The just-concluded sixty fourth version of the British Movie Institute (BFI) London Movie Pageant was a triumph, given the circumstances it was held in. Lengthy earlier than the lay of the land was recognized, the organisers had bravely determined to pivot to a hybrid on-line/bodily mannequin. Screenings had been held throughout UK companion venues, not simply London, with the bulk being on-line. When the competition started, the nation discovered itself within the grip of a second wave of coronavirus, however the sheer enthusiasm of a film-starved public and the joie de vivre of the organisers pulled it via and made it successful.
In a programme filled with terrific movies, three stood out for me. Sufficient has been written concerning the wonderful The Disciple, so shifting on swiftly from there to the opposite movie that’s within the means of conquering the competition circuit, débutant Rezwan Shahriar Sumit’s Bangladesh/France manufacturing, The Salt in Our Waters (Nonajoler Kabbo). It had its world première in London and has its Asian première on the ongoing Busan Movie Pageant. I’ve been following the mission because it was a glimmer in Sumit’s eye on the NFDC Movie Bazaar in Goa just a few years in the past. Since then, he acquired just a few grants, and a Spike Lee Fellowship no much less. However, proof of the pudding, proper?
The film is an incredible début, a lot in order that it’s troublesome to consider that it’s a début movie, so assured is the filmmaking. It’s a religious successor to Bangladeshi doyen Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s ground-breaking Tv (2012), the place new concepts arrive at an island in Bangladesh, thus disrupting the previous order. Nonetheless, Sumit additionally packs in concepts of local weather change and totally different interpretations of theology, together with an interesting sideline in idolatry, not simply bodily, however philosophical as properly. The movie can be of a chunk with two seminal man vs. nature works, Ritwik Ghatak’s A River Known as Titas ( the 1973 Titas Ekti Nodir Naam) and Ramu Kariat’s Chemmeen (1965). Sumit is a expertise to be watched and nurtured.
Additionally disrupting the previous order is Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco’s New Order (Nuevo Orden). The movie got here to London after profitable awards at Venice and far competition play elsewhere. Franco has at all times preferred to problem audiences, starting along with his first characteristic Daniel and Ana (2009), the place kidnapped siblings are pressured to have intercourse on digicam. In New Order, he challenges us a lot that the result’s so plausible that it’s terrifying. The movie is a few revolution in Mexico the place the bulk (all folks of color) brutally rise in opposition to the one-percenters i.e. the rich and highly effective (all white). Franco doesn’t take sides and that’s the scary half — the takeaway is that there’s evil all over the place and in everybody. What an apt movie for this annus horribilis.
To finish on a cheerier notice, Tomas Vinterberg’s classically shot One other Spherical (Druk), a far cry from his Dogme 95 days, follows 4 highschool academics, led by the redoubtable Mads Mikkelsen, who resolve to enhance issues by holding a continuing degree of alcohol of their blood. Does it go pear formed? I’m not telling. One other Spherical received finest movie on the London Movie Pageant.