Mumbai Film Festival 2012 – 10 films you just cannot miss

Come October and all roads will lead to the 14th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF).

Celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema, this year’s MFF is bigger than ever. Experience a mélange of culture and history as you relive India’s first feature length film, Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra (1913) and other gems from the Indian silent era on the silver screen with a live orchestra, and relish classics like Satyajit Ray’s Charulata (1964) and Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977) restored back on the big screen.

With a line up of directors like Ken Loach, Federico Fellini, Alain Renais, Roberto Rossellini, Sergio Leone, Michael Haneke, Michael Gondry, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abbas Kiarostami, Walter Salles, Takashi Kitano amongst others, the World Cinema section promises to live up to any cinema buff’s fantasies.

MFF this year is also introducing a new competition section for Indian films called ‘India Gold 2012’, which will see 13 debutant directors compete for prize money of approx USD 31,000. This, in addition to the usual competition sections such as the ‘International Competition’, ‘Celebrate Age’ and ‘Dimensions Mumbai’, takes the total prize money at this year’s festival to USD 220,000. Make sure your vote counts!

The MFF opens with the David O Russel film, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. Starring the talents of Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Anupam Kher, Julia Stiles and Chris Tucker, this comedy-drama premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, where it walked away with the People’s Choice Award for Best Narrative Feature. Brining this gala week of film-watching to an end is Spain’s entry for the Best Foreign Language film at the 85th Academy awards, the black-and-white silent drama, Blancanieves, by director Pablo Berger.

We know how choosing from a stunning line up of 200 films from 65 countries can leave you overwhelmed (we speak from experience!), so here’s a little something to start you off with.

(PS: If last year’s MFF was anything to go by, we suggest you prepare well in advance to spend hours queuing up for these films, though the organisers assure us that things are going to be way smoother this year. We’re not complaining, though, as it turns out these queues are a great way to make new friends. After all, where else would you find directors like Bejoy Nambiar enjoying a game of Uno with a bunch of college students?)


  Mumbai Film Festival 2012 - 10 films you just cannot miss1. Love (Amour)

 Dir.: Michael Haneke (France-Germany-Austria / 2012 / Col. / 127′)

Section: World Cinema

Winner of the Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival 2012, Michael Haneke’s Love tells the story of an elderly couple preparing for death. Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are    cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple’s bond of love is severely tested.

This film is Austria’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2013. Michael Haneke is no stranger to accolades at film festivals, having won the Palme D’or and FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival 2010 for The White Ribbon. He also won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005 for Cache (Hidden).

Mumbai Film Festival 2012 2. Beasts of the Southern Wild

 Dir.: Benh Zeitlin (USA / 2012 / Col. / 92’)

Section: International Competition for the First Feature Films of Directors

Faced with both her hot-tempered father’s fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.

Director Benh Zeitlin’s first feature film, (he is a short film veteran, having directed, written, shot and edited several shorts) has been sweeping awards across all major film festivals this year, including the prestigious Camera D’Or and FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Audience Award at Los Angeles Film Festival, and the Best Cinematography and Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered in January 2012.

Mumbai Film Festival 20123. Valley Of Saints

 Dir.: Musa Syeed (India-USA / 2012 / Col. / 82′)

Section: International Competition for the First Feature Films of Directors

War and poverty force Gulzar, a young tourist boatman, to run away from Kashmir with his best friend, but a military crackdown traps them in Gulzar’s lake village. Waiting for conditions to change, they discover a mysterious woman braving the curfew to research the dying lake. As Gulzar falls for her, rivalry and jealousy threaten his friendship and their plans of escape. He must choose between a new life and a new love.

Musa Syeed’s directorial venture won him the Audience Award (World Cinema-Dramatic) at this year’s Sundance Film Festival as well as a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize in the same category.

Mumbai Film Festival 2012 4.  After Lucia (Después de Lucía)

 Dir.: Michel Franco (Mexico / 2012 / Col. / 103′)

Section: World Cinema

The story, based on a mixture of several real cases, describes the relationship between Roberto and his 17-year-old daughter, Alejandra. Roberto is depressed after his wife Lucía’s death in a road accident and decides to leave Puerto Vallarta and live in Mexico City. Alejandra tries to help him, but a very difficult situation arises for her at the new school: she is a victim of bullying and hostilities by her new mates. Starting over is sometimes complicated when you’ve left so much behind.

