State’s resilience in the spotlight as 23rd IFFK begins

Conducting the film festival without government funds can be considered in future too, says Chief Minister

Published - December 07, 2018 11:49 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi with the Lifetime Achievement award presented by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the 23rd IFFK.

Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi with the Lifetime Achievement award presented by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the 23rd IFFK.

Rather than the glorious celebration that it usually is, the inaugural event of the 23rd edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), held at the Nishagandhi auditorium on Friday, was one of sombre remembrance, of the lives taken away by the unprecedented floods that hit the State in August. Candles were lit, and each of the speakers spoke of the power of art in enabling people to tide over disasters.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who inaugurated the festival, said the IFFK this year would be a declaration to the world that the art scene had not been destroyed in post-flood Kerala.

‘Rebuild the spirit’

“Rebuilding the spirit that has been battered by the disaster is also as important as rebuilding houses, roads, and bridges. We faced one of the biggest floods in our history, leaving us with a huge financial burden. The humanistic values that have been spread here through initiatives like this festival made possible the unity with which we faced that crisis. It is after considering all these facts that the government decided that our economic state should not be a roadblock for the festival. This idea of running the festival without drawing from the government funds is something which can be considered in the future too,” the Chief Minister said.

Mr. Vijayan presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi at the function. He said Mr. Majidi was a filmmaker who was familiar to a large section of Malayalis. A majority of the children here had watched his classic films like Children of Heaven .

Thanking the people of the State for the award, Mr. Majidi said the award from the God’s Own Country was very special.

‘Significant event’

Bengali filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta said that IFFK was the most important international film festival happening in the country for quite sometime.

“Amid all that is happening at present in the country, when I come to Kerala, I get back my faith and hope I am greatly indebted to the State. It is a matter of pride for all of us that this festival is still happening after the disaster that has struck the State,” he said.

Actor-filmmaker Nandita Das reminisced of her long association with the IFFK, of visiting here 22 years ago with her acting debut Fire , and later with her directorial debut Firaaq , ten years ago.

“We are living at a time when we are facing attacks from divisive forces who are trying to divide us. We have to fight back without being violent. Cinema remains one of the most powerful mediums. If it were not powerful, they would not want to silence or ban us. Cinema has the power to subliminally go into the unconscious, bring out the inconvenient truths, power to challenge prejudices, and tell powerful stories with which we can humanise the other,” she said.

Asghar Farhadi’s Everybody Knows , the opening film, was screened after the inaugural event.

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