20 Films you cannot miss at the International Film Festival of Kerala 2016


We present a list of 20 Films you cannot miss at the 21st International Film Festival of Kerala that is taking place from December 9th – 16th, in Thiruvananthapuram, India.

After the Storm

After the Storm (Umi Yorimo Mada Fukaku) by Koreeda Hirokazu – Japan | 2016 – 117 min.
Section: World Cinema

Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryota wastes the money he makes as a private detective on gambling and can barely pay child support. After the death of his father, his aging mother and beautiful ex-wife seem to be moving on with their lives. Renewing contact with his initially distrusting family, Ryota struggles to take back control of his existence and to find a lasting place in the life of his young son – until a stormy summer night offers them a chance to truly bond again.

December 10th – Tagore – 9:00 am
December 11th – Nishagandhi – 10:45 pm
December 12th – Ajanta – 9:45 am


Barakah Meets Barakah

Barakah Meets Barakah (Barakah Yoqabil Barakah) by Mahmoud Sabbagh
Saudi Arabia | 2016 – 88 min.
Section: World Cinema

Barakah (Hisham Fageeh) is a municipal worker from a humble background while Bibi (Fatima Al Banawi) is the beautiful and stylish adopted daughter of a wealthy couple. Barakah goes about his mundane tasks, following rules he’s unsure about. In stark contrast, the sophisticated fashionista Bibi lives the high life, committed to cultivating her personal social media brand. When the two meet by chance, sparks fly. A first date, though, is no simple matter because unchaperoned meetings and physical contact are strictly forbidden. The two romantics must find a way around the rules to get to know each other. Filled with a sharp, frank humour, and with subtle social commentary, Barakah Meets Barakah is an enchanting love story.

December 10th – Remya – 12:15 pm
December 13th – Dhanya – 12:00 pm
December 14th – Sree Padmanabha – 9:15 am



Daughter by Reza Mirkarimi – Iran | 2016 – 103 min.
Section: World Cinema

The strict and traditional Mr Azizi leads an uneventful family life in an oil town of southern Iran.Then one day, exasperated by her father’s authoritarianism, Setareh announces she is off to Tehran to say farewell to one of her best friends who is leaving Iran for good.Unfortunately, the engagement celebrations of Setareh’s younger sister are taking place simultaneously.Despite her father’s objections Setareh takes the plane for Tehran. This act of disobedience sets in motion a series of perturbations that upset the calm tranquility of the paterfamilias.

December 10th – Ajanta – 8:45 pm
December 12th – Remya – 9:45 am
December 13th – Dhanya – 6:00 pm



Die Beautiful by Jun Robles Lana – Philippines | 2016 – 120 min.
Section: Competition Films

Trisha, a transgender woman who makes a living as a beauty contestant, dies unexpectedly. Before she died, her one last wish was to remain beautiful even in death. This moving work, filled with laughs, is the latest effort by Jun Robles Lana.

Trisha, a Filipino transgender woman, suddenly dies while being crowned in a beauty pageant. Her last wish was to be presented as a different celebrity on each night of her wake, but her conservative father wants to bury her as a man. Trisha’s friends are left with no choice but to steal her body and hold the wake in a secret location. And as Trisha is transformed to look like different celebrities, they also look back at the colorful and extraordinary life that she has led – being a son, a sister, a mother, a friend, a lover, a wife, and ultimately, a queen.

December 11th – Kairali – 3:00 pm
December 15th – Tagore – 11:30 am
December 16th – Kalabhavan – 9:15 am



Knife in the clear water by Wang Xuebo – China | 2016 – 93 min.
Section: Competition Films

Wang Xuebo’s debut feature film focuses on the mutual understanding between a man and a cow. In a mountain village in Ningxia, China, where the Hui people live, old man Majishan’s wife passes away, and his family decides to do a purification ceremony called Nazer, which, following the tradition of Hui people, should happen 40 days after the funeral. In order to do this, they have to kill a cow, but Majishan doesn’t want to because the cow is almost one of his family. For the dead mother, Majishan’s son continues to insist on killing the cow as she is old now anyway. The cow stops eating as if she understands the situation or has foreseen her death and Majishan is sad to see this. During a hailstorm, he takes the cow to his wife’s grave and Majishan’s eyes, filled with sympathy and sadness, deliver stronger emotions than any spoken line. He relieves his sorrow and agony by reading the Koran for the cow. (KIM Ji-seok BIFF Catalogue 2016)

