Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2023
Founded in 2010, the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) is the largest annual celebration of Indian cinema outside of India. This year, the festival opens with a flag ceremony celebrating India’s Independence, and the IFFM dance competition, before the official commencement of the festival at Hoyts District Docklands.
At a number of events during the festival’s run, icons in the South Asian film community (like Bollywood star Kartik Aaryan, climate change warrior Bhumi Pednekar, and influential director Karan Johar) will lead discussions about the film industry and their role in it. Then, intertwined between regular film screenings, the IFFM will hold special intimate Q+A screenings with the teams behind some of this year’s most influential films.
Highlights of this year’s festival include:
Directed by Kanu Behl, Agra follows the story of a young man in his twenties who falls in love with his colleague, to the disdain of his family. Throughout the film, Behl comments on the Indian patriarchal society, questioning what sexual liberty means in small-town India.
All India Rank
Relatable to every middle-class family in India, this coming-of-age dramedy tells of one boy’s journey in preparing for the notoriously competitive entrance exams of the Indian Institutes of Technology. Being sent away by his family, the protagonist goes through the motions of Indian adolescence, while his mother and father experience their own growth.
In this harrowing but hopeful documentary, Fatima, a woman married off into a world of sex-trafficking at the Indo-Nepali border, stands up to her attackers, the police, and her own community traditions to fight for justice to bring hope to the next generation of young girls.
Lord Kurzon Ki Haveli
At a (thoroughly unplanned) dinner party in London, four South Asians are haunted with the idea that the host has a dead body in the boot of his car. In an homage to Alfred Hitchcock, a night of madness follows. This is the world premiere of this black-comedy thriller.
A semi-autobiographical film, Pine Cone features three stories which centre around relationships during three key points in India’s history. The stories—which are in reverse chronological order—take place in 2019 (a year after the Supreme court of India decriminalized homosexuality), 2009 (when the Delhi High court initially decriminalized homosexuality), and 1999 (during Kolkata’s first gay pride), and celebrates queer life and desire from a queer lens.
A beautifully detailed and complex depiction of the life of a young family, Tora’s Husband paints a sensitive portrait of family, loss and lockdown. Set during the pandemic, it follows the day-to-day joys and heartaches of family life as Tora’s marriage slowly breaks down.
The story of a diverse ensemble of pregnant women, who meet in a prenatal class and, over the course of the day, come to learn about themselves and each other. Using the birthing process as a vehicle, director Anjali Menon explores the themes of empathy, friendships and sisterhood.