At every film festival, there is one film that everyone just wants to watch.
With BIFFes coinciding with the Oscar season, the hosts had brought quite a few Oscar-nominated films to the festival, and it was natural for those films to be in demand.
One of those films hogged all the attention though. Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘The Shoplifters’ saw perhaps the biggest queues at BIFFes.
Japanese auteur Kore-eda is one of the most respected filmmakers in the world today. He has been a favourite on the European film festival circuit for years.
His Like Father, Like Son (2013) won major awards, and The Shoplifters, which he made in 2018, is his most acclaimed film to date.
The Shoplifters won the prestigious Palm d’Or at the last Cannes film festival and was nominated this year in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars.
For the film’s first screening at BIFFes, people began lining up a good hour and a half before it began.
And when the film was about to begin, the queue had snaked its way around the full PVR common area. People standing in queues in front of other halls said they were waiting in line to see The Shoplifters.
But just as the movie was about to begin, people who weren’t in the queue surged ahead, and suddenly everyone was fighting everyone else.
The women’s bathroom was right next to the hall, and for a while no one could access it.
A woman told a man: “I don’t know who you are and I am really sorry. But I really have to pee and there’s no other way to do this. I am going to hug you and slide past you.”
That was her trick to get into the hall to watch The Shoplifters. Eventually, quite a few who fought their way in were not impressed.
Vijay, an actor who caught the screening, said people started leaving about half an hour into the movie. “The movie was so boring except for the climax,” he said.