MAMI Film Festival - Day 6Nov 1, 2018 Piyush Chopra
The second last day of the MAMI film festival comprised of the following entertainment:
German director Christian Petzold's follow-up to the mesmerizing period revenge drama Phoenix (which was reminiscent of our own Khoon Bhari Maang) is a blend of Kafka and Casablanca, a timeless tale of refugees and love while stuck in hell. A heartbreaking comparison between the WW2 and the current refugee crises, the film is based in the 40s but has modern cars, infrastructure and even some clothing but despite all these elements being literally out of place, there is a sort of synthesis to it all that makes the setup work.
Petzold extracts a magnificent performance from the impeccably cast Franz Rogowski, who plays a man escaping from the Nazis by assuming another man's identity but ends up falling in love with that very man's estranged wife. Rogowski's face has a certain ambiguity and kindness at the same time, which says a lot more about his character than any amount of dialogue could. The haunting music lends a certain sense of doom to the proceedings, yet it is gentle enough to slowly transport us into this doomed world away from time. The VO narration is a bit alienating at first but it soon starts to make sense, telling a story of a man who is surrounded by stories of other unfortunates.
The ending of Phoenix was so brilliant, it still sends a chill down my spine thinking about it. Petzold somehow gives us another classic final moment, one that will make me well up with emotions for years to come once again. Transit is an under-the-radar masterpiece that needs to be seen, especially seeing the times that we live in.
Masterclass by Darren Aronofsky
Learning from a master of Cinema of extremes is an opportunity that comes rarely, if ever. I got mine. Cocky, charming and sipping on masala chai mixed with ayurvedic herbs, Aronofsky gave a lot of insight into all his films throughout his career, what it takes to get a "unique" story made in the era of superheroes and how to keep the belief in your uncompromised vision. A great one-hour session that I wish lasted ages, it'll be online in its entirety on the MAMI website for all the budding filmmakers out there to watch and learn.