MAMI Day 4: A mixed bag with Maroon, Multiple Maniacs and The Wailing
Monday mornings (Day 4 of Mumbai Film Festival) are great when they start with a dose of a deliberately offensive black and white comedy from the legendary 'shock auteur' director John Waters. Multiple Maniacs is Waters' second feature and has been restored by Criterion Collection and is being shown 46 years after it originally opened. It's a movie that once shook up the world.
The movie is a "demented comic opera of rage that looks forward, as few films of the time did, to the over-the-top hate culture we have today," writes Owen Gleiberman in Variety.
Multiple Maniacs is a movie that can only be seen on the big screen and most definitely only at a festival. The crowds at festivals are markedly different than the ones who go to see commercially released films. The audience watching this film, for instance, was full of applause, laughter and cheering during many parts of the festival - though someone did tell me to keep the clapping to a minimum.
Day 4, movie 2
Thanks to the Waters movie, I was rather pumped for the rest of my day at MAMI. With almost two hours between movies, I went out to get food. Having spent a lot of time in Andheri during the festival, I've observed that it's quite a calm and all-walks-of-life kind of neighbourhood. As always though, Bombay was either sleeping or working. We were the only ones to make it to a bistro at 1 PM. Luckily the service was fast and the food was excellent.
Heading into the next movie, I was quite excited. Having won the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for their 2011 film Kid With a Bike and then followed it up with the multiple-award winner Two Days, One Night, the Dardenne brothers' The Unkown Girl seemed like a good bet.
As it turned out, it wasn't. I wouldn't say it was a disappointment, but the film felt like a half-hearted attempt at what they set out to achieve. Lacking passion, it failed to push the barriers as much as it had the potential to. The film also didn't go much into the psyche of the main characters.
The plot is simple, once , I walked out the doors, walked out the mall, ran five minutes down the street, got my bag checked once again, sat in for my second Indian movie of the festival, Maroon, and didn't stand up for the national anthem again. It's about a doctor haunted by the death (which she could have prevented) of an unidentified immigrant. This is the Dardenne brothers' tenth feature and stars a lead character who is able to show us her two sides without delving too deep into the character. It's a misstep, but one that will still excite avid Dardenne brothers' fans.
From bad to worse
Once the movie ended, I walked out the doors, walked out the mall, ran five minutes down the street, got my bag checked once again, sat in for my second Indian movie of the festival, Maroon, and didn't stand up for the national anthem.
This is Pulkit's first feature length movie, and contrary to what the audience may have thought, it was a terrible watch. A few people I chatted with afterwards seemed to agree with me, but on the whole, it got a fairly positive response. This was the world premiere of the movie but it isn't going very far. It's a psychological thriller about the disappearance of a woman, leaving her husband all to himself. It stars the average-at-best Manav Kaul.
Maroon is highly predictable (the car being found in a bush, water flowing into the bathtub, fingers on the floor and a very scared lead actor), clichéd dialogues and a bad actress who plays a student. On the whole, it felt like a first draft of a novel, one that needed thorough editing and maybe even a twist or two to make it passable. A freelance assistant producer I was talking to outside the venue didn't like the camera work and dialogues. "Handled camera work wasn't good. Dialogues were like some sixth standard student had written them."
Number one peril of a film festival is your schedule not going according to your plan. Maroon ended late and so a number of us couldn't get into the animated movie Red Turtle. They give less than ten minutes between movies here. Well, I think that worked in my favour as I was able to convince the assistant director and her friend to join me on a ride from Andheri to Bandra to see the much talked about South Korean horror movie The Wailing.
The theatre in Bandra is also one of the nicest, and so that is a bonus. Travelling isn't. Nonetheless, we sat in, after an hour's wait (we got there early) for the 160-minute horror flick. The pacing of the movie was good and so was the premise. Acting was also solid (as it is for most Asian horror movies) and direction was superb. One of the only negatives was that the director and crew took a few liberties with the horror genre in terms of adding unnecessary twists to the story. Besides that, it was lengthy - a good 20 minutes could have chopped off.
On the whole though, The Wailing is a must watch movie, especially for the fans of the horror genre. At 11:40, when it ended, we got out of the cinema and grabbed a meal. We ate and talked movies, jobs and whatnot and then left for our respective places. I finished my scheduling, filing of this piece and now have just about six hours left before I need to be awake to book for the next day.
Thanks to MAMI, the 8 AM BookMyShow experience has become a staple start to my day here. One I could have done without.