BIFFest is happening soon, bringing with it the best of international and local cinema from countries like China, Germany, France, South Africa and Russia, as well as Indian states like Karnataka, Manipur, Kerala and plenty more. The films deal with everything from addressing global issues like the refugee crisis, immigration, nationalism and even Maoism in India! There's definitely going to be something for everyone and we're giving you our list of top eight films to catch while you're there.
Rauf juxtaposes the innocent love its eponymous 10-year old hero has for Zana, the older daughter of a carpenter, against the sombre, isolating backdrop of a state at war. Directed by Soner Caner and Baris Kaya, the film is a critique of the poor treatment of the Kurdish people without explicitly identifying its subjects. From Rauf's job of making coffins to his quest to find Zana a pink, floral scarf, every detail of the film straddles the line between heartwarming and heartbreaking, and you're definitely not going to want to miss it.
Like Crazy, Italy
To all those women who've been called crazy and resent it, here's a film we think will set you free! Like Crazy follows Beatrice and Donatella who break out of a psychiatric clinic to experience the world at its rawest and most fun-filled state. From hijacking cars and petty robbery, to raucous fights, the trailer had us laughing from the get-go and there's no way we're missing out on watching this gem.
Knife In The Clear Water, China
First off, we're intrigued that this film focuses on China's Hui people, a Muslim ethnic minority. The story focuses on Ma Zishan, an ageing farmer, has to sacrifice his old bull in honour of his recently deceased wife's fortieth day death ceremony. As the movie goes on, Ma Zishan develops a bond with the bull, whose life he believes subtly resembles his own. Featuring a saturated, grim-looking colour palette, Knife In The Clear Water is full of striking imagery that focuses on a slowly disappearing agrarian lifestyle, and the changing pace of the world as a whole — this one's sure to pull at your heartstrings.
When The Woods Bloom, India
Set in the backwaters of Kerala, Kaadu Pookkunna Neram tells the story of a policeman who arrests a women he suspects of being a Maoist. The duo lose their way in a forest, which is when the lines between authority and criminal, hunter and hunted, man and women start getting blurred. Written and shot by award winning director Bijukumar Damodaran, the film is meant to address the power dynamics that exist in India's dichotomous society, as well as gender equations that form within a binary.
Taking place in rural Lebanon, Rabih, who has been blind since birth, sings for a choir and edits braille documents for a living. When his choir is invited to sing in Europe and Rabih has to apply for a passport, he shockingly discovers his only form of identification is fake. With his official documents having been lost during the country's civil war, Tramontane isn't just a story about Rabih's search for identity, but the amnesia that swept the nation with still-visible effects.
Marija, a Ukrainian immigrant in Germany, has one dream: to own her own salon. After losing her job as a hotel maid in Dortmund, she has to figure out a way to make ends meet, even if it means sacrificing her relationships and body for her goal. While the film has all the typical elements of the immigrant struggle, Marija's headstrong nature makes for quite the atypical "victim", breathing life into the film that is ultimately an exploration of the human struggle and exploitation.
If you followed the unfolding of last year's terror attacks on Paris, you'll probably find Nocturama quite intriguing. The film centres around a group of young people, tired of how society dictates their lives, who plant bombs around Paris. Nocturama's focus is particularly interesting as these aren't the terrorist prototypes typically portrayed in real-life media. To protect themselves from the after-effects of the bombs, the delinquents hole themselves up in a department store, which, as you've probably already guessed, slowly reveals itself to be a critique of capitalism — but that's only scratching the surface of this twisted drama!
Conjoint twins Dasy and Viola are turned into a singing entertainment act by their money-hungry father. When the twins learn from a doctor that they can be separated, their different viewpoints on the surgery begin to cause tension in their relationship, as does their father's rage at potentially losing his cash cow. The film is a rich exploration of interpersonal and inter-family drama and exploitation, as well as raises issues about autonomy and individuality.
Featured photo source: IMDb - Knife in the Water