Mumbai: Hand-picked from across the world, the 15 high-quality films in the International Competition section at the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) are competing for the coveted Golden Peacock as well as other awards on offer at the festival.
Only the best of the feature length fiction films from all around the world are selected to compete in this pivotal section at the IFFI. This year, the International Competition section has a total of 15 films, out of which 3 are Indian. These Indian films – Bhayanakam, To Let, and Ee.Ma.Yau will be India’s representation in the International Competition section at IFFI 2018.
The film Bhayanakam earned its director Jayaraj two National Awards – for Best Director and for Best Adapted Screenplay, in 2017.
To Let marks the debut of author, poet and cinematographer Chezhiyan Ra as a director.
The director of Ee.Maa.Yau – Lijo Jose Pellissery, is a critically acclaimed director, best known for Amen and Angamaly Diaries – a cult Malayalam hit which featured 86 debutants.
This year the International Competition section features films representing (produced and co-produced) 22 countries. Interestingly the section also features an Oscar nominated film in Donbass. The film, which won its director the Un Certain Regard Award for Best Director at Cannes (2018) this year, is Ukraine’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming 91st Academy Awards.
Speaking about the International Competition section, Directorate of IFFI said, “It is great to see three Indian films make it to the International Competition Section at IFFI this year. It shows that our cinema is thriving and at par with the best from around the world. The selection is exciting and I wish all the filmmakers good luck at the festival.”
Here’s the list of selected films under this category that will be screened at IFFI 2018.
- 53 Wars
Poland | Polish | Ewa Bukowska
- A Translator
Cuba | Canada | Spanish, Russian | Rodrigo, Sebastian Barrriuso
Bulgaria/Germany/France | Yakut | Milko Lazarov
- Divine Wind
Algeria/France/Qatar/Lebanon | Arabic, Algerian | Merzak Allouache
Germany/Ukraine/France/Netherlands/Romania | Ukrainian, Russian | Sergey Loznitsa
- A Family Tour
Taiwan | Hong Kong | Singapore | Malaysia | Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese | Liang Ying
Iran | Persian | Hadi Mohaghegh
- Our Struggles
Belgium/France | French | Guillaume Senez
- The Manslayer/The Virgin/The Shadow
Estonia, Lithuania | Estonian/Spanish | Sulev Keedus
- The Unseen
Argentina | Spanish / English | Nicolas Puenzo
- Van Goghs
Russia | Russian | Sergey Livnev
- When the Trees Fall
Ukraine/Poland | Ukrainian | Marysia Nikitiuk
India | Malayalam | Lijo Jose Pellissery
- To Let
India | Tamil | Chezhiyan Ra
India | Malayalam | Jayaraj
Synopsis of the Indian Films in the International Competition Section at IFFI 2018
2017 | Malayalam | 123 min | Colour
A First World War veteran is coming to a small backwater village in Kerala, India as a Postman. He is distributing money orders and letters to the family of soldiers as a symbol of happiness. He turns out to be an omen of death once the Second World War starts. The pain and impact of the War is shown through the telegrams and postman’s dilemma.
Jayaraj is an Indian filmmaker from the Malayalam film industry. A seven-time National Award winner, Jayaraj won the National Award for Best Director (2017) and for Best Adapted Screenplay (2017) for Bhayanakam. He is also the recipient of several prestigious international awards including the Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Golden Peacock at the IFFI, the Golden Crow Pheasant at the IFFK, and the FIPRESCI Award.
Producer: Prakriti Pictures
Cast: Renji Panicker, Asha , Master Keshav Jayaraj, Sabita Jayaraj
2017 | Malayalam | 120 min | Colour
Vavachan, a master mason belonging to the Latin Catholic community in Kerala, shares memories his father’s burial with his son Eesy. He expresses a desire of a grand funeral for himself which Eesy promises. After Vavachan’s sudden death, Eesy tries to arrange a decent funeral for him but is met with unpredictable obstacles and reactions from different quarters. The subsequent events brings to the fore the conflicts within the family and the deep ethical crisis simmering in the community.
Lijo Jose Pellissery, son of late veteran Malayalam actor Jose Pellessery, has directed five films: Nayakan (2010), City of God (2011), Amen (2013), Double Barrel (2015), Angamaly Diaries (2017). He won critical acclaim for Amen and Angamaly Diaries (a cult Malyalam hit which featured 86 debutants).
Director: Lijo Jose Pellissery
Producer: OPM Cinemas
Cast: Chemban Vinod, Vinayakan T K, Dileesh Pothan, Kainagiri Thnkaraj, Pouly Valsan, Krishna Padmakumar, Arya K S
2017 | Tamil | 99 min | Colour
To Let is the story of a couple with a child living in a rented accommodation in Chennai. It takes place in 2007 when the metro city was experiencing a real estate boom as a result of an exponential development of the IT sector. A little too greedy for a higher rent, the land owner asks the couple to vacate their house. They have only thirty days to find new accommodation with their modest middle-class income. On their Mopeds, the couple starts a race against time and all kinds of prejudice to get a house.
Chezhiyan Ra is an author, poet and cinematographer of nine Tamil feature films. His debut film Kalloori (2007) was screened in the Indian Panorama, while his Paradesi (2013) won the Best Cinematography award at the London Filmmakers Film Festival. To Let is his debut movie as a director.
Director, Screenplay & DOP: Chezhiyan Ra
Production: ழ cinema (La Cinema)
Cast: Santhosh Sreeram, Suseela, Dhahran
The 49th International Film Festival of India begins on Tuesday, 20 November 2018 and ends on Wednesday, 28 November 2018, in Panaji, Goa.