Bringing laurels to the State, two feature films and a short film conceived by a team of young filmmakers from Kerala are being premiered in the Marche du Film section in this year's Cannes Film Festival scheduled to begin on May 12.
The 90-minute Malayalam film Pithavum Kanyakayum, directed by Rupesh Paul and N.K. Sajiv Menon, tells the story of a middle-aged government employee spending the night with his beloved, who happens to his daughter's friend.
Short story writer Indu Menon has written the story of the government employee who has lost his libido due to his tumultuous marital life. Her husband, Rupesh Paul, has written the script and dialogue for the film. The cast include M.G. Shashi, director of the award-winning film Adayalangal, Krupa and Shashi Kalinga.
The second one that will be premiered at the festival is Janthu (The Beast), a 70-minute film in Adiya tribal language.
“I had been inspired to write the story by the Muthanga land struggle of February 2003 that killed an Adivasi in police firing,” said Indu Menon, who is a lecturer at the Kerala Institute for Research, Training and Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Kirtads) in Kozhikode. Paul, who has directed the film, said history has two stories to speak of — that of the elite and that of the subaltern. “But the latter remains unrecorded,” he added.
The film is based on some events in a colony of the Adiya settlement. Till the Bonded Labour Abolition Act, 1978 came into existence, the Adiyas lived their life as slaves.
The greedy eyes of a businessman fall upon the small patch of land that harbours the tiny huts of the slaves. They chase these hapless people from their land like dogs. The State and its police join hands in the act. This incident has a cascading effect on the tribal people. The displaced women victims end up in flesh trade in the city. But one of them takes revenge by killing the land-grabber.
The third screening in the section is of a five-minute Malayalam short film titled You Can't Step Twice into the Same River. This one also is conceived by the Rupesh-Indu couple who live in Kozhikode.