Belle Dormant

at MAMI 2017

Read time: about 3 minutes

It was my first time at MAMI film festival in Mumbai this year—and I happened to free for the weekend this time. The weekend pass got me entry into the beautiful world of films.

I kick started with Hungarian movie, On Body and Soul. It is a magical realism sort of film in which the lead characters have the same dreams. The movie is set around a meat company. The chemistry between the characters is going to be the highlight of the movie even though there are several layers unfolding like a large white bed sheet folded and kept neatly in a hotel room. Go closer and unveil the layers to find the large fabric woven together carrying different angles to the story.

I also watched A Gentle Creature. It moved me like no other film. This one went beyond my expectations. It is a story set in Russia around the wartime. A woman sets on a journey to get more information about her husband who is supposed to be in prison for murder. An abrupt end only made me linger more and find out more about the place and political scenario. That is the whole point of Art, isn’t it? I also got to watch Manoj Bajpai in Gali Guliyan. As an ardent fan of Manoj Bajpai, this movie was special to me. It is the story of a man who hears voices through the wall. He knows all the secrets of the households. But a family where the father beats up his first born son is the story that fascinates him the most. The movie is him searching for the boy in efforts to rescue him. The acting surpasses all the expectation. Even though the end was predictable the pacing keeps you glued to the film.

Belle Dormant

I also had an opportunity to watch the French film Belle Dormant that is the adaptation of The Sleeping Beauty story. I was looking forward to the movie because of my evident affinity towards fairy-tales. Sleeping beauty is the story of a kingdom that is dormant for a hundred years due to a curse of an evil fairy. The prince ought to find the princess and kiss her on the lips to break the curse and awaken the kingdom. The fairy-tale is very beautiful, unlike the dry description above. However, the movie adaptation, Belle Dormant, tries to modernise the story but find some faults in it. The artist jolly well begins to retell the story of sleeping beauty, very well sending the prince to the kingdom of the asleep and waking up the princess. But the huge time lag actually starts to disintegrate the story and finally tires him to the extent that he just leaves the couple dancing to a tune. The artist does not take care to finish the story since he knows it is not practically possible to waken the whole kingdom after a hundred years and expect them to keep up, in turn continuing the story. Mobile phones, jets and many such inventions are going to leave the subjects frightened or worse, incapable of functioning.

It is an interesting take on the fairy-tale. The incompleteness is also well justified. However, I would not guarantee that the movie would achieve any liking in the common crowd. Everyone, including myself, expects a fairy-tale out of ‘Belle Dormant’. An incomplete story that is rather dry is going to leave people disheartened. I do respect the approach though. This one was different.

Overall, MAMI was a wonderful experience. I see movies in a different light now. There are many angles involved. It is not just an attempt at entertainment but it has purpose too. A film, much like, a book or any form of art is the artists’ instrument of expression.

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH