The fourth edition of the Urban Lens Film festival, conducted in collaboration with the Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan begins today.
The festival has been designed to offer a space to reflect on cities and life in the city. This time the festival has brought in a variety of films, by calling for entries. It received over 1600 entries from 102 countries, which the team then shortlisted to 27. The shortlisted films are a combination of entries and invited films, featuring a range of genres from fiction to non-fiction and animation.
The festival explores urban stories from across the world, including countries such as India, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Jordan and South Africa.
The rise in urbanisation in these countries has resulted in a diversity of impactful stories: a couple's struggle for housing in a crowded city ( Ek Ghar ), resilience of people in making homes for themselves in an abandoned building in Caracas ( Ruina ), examining how men and women occupy public space during the day and night ( Chasing Tails, Mod and Amdavad Ma Famous), a grandson's search for the truth about his grandfather in Buenos Aires ( 70 y Pico ), the experience of loneliness in a city ( Solito ) and the functioning of the real estate mafia in Kochi (Kammatipaadam).
“I began working on the film when I moved to Italy for a student exchange programme. That was the first time I had left my hometown in Jerusalem. Milan was, naturally, a different kind of city with a vastly different culture and it made me ask myself questions about home and the meaning of home. I started asking myself what made people feel at home or choose a different home in another city,” says Daphna Awadhesh, whose animated film Journey Birds deals with the theme of immigration.
“So I met different immigrants and asked for their opinions on the theme. The characters whom I then animated were those whose feelings I could relate to. They described what I was feeling at that time and what I still feel because since then I have moved to Holland, where I am still an immigrant.”
The theme also finds resonance in the student film category with films like Kaaka Koode , exploring another aspect of immigration.
“My film is about how a girl from Kerala loses her roots after moving to a metropolitan city like Bengaluru. The story is inspired by my life experiences. I faced a huge struggle to fit in to city life, like my character, who then becomes a part of globalised culture, a part of the crowd. Now the important question is can she return to that culture, back to that simple life?,” shares Amritha R Warrier, a student of animation film design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
The festival also explores the inner worlds of those who live in the city through films like Asha Jaoar Majhe , by Aditya Vikram Sengupta.
The film explores the lives of a couple in the time of recession. The couple, who is used to a life of work and domestic routine is now sharing each other’s solitude in pursuit of a distant dream. The film is said to incorporate political undertones and artfully depicts that challenges of sustaining a relationship in a fast moving world.
“The film is based on a short story by Italo Calvino called ‘The adventure of a married couple’. I really connected with the idea of the story and wanted to make a film on it. While working on the screenplay, the film slowly started deviating from the story and became more about my childhood observations and the things I felt as a child in the envornments around me,” explains Aditya, whose film was screened at the Venice Film Festival.
“Then the film became an exploration of love that I experienced a child, not as myself but between the elders around me. The memories of the way they would express love without telling each other or even holding hands, but simply through their everyday routine, remained with me. So the film became an exploration of love through mundane tasks or daily chores.”
The festival will also include a series of conversations around the idea of cinematic practice with award winning filmmakers and editors such as Girish Kasaravalli, Rajeev Ravi, Bina Paul and Namrata Rao.
The Urban Lens Film Festival will take place at the Max Mueller Bhavan on September 21 and the IIHS Bengaluru campus until September 24. For details, visit http://iihs.co.in/urbanlens/ or call 67606666.