World cinema in Delhi
The second edition of the 10-day Habitat International Film Festival in Delhi, which starts today, will screen around 70 films from around the world that Delhiites may not get a chance to see otherwise.
“People in Delhi watch a lot of movies, but these are usually the popular ones in movie theatres. Festival films do not come to the cinema halls, nor are they available on Netflix. And while Goa and Kerala have international film festivals, it might not be possible for people to travel and attend these,” says Vidyun Singh, programme director at the India Habitat Centre (IHC), which organizes the festival.
The focus of the festival, being held at the IHC, is on 100 years of the influential Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman. Movies like Wild Strawberries, Bergman Island and The Seventh Seal will be screened.
The other films, from countries like France, Japan, Hungary, Thailand, Lebanon, Kyrgyztan and Iran, have been selected from a curated list of film festivals around the world, including the Festival de Cannes, Toronto International Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.
The festival will open with a Farsi film, A Man Of Integrity, by Mohammad Rasoulof, which follows a farmer as he struggles to save his farm from companies.
It will also screen documentaries, such as Vijay Singh’s Farewell My Indian Soldier (Adieu, Mon Soldat Indien) on Saturday, which will be followed by a discussion with the director. This traces the history of Indian soldiers in World War I and their French children, who never meet their families in India, through rare archival footage, historical testimonies, Indian war songs, and hundreds of insightful letters written home by the soldiers.
“I spent three years of my life trying to track down fourth-generation descendants of these families. Finally, when I met the girl we focus on in the film, it took me hours to convince her that I am not actually part of the family she never met. It is a powerful story but it has never been told before,” says the director.
Vidyun Singh says the films have “been cherry-picked from the world over. And I am sure this year’s festival will serve its purpose and bring these acclaimed world movies closer to the Indian audience.”
The Habitat International Film Festival will be held from 23 March-1 April at India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road. Seating on first-come, first-served basis.
For timings and registration, visit habitatinternationalfilmfestival.com.