Tales ranging from the quotidian to the outlandish from the most accessible to the remotest corners of the world will hold the capital city in thrall over the next eight days with the 18th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) set to begin here on Friday.

With Korean director Kim Ki Duk, who is said to be more of a celebrity in Kerala than in his home country, set to make a visit, the frenzy surrounding the festival could surpass that witnessed in the preceding years.

New releases will take a backseat this week as 10 city cinemas and the Nishagandhi auditorium will be taken over by the festival films.

A total of 211 films from 64 countries will be screened.

The films have been divided across 16 sections, including the competition section which has 14 films.

The contemporary masters section, one of the most popular in the past few years, will witness films by such names as Italian director Marco Bellocchio, Japanese master of violent films Takashi Miike, Serbian director Goran Paskaljeviæ, French director Claire Denis, and Malayalam director Hariharan.

Another section of interest is ‘Expressionism – The Indo- German connection’, which will showcase eight films that will depict the cultural exchange between the countries.

This section will also include the films of past master Fritz Lang.

Seven films have been included in the Samurai films section.

These include the works of Kon Ichikawa and Kenji Mizoguchi.

In the retrospective section, five films of French new wave director Jean Renoir, who inspired many a legend of cinema, will be screened.

The IFFK will pay homage to Bengali director Rituparno Ghosh, actor Sukumari, art director S. Konnanad, and music directors K. Raghavan and V. Dakshinamoorthy.

Jury

Mexican director Arturo Ripstein is the jury chairman.

Peter Scarlet, Aditya Assarat, Khalo Matabane, and Gouthami are jury members of the International Competition section.

The number of delegates attending the festival has broken records with 9,000 delegate passes issued this year, an increase of 1,500 from the previous year.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate the festival at a function at the Nishagandhi auditorium at 6.30 p.m.

Actor Shabana Azmi and Spanish director Carlos Saura, who has been selected for this year’s Lifetime Achievement award, will be present. Ana Arabia, directed by Israeli director Amos Gitai, will be the opening film.

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