So far 2020 has been a tough year on all fronts. However, one experience that we globally missed due to the Coronavirus pandemic is watching award-winning national and international films in a Films Festival. In India, the several festivals that people love, either happened online or had to be cancelled for the year. However, in the many global festivals that happened online, some truly beautiful films were showcased.
Here are some of the best films that were screened in film festivals to look forward to in the next year in theatres and on different OTT platforms:
Court (2014) director Chaitanya Tamhane’s sophomore film The Disciple won the Best Screenplay Award and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Venice Film Festival, where it premiered. It also won the Amplify Voices Award at the 45th Toronto International Film Festival, sharing the prize with Ivorian director Phillipe Lacote’s Night of the Kings.
The Disciple is based on a classical musician and their journey over 30 years in the city of Mumbai. Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón served as Executive Producer on the project. The Disciple is undoubtedly the best Indian film in the festival circuit this year, a film worth experiencing on the silver screen.
Another film that made a lot of noise and picked up the prestigious awards this season is Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland. The director, who is currently making Marvel’s star-studded venture The Eternals, was in her element when she made this honest and vulnerable film about a woman who loses everything in the recession and starts a nomadic life off her van.
Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand also gave a fierce and unforgettable performance in Nomadland. The poignant film went on to win the prestigious Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award. The film released in select theatres in the US on December 4, 2020 and will hopefully release in India soon.
National Award-winning filmmaker Suman Mukhapadhyay’s second Hindi film Nazarband, starring Indira Tiwari and Tanmay Dhanania, was one of the few films from India that premiered at the Busan Film Festival. Nazarband (Captives) is the story of two migrant convicts, fresh out of jail, navigating life in the unkind city of Kolkata. The film is based on revered Bengali writer Ashapurna Devi’s short story of the same name.
The film, which received praise in the festival is an amazing example of ‘guerilla filmmaking,’ in the director’ own words. The film strips down to the basics and shows the real side of marginalisation, even when it can be ugly and uncomfortable sometimes.
One Night In Miami
Actress Regina King made history in Venice Film Festival when she became the first African American woman to showcase her film at the prestigious event. One Night in Miami tracks a fictionalised meeting between four of America’s icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown, who get together to discuss their roles in the Civil Rights Movement in the country.
Films that explore the ‘What If?’ theme, are quite rare and One Night In Miami is one of the most polished ones among the few. It is powerful and timely, for a society that still struggles from systematic racism and racial power dynamics. The film will have a limited theatrical release on Christmas 2020 and will then release on Amazon Prime Video on January 15, 2021.
A star-studded cast consisting of and not limited to Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan and Fiona Shaw, Ammonite is a beautiful story about two women who find unlikely companionship in one another in the face of tragedy, adversity and patriarchy.
Ammonite is loosely based on the life of British paleontologist Mary Anning. Set in 1894, the film had its premiere in Toronto International Film Festival and quickly became one of the best to have been showcased at the event. Director Francis Lee, whose last feature God’s Own Country also talked about class and sexuality, got a lot of applause for making the film in a non-vouyeristic and sensitive manner. The film is set to have a March 2021 release.