The upcoming 44th International Film Festival of India is all set to have a number of first time screenings to its credit.
Academy Award winning Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon will be the Chief Guest at the inaugural of the 44th International Film Festival of India on Wednesday, November 20 at Panaji, Goa. Legendary playback singer Asha Bhosle, Tamil cinema’s versatile superstar Kamal Hassan and noted actress Rekha along with renowned Iranian director Majid Majidi, Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland and yesteryears actor Manoj Kumar will open the festival along with Sarandon.
The upcoming 44th IFFI is all set to have a number of first time screenings to its credit – for the first time in over a decade, an Afghan film titled A Man’s Desire For a Fifth Wife will be screened in the Cinema of the World section. This satire directed by Sediq Abedi tackles the issue of violence against women and age-old traditions, reported The Times of India.
According to I&B minister Manish Tewari, the festival would provide a platform to screen, for the first time, films on Nobel Prize winners Nelson Mandela, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and Lech Walesa, Walesa: Man of Hope.
Walesa: Man of Hope is Andrzej Wajda, the veteran Polish filmmaker’s tribute to Lech Walesa, the Gdansk shipyard electrician who fought communism and went on to become the leader of Poland. The film celebrates the grit and determination of Walesa and recalls the unity against communism and the path-breaking nature of the Poles’ struggle, wrote The New York Times.
The opening film of the 44th International Film Festival of India will be the Czech film The Don Juans, directed by one of the best known Czech film and theatre director Jiri Menzel who is also a film and stage actor.
The Life Time Achievement Award will be conferred on the legendary Jiri Menzel at the festival, whose films have been acknowledged as the Czech New Wave Cinema.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a biopic from UK, South Africa, directed by English actor and film director Justin Chadwick, will be the closing film of the festival. Acclaimed Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh would be the Chief Guest for the closing ceremony of the Festival.
For the first time, a film on India’s great freedom struggle leader Basha Khan would be screened at the festival and a special section with cinema from the north-eastern states has been included.
This year the ‘Country Focus’ category will throw the spotlight on Japan through a selection of animation films. Works of filmmakers like Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Real) and Makoto Shinkai (The Garden of Words) will also be screened.
The 44th IFFI will screen 160 foreign films under various categories and many Indian works, including 21 movies in the Indian Panorama.
In the ‘Homages’ section, legendary singer Manna Dey, sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and renowned director Rituparno Ghosh, all of whom passed away recently, will be honoured with special tribute.
As per the festival tradition, IFFI pays tribute to noted film personalities who passed away in the year preceding the festival, by inviting the family members, friends and well-wishers of the personalities to attend the screenings of the artists’ best work. Actress Sukumari and music composer Lalgudi Jayaraman are among the other artists whose works will be remembered and discussed at the festival, PTI reported.
In the international section, IFFI will pay respects to film personalities including Japanese film-maker Nagisa Oshima, German born writer Ruth Prawer Jhabwala, South Korean filmmaker Park Chul Soo and Russian cinematographer Vadim Ivanovich Yusov, the PTI report added.
Belgrade-based Serbian-French director Goran Paskaljevic will be the chairman of the eclectic five-member IFFI jury along with veteran actor Victor Banerjee, French director-writer Claire Denis. French-Afghan writer-filmmaker Atiq Rahimi and Sri Lankan director Prasanna Vithanage.
Film director, screenwriter and producer Goran Paskaljević has made 30 documentaries and 16 feature films, shown and acclaimed at the most prestigious international film festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto and San Sebastian. In 2001, Variety International Film Guide marked him as one of the world’s top five directors of the year.
Victor Banerjee, who shot to fame with the Western audiences as Dr. Aziz Ahmed in David Lean’s A Passage to India, has worked with legendary directors such as Satyajit Ray (Shatranj Ke Khilari, Pikoo and Ghare Baire), Roman Polanski (Bitter Moon), James Ivory (Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie’s Pictures), Mrinal Sen (Mahaprithivi) and Shyam Benegal (Kalyug).
Since its beginnings in 1952 the IFFI has been the biggest film festival of its type in India.
The 1st edition of IFFI was organized by the Films Division, Government of India, with the patronage of the first Prime Minister of India. Held in Mumbai from 24 January to 1 February 1952, the Festival was subsequently taken to Madras, Delhi and Calcutta. In all it had about 40 features and 100 short films. In Delhi, the IFFI was inaugurated by Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on 21 February 1952. Legendary American director Frank Capra attended as a part of the US delegation.
Subsequent IFFI’s were held in New Delhi and attracted a host of international celebrities from the world of cinema. From the 3rd edition in January 1965, IFFI’s became competitive.
In 1975 the non-competitive Filmotsav was introduced, to be held in other filmmaking cities in alternate years. Later, Filmotsavs were merged in IFFI’s. After several years of being hosted in the capital New Delhi, the IFFI was moved to Goa in 2004.
The Competitive Sections:
Apart from Retrospectives, Tributes, Focus & Premiere, Cinema of the World and Indian Panorama, IFFI serves as a great, interactive platform to filmmakers, artists and technicians for understanding, appreciating and discussing cinema through various events and activities such as the Open Forum, Film Bazaar, the Competition sections and various media interactions.
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