Goa Film Festaval

Abhijit Ghosh-Dastidar

The International Film Festival of India in November 2019, at Goa, unearthed intriguing gems. The 50th IFFI edition focusing on new forms, revivals and restorations, framed perceptions on country focus Russia; a Ken Loach (UK) retrospective; Oscar winner retrospective; homage to Agnes Varda (France) and Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy); and a spotlight on Takeshi Miicke (Japan). The Indian Panorama was surprise laden with restored Indian classics (Uday Shankar's "Kalpana" (1948) and Ritwik Ghatak's "Titash Ekti Nadir Naam" (1973), contemporary film makers of different generations, and emerging Indian filmmakers.

"Parasite" (South Korea, 132 mins, colour) directed by Bong Joon-ho, is a tragic—comedy about social inequality in South Korea. A loving family is driven to dubious extremes, by poverty stricken circumstances. The mother of the poor family is ex-champion shot-putter, Chung-Sook (Chang Hyare-jin) who works errand, at the architect designed home of wealthy Mr Park (Liee Sun Kyun) and his glamorous wife, Yeon-Kyo (Cho Yeo-jeong). The impoverished family live in a squalid semi-basement, below the modernist mansion of Mr Park. The poor family stare into menial jobs, an unlocked wi-fi signal, and a mysterious flickering of a hall lamp. The ramshackle family is driven to extremes by poverty. The social commentary has a naturalistic treatment. As a critique of unjust nature of capitalism and class hierarchy, stark visual contrasts, emerge between the unequal social castes at play. Rains and storms flood the poorer sections of the town and the basement. Class differences are evoked through space and light. The plot recalls Joseph Losey's "The Servant" and Piero Pasolini's "Theorem" about cunning social outcastes staging stealth home invasions against upper-class hosts. Jung Jaei-il's dread laden music score, and fragment bouquets of classical music provide comic counter points. Hong Kyung-pyo's cinematography is high gloss, combining lush candy shop colours with precision.

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Vol. 52, No. 25, Dec 22 - 28, 2019