Film review: Filmistaan

Like Sunny, the buoyant Indian held captive by vigilante Pakistanis in the movie Filmistaan, Mumbai-born director Nitin Kakkarpaints one of today’s touchiest political scenes in broad strokes. Sunny is a struggling Bollywood actor from India until he joins an American documentary crew as an assistant director, only to be mistakenly kidnapped by vigilante Pakistanis. (“There were supposed to be two Americans in the car!” the underling desperately pleads to his boss, a.k.a. Pakistani with biggest turban.)

The film’s most beautiful and laugh-out-loud moments are when Sunny tries to manipulate his surroundings by merging his beloved film-world with the real world: at one point, he plays director, producer, cinematographer and actor to his own hostage video, desperately crying on camera one moment, yelling “Cut!” in the next.

Read the full review on Busan Hapsas part of the site’s pretty extensive BIFF 2012 coverage.

BESIDE THE RED CARPET: VIGNETTES FROM THE BIFF

LET’S GET ONE THING out of the way: the Busan Cinema Center is a ridiculous thing. It is a metallic mammoth, a flowing steel maze of platforms and escalators. It looks big in pictures, but that is not enough. Not until you look up and see its North Star—the centre of the outpouring rainbow of lights that covers the 30,000-square-metre outdoor ceiling—do you really understand what’s going on here.

The whole thing cost 1,678,500,000,000 won, or approximately a billion and a half US dollars.

 

It is worth noting, however, that the Busan Cinema Center’s sleek grey and beige leather sofas, coupled with the subtle floorlights and beautiful contemporary design by Austrian firm Coop Himmelb, forced me to despite myself by acknowledging that this shit is pretty fucking mindblowing. The place literally smells like a new car.

My latest piece of Busan International Film Festival coverage for Busan Awesome—three vignettes on the festival’s atmosphere.

A BIFF PREVIEW: HOWS, WHATS AND WHERES

I KNOW, I KNOW. Movies are cool. But film festivals? Even when you speak the language, navigating a pretentious labyrinthine orgy of independent art is a daunting prospect. All these movies! All these names! Can’t I just save my money and download the popular ones later?

The biggest change is the new Busan Cinema Centre. They began constructing this glossy behemoth back in 2008 and only finished it this September… basically, it looks as if an alien mothership landed and was transformed into a future-themed amusement park that also showed movies.

A sort-of goofily written piece for Busan Awesome, an English-language online magazine for Busanites. My full guide went online last week, and my Top 11 Films to Look Out For was put up just a few days ago.