Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim Review – Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim ( Ali Mizah wa Ibrahim ) is an Arabic comedy drama film released in 2016. Ali a man who considers his goat Nada as his fiancee and Ibrahim a sound engineer who hears disturbing sounds in his ears meet at a clinic and embark on a journey together to find cure.
I watched this movie in the Bangalore International Film Festival 2018. The movie has a very interesting plot. Director Sharif El-Bindari has created the character of Ali and Ibrahim very well and makes us fall in love with them. You cannot fully understand the suffering of someone until you are in their shoes is an underlying message of this comedy drama. Right from the first shot the movie has a subtle reference to the prejudiced world that goes based on appearance and behavior. Police detain Ali for carrying a Teddy Bear suspecting it to be a smuggling racquet while they miss capturing a gang of folks kidnapping a women. Even Ali himself is seen having some prejudice about Ibrahim during their trip.
At time you would feel Ali is doing bit too much of being obsessed with Nada the goat. He can’t take any one calling his Nada as goat and he furiously. The journey puts them through various trials and builds a strong bond between them until some unexpected turn of events.
The lead actors portraying Ali and Ibrahim have done well. There are many moments you would laugh and the climax tops it all and makes you feel good. Nada the goat is yet another lovable animal character on screen. Although there are some cliched moments in the film, it still makes it a very enjoyable ride.
Overall Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim is a feel-good movie that would make you laugh and fall in love with life.
Very Big Shot Review – Very Big Shot is a Lebanese comedy film released in 2015. Three brothers who are into drug dealing business take up one last job before they set out to go clean and straight to open a restaurant business.
I had watched this movie in the Bangalore International Film Festival 2016. How I wished Tamil movie Jigarthanda’s second half was something like this. Anyways that is my personal views which many may differ to agree. Without getting into that argument let me talk about Very Big Shot. The movie is a gangster drug lord flick at the outset. However, there is a very sensible humor throughout the script right from the first shot. Once the gangsters figure out that film roles are spared from being screened at the airport, they decide to become a producer of a film. The movie gets very interesting from there on and it is a ride filled with loads of laughter.
The screenplay has been done very nicely to ensure there is a logical flow to the whole story. The characters have been created and established the way they fit into the situations well. There is no point it looks force fitted. Usually, comedy movies suffer from the phenomenon of force fitting humor into the script.
High Points: The scene where Ziad (eldest of the brothers) decide to make a movie to smuggle the drugs, the filmmaking scene where the Bhurka clad lady is stopped and the onlookers jump in to create a commotion without realising it is a shooting.
Low Points: As the humor is built around the movie making process, this humor may not work for all.
Overall, Very Big Shot is a wholesome entertainer that would make you laugh and keep you engaged throughout the movie. If you get a chance to watch this one do give it a try.
One Man and His Cow Review – One Man and His Cow is a French comedy movie released in 2016. Fatah a peasant from Algeria travels on foot with his Cow Jacqueline to compete in Paris International Agriculture Show.
Yet another gem I had seen during the Bangalore International Film Festival. The movie is a joint collaboration between France and Algeria. This easily is one of the sweetest feel good movie I had watched recently. The best part of the movie is its simplicity. They have used the resources available to them very economically to convey a heart warming story. Fatah and his cow steal the viewer’s heart right from the first scene where he gives a motivational speech to his Cow on how she would win in the competition. The characters in the village are also naive and very realistic.
There is also some excellent screenplay construction of tracking his journey through lessons in a classroom where its everyday task of the students is to point the place in the map where Fatah and his cow are currently. Usually, filmmakers cover it with a cliched map and a red line going through it. But hearing it through the class makes it very interesting. The class stops tracking him after crosses the border which I believe is a sarcastic indication of how the developed nations are so clueless about the life outside. The introduction of Lambert Wilson’s role as Philippe adds a very interesting dimension to the tale. The interactions between Phillippe and Fatah draw the contrast between the two worlds they belong to.
High Points: The overall feel good factor, The peach drink scene, the scene in which Fatah tries to write a letter to his wife, the climax scene.
Low Points: There is not really a low point in the movie as it is sincere to its screenplay.
