The potential that cinema holds as a medium in uplifting lives profoundly is undisputable, Australian film-maker Paul Cox has said.

At an interaction with journalist Sashi Kumar here on Wednesday, Mr. Cox said some films may not be aesthetically perfect. But as long as they dealt with the human condition in one way or another, there was hope despite the overwhelming presence of films that abused and misused the medium, he said.

The film-maker shared his apprehensions about the nature of a bulk of films in modern times that showcased themes and images ‘that violated the body and spirit.’

The International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) saw large crowds attending every single screening, he said. “Here, I am in a situation where people actually care about cinema and are very enthusiastic,” he said. The influence of Hollywood seemed to be an underlying theme of this year’s festival with Vietnamese film-maker Dang Nhat Ming also calling for the need to guard a country’s indigenous culture from extraneous influences.

“I think we should all learn to ignore Hollywood. When you export a film there is a direct effect on the way people think, feel and remember and you must remember that you are dealing with something so fragile. You cannot just use it as a commodity,” Mr. Cox said.

“When a particular film’s first cut was prepared, it was poised to become a film even larger than Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, at the time. “The producers complained that it was not commercial enough and all those large brushstrokes that painted the film were cut into little snippets. This horrific consumerism exhorts us all and there is this prevalent mindset that if we do not buy things we perish. What sort of society is that,” Mr. Cox said.

World view

Veering off course, he spoke of his beliefs regarding the nature of society and what basic principles needed. Underlining that every individual must have access to education and health, he said the American public had a paranoia of the ‘socialist’ label.

His reflections on spirituality and religion had been moulded by the phase in life when he got cancer and subsequent recuperation. Religion ceased to make sense when people were urged to kill, rape, and plunder for its sake, he added.

Working as a ‘commune in motion,’ Mr. Cox described his team’s efforts as one which tried to ‘restore humanity.’ “Mankind has an enormous amount of power which is very dangerous because we have no history of controlling it,” he said.

Keywords: IFFK 2012

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