low-budget heartclutcher about teenage pregnancy. The second, Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days, is the Cannes award winner everyone’s been talking about. It’s a grim, clinical tale set in Ceausescu’s Romania about a girl who helps her room-mate get an illegal abortion. My stomach was so knotted after I saw the film last weekend at the 10th MAMI International Film Festival. I couldn’t smile at the husband for hours.
Jay Bajaj, of Toronto-based Bajaj Films, which is releasing the movie in India, seems to think audiences will appreciate the film. I’m not so sure, but for the sake of all of us who love good movies, I hope they do.
And that’s not all. I think NDTV’s Lumiere will be big.
Officials at the channel say they don’t have a launch date for the world movie channel yet but it will be soon. Here’s what we know. The channel has apparently spent $5-6 million acquiring the rights to new foreign films. And, in addition to television, they will have a theatrical release every week. Some movies coming to a theatre near you: The Orphanage (a Spanish horror film that was that country’s Oscar entry); Caramel (a lush chick flick set in a Beirut beauty salon); The Mourning Forest (Japanese, about the relationship that develops between a senile man and a woman who has lost her son).
Vidyuth Bhandary, general manager at Lumiere, says they have more than 300 films in their library. “We want to get everything right, to create enough buzz and get the audiences,” says Bhandary. We do too.
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