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Shweta Parande

I’m a journalist and film critic based in Mumbai, India, having worked on the desk and in the field for more than 12 years, with overall experience of 15 years in Entertainment, Fashion and Lifestlye journalism as also News and Business.

I have studied Film Appreciation at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, for one month in a highly intensive course with lectures by the who's who of the film world, followed by daily film screenings of two to four movies / documentaries and discussions.

I have also done the Cinema Through the Lens of Life film appreciation course at the Naional Film Archive of India (NFAI), Pune under the tutelage of National Award-winning filmmaker, writer and film editor Ms. Arunaraje Patil.  

Film Studies was also a part of my PG in Mass Communication from SNDT Women's University in Juhu, Mumbai, and additionally a Cinema as Art course by Ms. Jeroo Mulla, former HoD at Sophia Polytechnic's Social Communications Media course.

Apart from 'Live, Eat, Breathe Cinema', I also follow the motto of 'Live and Let Live'.


Film Review: '1985’ by Yen Tan - a compelling watch


Film review by Shweta Parande first published on Mumbai Cinema Paradiso blog for IFFI 2018.

Just when you were starting to think that films on people of the LGBTQI community and their coming out, and especially those affected with the Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), were getting too common, comes a new film that seems like a game-changer. The film is '1985', directed by Yen Tan, a 2018 release that was screened at the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI 2018) on November 21 in Goa.

It will not be an exaggeration to say that '1985' the movie is a compelling watch and that too, of a relevant subject that is based in the period the film is named after and hence more poignant. IFFI 2018: List of Films under World Panorama Section.

So, if in 2013 we had the beautifully told tragic romance of Emma and Adele in Cannes Palme d'Or winner Blue is the Warmest Colour (French - La Vie d'Adele), in 2017, it was the American film Call Me by Your Name that caught everyone's attention, right up to The Academy that hosts the annual Oscar Awards.

It is difficult to make films of this topic with some novelty unless it is a real story and a more personal experience. Having AIDS and HIV as a part of such experiences also seems archaic now, with the rise of a number of loyal LGBTQI couples around the globe.

The sensitivity of the subject, unless handled in a totally different manner, is lost if the story of coming out or the struggles of a gay person are shown in a similar fashion as earlier films. It is not necessary that one film is a copy of the other but that the dilemmas and emotions may be similar of the people who are going through a conflict.

Thus, Yen Tan, an American filmmaker of Malaysian origin, had a challenge up his sleeve with 1985. And he has lived up to it as the director and co-writer of one of the most engaging queer films in recent times.

A superbly crafted black and white film, 1985 intrigues you and makes you part of its story. The camera, the suspense, the silences, the background music, the storytelling, the expressions, the setting of the 1980s, and subtle acting of each of its important cast members (the leading man, his younger brother, the mother, the father and the ex-girlfriend) make 1985 a beautiful film without much brouhaha. It is excellent in craft.

For the homophobes:

If you go into watch 1985 not knowing the subject, you will still love it. Although about a gay young man Adrian (Cory Michael Smith) who loses a lover and his job, and still buys expensive Christmas gifts for his family, and does not know how to come out, the struggles of this man and also his younger brother Andrew (Aidan Langford) are the same as that of a heterosexual man or woman in a way. That is because the dilemmas and questions of growing up are the same for all of us, aren't they?

It is interesting to note that '1985' is the feature film version of a short film that Yen Tan released in 2016. The film 1985 stars Cory Michael Smith, Virginia Madsen, Michael Chiklis, Jamie Chung and Aidan Langford in powerful performances - each one of them.


As a pre-Jury reviewer of feature-film quality short films for international film festivals, I feel so many of today's short films could be made into feature films. Or maybe not! Short films with a large heart and also web series and television programmes are no less than some of the best feature films we have seen, and they do not necessarily require a larger audience. But if they do, then 1985 will be remembered as one of the best expansions into a feature. I recommend it for film studies.

Rating: 3.5/5

ALSO READ: IFFI 2018 List of Films: Festival Kaleidoscope.

ALSO READ: IFFI 2018: List of Films in World Panorama Section.

ALSO READ: IFFI 2018 Schedule: List of Films in International Competition.

ALSO READ: IFFI 2018: Official Selection for Indian Panorama Film Section.

ALSO READ: IFFI 2018: Homages.

ALSO READ: Sholay, Hichki in Special Film Section for Visually Impaired Children at IFFI 2018.

ALSO READ: IFFI 2018: Open Air Screenings of Indian Sports Films – Gold, 1983 and more.

ALSO READ: IFFI 2018 Sketch on Screen: Blade Runner 2049, Red Cliff and Gatturo.

ALSO READ: IFFI 2018: Centenary Award for the Best Debut Feature Film of a Director.

ALSO READ: 49th International Film Festival of India: The Aspern Papers is Opening Film at IFFI 2018.

ALSO READ: 49th IFFI Goa begins Nov 20 with Gala Opening Ceremony.

ALSO READ: Sridevi, Shashi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna to be honoured at IFFI 2018.

ALSO READ: Closing Film of IFFI 2018 : World Premiere of Film ‘Sealed Lips’.

ALSO READ:  Lipstick Under My Burkha and AIB’s A Woman’s Besties, sexuality from a woman’s point-of-view, on film!

FLASHBACK: Masterclasses at IFFI 2017: A perspective.




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