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Refugee story: the personal is political

Star factor:Actor Diane Kruger and director Fatih Akin in Cannes.APAlastair Grant  

Desperate times beget desperate politics. So it would seem viewing Fatih Akin’s Aus Dem Nichts ( In the Fade ) on Friday in Cannes. After a metaphorical, magic realist turn on the refugee experience in Kornel Mundruczo’s Jupiter’s Moon, Akin’s In The Fade offers a straightforward, dramatic, conflict-driven take on the immigrant life, something Akin has been constantly engaging with in his films.

The vision broadens here in that the film is not so much about the immigrant Turk Nuri Sekerci as it is about Katja Sekerci, the German he marries.

It starts out strong — riding splendidly on Diane Kruger’s Katja — about what it means to lose your family to mindless violence, when the only thing left to hope for is that they didn’t suffer too much in death.

The film is about the victims of violence themselves being in the eye of suspicion because they happen to be immigrants with a past record. It’s as much about dealing with personal grief as it is about the political injustices that come in its wake. It’s also about the dangerous rise of reactionary forces the world over, in this case Neo-Nazism.

However, bit by bit, Akin loses the plot, the narrative gets steadily superficial and simplistic — the broad brush with which he paints the good Germans versus the bad ones, for instance.

India calling

At the Cannes Marche du Cinema (Film Market), there was a prominent poster from India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting calling filmmakers from across the world to come shoot in Incredible India. The Ministry’s aim this year has been to promote the ‘Film in India’ initiative of the Film Facilitation Office (FFO).

The aim of FFO is to ease and simplify filming in India. Some of these initiatives include the initiation of a Film Visa and a single window clearance facility for requisite permissions and for providing information on locations, talent and facilities available in India for production and post-production. Another priority has been to attract films and filmmakers to the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) and the Film Bazaar in Goa. Buzz has it that Canada could be the partner country for IFFI this year.

The National Film Development Corporation of India has tied up with Marco Muller, artistic director of Pingyao International Film Festival, to introduce these initiatives to international filmmakers.

On the sidelines, FICCI set up base for one-to-one meetings between buyers and sellers in conjunction with the SEPC (Services Export Promotion Council) with focus on film, entertainment and audio-visual media as a significant services export sector.