December 13th – Tagore – 9:00 am
December 14th – Kalabhavan – 6:15 pm
December 15th – Sree – 9:15 am



Lady of the Lake by Haobam Paban Kumar – India | 2016 – 123 min.
Section: Indian Cinema Now

Loktak Lairembi” is about one of the last dwellers on Loktak Lake’s phumdi biomass is Tomba. He is a depressed fisherman. When Tomba finds a gun, it becomes his companion and makes him aggressive, cocky and quick to pick fights-until an old woman knocks on his door one night. Believing that the lady is the spirit of all evils, Tomba chases her and commits an unintended crime.

December 12th – New Screen 1 – 5:45 pm
December 13th – New Screen 2 – 8:30 pm
December 14th – Nila – 11:45 am


Lo and Behold

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected Worldwide by Werner Herzog – US | 98 min.
Section: World Cinema

In Lo And Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World, legendary director Werner Herzog chronicles the virtual world from its origins to its outermost reaches, exploring the digital landscape with the same curiosity and imagination he previously trained on earthly destinations as disparate as the Amazon, the Sahara, the South Pole and the Australian outback. Herzog leads viewers on a journey through a series of provocative conversations that reveal how our existence online has transformed and altered the course of our ‘real’ life – from business to education, space travel to healthcare and how we conduct our personal relationships.

December 12th – Dhanya – 12:00 pm
December 15th – Remya – 12:15 pm



Manhole by Vidhu Vincent – India | 2016 – 85 min.
Section: Competition Films

Shalini is the daughter of Ayya Swami, manual scavenger, and Pappathi who is a housemaid. She tries to hide her caste background to avoid social exclusion among her friends in the school. She tries to pressure her father to give up the work he is doing, but fails as his vocational options are circumscribed by his caste identity. Her father’s death in an accident while he was working in the manhole reveals her identity to her friends. She finds it hard to face social antipathy towards her because of her family’s social and caste background. After the death of her father, the burden of running the family falls on her mother. Shalini also starts to work in the local super market as a shop floor assistant. She manages to pass the entrance exam to do a graduate course in Law. Her friend Marimuth, also engaged in manual scavenging to support his studies, faces the same fate as her father while doing his final year. It shakes her faith in the course she has followed in life and she decides to fight against the no exit situation in which those engaged in scavenging are caught in.

December 11th – Tagore – 11:30 am
December 13th – Kairali – 8:30 pm



Net by Kim Ki Duk – South Korea | 2016 – 114 min.
Section: World Cinema

A North Korean fisherman breaks his boat engine by accident and drifts down to South Korea. After enduring brutal investigations in the South, he eventually gets sent back to North Korea. Before leaving South Korea, he notices the dark side of its society contrasting with its “developed“ image. There, he realizes that economic development does not spell happiness for the people. Although he makes it back home, he receives the same investigations as he did in the south. Then a grave sorrow hits him, trapped in the ideology between the two divided countries against his will.

December 11th – Nishagandhi – 6:00 pm
December 12th – Ajanta – 12:15 pm
December 15th – Tagore – 2:15 pm


Pamilya Ordinaryo

Ordinary People by Eduardo Roy Jr. – Philippines | 2016 – 107 min.
Section: World Section

Ordinary People is a family portrait of Jane, 16, and her boyfriend, Aries, who live on their own in the chaotic streets of Manila. Surviving as pickpockets, the lives of the young couple change when they suddenly become teenage parents. But not even a month into parenthood, their child is stolen from them. In order to retrieve the child, the young couple is forced to take desperate measures.

