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Siraj Syed


Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 

 

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IFFI 52, 018: Charlotte is about an Argentinian actress in search of an aspirational future

IFFI 52, 018: Charlotte is about an Argentinian actress in search of an aspirational future

She shared a memorable past with the director who launched her into the world of cinema. Upon the serendipitous discovery that her mentor of yore who made her famous is filming his last film in Paraguay, the now-forgotten Argentanian actress Charlotte sets out on an extraordinary journey in search of something more than just obtaining the opportunity to play the leading role which she believes rightfully belongs to her. She ventures in search of a present and a future, an exploration she is certain would change her life, in ways more than providing her with a tonic to revive her dwindling career.

Charlotte’s Director Simon Franco addressed the media at a press conference held at IFFI in Goa, where he threw light on the journey of the lead character, which takes her to unusual places and circumstances. “At one point of time in her life, Charlotte realises what she used to be and what she is now.  Her journey starts from that point itself, a journey which was mostly inward rather than external.”

The film’s producer, Lena Fernandez, too joined the Director in sharing their IFFI experience with the festival delegatesCan the movie be termed as a road movie? Answering this, the director said: “Yes, the film meticulously portrays various elements of the road journey. However, it can’t be called a classical road movie, it is a personal one.” When this writer asked the duo whether the journey of Charlotte from Argentina to Paraguay symbolised their own journey, from the country of their domicile to the country of their roots, Lena replied, “We did not think of it that way, but now that you have pointed it out, we do see that there is a parallel.”

The film brings out the cultures and lifestyles of people of different ethnicities, especially from Taiwan. In reply to this writer’s question about the casting of a Chinese man as Charlotte’s man Friday, Ms. Fernandez said: “Paraguay has a large population of people from Taiwan. Moreover, Paraguay is a country which recognises Taiwanese people.” In addition, she said “…we wanted to give an international flavour to the movie.”

The movie is co-written by Simon, along with Constanza Cabrera and Lucila Podestá.

The director and producer, both hailing from Argentina, are currently residing in Paraguay. They shared their excitement at being in IFFI as part of their maiden visit to the host country. “It feels great to be here; we are having fun. The movie was screened in a packed theatre at IFFI, and people came asking us some very interesting questions. We felt honoured.”

The film was competing for the Golden Peacock Award for the best film at IFFI, along with 14 other films.

Simón Franco (b. 1979, Argentina) studied direction at Universidad del Cine (FUC) and specialised in script-writing under the expert tutelage of José Martínez Suárez. As a screen-writer for the feature film Guaraní (2016), he won the Best Screenplay award at FIC in Gramado. He has also directed Not So Modern Times (2011).

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.


Bandra West, Mumbai

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