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A pinch of movies, rain and Kylie Minogue

Last updated on: August 3, 2012 17:06 IST

A pinch of movies, rain and Kylie Minogue

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Ankur Pathak in Locarno

Ankur Pathak captures the essence of the Locarno International Film Festival, live from Locarno.

The weather in Locarno, Switzerland, is getting increasingly sublime as cool breeze blends in effortlessly with the warm glow of the sun, all of it only adding to the enthusiasm of the thousands of cinephilles who have descended on the Locarno International Film Festival. 

The second day of the festival opened on a robust note with the screening of the outstanding drama Compliance, the debut feature of American director Craig Zobel, that played in the international competition.

 

It must be noted that the niche European film festival is seeing a good number of American films this year ranging from Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' Ruby Sparks to Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike.


Image: The venue of the Locarno film festival
Photographs: Ankur Pathak

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Compliance

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In Compliance, Sandra, a cafe manager in Ohio gets a call from a policeman who accuses one of her staff members, Becky, of stealing from one customer who has filed the complaint.

On pretext of being occupied in a related investigation, he interrogates the staff, particularly Becky and Sandra over the phone.

Things dangerously escalate to catastrophic levels as the phone exchange turns into sexual assualt leading to a disturbing rape.

At first, Compliance feels like a sadist fantasy played out by the maker to the extent that it seems gross indulgence. But when the reality of the incident strikes the viewer, and when toward the end, the film achieves its much required morality, one sees the essential idea of how easily we succumb to fear of authority thinking of it as moral obedience, even when it is implicit.

The director clevely plays the film as a psychological thriller inflating the tension to the maximum as we sit gripped with shock and disbelief at the sheer possibility of the case, inspired by true events in America.


Image: The Compliance poster
Photographs: Ankur Pathak

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Jack and Diane

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Another American film, inspired by two people who the director happened to spot on a crowded Manhattan street, Jack and Diane is a story about two young girls who are drawn to each other but cannot entirely sustain their relationship.

The film has a cameo by Australian singer Kylie Minogue.

Lore played to a packed hall and got an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience.

Diane, the younger of the two girls, is going through a transitional phase of adoloscene and is unable to fully explain her confused emotions. Here, the maker employs a unique technique where a deformed monster is fleetingly seen -- that is a supposed channel to the chaotic feelings of Diane.

More than following a stringent plot, the film tracks the emotions of its characters as they evolve in their relationship. The theme here is the universality of love and also the challenges of sustaining it without complicating matters. The film has sincere performances by actors Juno Temple and Riley Keough and heartfelt music makes the understated liasion even more profound.

Ellen Page was initially considered for the role of Diane but later backed out due to schedule conflicts.

 

On the rather surprising casting of singer Kylie Minogue, the director said that he met her at a New York cafe. After he explained her part, she seemed excited at the prospect of acting in the film.


Image: The Jack and Diane poster
Photographs: Ankur Pathak

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Lore

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The day closed with the festival honouring legendary French-Swiss actor Alain Delon who had the crowds roaring and a screening of Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland's Lore.

In the aftermath of the First War, after Hitler`s downfall and the American domination, Lore -- a teenage girl, alongwith her siblings -- is separated from her parents and is forced to embark on a 900 kilometer journey confronting the harsh, rather tragic realities of life, while help comes from the person they were conditioned in believing as an enemy -- a Jew.

Lore is such a compelling drama that many from the audiences in the open-air theatre Piazza Grande chose to stay put, even as it began raining. Patrons used plastic sheets to cover the heads but were sure not to move out till the final credits rolled on the gigantic screen to a thunderous applause.


Clad in fashionable summer dresses, cute caps and holding pints of beer, the spirit of Locarno was truly evident on the second night of the festival as the enthusiasm remained undiminished by the downpour as passion for cinema overpowered the forces of nature.


Image: Leopard printed merchandise, up for sale at Locarno
Photographs: Ankur Pathak

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