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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 



IFFI 2018, VIII: Ratings

IFFI 2018, VIII: Ratings

At the 49th IFFI, Goa, November 20-28, 2018, I caught 29 films: 28 features and one short. Not bad, considering one can watch up to 40 films in theory. If some press conferences, one Master Class and some dinners have to be squeezed in, not to mention the Open Forum that I moderated and the lunch that followed, 29 is not a low figure at all. Sadly, I had to walk out of as many as eight of them, after giving each one of them 20-30 minutes to warm-up.

My highest rating of four stars was bagged by three films.

Here is the list:-

The Aspern Papers (Opening film): Germany, U.K.: Directed by Julien Landais: Rating ** ½

Sealed Lips (Closing film): Germany: Directed by Bernd Böhlich: Rating--Walked Out

Competition films

53 Wars: Poland: Ewa Bukowska: Rating--Walked Out

Donbass: Ukraine, France, Romania, The Netherlands: Directed by Sergei Loznitsa: Rating ****

Our Struggles: Belgium, France: Directed by Guillaume Senez: Rating—Walked Out

A Translator: Cuba, Canada: Directed by Rodrigo Barriuso, Sebastián Barriuso: Rating ***

When the Trees Fall: Ukraine, Poland, Macedonia: Marysia Nikitiuk: Rating ***

A Family Tour: Taiwan, HongKong, Singapore, Malaysia: Ying Liang: Rating—Walked Out

Here: Iran: Hadi Moaghegh: Rating ** ½

The Unseen: Argentina: Directed by Nicolás Puenzo: Rating ****

Van Goghs: Latvia, Russia: Directed by Sergey Livnev: Rating *** ½

ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal

Capernaum: Lebanon: Nadine Labaki: *** ½

The Interpreter: Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria: Directed by Martin Šíulik: Rating ***

Rain of Homs: Syria: Directed by Joud Said: Rating ***

Centenary Award for the Best Debut Feature Film of a Director

The Pigeon: Turkey: Directed by Bann Sivaci: Rating *** ½

World Panorama

3 Days in Quiberon: Germany, Austria, France: Directed by Emily Atef: Rating ***

Black 47: Ireland, Luxembourg: Directed by Lance Daly: Rating ** ½

Ramen Shop: France, Japan, Singapore: Directed by Eric Khoo: Rating—Walked Out

Suleiman Mountain: Russia, Kyrgystan: Directed by Elizaveta Stishova: Rating--Walked Out

To the Desert: Argentina: Directed by Ulises Rosell: ****

Festival Kaleidoscope

3 Faces: Iran: Directed by Jafar Panahi: Rating ***

And Breathe Normally: Iceland, Sweden, Belgium: Directed by Isold Uggadottir: Walked Out

Cold War: Poland, France, U.K.: Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski: Rating ** ½

The Guilty: Denmark: Directed by Gustav Möller: Rating *** ½

The House that Jack Built: Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden: Directed by Lars von Trier: Rating *** ½

Woman at War: Iceland, France, Ukraine: Directed by Benedikt Erlingsson: Rating *** ½

Indian Panorama

Tiger Zinda Hai: Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar: Rating ** ½

Lasyam (non-feature): Directed by Vinod Mankara: Rating—Walked Out

Retrospective of Vinod Khanna

Dayavan: Directed by Feroz Khan: Rating ** ½

Homage to Shashi Kapoor

Vijeta: Directed by Govind Nihalani: Rating ***

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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