Overall One Man and His Cow will make you laugh, touch the soft corners of your heart and bring a big smile on your face.
Kills on Wheels Review – Kills on Wheels (Tiszta szívvel) is a Hungarian comedy film released in 2016. Two disabled teenagers find a reason to live when they get associated with a wheel-chaired hitman.
This is yet another movie I had an opportunity to watch in Bangalore International Film Festival. This is the first Hungarian movie I am watching. Right from the main title card, the movie kept me engaged. The plot line looks very simple and naive but a number of layers added to the screenplay and the characters have been phenomenal. There was always something waiting to surprise you. The hitman assignments have been shot very well and many of them have been gripping. In particular their final assignment. When you are already blown away by the story you had witnessed so far, the director surprises you with yet another beautiful twist in the movie to leave you elated as you leave the hall.
If you are film student then this is a movie you should watch for many aspects, the layers you add to a screenplay in terms of characters and situations, the background score, mise en scene to name a few. I can’t write too much about the plot and their twists as it would spoil the movie for you. This one happens to be the official nomination from Hungary for the Academy awards but unfortunately did not get nominated.
High Points: The characterization of the lead characters. In particular the boy with autism and the hitman. The final assignment of the hitman set out to kill Toni. The twist in the climax sequence. The title soundtrack.
Low Points: I did not find any low points for this one. If any had been well covered by a great execution.
Overall, the movie works well in entertaining the audience and leave the elated. Don’t miss this one.
After the Storm Review – After the Storm is a Japanese drama film released in 2016. Ryota, a prize-winning author, and a private detective wastes money and cannot make ends meet to pay for his child support. He gets to spend a night together with his family on a stormy night, the night brings in a change in him.
I got to watch this one in Bangalore International Film Festival. The movie very beautifully narrates the events that happen in the between the members of the family. The screenplay spends some time to establish the characters, their habits and the problems in life. It gets very intense once it has all of them inside the house during a storm. The movie touches upon many things including the addiction to gambling, self-centered parenting, kids craving for love from the parents. The memories of Ryota’s childhood brings back a new perspective into their life.
Kirin Kiki has performed very well as Ryota’s mom and she steals the show. I had liked her performance in An and I could see the same level of intensity in this role too. Hiroshe Abe has also performed well. His transformation from a gambling addict has been portrayed well. Amidst of all the chaos, there is still a lot of humor that will make you laugh.
High Points: Very strong plot is a strength backed by the performance of Kirin Kiki and Hiroshe Abe. The night the family spends at home is a high point.
Low Points: The first half seems a little drag as the movie establishes the lead characters.
Overall After the storm is a movie that will touch your heart and bring in new reflections over life. You can watch it for the strong performances of the lead characters and the sweet message it carries.
Worth a Watch
Cinemawala Review – Cinemawala is a Bengali drama released in 2016. The movie’s plot revolves around the stress in the relationship of a father and the son, where the father wants his son run his family business and the son takes a different route.
Director Kaushik Ganguly has used the background of a father-son relationship and depicted the fading glory of single screen theaters in India. The movie has a realistic take on the current state of affairs of the single screen cinema and how elements like piracy is killing them. In a way the father and son and their strained relationship becomes the metaphor for the struggle and identity of the single screen cinemas.
The performances of Paran Bandyopadhyay and Parambrata Chatterji is very powerful and they add a lot of life to the scenes. Sohini Sarkar has supported them very well. Parambrata Chatterji has played the character with a negative shade very well. The character of the man who looks after the theater has also been created well. The scenes are constructed very well and there is an aesthetic appeal to it. The climax sequence of the movie is very impactful and nails the message very effectively. This one is yet another wonderful movie I got to see at Bengaluru International Film Festival.
High Points: Performances of Paran Bandyopadhyay and Parambrata Chatterji, Engaging screenplay, Climax sequence
Low Points: The only low point is the core message on the state of single screen theater loses its focus when the focus is on the father-son relationship. However, the climax sequence brings back the focus and ends convincingly.
Overall Cinemawala has a very compelling story and creates the impact it intends to. You cannot stop yourself from feeling sad for the single screen cinemas that have been closed. This one is a must watch for all film lovers.