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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for 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. 



IFFI 53, 2022, 06: Any nation, imagination, animation

IFFI 53, 2022, 06: Any nation, imagination, animation

It is generally believed that this genre is largely loved by children, for its vibrant colorus, and simple themes, or messages they can take to heart. But, at the same time, many of the greatest animation films of all time are aimed at more mature audiences. The 53rd edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has in store, a great mix of various genres of this film-art. This year, IFFI will showcase five such films from different parts of the world, in a specially curated animation segment, with stories that appeal both to children and adults.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

This 2022 Japanese animation feature film has been adapted from short stories by the renowned writer Haruki Murakami. The film is aimed not only at the millions of Murakami fans around the world, but also at those unfamiliar with the author. The film explores how an earthquake, and a giant frog, help characters reveal “truths they’ve been hiding from themselves”. The stories are made up of memories, dreams and fantasies, influenced by individual visions of the earthquake, as the protagonists try to reconnect with who they really are. The creator Pierre Földes is a US-born composer, orchestrator, painter and film-maker.

My Love Affair with Marriage

Another 2022 animation drama, this film uses music and science to examine the biological chemistry of love and gender, as well as the societal pressures on an individual to conform to social mores. It is a story of inner female rebellion, where a young spirited woman, Zelma, is determined to conform to the pressures of singing Mythology Sirens in order to be loved, but more she conforms, the more her body resists. The film has already picked up two awards and six nominations in film festivals around the world. The creator Signe Baumane is a Latvian animator, artist, illustrator and writer, currently living and working in New York City. She has written, directed, designed and animated 16 shorts and two animated feature films.

The Island 

A 2021 feature production, this one is a musical animation and a cross-genre film on the Robinson Crusoe myth: The Little Prince meets Monty Python. Robinson is a doctor and his solitude is voluntary in an island invaded by migrants, NGOs and guards. He saves Friday, a castaway, the only survivor of his illegal refugee boat. During his journey on the island, Robinson encounters extraordinary beings and events. He will confront current affairs through visual poetry and symbolism in a world where everybody looks for their own paradise.The creator, Romania-born Anca Damian has worked as a director, screenwriter, and producer for several documentaries on art related topics. The Island is her seventh feature. Film composer and virtuoso musician Alexander Balanescu is a Romanian born prolific composer and is considered  one of the most visionary and exciting violinists of our time.

Dozens of Norths

This 2021 non linear narrative Japanese anime illustrates the aftermath of a catastrophe - the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. The rich, dialogue-less vignettes depicting desolate and nightmarish landscapes that compose the film elevates modern-day suffering caused by real-life events into a mythical and universal dimension and the absurdities and tragedies of human existence are told with injections of hope. Like the screen in a dark theatre, the film finds light even in the darkest of spaces.The creator is the much acclaimed film maker Koji Yamamura, who is known for his numerous short-form works such as the Oscar-nominated “Mt. Head” (2002).


This 2022 film reinvents the classic tale of the wooden marionette who is magically brought to life in order to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto.

This whimsical, stop-motion film directed by Academy award winning Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson follows the mischievous and disobedient adventures of Pinocchio in his pursuit of a place in the world.

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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 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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