Mumbai Film Festival Lineup Includes 'He Named Me Malala,' Sundance Winner 'Umrika'

Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival
French film 'Un Plus Une' from director Claude Lelouch will close the festival.

Paolo Sorrentino's 'Youth' and Berlin winner 'Taxi' will also screen at the 17th edition of the event, which will honor French director Agnes Varda.

The Mumbai Film Festival unveiled its programming lineup on Wednesday, which reflects a diverse mix of international and Indian titles, many of which have played well on the festival circuit.

As reported earlier, the international jury for the 17th edition of the festival, organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images, is headed by Selma director Ava DuVernay.

As also reported earlier, Hansal Mehta's Hindi film Aligarh will open the festival, which is set in the central Indian town of the same name and revolves around a professor who is suspended from his university after he is accused of being gay.

French director Claude Lelouch's Un Plus Une (One Plus One), which received a special presentation screening at Toronto, will close the festival, organizers said Thursday. The film was shot in India in Mumbai, Varanasi and New Delhi and stars Jean Dujardin (The Artist) as a film composer who falls for a diplomat's wife.

The festival's international competition section features debut films from directors and includes titles, such as Indian helmer Raam Reddy's Thithi, Chloe Zhao's Songs My Brothers Taught Me, Andrew Cividino's Sleeping Giant and Laura Bispuri's Sworn Virgin, among others.

The world cinema section includes such acclaimed titles as Youth from Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, whose previous film The Great Beauty won the best foreign-language film Oscar, Aleksandr Sokurov’s World War II drama Francofonia, which premiered at Venice and won the jury prize for best European film, and Iranian director Jafar Panahi's Taxi which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival.

As in the past, the India Gold section will feature titles reflecting a new cinema sensibility beyond formulaic fare, some of which have also traveled on the festival circuit. These include Sundance winner Umrika by Prashant Nair, The Fourth Direction (Chauthi Koot) by Gurvinder Singh, Island City by Ruchika Oberoi and A Calling (Kaul) by Aadish Keluskar, among others.

The programming also includes documentaries such as Davis Guggenheim's He Named Me Malala, based on Pakistan's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai; Paul Thomas Anderson’s Junun, which centers on a trip the director took with composer Jonny Greenwood to Rajasthan in northwest India, where Greenwood and Radiohead engineer Nigel Godrich recorded an album with Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur; Stig Bjorkman's Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words and Nancy Buirski's By Sidney Lumet.

“Our aim is to create a movie-soaked week in which you can see the best of Indian and international cinema,” said festival director and well-known critic and author Anupama Chopra.

The festival will also honor an international and an Indian icon. French director Agnes Varda, who was given the honorary Palme d’Or this year at Cannes, will be honored along with one of India's most respected filmmakers, the late Chetan Anand.

The screenings also include a restored version of Satyajit Ray's acclaimed Apu Trilogy as part of the Restored Classics section.
Also included among the events is the one-day Mumbai Film Mart which will aim to connect potential buyers and distributors with 25 curated and completed Indian projects.

The Mumbai Film Festival runs Oct. 29-Nov. 5.

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