With the screening of the first set of competition films and the arrival of the weekend crowd, the proceedings at the 22nd International Film Festival of Kerala turned lively on Saturday, the second day.
The day witnessed the first screening of the film that was on everyone’s must-watch list – Young Karl Marx , directed by Raoul Peck, on the early days of Marx, Jenny Marx and Engels, in the period leading up to the writing of the Communist Manifesto .
In the competition category, Turkish film Grain , directed by Semih Kaplanoglu, set in a post-apocalyptic world, highlighted present issues, including the shutting out of immigrants, and the aftermath of genetic modification of seeds. The other film in the competition category Symphony for Ana , directed by Ernesto Ardito and Virna Molina, went back to history, of the dictatorship in Argentina, for some lessons for the present and future.
In the World Cinema category, Annarita Zambrano’s After the War focussed on the tension between a father, a political extremist on the run in France, and his daughter, whose concerns are much more personal. Another French film, Redoubtable , directed by Michel Hazanavicius, chronicles an important period in the career of legendary filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, when he fell in love and was caught amid the uprisings of May 1968 in France.
Among the Indian films, Village Rockstars , directed by Rima Das, was the highlight of the day, with its story of a young girl wishing to own a guitar, and with the achievement of the young filmmaker, who has handled most of the departments, including cinematography and editing herself.
While the major change this year, the end of the festival tradition of delegates occupying the aisles and every inch of the floor inside the theatre, went off smoothly on the first day, things were not so on Saturday. In quite a few theatres, including Tagore Theatre, the main venue and one of the biggest of them, the crowd which queued up to get inside had altercations with the festival volunteers, demanding them to be allowed inside. But in most venues, the volunteers remained firm and only the seats were occupied.
The online reservation system, which opens at 8 a.m., crashed in the morning, unable to handle all the traffic from eager delegates. The system was restored a few hours later, with all the bookings for Sunday closing within a few hours.
Some protest movements being staged outside had its ripples at the festival venue too. The Students Federation of India (SFI) organised a flash mob protest at Tagore Theatre in the afternoon, in protest against the online abuse and threats from fundamentalists faced by three Muslims from Malappuram who performed as part of an AIDS awareness flash mob.