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My experience at the 28th KIFF

I was overjoyed to know that you could go to KIFF without a delegate pass with pre-passes (which you had to get an hour before the screening...

I was overjoyed to know that you could go to KIFF without a delegate pass with pre-passes (which you had to get an hour before the screening). The first day was hectic, since I did not know how to get the pre-pass or where to get the pre-pass (it was after all, my first film festival).

On the first day I watched two films, a Bangladeshi film named The Golden Wings of the Watercocks, about the people of a village which was covered with water for 7 months a year and their difficulties in sustaining a livelihood since they couldn’t grow the only crop that could be grown there. The director was at the screening and talked a little about the film and the political and economical climate of current Bangladesh five minutes prior to the film. As soon as the film began, the hall was silent as if there was nobody there as everyone, including myself, marvelled at what we saw on the screen which showed us powerful images of despair. It most certainly was a depressing film, but a film that I forgot about the next day. The second film I saw that day was Milli, directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, which was part of the centenary tribute. I saw Milli in an almost packed theatre with people who loved Amitabh Bachchan and Hrishikesh Mukherjee; this was my first Hrishikesh Mukherjee film and I enjoyed it from start to finish and it most certainly is one of my favorite Amitabh Bachchan films that I’ve seen.

The next day, I saw Hiroshima Mon Amour directed by Alain Resnais, one of my most anticipated films that I’d yet to see, and it was a thrilling experience. It’s a tragedy presented as a romantic film, and I saw it in a packed theatre, full of people who appreciated French cinema and Alain Resnais; this was my first Alain Resnais film and certainly not my last. Next, I saw Upon Entry, a Spanish film directed Juan Sebastián Vásquez and Alejandro Rojas, both of whom were present at the screening. They talked a little about a film and how most of it was true and was faced by countless people coming to the US. The film, though short in length, felt longer than it should’ve but never felt boring. It was engaging, at least to me, from start to finish. The last film I saw that day was Black, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the only reason I saw it was because I couldn’t get a pass to Close (the Belgium film submitted to the Oscars). The film exceeded my expectations and I absolutely loved the film; it even made me tear up a few times! Black was part of the Amitabh Bachchan Retrospective.

The next day, the first film I saw was a film I hated, A Woman is a Woman directed by Jean Luc Godard. I was all prepared to hate the film yet once again, and the only reason I saw it was because I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to watch a Godard film on the big screen. I surprisingly loved the film, the reason to which I believe is because I watched it in a theatre almost full with people who loved Godard and the French New Wave. The next film I saw was The Warm Blues, directed by Rishabh Kumar, who was present there and spoke a few words about the film. While the film wasn’t anything great, it wasn’t bad either and I liked the film. I found it hit too close to home for me and it wasn’t boring at all. I was connected to the characters from the first frame itself. The last film I saw that day was the Palme D’Or winner, Triangle of Sadness directed by Ruben Östlund. Watching it in a theatre full of people laughing was a great experience, I laughed throughout the film.

The next day, the first film I saw was The Gospel According to St. Matthew directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini and but as I was extremely tired I slept through most of the film. The next film I saw that day was First Snow Directed by Nathalia Konchalovsky who was present at the screening. The film was really good but also very depressing. The next film I saw was The Deadman’s Bride directed by Cornel Gheorghiță who was present at the screening. I was hooked from the first minute and while the film was tonally inconsistent, I loved it. The last film of the day was The Whale directed by Darren Aronofsky aka my most anticipated film of the festival. I had to stand in line to get the pass for it for three hours but it was totally worth it. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me reflect on my own existence, it was brilliant. I would recommend everyone to watch it and if it’s released in India, I’ll be the first one to go watch it again. It’s a theatre experience I’ll never ever forget.

The next day I saw Accattone directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini at 9 am. While I didn’t hate the film, I didn’t like it either, but it begs for a rewatch. Next I saw In Limbo, directed by Alexandr Khant, which is a Bonnie and Clyde-esque film. The actress of the film was present there and spoke a few words prior to the screening. I liked the film and I was hooked from the beginning. While it’s not a film everybody would like, I’d still recommend it to everyone. Next I saw one of Lav Diaz’s shortest features (3 hours and 7 minutes long) When The Waves are Gone. It was my first Lav Diaz picture and he is a filmmaker I desperately want to start watching and I’m glad to have found the film to be one of the best films of the year. I did not find it boring for even a second, I found it quite riveting.

The next day, I only managed to see one film, Jean Luc Godard’s Contempt aka my favorite Godard film and as you can guess, I loved the film. I sat in the front row and not even for a moment, did I lower my gaze from the screen.

This experience is an experience I’ll remember and cherish forever.

- Written by a 15-year-old film buff

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