Bengaluru International Film Festival

Celebrating the genius of women

The ninth edition of BIFFES which began last evening has 23 films made by women directors. The festival also brings to focus local cultures

The nine-year old Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFes) has succeeded in garnering the attention of the film fraternity from across the globe, regardless of non-recognition by International Federation of Film Producers Association (IFFPA), the regulatory body of International Film Festivals.

The response by filmmakers, critics, film historians and cine buffs for the 9th edition of BIFFes, which began yesterday, is testimony to this claim. According to S.V. Rajendra Singh Babu, Director - BIFFes, the response is overwhelming and beyond the imagination of organisers. As many as 30 films by eminent filmmakers across the globe are being premiered at this festival. Over 2000 filmmakers showed their interest in screening their works at this festival, but only 240 have been chosen for screening.

Since the BIFFes is the first film festival happening in the film festival calendar year, there is curiosity among cine enthusiasts across the world about the new films that are being screened. The participation of renowned Egyptian filmmaker Hala Khalil, India’s master celluloid craftsman Buddhadeb Dasgupta etc. have brought a kind of credibility to BIFFes.

N. Vidyashankar, Artistic Director, BIFFes asserts that the intention is to focus on diversity in contemporary local and global cultures. The festival will screen historically and culturally significant films, he adds.

Noted cinematographers Mahesh Aney, Rajiv Menon, Vetrimaran of Visaranai fame, Israeli filmmaker Dan Wolman will participate in the discussions.

A retrospective of Zoltan Fabri, the renowned Hungarian filmmaker and screen writer, whose style of filmmaking is being described as classical is the major attraction of this festival. Great works of Andrzej Wajda of Poland, Abbas Kiarostami, Asghar Farhadi of Iran, Paul Cox of Australia, Jacques Rivette, Raoul Cottard of France, Ken Loach from UK, Kim Ki Duk from Korea and Cristian Mungiu from Romania will also be screened. Special thematic sections include Cult Comedy films too. Interesting documentaries curated by renowned cinematographers G.S. Bhaskar and Vinod Raja and biopics on filmmakers, writers, artists and musicians will be a treat to watch.

The festival’s country focus will be Luxembourg, Vietnam and Egypt and there will be a retrospective of Zoltan Fabri of Hungary and Haskell Wexler of USA. On the list, there are also biopics of M.M. Kalburgi, Chilean poet Neruda, filmmaker Fritz Lang, artist Van Gogh, philosopher Louis Andrea Salome and singer Mohammed Rafi. There is stiff competition in the Asian and Indian sections this year and prominent filmmakers are testing their fortune. Like the previous editions, BIFFes has a central theme. ‘Women Power’ is the theme of this edition. A package of 23 films by women directors seeks to highlight how women are breaking the celluloid celing. The films come from Ghana, Estonia, Egypt, Bulgaria to Mongolia, Israel, Iran, Greece, Germany, Poland, UK, France, Sweden, Thailand, apart from five films from India alone.

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Celebrating plurality

N. Vidyashankar is shouldering the responsibility of Artistic Director of BIFFes for the third consecutive year. Passionate about the art of cinema, he has been associated with the film society movement since 1977, as a freelance cineaste. He played an important role in the growth of Suchitra Film Society, Bengaluru. He has been writing on World Cinema, Indian and Kannada cinema for over three decades. He served film institutions such as the Central Board of Film Certification and was instrumental in organising the first Chennai International Film Festival in 2003 and BIFFes.

How do you see this edition of BIFFEs?

This edition celebrates the diversity and plurality of local and community cultures by bringing lesser-known languages and dialects of the vast Indian cultural canvas under the “unsung incredible India” section. We welcome the audiences to this celebration and to the world of ever-changing realities.

Woman Power as the theme of the festival borders on sloganeering, isn’t it?

Quite a large number of women have done significant work and it is being showcased. We, therefore, coined the theme of the festival as ‘Women Power’ not for sloganeering, but to celebrate the genius of these women directors and also to bring gender to the core of cultural and intellectual discourses.

What were the challenges in choosing films?

Cinemas with independent, personal expressions critique the modern society in the present state, and as contrast to this are films which draw heavily on individual memory and its collective manifestations. In either of its forms, cinema moves from the general to particular and other arts from particular experience to the general one. In this scenario what is the role of international film festivals? What films are to be chosen from amongst the thousands that are made with various interests? How do we distinguish between a constructed film and a creative expression? BIFFes, I think, address all these challenges. Access to technology, awareness of human rights, horrors of sexual predators, desire to reach people beyond their geographical boundaries are themes that pervade the kaleidoscope in this edition of BIFFes.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 12:23:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/Celebrating-the-genius-of-women/article17135793.ece

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