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    Watch the world, with 170 films from 44 countries at the Bangalore International Film Festival

    The biggest event in Bangalore’s cinematic calendar kicks off today, and is spread across 10 venues, citywide. The six-day event sees special sections for Kannada, Asian, Indian and world cinema as well as homages and director retrospectives. It’s an opportunity for cinema buffs to catch the best from across the globe.

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    New and very topical is a selection of films on gender violence. “I wanted to raise awareness of these issues because Bangalore, and India, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons” says the festival’s artistic director N Vidyashankar. “I’ve selected films that show how widespread violence against women is, both in scope and geography.” These include Mission Rape: A Tool of War, a Danish film about female rape survivors of the Bosnian war, and Oblivion, a story about a young girl from Ethiopia who escapes a forced marriage. “I tried to find films that focus on the victims of crimes against women, rather than the perpetrators,” he explains.
    Retrospectives hone in on Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi, and Phillip Noyce, from Australia/US. Hollywood director Martin Scorsese spoke highly of three of his films, and Zanussi sees the festival as a way to connect with audiences. “When someone reacts to my films, the world becomes a beautiful place for me,” he says. The festival highlights Noyce’s Australian work, including the haunting Rabbit Proof Fence, the true story of half Aboriginal children who were taken away from their families.

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    Twenty-five percent of the films are in Kannada. Amongst others, there is a homage to CR Simha, and two films — Devara Nadalli and Haggada Kone will also premiere at the festival. “People often associate Indian cinema with Bollywood, so we want to give Kannada film a distinct identity,” says Vidyashankar. Recommending Prakruthi by director Panchakshari as well as Fig Fruit and the Wasps, he hopes that delegates will discover something new in the local films on offer.

    Top picks
    Artistic director Vidyashankar tells us what not to miss:
     Two Days, One Night — A contemporary insight into the European recession and an interesting portrayal of both human nature and depression
     Jimmy’s Hall — 1930s Ireland, seen through the eyes of a newly returned migrant from the States, who reopens the village hall to singing and dancing again, much to the disapproval of the local priest
     The Adventures of Prince Achmed — The first German animated film, which will be screened at Freedom Park, accompanied by live music on the electric guitar and cello.

    Rs.600 (general pass), Rs.300 (students and seniors). Until
    December 11. Schedule and details: biffes.in
    — Maegan Dobson Sippy

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