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From Chemmeen to Jallikattu: 6 Malayalam movies that screened at international film festivals

Akshay Krishna

Akshay Krishna
Jul 13, 2021

Malayalam cinema is known for its immaculate and realistic screenplays. With the growth of OTT platforms in the country, Mollywood is stealing the limelight. While Malayalam films are being noticed and watched these days, the quality of its cinema has remained the same for many years now. As another film festival season beckons during these tough times, we take a look at some of the movies from Mollywood that had made the trip to international film festivals of the past.

1
Chemmeen
8.1OTTplay Rating
This cult classic is an evergreen romantic movie based on the novel of the same name by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai. The movie, considered an artistic masterpiece, tells the story of Karuthamma and Pareekutty and their premarital and later extramarital relationship.The film was screened at many international film awards and won many awards, notably at Cannes Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival.
2
Mathilukal
8.4OTTplay Rating
Directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mathilukal is based on the autobiography of Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer. The movie is an engaging love story set in a prison. Basheer falls in love with Narayani, a female inmate of the neighbouring prison compound. While Narayani is never shown in the film, her voice is heard from across the walls. The film won various awards in film festivals including Venice Film Festival and Amiens International Film Festival.
3
Vidheyan
8.5OTTplay Rating
Directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Vidheyan is a story of a slave-master relationship. The movie set in South Karnataka stars Mammootty playing the despotic and antagonistic master while M R Gopakumar plays the obedient slave. The film won awards at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival.
4
Vanaprastham
8.4OTTplay Rating
This psychological period drama directed by Shaji N Karun has Mohanlal playing Kunhikuttan, an impoverished Kathakali dancer belonging to a lower caste. Subhadra, played by Suhasini Mani Ratnam falls in love with the Arjuna character played by the artiste and their relationship ends in childbirth. When she casts away Kunhikuttan and estranges him from his son, his life takes a turn for the worse. The film premiered at the 1999 CannesFilm Festival.
5
Ottaal
8.6OTTplay Rating
This modern day adaptation of Anton Checkhov’s Vanka, was directed by Jayaraj. A story of the relationship between a young boy and his grandfather, it explored the harsh reality of child labour. The movie won several accolades including the Crystal Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival.
6
Jallikattu
7.8OTTplay Rating
Directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, Jallikattu is a gripping and chaotic picturisation of many human emotions. The plot takes place in a small village in Kerala after a bull escapes a slaughterhouse and runs amok. With engaging visuals and a realistic cinema treatment, Jallikattu becomes a must watch. The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film festival and received critical acclaim.
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