At the ongoing 54th International Film Festival of India in Goa, 15 films have been chosen to compete for the renowned Golden Peacock Award. The great roster of exceptional films includes 12 international films and three Indian features.
A still from the film SANAA (2023)
The Golden Peacock award, which recognises excellence in filmmaking, is one of the world's most prestigious cinematic honours. This year's jury includes film industry veterans such as Spanish cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine, French film producers Jerome Paillard and Catherine Dussart, Australian film producer Helen Leake, and acclaimed Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor, who also serves as the Jury Chairperson.
The excitement grows as the competition this year promises to showcase the greatest, with films like:
1. WOMAN OF (Original title- Kobieta Z)
Woman Of is a 2023 Polish-Swedish drama film written and directed by Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert. The drama is set against the landscape of the Polish transformation from communism to capitalism.
2. The Other Widow (Original Title- Pilegesh)
Israeli director Ma'ayan Rypp’s debut feature is a dark, comedic coming-of-age story about a modern single woman, Ella. Ella is 34 years old theatre dresser and mistress, experiences the sudden death of her lover. She begins to frequent his Shivah (Jewish mourning rituals) and observes the life that was forbidden to her. A need to grieve attacks her in the least expected moments. Eventually she demands her legitimate right to mourn.
3. The Party of Fools (Original Title- Captives)
Arnaud Des Pallières directed “Party Of Fools” is a story of female solidarity, a portrait of women who dream of a destiny other than the one mapped out for them. Fanni, unlike the other women who are interned to ‘Party of Fools’ unjustly against their will, she is here voluntarily. Her only goal is to find her mother and escape together. This French feature is produced by Philippe Rousselet and Jonathan Blumental.
4. Measures Of Men (Original Title- Der Vermessene Mensch)
The German director Lars KRAUME has made a haunting film about the genocide of the Herero and the Nama tribes in 19th-century Berlin. German ethnologist, Alexander Hoffmann, travels to the former colony "German Southwest Africa (Now Namibia)" to gather art and skulls for the Berlin Ethnological Museum and slowly begins to lose his moral compass for career gain, failing to oppose white supremacy as Germany's history darkens.
Lubo is a 2023 Italian-Swiss drama film directed by Giorgio Diritti. Lubo is a nomad, a busker who in 1939 is called up to the Swiss army to defend the country’s borders against the risk of a German invasion. Shortly afterward he finds out that his wife has died in the attempt to stop the gendarmes from taking away their three small children. Lubo knows that he will never have peace until he gets his children back and gets justice for his story and that of all outsiders like himself.
6. HOFFMAN'S FAIRY TALES (Original Title: Skazki Gofmana)
The film is directed by Tina Barkalaya, Russian director of Georgian origin. It is set in the early 2000s, as the Soviet era fades into a Westernised parody, the film follows Nadezhda, a timid woman trapped in a marriage with Vitaly, exploiting her for an apartment. She emerges as a sought-after hand model, reshaping her life dramatically.
7. ENDLESS BORDERS (Original Title: Marzhaye bi Payan)
Directed by Abbas Amini, Endless Borders is a gripping drama in which danger lurks literally everywhere. The rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan has reignited the fire of ethnic and tribal wars. Ahmad, an exiled Iranian teacher, gets acquainted with a Hazara family from Afghanistan, and sees the real face of prejudice and dogmatism in the region. A forbidden love makes him act and discover the lack of love and bravery in his own life.
8. DIE BEFORE DEATH (Original Title: Umri Prije Smrti)
The Movie is directed by Ahmed Imamovic (Bosnia And Herzegovina). Gorgeous gynecologist Zlatan falls seriously ill and has little time left. Convinced that it is punishment for the abortions he performed, he embarks on a journey to seek answers to his conflicts. The final moments turn into victory of life over death as a child is born since Zlatan spares one unborn life.
9. BOSNIAN POT (Original Title: Bosanski Lonac )
Croatian Director Pavo Marinković is back to IFFI with his masterpiece creation. It is a story of a Bosnian writer living in Austria who is suddenly left without a residence permit due to stricter immigration rules and his own negligence. In order to not be deported, Faruk must prove to the authorities that he's made a cultural contribution to Austrian society. The ensuing adventure brought on by Faruk's reluctant return to the theater could transform his life and force him to realise what is truly important.
10. BLAGA’S LESSONS (Original Title: Urotcite na Blaga)
With many award-winning feature and documentary films to his credit, Bulgarian Director Stephan Komandarev is coming to IFFI with BLAGA’S LESSONS. Blaga is a seventy-year-old recently widowed former teacher and a woman of firm morals. When telephone scammers con her out of the money that she had saved for her husband’s grave, her moral compass slowly begins to lose its bearings as she transforms into a scammer herself.
Seán Devlin is a first generation Filipino-Chinese-Irish Canadian filmmaker and comedian. Asog is a unique narrative incorporating documentary elements follows Rey, a 40-year-old non-binary teacher and typhoon survivor, on a road trip to fame. With surreal comedy and social portrait realism, filmmaker Seán Devlin explores climate change, LGBTQ+ issues.
12. ANDRAGOGY (Original Title: Budi Pekerti)
Andragogy is a 2023 drama film written and directed by Wregas Bhanuteja. The film stars Sha Ine Febriyanti as a school teacher whose reputation and career prospects get jeopardized after a video of her confronting a line-cutter goes viral.
13. KANTARA (2022)
Rishab Shetty is an actor and filmmaker in the Kannada film industry. His critically acclaimed blockbuster, ‘Kantara’ is set in the fictional village of Dakshina Kannada. The film explores the ideological conflict between humans and nature. The co-existence of a tribe living with the forest will be hampered by a forest officer who feels certain practices and rituals followed by the tribe pose a threat to mother nature. Will the main character, Shiva, be able to reinstate peace and harmony in the village perceiving his existence forms the crux of the film.
14. SANAA (2023)
Sudhanshu Saria is a national award winning filmmaker. He made his feature film debut with a queer road-trip romance titled ‘Love’ which was widely acclaimed at film festivals. In this movie, Sanaa, a 28-year-old financial advisor working in Mumbai finds out she is pregnant. Absolutely clear on her decision to terminate the pregnancy, the actual process of getting the abortion forces Sanaa to re-evaluate her life and delve deep if the choices she has been making have been really her own.
15. MIRBEEN (2023)
‘Mirbeen’, the Karbi feature film directed by Mridul Gupta and produced by Dhaniram Tisso, has been selected in the feature film category, the only film from Assam to find place in the prestigious forum.
Mirbeen is the central character of this story. In her childhood, her grandmother instills in her the dream of doing something with the fairy tales of Serdihun (God of textile in Karbi tribal beliefs), which sprouts the desire to make life meaningful in her mind. But fratricidal clashes and ethnic conflicts make the entire Karbi land bloody in 2005 and her life is also jeopardized.
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