For film festival junkies in Delhi and Mumbai, the last couple of months have brought some disappointing news. The Osian’s Cinefan Festival held every year in New Delhi has moved from July 2009 to October 2009; and Mumbai’s MAMI Film Festival (or Mumbai Film Festival), which was due to take place sometime in summer this year, has also been postponed to October. Mumbai will also host the
Third Eye festival in October, which will be followed by festivals in Kolkata, Kerala, and the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.
‘Turtles Can Fly’ (2004) is directed by Kurdish Iranian film-maker Bahman Ghobadi
But much before that, some non-metro audiences get a taste of world cinema.
Kolhapur in Maharashtra recently hosted its own international film festival as part of part of ongoing celebrations of the golden jubilee year of the film society movement in India.
Beginning today, the capital of Gujarat hosts its own film festival. The Ahmedabad International Film Festival (AIFF) announced its international line-up weeks before the festival. To be opened with last year’s Palme d’Or winner at Cannes The Class, directed by Laurent Cantet, the festival also features other world cinema staples such as Bahman Ghobadi’s Turtles Can Fly, Nuri Ceylan’s Three Monkeys and Fatih Akin’s The Edge of Heaven.
Renowned Iranian film Mohsen Makhmalbaf, renowned Iranian filmamaker, who was supposed to head the competition jury, could not make it because of the ongoing strife in Iran.
The surprise of the festival is M.S. Sathyu’s latest offering Ijjodu (The Incompatible). Sathyu’s Garam Hawa, a classic, competed for the top Cannes honour in 1974 along with films by Steven Spielberg, Alain Resnais and Francis Ford Coppola. Sathyu returns to film-making after decades with Ijjodu, which will compete for the honour of the best film of the festival. Amit Rai’s Road to Sangam, a Paresh Rawal-starrer, is also competing for the $5,000 (top prize of the festival.
In the same category is Paresh Mokashi’s Harishchandrachi Factory that looks back at the life of father of Indian cinema, Dada Saheb Phalke. Satish Manwar’s Gabhricha Paus (The Damned Rain) is another strong contender for the top festival honour that has already been screened at Rotterdam and Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. The film weaves an interesting tale around the draught-struck Vidarbha region of Maharashtra and portrays the plight of debt-ridden farmers in an unsentimental fashion.
‘The Edge of Heaven’ (2008) is an Turkish-German production directed by Turkish film-maker Fatih Akin.
Other notable entries in the competition are Anjan Dutt’s Chowrasta, Shekhar Das’s Kaler Rakhal and Rajesh Shera’s Ocean of an Old Man—films already released theatrically in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
AIFF, which has grown out of a short film festival, looks more promising in the shorts category. Through a collaboration, the festival is showing short films from the Berlinale (Germany) and the Tampere (Finland) festivals.
Though seasoned festival hoppers might wait for AIFF to grow in both selection and competition, the passion and enthusiasm of the management makes it a cinema event to look forward to.
I’ll be glued to the screen reserved for shorts.
Bikas Mishra is the editor of DearCinema.com, a world cinema portal