One Indian film and a British title – with theme of identity and a South Asian character at the heart of it – got their world premieres at the recent Venice International Film Festival…
WE HAVE interviews with the talent behind the Indian thriller film, ‘Stolen’ and the British feature ‘Sky Peals’, helmed by Brit Moin Hussain and starring Faraz Ayub.
‘Stolen’ is a taut thriller set in the desert in Pushkar, Rajasthan and is about a mother whose baby goes missing as she looks to board a train.
Two brothers played by Abhishek Banerjee and Shubham (only one name) get caught up the mystery and are mistaken for being part of a child abduction ring. Misinformation about them circulates on What’s App and other digital forms of communication.
First time director Tejpal has worked on a number of top line Bollywood films before, as an assistant director, and has credits that include mega-hits ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’.
Banerjee has also appeared in several Bollywood films and Shubham also writes and directs and scripted the Berlinale selection, ‘Eeb Allay Ooo!’ .
‘Stolen’ got rave reviews in Venice and was hailed by the film festival’s artistic director, Alberto Barbera as a “hidden gem in world cinema” when it was selected.
‘Sky Peals’ is about a motorway service worker who is going through something of an identity crisis following his father’s demise.
Working in a remote location and slightly bored and alienated, he begins to think his father may have descended from space and so what does that make him?
‘Sky Peals’ also features actors Simon Nagra and Jeff Mirza.
Produced by Escape Films and Film4, the BFI and Screen Yorkshire, ‘Sky Peals’ showed in competition in Venice. We caught up with writer-director Moin Hussain and actor Faraz Ayub about their film. They talk about identity and Hussain says he was partly inspired to explore his own mixed family background – his father is of Pakistani origin, while his mother is English. Ayub says the film prompts the question, Who Am I?
The British produced film ‘Poor Things’ by Greek Yorgos Lathimos won the top prize at Venice 80 this year (2023), taking The Golden Lion.
Lanthimos won an Oscar for ‘The Favourite’ with Olivia Colman also picking up an Oscar for the central performance in the black comedy about Queen Anne.
In the Orrizzonti section, which highlights up and coming filmmakers from around the world, the top prize went to ‘Explanation for Everything’ by Gabor Reisz from Hungary.
Picking up the only award from outside Europe in this section was actor Tergel Bold-Erdene for ‘City of Wind’ by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir.
Karan Tejpal & Shubham
‘Sky Peals’ interview will be on our Youtube channel shortly – subscribe and don’t 🔔 miss it!
Both films come to London Film Festival (October 4-15)
In the lead picture – Alberto Barbera, the director of the Venice International Film Festival also appears (extreme left) Courtesy Venezia Foto & by Giorgio Zucchiatti