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Faya Dayi, Thallumaala and other titles to watch this weekend

This week's viewing recommendations feature mystics, superheroes, troubadours and street fighters

A still from ‘Faya Dayi’ 
A still from ‘Faya Dayi’ 

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The Festival of Troubadours (Netflix)

Terminally ill Heves Ali (Settar Tanrıöğen), a well-known baglama, or saz, musician and poet, lands up at his lawyer son Yusuf's (Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ's) house one night. He's on his way to Kars for a festival of troubadours. They are meeting after 25 years. Yusuf is conflicted, but decides to drive down his father to Kars. This Turkish road film juxtaposes panoramic views and warm autumn light and colours with the emotional upheaval of two people in the confined space of a car—one seeking forgiveness, the other answers. The dialogue is minimal, the story linear and punctuated with traditional folk music, making it an interesting watch.—Nipa Charagi

Also read: JK Rowling tears into the heart of toxic fandoms

Off the Hook (Netflix)

Cousins and roommates Léa (Tiphaine Daviot) and Manon (Manon Azem) decide to go on a digital detox for a month after a drunken night. They are a mess: Léa is obsessed with her ex so much so that he's filed a case against her, while Manon, an aspiring rapper, falls flat, literally, at a performance, and is reduced to a meme. Their decision has a cascading effect on the entire family, which is as crazy as they are. This French series is light-hearted and, there's Tamagotchi too—that handheld digital pet of the late 1990s.—NC

Brahmastra: Part One—Shiva (in theatres)

Ayan Mukerji's film releases after years of speculation and anticipation. We wrote in our review: “Hindi cinema has been building to a film like this for some time. Hollywood superhero films routinely open big across the country now. Kids actually want to see them; no one’s calling for their boycott. At the same time, Hindu religious and mythological iconography has become increasingly central in Hindi films. Brahmastra merges these worlds: the framework and splashy effects of a Hollywood movie retrofitted onto a story populated with Hindu gods and goddesses.”

Faya Dayi (MUBI)

Jessica Beshir’s 2021 documentary looks at the herbal drug trade in Ethiopia. It centres on khat, a hallucinogenic leaf chewed by Sufi mystics for centuries. This is anything but a verité look at the subject, with shimmering black-and-white photography evoking the intoxicating qualities of the plant. 

Thallumaala (Netflix)

This 2022 Malayalam action comedy tracks a series of fights between Wazim (Tovino) and Reji (Shine Tom Chacko). The trailer lists the various brawls you can expect: football fights, carnival fights, gala fights, street fights. Directed by Khalid Rahman (Unda), and written by Ashraf Hamza and Muhsin Parari (Sudani from Nigeria, Virus). 

Also read: Gender identity gets starring role at Venice Film Festival

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