After Lucia competed in and won the prize at the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. It is Mexico’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

Mumbai Film Festival 20125.  The Angels’ Share

Dir.: Ken Loach (UK-France-Belgium-Italy / 2012 / Col. / 106′)

Section: World Cinema

A bittersweet comedy, The Angel’s Share is a film about Robbie, a dad who after narrowly avoiding jail, vows to turn over a new leaf for the sake of his newborn. A visit to a whisky distillery inspires him and his mates to seek a way out of their hopeless lives.

Winner of the Jury Prize and nominated for the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2012, The Angel’s Share is master filmmaker Ken Loach’s latest release. This is Loach’s 11th film in 31 years to compete at the French festival. His other films include Kes, The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Sweet Sixteen. The 76-year old director has already begun filming his next venture, a documentary called Spirit of ’45.

Mumbai Film Festival 2012 6. You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!

 Dir.: Alain Resnais (France-Germany / 2012 / Col. / 115′)

Section: World Cinema

 You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet! is loosely based on two plays by Jean Anouilh. From beyond the grave, celebrated playwright Antoine d’Anthac gathers his friends who have appeared over the years in his play ‘Eurydice’ and they watch a recording of the work performed by another young acting company. During the screening, Antoine’s friends are so overwhelmed by their memories of the play that they start performing it together, despite no longer being the appropriate age for their various roles.

The film was shown in competition for the Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival 2012. Coming from the French New Wave director Alain Renais of Hiroshima Mon Amour and Night and Fog fame, expect to be taken into a stunning journey into mindspaces and beyond with this film.

Mumbai Film Festival 20127.  Me and You (Io e Te)

Dir.: Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy / 2012 / Col. / 103’)

Section: World Cinema

Me and You is a film about an introverted teenager who tells his parents he is going on a ski trip, but instead spends his time alone in a basement. It was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2012.

Bertolucci is best known for his films like Last Tango in Paris and The Last Emperor, which won him Best Director and Best Writing (Screenplay based on Material from Another medium) at the 1987 Oscars. His film, The Conformist, is also part of the lineup at the MFF 2012.

Mumbai Film Festival 2012 8.  Miss Lovely

 Dir.: Ashim Ahluwalia (India / 2012 / Col. / 110′)

Section: India Gold 2012

This Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Anil George and Niharika Singh starrer is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. Miss Lovely follows the devastating story of two brothers, Vicky and Sonu, who produce sleazy horror films in the mid-1980s.

The film premiered and competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival . It was also screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) in August 2012. Ashim Ahluwalia’s debut feature earned him rave reviews at the festivals, with critics commending the director on his writing and direction techniques.


Mumbai Film Festival 2012 9.   Beyond The Hills (Dupa Dealuri)

 Dir.: Cristian Mungiu (Romania-France-Belgium / 2012 / Col. / 150′)

 Section: World Cinema

 A drama centered on the friendship between two young women who grew up in the same orphanage; one has found refuge at a convent in Romania and refuses to leave with her friend, who now lives in Germany.

This film won the Best Actress and Best Screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival 2012, and was nominated for the Palme D’Or. It is Romania’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 2013 Academy Awards. Director Cristian Mungiu is the first Romanian to win the Palme D’Or in 2007 for his film 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days.

Mumbai Film Festival 201210.  Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Dir.: Alison Klayman (USA / 2012 / Col. / 91′)

Section: The Real Reel

A documentary that chronicles artist and activist Ai Weiwei, as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and gets into an increasing number of clashes with the Chinese government. In 2011, Weiwei was one of the four runner-ups for Time’s Person of the Year Award. The film follows him from around the time he meet Klayman in December 2008 through just after his release from detention by Chinese authorities in spring of 2011.

This documentary won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival 2012 and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize as well. It also opened the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival  in Toronto in April 2012. This film was also nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Miami Film Festival this year.


Yes, we said 10 films, but then again, a little extra love is always welcome, isn’t it?

While you’re at the MFF 2012, don’t forget to catch Pablo Berger’s black-and-white silent film Blancanieves, Abbas Kiarostami’s Like Someone in Love, Walter Salles’s On the Road, Michael Gondry’s The We and The I, Brillante Mendoza’s Captive, Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s The Gardener, David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone, Antonio Méndez Esparza’s Here and There, Aida Begic’s Children of Sarajevo, and Olivier Assayas’s There’s Something in the Air.

The 14th Mumbai Film Festival is presented by Reliance Entertainment and American Express and organized by MAMI, and is being held from October 18th-25th, 2012 at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Inox (Nariman Point) and Liberty Cinemas, Marine Lines. Cinemax Andheri and Cinemax Sion are the satellite venues.

You can find the complete list of movies that are being screened at the 14th MFF here:

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Here’s wishing you a happy film festival!

Mumbai Film Festival 2012