What to watch at the Dharamshala International Film Festival’s online edition


The ninth edition of the Dharamshala International Film Festival has gone online this year. Between October 29 and November 4, the festival that was founded by filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzin Sonam will stream over a hundred features, documentaries and short films from India and around the world. The entire line-up along with information on festival passes is on https://diff.co.in.

Festival Director Ritu Sarin said in a press statement, “Although we were initially unsure about taking DIFF online, now that we’ve taken the plunge, we’re really excited by the possibilities that this has opened up… The online format also allows us to programme many more films than we could normally and we are thrilled about that.”

Chaitanya Tamhane, director of The Disciple, Asif Kapadia, Deepak Rauniyar, Geetu Mohandas and Mostofa Sarwar Farooki are among the filmmakers who will participate in online conversations. Also in the programme is Monographs, 10 video essays commissioned by the Asian Film Archive, Singapore, to address the crisis in filmmaking that has arisen because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Here is a selection of some of the most interesting titles across the sections.

International features

Aidol Official synopsis: “Set against a backdrop of escalating human-machine tensions, this CGI fantasy (part music video compilation, part video game, part animation) follows Diva, a fading Malaysian pop superstar, as she enlists the help of AI songwriter Geo for her comeback performance at the 2065 ‘eSports Olympics’.” Directed by Lawrence Lek (who has previously made Geomancer).

Air Conditioner Official synopsis: “One day, air conditioners in the Angolan capital Luanda start to mysteriously fall from the buildings. When security guard Matacedo is told to get his overheating boss an aircon unit before the end of the day, he starts a mission that among other things brings him into contact with the eccentric owner of an electronics store.” A first feature by Fradique.

Air Conditioner.

Baby Teeth Official synopsis: “When seriously ill teenager Milla Finlay falls for smalltime drug dealer Moses, her parents’ worst nightmares are realised. But Milla’s first brush with love brings her a new lust for life—alongside her traditional morals flying out the window—and she proceeds to show everyone in her orbit how to live as though there’s nothing left to lose.” A first feature by Australian director Shannon Murphy.

Fever Official synopsis: “Justino, a 45-year-old member of Brazil’s indigenous Desana people, works as a security guard at the cargo port in Manaus—an industrial city bordered by the Amazon rainforest. Since the death of his wife, Justino’s main companion is his youngest daughter Vanessa, with whom he lives on the outskirts of town. As Vanessa prepares to leave for Brasilia to study medicine, Justino…



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