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8th Annual Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival

This weekend the 8th annual Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF) is being held in Mississauga. The festival showcase both fiction and documentary films from all around South Asia. In previous years, MISAFF screened favourites including the Oscar winning Saving Face and the widely adored The Reluctant Fundamentalist. This year the festival is screening almost twenty new films, and will surely have something for everyone. We spoke with festival co-directors Arshad Khan and Anya Mckenzie about their highlights for this year’s festival.

Arshad Khan

Anima State
“Told via metaphor and allegory that is referencing the history of Pakistan.”  The film follows a bandaged man trying to find his salvation in a country where nothing is going right for anyone. The history of the nation is intertwined with the history of Pakistan and presented in a beautiful dreamscape that is a testament to a powerful directorial voice. “A very remarkable film”

Ankhon Dekhi
Ankhon Dekhi recounts the life of a 55-year-old man named Bauji, who lives a joint-family style, dreary but eventful life in a small house in old Delhi. The place is crammed with people and drama. One day Bauji decides that he has been blind all his life- following other people’s truth. He decides to no longer believe anything the he does not experiences with his own eyes. His truth will be the truth of his own experience. Despite a slew of challenges and humiliations, including a very upset local priest, Bauji never loses sight of what is important in life.

The film is directed by actor Rajar Kapoor (Monsoon Wedding, Midnight’s Children) whom Khan declares has a “strong directorial voice.” The opening night film is “a moving crowd pleaser.”

Anya Mckenzie

Omar
Omar (Adam Bakri) is a Palestinian baker who routinely climbs over the separation wall to meet up with his girl Nadja (Leem Lubany). By night, he’’s either a freedom fighter or a terrorist- —you decide- —ready to risk his life to strike at the Israeli military with his childhood friends Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat). Arrested after the killing of an Israeli soldier and tricked into an admission of guilt by association, he agrees to work as an informant. So begins a dangerous game. Is he playing his Israeli handler (Waleed F. Zuaiter) or will he really betray his cause? And who can he trust on either side?

Lakshmi
Lakshmi is the true story of a courageous 14-yr old, sold into prostitution, who refuses to let the system break down her spirit. It is the landmark case that changed the way Indian courts look at child trafficking. Lakshmi won the Best International Feature award at the Reel World film festival. Mckenzie calls it “a very important film,” that is “gritty and groundbreaking.”

Vara
Set against the lush countryside in an Indian village not yet caught up to the modern world, Vara seamlessly intertwines vivid dream worlds of Hindu gods, classical bharatanatyam dance, and music.  It’s a timeless story of love and devotion beautifully executed and creatively told. “Stunning and beautifully done.”

Sulemani Keeda
Dulal, a brooding, self-conscious writer and his hustler friend, Mainak dream of writing for Bollywood cinema. Their picaresque journey brings them tough choices between friendship, love and success. Exploring the subculture of migrant writers in the city, the film explores the existential crises and ontological anxiety of every writer out there. “A clever comedy that is very fun.”

Meet the Patels
The festival closes with one of our favourite films from this year’s Hot Docs film festival. Mckenzie states that it was “courageous to close with a documentary.” But after seeing the film she was confident that audiences would love it. Khan pointed out that documentaries are almost never shown in cinemas in Mississauga, and that it is a great opportunity for residents to broaden their cinematic horizons.

MISAFF runs from August 7th to 10th. For more information and to get tickets to screenings visit www.misaff.com.

Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.