The 26th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK 2022) was once again brilliant, witnessing an admirable collection of films from all over the world. Filmmakers from different countries participated in the fest and made it a prodigious event. Among the many films screened at the IFFK 2022, there are few Indian films that stood apart with their brilliance in narration and making. Here we have added the best ten Indian films screened at the 26th IFFK.
Have you ever thought of the psychological trauma and pain a person undergoes when he/she is raped? Even when they try to recover from the physical and psychological pain, society makes the process arduous for them. Aparna Sen’s The Rapist is a powerful cinema that shows how a married woman overcomes the unbearable repercussions of rape. The trauma she undergoes, the remarks of family members, the reactions from the society, and more importantly, the attitude of the police, are all realistically portrayed by Sen. The film also raises an important question, “Does one become a rapist instantaneously or does the society play a role in it?”
Women with a Movie Camera
Atal Krishna’s Women with a Movie Camera is about two women who scheme to shoot a film using their DSLR camera. They start recording almost everything and the audience gets to watch these recordings. The usual mandatory advice given to women, their relationship with parents, their conversations with friends, the restrictions of their freedom, the involvement of relatives in their personal life and most importantly, the victim-blaming they face, all are included in this simple yet thoughtful film. In a society like ours where women face discrimination and abuse, this film is of great relevance. Films like these are an answer to those people who still think there is gender equality in our society.
Indians are crazy when it comes to worshipping their deities but how about worshipping a motorbike? Sounds weird right? But this actually happened in a village in India. In this extreme case, they also built a temple for the bike. Dug Dug directed by Ritwik Pareek is based on this real incident. In the film, a man’s bike is taken to police custody after his unfortunate death in an accident, but things go crazy after this. The film openly criticises Indian’s obsession with religion and superstitious beliefs. It also depicts how well the common people are fooled by those in power and the ways by which religion exploits people. Considering the relevance of the theme, this film needs a wider reach.
The Brittle Thread – Jhini Bini Chadariya
Spreading hatred is one of the most poisonous trends taking place in India right now. A country that used to have unity in diversity is slowly becoming more and more diverse because of religion. This threatening reality is what Ritesh Sharma’s The Brittle Thread portrays. The film simultaneously shows the lives of two people who later become victims of the society they live in. The director uses “love” as an emotion for the characters to escape their harsh realities. The events that happen in the lives of the protagonists are a realistic depiction of how minorities and women are treated in this country.
Dostojee – Two Friends
“Love” and “Hate” are two feelings that separate a child from an adult. In the course of development, one’s way of love is determined by social constructs. Whereas a child’s love is innocent and pure. It doesn’t have the boundaries of caste, religion, gender, economic status etc. Prasun Chatterjee’s Dostojee has captured this idea spellbindingly. The film shows the beautiful friendship between two boys set during the time of religious rift in India, to be precise during the time of the Babri Masjid demolition. Even though the boys belong to two different religions, their friendship knew no bounds. The director has set this film as an example to observe, learn and evolve from a community that is filled with religious hatred.
Chavittu – The Stomp
Sajas Rahman and Shinos Rahman also known as the ‘Rahman brothers’ are not new names to the IFFK audience. The duo is already famous for their previous film Vasanthi. This year, the brothers are back with Chavittu, produced by the actor Sharafudheen. The film is about a theatre group preparing to perform at a local Residence Association program. The directors have beautifully captured the process that unfolds before a performance and sheds light on the perseverance of every artiste. The climax of the film takes an emotional turn and remains an unforgettable experience. Our society’s perception of artists is criticized through this wonderful cinema.
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Pedro directed by Natesh Hegde depicts how a normal man’s life changes when a cow gets killed. The protagonist of the film Pedro accidentally kills a cow while guarding an estate. This brings a drastic change in the way society treats him. The situation would have been different if he had money and influence. Pedro’s personality undergoes a radical shift after this incident. He starts slipping away from normality. The setting and location used by the director are highly significant in conveying the ‘psyche’ of his character. Pedro is not a usual film, it is a well constructed socio-psychological drama that requires multiple interpretations. In a country like ours where a cow’s life is valued more than human life, the film is of great significance.
Avijatrik – The Wanderlust of Apu
One never forgets the ending scene of The world of Apu where Apu reunites with his son and walks off the field. That was the third and final instalment of Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy and we don’t know what happened to Apu after that. But don’t worry, the Bengali Director Subhrajit Mitra has created a wonderful sequel to the trilogy. The film begins with the train journey of Apu with his son, which happens directly after the climax scene of The World of Apu. The makers have done a wonderful job in recreating Apu’s world in the 21st century, which truly deserves recognition. The theme, the setting, the characters, the ending, everything reminds us of a classic Ray film. This is a classic sequel to a classic trilogy.
Koozhangal – Pebbles
Koozhangal directed by Vinothraj P S was India’s official entry for the “Best International Feature Film” at the 94th Academy Awards. The film is about a small boy and his alcoholic father who embarks on a journey to bring back his mother, who was previously chased off by the father. Their journey takes place through some deserted plains of Tamil Nadu and captures the water scarcity of that area. In one of the scenes, the director shows a puppy biting a Coco-Cola bottle in an empty canal. This scene is an indirect indication of what made their lives miserable. The film appears to be a simple story from the outside but in its depth, it deals with some serious social issues.
The Arbit Documentation of An Amphibian Hunt: Aavasavyuham
Nature is for all, no one owns it, even humans are only a part of nature, that’s the law and that should be the law. Krishand R K’s Aavasavyuham speaks for our environment, shedding light on the exploitation of different species and their habitats by human beings. We also witness a symbolic representation of how nature reacts to their exploitations in this film. The director has also added social and political issues related to this especially the ignorance of the government towards environmental concerns. The documentary style of storytelling incorporated with fantasy elements makes this an amazing cinematic experience.
Apart from the above-mentioned films, there are other good films which we couldn’t add to this list. Films like Nishiddho, Life is suffering Death is Salvation, Boomba Ride, Uddharani, Baagh – The Tiger, Avanovilona, Adieu Godard, I am not the river Jhelum, Into the mist, etc are all quality films to add to your list. Your interpretations and perspectives on these films are welcome.