Vicente is an economist, married to a dentist. An ordinary man with an ordinary life, he finds his world turning on its head one day. A loss, followed by another, leaves him shattered. He changes his name and starts living in a garbage dump.
They live across the ocean and have never set eyes on each other. But they exchange letters and fall in love to ultimately unite at the funeral of their matchmaker.
She is a beautiful, open-minded law student. A chance meeting with an Indian man during a summer holiday in the Free State sparks an unexpected love affair. It's that time when it is against the law to have an inter-racial relationship. So, it is inevitable that all hell should break loose.
Each of these stories plays out in different parts of the world and is unconnected. The first one is the synopsis of the film Between Valleys by director Philippe Barcinski from Brazil. The second, Book of Love, comes from China through director Xiaolu Xue. And the third, Free State by writer-director Sallas de Jager, is set in South Africa. But so relatable are they that they could well have been Indian stories.
These three films are among the 20 (besides documentaries) being screened at the first BRICS Film Festival in Delhi in the run-up to the BRICS summit to be held in Goa in mid-October. Four films each from the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are being shown at the festival. The themes range from love, discrimination, history, war and the changing social landscape.
Director Sergey Mokritsky's Battle for Sevastopol from Russia, for example, brings to screen fragments from one of the gravest pages of World War II. Another poignant film, Han Yan's Go Away Mr. Tumor, comes from China. It is based on the explosively popular Chinese comic series created by online cartoonist Xiong Dun, chronicling the darkest hours of her life in a lighter, amusing, and therefore inspiring, way.
"In South Africa, we don't have many opportunities to see a lot of movies from other BRICS countries," says Jager, who hopes this festival will start that flow. "If we see more stories from different countries with universal themes, but in settings unique to that particular country or culture," he adds, "we will begin to understand better that our basic needs as human beings are the same, although we live on different continents and face different day-to-day challenges."
It is this similarity that lies at the heart of the movies which makes it easy to transcend the language barrier. Mannuela Ramos da Costa, the producer of They'll Come Back from Brazil, sees another meeting ground. "We [BRICS counties] were, for a long time in history, considered places to be fixed, whether by colonisation, neocolonisation, models of development or intervention," he says. "We have similar problems; it's not a coincidence we are together at BRICS."
Besides the film festival, cuisines from the BRICS nations will be on offer at the food court. A craft fair is also being organised with all member countries putting up stalls with souvenirs.
The BRICS Film Festival and craft fair are being held at Siri Fort Auditorium Complex, New Delhi, till September 6. For details, visit www.dff.nic.in/BRICS/BricsFF_Schedule.pdf