It is time for the annual treat for film lovers in the City of Joy as the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival has started. Much like the previous years, it will serve as a platform to showcase cinemas across the globe and will take place from November 10 to 17. Around 171 films and 150 short and documentary films from 70 countries will be screened at the festival. This edition will also celebrate 100 years of Bengali cinema by screening classics by auteurs.
The films and documentaries have been divided into 23 broad categories and in the ensuing days parallel screenings will be held at 15 venues.
In the category International Competition: Innovation in Moving Images, an eclectic range of 15 films are competing. The best film will get a prize money of Rs 51 lakh and a Golden Royal Bengal Tiger trophy. The director will receive Rs 21 lakh as prize money along with the trophy.
Here are some films to watch out for at the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival:
Brazilian director Eduardo Nunes’ 2017 Unicornio: It narrates the tale of a 13-year-old girl living with her mother in an isolated land awaiting the return of her father and how relationship takes a drastic turn when they are visited by another man.
Egyptian director Abu Bakr Shawky’s Yomeddine: The film selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, has made it to the competition. The film traces the journey of a leper who, along with his orphaned apprentice, leaves the confines of the leper colony and goes in search of their roots.
Also at 24th Kolkata International Film Festival:
Churni Ganguly’s Tarikh is the only Bengali film at the competition. One must also watch out for La Negrada, the first Mexican fiction with an all African-American cast. Turkish drama Sibel by Çagla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti also features in the list. It was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Contemporary World Cinema section this year. National award winner Shaji N Karun’s film Olu (She) will also be screened. Ash Mayfair’s The Third Wife, Hungarian drama Genesis and the haunting French Fornasis by Aurelia Mengin are some of the other films in this category.
Twelve films are competing in the category of Indian Short Films and twelve films are competing in the documentary category. The short films include Head by Shaqyo Dey, Sambavtaha (Probably) by Gaurav Madan and Ashok Veilou’s Look at the Sky. Veilou’s short film Tou-tai (Seed) had won in 2016 and can be the director to watch out for. The documentaries feature The Monks Who Won a Grammy by Aparna Sanyal, Ladli by Suipta Kundu.
Thirteen films are competing in the category of Indian language films including Praveen Morchhale’s Widow of Silence, Nirmal Enroute by Rishi Deshpande and Atul Taishete’s Vartak Nagar. The best film will get Rs 7 lakh as prize money while the best director will receive Rs 5 lakh along with Hiralal Sen Memorial trophies.
Praveen Morchhale’s Widow of Silence: Morchhale’s Widow of Silence, set in Kashmir and narrating the obstacles a Muslim half-widow had to overcome in order to get her missing husband’s death certificate from the government, was screened at the Busan Film Festival this year.
Celebrating 100 years of Bengali cinema
The festival will also celebrate 100 years of Bengali cinema and classics like Kabuliwala by Tapan Sinha, Uttar Falguni by Asit Sen and Rituparno Ghosh’s Unishey April, will be screened among others.
Homage and Retrospect
Homage will be paid to Supriya Devi by screening Meghe Dhaka Tara. Films by celebrated director Bimal Ray too will be screened at the festival, which includes Pehla Aadmi, Sujata among others.
For those who love Ernst Ingmar Bergman’s films, the KIFF will be a treat. Eight of his films including Winter Light, Through A Glass Darkly, Seventh Seal will be shown at the festival. Auteur Majid Majidi’s films The Song Of Sparrows, The Willow Tree along with his recent Beyond The Clouds like will be also shown at the festival.
Focus on Australian and Tunisian films films
Australia is undoubtedly the focus of this edition of the film festival in Kolkata. A total of seventeen films, ranging from contemporary Australian films as well as iconic films will be screened along with a retrospective arranged in honour of Philp Noyce. Films like Patriot Games, Salt are in the list.
This year the festival also focusses on contemporary Tunisian films and the line-up is stellar consisting of nine films. One must look out for Dear Son by Mohamed Ben Attia, a moving tale of a father-son relationship amidst turbulent times. The film was screened at Cannes Film Festival this year. Nejib Belkadhi’s Look At Me, too promises to enthral. It was screened at Toronto International Film Festival and is a haunting tale of a man struggling with masculinity, the many roles entrusted on him by the society interlaced with nostalgia. Thala My Love by Mehdi Hmili is a searing tale of a political prisoner waiting to return to his beloved who has already married a man she does not love.
Maestro section and Restored classics
The Maestro section is bound to spoil one for choices. The section has assembled films by some of the most celebrated directors worldwide. Jafar Panama’s 3 Faces, The Image Book by Jean Luc Godard and Human, Space, Time and Human by Kim Ki-duk are some of the films in this category. Classics like Apu trilogy by Satyajit Ray, Bicycle Thieves by Vittorio De Sica and Blow-Up by Michelangelo Antonioni, among others have been restored and will be a treat to watch them on the big screen.
Shoojit Sircar’s October, Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s Jonaki, Sanjoy Nag’s Yours Truly and Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s CzechMate – in Search of Jiri Menzel will also have special screenings. Sircar’s film, that released early this year has received rave reviews while Sengupta’s Jonaki, a moving portrayal of an 80-year-old woman in search of love amidst the world of crumbling memories, received much appreciation at the recently concluded MAMI (Mumbai Academy of The Moving Image) festival.
Actor Uttam Kumar’s film Anthony Firingee is the inaugural film this year.