December 10th – Kalabhavan – 9:15 am
December 12th – Sree Padmanabha – 8:15 pm
December 15th – Sree Padmanabha – 11:45 am



Soul on a String by Zhang Yang – China | 2016 – 142 min.
Section: Competition Films

Tabei has led a hard life of violence and murder. One day, he sees a deer swallowing a holy relic and decides to kill it in order to take the treasure. However, lightning suddenly strikes and kills him. A living Buddha brings his soul back to the land of the living and tells him to cleanse himself by taking the relic to the Lotus Master’s home, the Palm Print Land on the snow-capped mountain of Kelong. On his way, Tabei meets the beautiful Chung and spends the night with her. They leave on a long journey with a mysterious little boy. Just behind them, two brothers, seeking vengeance for their murdered father, are in close pursuit. When Tabei finally reaches the snow-capped mountain to return the relic, the two brothers catch up to him.

December 15th – Kairali – 3:00 pm
December 16th – Kalabhavan – 3:15 pm



The Bait (Tope) by Buddhadeb Dasgupta – India | 2016 – 88 min.
Section: World Cinema

Dasgupta Buddhadeb, one of India’s most well-known independent film directors over the last 40 years, displays lyrical and cinematic charms in his most recent work, which reminds us of Fellini’s surrealistic mysticism and Makhmalbaf’s ethnographic illusionism. The Bait adopts a mythical symbolism based on India’s locality and self-reflexive modernist aesthetics. The four groups of people in the film represent India’s magnificent diversity: A poor family living on circus tricks; a village lord, in pursuit of a tiger, lives in the glory of his past and is accompanied by a young and lonely wife who dreams of sex; a documentary film crew trying to capture a tiger hunting prey; and finally a postman who gets tired of his tedious life and climbs up a tree to become friends with monkeys. These stories intersect with one another. Elaborately directed mise-en-scene and plots rich with allegory create a phenomenal film-viewing experience. The contrasts between the poor aspiring to be rich and the rich indulging in weird enterprise, between the young longing for success and the old who tire of the everyday are carefully used as devices to project the complexities of contemporary Indian society. (Minah JEONG BIFF Catalogue 2016)

December 12th – Ajanta – 12:15 pm
December 15th – Remya – 6:15 pm



The Cursed Ones by Nana Obiri-Yeboah, Maximilian Claussen – Ghana, UK | 2015 – 100 min.
Section: Competition Films

A series of misfortunes lead a West African village to accuse a young girl, Asabi, of witchcraft. Their pastor insists that salvation lies in her exorcism and death, using his compelling rhetoric to incite fear in people and turn Asabi’s mother against her own daughter. A disillusioned reporter, Godwin, finds himself swept up in the witch hunt. With the help of a young school teacher, he attempts to save Asabi’s life, fighting against corruption and false prophets. Based on true events, The Cursed Ones is a story of morality, corruption, and community in the heart of Africa.

December 12th – Tagore – 2:00 pm
December 13th – Kalabhavan – 9:15 am
December 14th – Kairali – 11:30 am



The Return by Green Zeng – Singapore | 2015 – 83 min.
Section: Competition Films

Wen, a political detainee, is released after many years of imprisonment. Arrested for being an alleged communist, he returns, an old man, to an uneasy reunion with his children. Has his sacrifice come at too great a price? Wen wanders through the city to see how his homeland has transformed into a shining metropolis. He is ready to move on but unforeseen circumstances force his journey to take a tragic turn.

December 14th – Tagore – 9:00 am
December 15th – Kalabhavan – 11:45 am
December 16th – Kairali – 3:00 pm



The Road to Mandalay by Midi Z
Taiwan, France, Germany, Myanmar | 2016 – 108 min.
Section: Migration Films

Lianqing is a 23-year-old Burmese. To find work, she and many others from Myanmar follow a secret route down the Mekong River and on into Thailand. Since she has no work permit, she starts out washing dishes for a low wage in a rundown restaurant. Guo, who illegally crossed the border with her and has fallen in love with her, brings her to a textile factory where she can earn a higher wage. They work together there, but Lianqing hopes to eventually get the necessary legal documents and find better work in Bangkok or Taiwan. Even though she keeps getting cheated by people who profess that they can help her, she never gives up—a stubbornness that Guo just can’t understand. In order to make more money to pay for the documents, Lianqing becomes a prostitute, and when Guo finds out, he becomes incensed. When Lianqing finally gets her hands on the permits, Guo confronts her…with a knife in his hand. This is a rare, slow-burning and realistic drama about the Burmese migrants and their life in the slums. (KANG Naeyoung BIFF Catalogue 2016)

December 11th – Kairali – 9:00 am
December 12th – New Screen 1 – 2:45 pm



The Salesman (Forushande) by Asghar Farhadi – Iran, France | 2016 – 123 min.
Section: Word Cinema

When their old flat is damaged, Emad and Rana, a young couple living in Tehran, are forced to move into a new apartment. An incident linked to the previous tenant begins to dramatically influence the couple’s life.

