It was a Sunday but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the movie buffs of the 9th Chennai International Film Festival. I got a tingle in my brain at 8 to get ready for the day and after the ever favourite mini tiffin in Saravana Bhavan I made it to Woodlands for the morning movie at 10 AM

1. Love like Poison (France)

Directed by Katell Quillevere, Love Like Poison is a story of a teenager Anne who is torn between her love and faith towards God. The story takes the confirmation moment that comes in every roman catholic’s life. She also needs to battle the separation of her parents, ailing grand father and her mother’s inclination towards the priest of the church.

The dilemma of Anne is dealt in a more shallow manner and the movie lacks the depth that could have made the movie a classic. The wonderful premise craves for some deft writing and good acting. Except for the Grand Father, the other roles have been frivolously portrayed. A 4/10  for Katell’s Love like Poison. You can give it a miss.


A high profile director and produced by another high profile director, the movie promised to be different. Restless is a story of Annabelle, a teenager who spends her last days of her life because of a terminal disease. She falls in love with Enoch, a school dropout who attends random funerals and has a Japanese Kamikaze pilot ghost as his close friend. Enoch is trying to cope up with the loss of his parents and how Annabelle’s love transforms him is the story.

Gus Van Sant has taken a simple story and has given a loveable treatment to it. Annabelle’s character is etched beautifully and Enoch’s character is a perfect match to the flair of Annabelle. But everyone will fall in love with the Kamikaze ghost Hiroshi, played by Ryo Kase. The movie delicately deals with the personal losses in lives and people who have had such experiences will relate it. This is not the best of Gus Van Sant ( Good Will Hunting, Milk) but worth a watch. 6.5/10

3.The Monk (France)

The Monk is the film adaptation of 1796 novel by Matthew Lewis directed by Dominik Moll with Vincent Cassell in the lead. It’s a story of a capuchin monk, Ambrosia who is abandoned in the church as a child. He grows up to be pious, infallible and extremely faithful Monk loved by people. His sanctity and faith is shaken when Valerio, a masked girl comes in to the church claiming as a boy. She seduces him and uses his attraction on Antonia to pull him in to the world of deceit and sin.

Vincent Cassell’s portrayal of Ambrosia is surprisingly convincing and he brings the character to life but the movie is too predictable as the plot of religious guilt has been depicted in different ways. The film also lacks the emotional aspect and lack of depth in depicting the emotions of Ambrosia. But the film is well taken and you will be amazed at the authenticity of the periodic feel. In fact, I was under the impression that the story is a real life adaptation and not a fiction. Watch it for the production values and impressive acting of Vincent Cassell. 6.5/10

4.A Separation (Iran)

Even before the CIFF got underway, every one was very sure that they will watch this movie. 29 awards so far and expected to win the Golden Globe, Oscars of this season. This was the first movie to win Golden Bear and the Silver Bears trio in the same year. What’s so special about this movie?

A Separation deals with the divorce of Nader and Simin, an educated couple who has a 11 year old daughter. Simin could not withstand the pressure she needs to undergo because of Nader’s father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. While she goes to live with her mom, Nader employs a maid to take care of his father. At one instance, a small rift ensues between Nader and the maid, he pushes her out of his home. The maid ends up in a miscarriage and she accuses Nader for it. Did he really caused the death of the child? What happens to the divorce? I can’t spoil the experience for you as you need to enjoy it.

Master director Asghar Farhadi is back with a bang. He spins a web with his story telling and sucks you in to the movie. You become so involved in the movie, that you start arguing in your mind about the truthfulness of each character. The most beautiful thing about “A Separation” is the simplistic idea of divorce. The movie doesn’t deal with the process of divorce but the consequences that ensue because of it. Each character is well written and never lose track in the complexity of the screenplay. The characters are so well etched that the performances are brilliant. I loved both the 11 year old and the innocent 3 year old who have the best parts of the movie. The movie asks a lot of questions about our ethics, morality and relationships. The ending is so perfect that it evokes your emotions and leaves a question mark in your mind. A 9/10 for this fantastic script and Asghar Farhadi’s master class. Miss it at your own peril.

I admire the way he made the whole theatre to wait till the final credits ended. I bet you will wait too, restlessly.

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Posted by Sylvian

Marketing Analyst by profession, a quizzer by passion, a blogger by choice, a poet by chance, a non-conformist by gene and a rebel by birth

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