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BIFFes fever catches on

Movie-viewing screen-hopping fever begins today at the 8th Bengaluru International Film Festival. Over 170 films from 50 countries in seven days can be overwhelming. Why go to a festival like this? What do you watch? Here's a lowdown on BIFFES through the eyes of five film and television personalities in the city



Girish Kasaravalli

Kannada film director

Films to watch out for: The 8th BIFFES opening film, the Kannada film Thithi is a good one to begin the festival with. Dirty, Yellow, Darkness, a Sri Lankan film is also getting rave reviews at film festivals worldwide.

I’ve also heard good things about the film Mother from Pakistan, and Three Fish from Iran. Palestinian film The Idol is another significant film to watch out for. Among the documentaries I would pick Francofonia. The Retrospective section at BIFFES also has interesting compilations that you must watch. Taxi (Taxi Tehran) from Iran and My Mother from Italy are other significant picks.

Two of my films are on the list too (he laughs) — Life in Metaphors: A portrait of Girish Kasaravalli directed by O.P. Srivastava and my documentary on Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Journey Into the Images of Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

What film festivals hold for me and you: For me as a filmmaker, it’s a great place to see the works of my contemporaries, as well as understand audience responses to films. You also get to see the kind of films that filmmakers come up with under the most difficult of circumstances. As to why people must attend film festivals and watch movies, I don’t really have an answer to the ‘why’? It’s like being involved in any other art activity. Then you can ask me ‘Why should any one read books from other countries?’

Pawan Kumar

Kannada film actor/director

How I approach the festival: I never research the films that are coming to the festival. I randomly watch what’s showing when I land up, and I like to go to those screens which are not crowded. I find it better than having any expectation. I try to catch Iranian films. New and experimental films — those are the genres I prioritise.

Why you should be going to the festival: Films that make it to the festival are those made with passion, to communicate something. Very often these are films made to share a filmmakers’ point of view on his country and its issues, so you get to see the reality of another country. And they are different from what commercial films portray. It also helps filmmakers like me with ideas, influences and new techniques — specially films from Iran and Hong Kong. It helps open up your mind. Commercial films will fade from your mind soon. Films that you watch at festivals may seem slow and quiet while you watch them (compared to the popular genre) but they stay with you longer. I still remember films I have watched at festivals 10 years ago…

Malavika Avinash

Actor

What I think of the festival: It’s a fest for those who like to watch films. It’s an enriching experience and a treat for film lovers. But I think the film fraternity of Karnataka doesn’t get wholesomely involved in it. It’s the same coterie that’s in the team year after year. Alternative filmmakers have a hunger for good films so they will participate and watch, but I wish more mainstream filmmakers would join in too. The idea should also be to engage the local film business. It’s become more of a government activity driven by the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy. Having said that, I must say that my own mindset is that going to destination film festivals seems to work better for me than when it’s screening in your own backyard, simply because you concentrate there, like say in Goa, and go with an intent to watch many films.

What I would watch out for: I’m a fan of Hollywood films, but film festivals are about moving away from Hollywood and watching cinema of the world — it’s cinema that offers more human stories. I would say you should catch European, Asian, specially Korean, and Iranian films. A lot of films we get to see in India of late have been heavily “influenced” by Korean cinema.

Avinash Narasimharaju

Kannada film actor

What I’ll probably watch: I’ve heard a lot about this Tamil-English movie Lens and that’s one film I definitely want to watch. Last year I enjoyed the Iranian films so that’s also one country’s films I’ll probably try to catch up on.

Why an actor like me needs festivals like this: You rarely get to watch serious cinema like this in the theatres. And in films that come to such festivals, it’s stories about small things that are told beautifully... these are things that we otherwise tend to forget. I’m also thrilled that these films don’t have much sound; what you hear are the real sounds. I hope that some day I’ll be involved in making such films. As an actor, when you stand in front of the camera, you begin to act. But in these films the actors feel so natural and effortless. I’m looking forward to seeing films which have such roles for actors and I keep wishing I’ll have a chance to act in one of these kinds of great films.

Saad Khan

Indie filmmaker

What I will be watching: Being an ardent follower of Asian cinema, I am looking forward to watching films such as the Japanese film Palm to the Sun, Hear Me from South Korea and also Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti's My Mother.

What festivals do for independent filmmakers: It’s exciting that BIFFES is in its 8th year and should continue curating this as a platform for filmmakers across the world. But as an artist who is on social media quite a bit I didn’t see any updates about BIFFES. The festival management team has to look into promoting the festival more on digital platforms even though I’m sure they have reached out to a good number of people on the ground. Film festivals are a great way for artistes to showcase their talents, but if people don’t know about them, then sometimes, it defeats the purpose. Also, independent filmmakers in our country don’t get enough attention until their films get screened at international festivals. Film festivals such as BIFFES put independent filmmakers in the spotlight, and due to this, more directors, actors, and technicians are motivated to tell new and fresh stories through cinema.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 12:43:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/BIFFes-fever-catches-on/article14026756.ece

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