December 13th – Nishagandhi – 6:00 pm
December 14th – Ajanta – 6:15 pm



The Wailing (Goksung) by Na Hong-jin – South Korea, US | 2016 – 156 min.
Section: World Cinema

Mysterious events following the appearance of a stranger throws a village into utter chaos. The police provisionally conclude that it is down to a mass poisoning caused by wild mushrooms, but paranoia and rumor point the finger at the stranger—and it’s escalating. Policeman Jonggu becomes convinced by the stories when, first, a woman claims to have witnessed something, and then his daughter Hyojin gets sick with similar symptoms to the other villagers. In his desperation he has an exorcism performed on the stranger by shaman Ilgwang.

The Wailing is not the kind of horror film that shocks and scares without reason; it sticks to the rules of the genre but uses them in a less than conventional way. Director Na Hong-jin utilizes this spooky scenario as a canvas on which he paints people’s fates, which is clearly unavoidable no matter what path they choose. Neither Jonggu nor the young priest is to blame for the awful consequences; they just fall into tragedy as Jonggu tries to save his daughter and the priest’s compassion become the root of his suspicion.

December 14th – Dhanya – 8:30 pm
December 15th – Ajanta – 8:45 pm



When the woods bloom by Dr. Bijiu – India | 2016 – 106 min.
Section: Competition Films

A police man arrests a suspected Maoist woman in a forest near tribal village at night. But he loses his way out from the forest. Thus, both the hunter and the hunted are stranded in the thick forest. Power, Crime, Man, Woman, the Hunter, the Hunted… all such equations change utterly and are no more what they used to be.

December 13th – Tagore – 11:30 am
December 14th – Kalabhavan – 3:15 pm
December 15th – Kairali – 8:30 pm


Where are my shoes? By Kioumars Pourahmad – Iran | 2016 – 100 min.
Section: Competition Films

Habib Kaveh has been diagnosed with Alzheimer. His family has abandoned him and immigrated abroad years ago. After return of his daughter into his life, a secret is revealed…

December 14th – Tagore – 6:15 pm
December 15th – Kalabhavan – 6:15 pm
December 16th – Kairali – 9:00 am


White Sun (Seto Surya) by Deepak Rauniyar – Nepal, US, Qatar, Netherlands | 2016 – 89 min.
Section: World Cinema

When his father dies, former anti-regime partisan Chandra must travel to his remote mountain village after nearly a decade away. Little Pooja is anxiously awaiting to see the man she thinks is her father for the first time. But she’s confused when Chandra arrives with Badri, a young street orphan rumoured to be his son. She tries to calm her mother Durga, the old man‘s caretaker, after the angry woman is excluded from preparing the body for funeral rites because tradition does not allow women to participate. Chandra‘s arrival is more awkward than he expected due to a complication with removing his father‘s body from home. He and Durga struggle with an unspoken pain that prevents any reconciliation. To make matters worse, Chandra must face his brother Suraj, who was on the opposing side during the civil war. The two brothers cannot put aside political feelings while carrying their father‘s body down the steep mountain path to the river for cremation. Suraj storms off in a rage, leaving Chandra with no other men strong enough to help. Under pressure from the village elders, Chandra must seek help from outside the village to obey the rigid caste and discriminatory gender traditions he fought to eliminate during the war. Young children Pooja and Badri tag along as Chandra searches for a solution in neighboring villages. The unlikely trio search for help among the police, guests at a local wedding, and rebel guerrillas… (BIFF Catalogue 2016)

December 10th – Remya – 3:15 pm
December 13th – Dhanya – 8:30 pm
December 15th – New Screen 1 – 9:15 am



Complete Schedule


To know more about this festival please visit the FESTIVAL PROFILE or go to the official webpage of the festival HERE.

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