For those who are not acquainted with the event, Dharamshala International Film Festival is an annual festival held at the Himalayan town McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala. The event began in 2012 and this year’s event, marking the 10th edition of the festival, took place online from November 4 to November 10.
Since 2019, the festival has accepted the submission of films from all over the world and the total number of contemporary features is approximately 26 ranging from animations to documentaries.
This year as well the International Film Festival featured some of the exceptional films of the period.
Here are the 9 movies that we loved watching at Dharamshala International Film Festival–
Borderlands is a 2021 documentary directed by Samarth Mahajan that revolves around the stories of people divided by the border.
It brings together six distinct stories of different people whose lives are influenced by the personal and political situations in the Indian subcontinent.
It shows the everyday life of people who live on the borders of separated lands today. Mahajan himself was born and spent sixteen years of his life in Dinanagar, a town in the Indian state of Punjab bordering Pakistan. This may be one of the reasons why he chose to portray this subject.
2. Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period
Preparations To Be Together for an Unknown Period is a 2020 Hungarian drama film about a doctor in search of the love of her life. Vizy Marta, a 40- year old neurosurgeon falls in love with a visiting doctor at a conference.
Deciding to be with her love, Marta leaves the USA to shift to Budapest but when she reaches there the doctor declines that they have met before.
The film was selected for the Academy Awards however, it was not nominated.
Directed by Faraz Ali, Shoebox portrays a daughter’s relationship with her father following the story of Mampu who sees her father struggling to keep his movie theatre afloat.
Co-writer Noopur Sinha along with Faraz Ali tries to entangle the cultural heritage of Allahabad as the name of the city changes to Prayagraj and Mampu experiences the traces of her town slowly wiping away.
Directed by Omar El Zohairy, Feathers is an Arab-language absurdist drama film following the story of a family whose authoritative father turns into a chicken when a magician’s spell goes astray at a children’s party.
Suddenly the mother who was dominated her whole life finds that she is compelled to take charge of her husband and three children.
Feather is a portrayal of the facets of poverty and plain misogyny.
5. Laila aur Satt Geet
Laila is a beautiful young girl who belongs to the Gujjar-Bakarwal tribe of Kashmir– a community of nomadic shepherds. Tanvir, a young lustful herdsman falls for Laila and they soon get married.
The couple migrates following their seasonal cycle to escape the heavy snowfall of the Valley. Soon, Laila’s beauty reaches the ear of a young man in the area, and Rishi, a local police officer along with Mushtaq, a forest officer raids their camp to catch a glimpse of the lady.
Now, Laila must do all she can to protect herself from luring eyes while ignoring the lack of inaction on her husband’s part.
6. All Light Everywhere
From– the USA
All Light Everywhere is a documentary film directed by Theo Anthony. It is an exploration of the history of cameras, weapons, policing, and justice.
It also tries to connect with how humans try to see things, concentrating mostly on how we use police body cameras.
7. Uljhan (The Knot)
Uljhan is a suspense drama set in the Northern city of Lucknow. It follows the story of Shirish and Geeta belonging to an upper Indian class family who is tied in an Uljhan (knot) with their differing reactions when they ran over someone in the middle of the night.
The contemporary urban Indian society is engulfed with materialism and class conflict which is entrenched in the central theme of the movie.
8. El Planeta
El Planeta is a dark comedy following the life of Leo after her father’s death. Leo returns to Spain from London abandoning her life as a fashion student after the incident.
The two try to survive by selling things online and running up tabs based on detailed lies. Their impending downfall doesn’t stop the two of them from living the life they desire.
Directed by Amalia Ulman, El Planeta is based on poverty problems, female desires, and the complex bond between daughters and mothers.
9. Taming the Garden
From- Switzerland, Georgia
Taming the Garden is a documentary featuring an old man who was also the ex-Prime Minister of Georgia. The man has developed a unique hobby of collecting age-old trees from the coastline of Georgia.
He asks his men to uproot them and bring them to his personal garden. The people living around him are forced to live with the disruption.
Taming the Garden tries to demonstrate migration through the uprooting of trees and their aftermath.