Here is the rest of my reviews of the notable movies during JIFFEST 2006:
Taking place in pre-independence India, when the British still ruled, it tells a story of an 9 year-old widow (wedded at a very early age) who, by an ancient Hindu tradition, must be cast away from the family, and brought to a house filled with widows. In that time, widows are considered the lowest class of humans, reviled and bringing bad luck to the family. The story rotates around the widows in the house, yet still focusing on the 9 year old (I forgot her name) and Kalyana, enacting on a forbidden love to a Gandhi sympathizer. The movie, made in India, brings forth a different, bitter side to India's history, rarely seen outside the onslaught of Bollywood movies.
'The World's Fastest Indian'
This movie features Anthony Hopkins in his best role yet, at least according to me, playing Bert Munroe, a New Zealander with life long dreams of driving his modified vintage Indian motorcycle to top speeds at the Great Salt Plains of Utah. Taken from a true story, we follow Bert's persistence in pursuing his dream (although he is almost 60), especially when he learns that he has a terminal illness. Along the way he meets unique yet heartwarming characters helping him along his journey to ride the world's fastest motorcycle; hence the title.
A French movie centering on a playboy, going through woman after woman (at some points two at a time) and finding out what he really wants, in life, work, and love. The movie, other than the twists and turns of 'Melrose Place' type relationships, also takes us on a trip around Europe, even managing to take us to St. Petersburg and Moscow... makes me so envious of how easy it is to travel (and work) in Europe....
'The Syrian Bride'
This movie takes a setting in the Golan Heights, occupied territory by Israel but also claimed by Syria. A Druze family is preparing to wed away their daughter to a Syrian suitor, one she has never met, but also in the process, they will never meet her again, as if a citizen departs from the Golan Heights into Syria, they will never be allowed back in. The story tells a believable tale of complications of living in the Occupied Territories, whether you are Druze, Arab or Jewish, although not really continuing on the various subplots. The end of the movie left me just hanging...
'Two Sons Of Fransisco'
Fransisco, a farmer who apparently is very fertile, tries to support his 6 children on a self-sufficient farm (and also paying rent in farm products to his father in law), yet still having dreams that the only way his two eldest sons can get out of their poverty is to become musicians. The father busts all his produce stocks to buy instruments for his sons (and also writes songs for them), and eventually brings the children to the city to try their luck there. The story tells the roots of one of the most popular country singers in Brazil.