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World cinema with a cause

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With the rains keeping everyone indoors, it’s a good time to catch the ongoing Osianama Animal-Human-Nature Continuum in Mumbai. The first such major film festival to highlight issues of animal welfare and environment, it’s showcasing some of the finest examples of world cinema pertaining to these subjects and related ideas and philosophies which cinema, both in documentary and features, has tried to tackle in the last 100 years. The festival highlights include 170 film screenings from over 40 countries over the next two months. With retrospectives and tributes to Werner Herzog, Jean Painleve, David Attenborough, Beatrix Potter and Walt Disney, the lineup is kickass. Our five picks from this month’s screenings:

Travellers and Magicians
July 13, 9pm
This is an award-winning 2003 Bhutanese Dzongkha language film written and directed by Khyentse Norbu, a reincarnate lama of Tibetan Buddhism, a reincarnate lama of Tibetan Buddhism. The movie is the first feature film shot entirely in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Two men embark on parallel, if separate, journeys. Their yearning is a common one--for a better and different life. Dondup, delayed by the timeless pace of his village, is forced to hitchhike through the beautiful wild countryside of Bhutan to reach his goal. He shares the road with a monk, an apple seller, a papermaker and his beautiful young daughter, Sonam. Throughout the journey, the perceptive yet mischievous monk relates the story of Tashi. It is a mystical fable of lust, jealousy and murder, that holds up a mirror to the restless Dondup, and his blossoming attraction to the innocent Sonam. The cataclysmic conclusion of the monk's tale leaves Dondup with a dilemma...is the grass truly greener on the other side?

When Pigs Have Wings 
July 14, 9pm
When Pigs Have Wings or Le Cochon de Gaza is a 2011 French-German-Belgian comedy film directed by Sylvain Estibal. One day Jaafar, a fortuneless Palestinian fisherman, catches his nets a Vietnamese pig. Torn between his Muslim faith and his desire to improve the lives of his wife and himself, pay debts and the reality of the conflict, Jaafar decides to undertake a most unusual trade with a young Russian-Israeli settler, Yelena. She raises pigs and, having no male pig of her own, she asks Jafaar to bring him the seed of his pig. A winner at the Munich Film Festival and Tokyo International Film Festival among others, this one's a split-fest.


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