Film fest takes off at city’s popular parks

Remember the days when people watched films projected on jute screens at huge tents set up overnight on fields in suburban neighbourhoods? If such memories evoke a degree of nostalgia in you, it is time to relive yesterday at your neighbourhood park!

Thanks to the organisers of the 21st Kolkata International film Festival (KIFF-2015), it is time for ‘ Paraey, Paraey Hollywood’ — an innovative project that will screen select Hollywood classics at your ‘para’s park’. There could not be a better a way to spend the evenings with your family in these early winter days. And the best part of the story is — entry is free.

It started on Sunday with the screenings of Sound of Music at Harish Park in south Kolkata and Ben Hur at Tala Park. The three films scheduled for Monday were ET at Deshbandhu Park, The Guns of Navarone at Golf Green and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly at Deshapriya Park. The films will be screened in 15 parks altogether.

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O Brien said, “We are excited about the initiative and hope people will enjoy it.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee wrote on her Facebook page:

“Kolkata International Film Festival is for everybody. It takes the joy of cinema to every neighbourhood, every home. Since Hollywood is the focus this year, we have this Initiative “পাড়ায় পাড়ায় হলিউড”.

Great Hollywood movies are being screened in neighbourhood parks. I thought of sharing this with all of you.”

Star studded inauguration of 21st Kolkata International Film Festival

The 21st edition of Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), India’s second oldest film festival, that begins today, will raise a toast to Hollywood classics and shine the spotlight on cinema in relatively unheard Indian dialects.

As many as 149 films by 137 directors from 61 countries will be screened across 12 venues in the week-long extravaganza organised by the West Bengal government. The fest concludes on November 21.

Adhering to tradition, the fest had a star-studded opening with megastar Amitabh Bachchan inaugurating the event. His wife Jaya, actresses Vidya Balan, Sharmila Tagore and Moushumi Chatterjee also graced the occasion.

State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee presided over the ceremony. An innovative musical performance titled “Maestros of Bengal” was the highlight of the inaugural ceremony.

World of cinema

The films have been divided into 15 segments. The ‘Focus Hollywood’ section consists of a line-up of seven Hollywood gems spanning 1920 to 1970s.

These include Clyde Bruckman’s silent comedy film “The General”, Michael Curtiz’s romantic “Casablanca”, William Wyler’s historical drama “Ben-Hur” and Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’s musical “West Side Story”.

The rich filmmaking tradition of Europe will not be forgotten at the KIFF amid Hollywood glamour.

Six films each by French maestro Jean Renoir and Portuguese filmmaking legend Manoel De Oliveira are set to draw world cinema enthusiasts.

With new sections like ‘Films on Sports’ and ‘India Unheard’, it’s foraying into variety catered to youth and human interest issues. ‘India Unheard’ will showcase films in Ladakhi, Nepali and Konkani languages among others. Three films will be shown in the ‘Bengali Panorama’ section.

Royal Bengal Trophy

This year for the second time, the KIFF is a competitive event. The competition focuses on films helmed by women filmmakers.

Headed by Tagore, the jury comprising well-known Chinese-American actress Bai Ling, Polish director Filip Marczewski, Israeli filmmaker Samuel Maoz and Sri Lankan actress Swarna Mallawarachchi, will select the Best Film and Best Director from 14 short-listed movies.

The prize, the Royal Bengal trophy will be awarded to the Best Film and the Best Director.

21st Kolkata Film Festival to offer the best of World Cinema this year

The 21st edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival, organised by the State I& CA Dept,  has grown in its stature by leap and bounds in the past three years and this year promises to be more exciting. It will be starry affair right from Day I, with the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore, Moushumi Chatterjee and Vidya Balan, among others, gracing the inaugural ceremony on November 14.

The biggest incentive for cine buffs, for example, is the screening of Carlos Saura’s `Zonda, folclore argentino’. In a coup of sorts, this is the first film festival in India that will get to screen the Spanish master’s latest movie.

Some months back, West Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had sent a delegation to the Cannes Film Festival to facilitate the selection of good movies for KIFF. The efforts seem to have paid off. The organizers have successfully managed to get quite a few award-winning films from this year’s Cannes, Berlin and Venice film festivals, including Jafar Panahi’s Iranian drama titled `Taxi’, which won the Golden Bear and the FIPRESCI Prize at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Then there is Tsai Ming-liang’s `Afternoon’ that was screened at this year’s Venice International Film Festival as well as Alexander Sokurov’s 2015 French drama titled `Francofonia’ (screened at the main competition section of the 72nd Venice International Film Festival).

Nanni Moretti’s `Mia Madre’, Takeshi Miike’s `Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War of the Underworld’ and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s `The Assassin’ are a part of the KIFF screening list. Andreas Dresen’s `As We Were Dreaming’, which was in the main competition of Berlin International Film Festival, has also been selected.Festival-favourite Kim Ki Duk’s Stop’ and Mani Ratnam’s `OK Kanmani’ that was premiered at the Busan Film Festival’s Window to Asian Cinema category have made it to KIFF as well.

Mr Bachchan’s inaugural speech at last year’s KIFF was one of the most-talked-about subjects related to the film festival. This year too, the expectations are no less from the actor. The presence of stalwarts apart, KIFF’s inaugural ceremony will have a unique audio-visual presentation. The show is being conceived by Bickram Ghosh. Participating in this programme will be stalwart musicians like vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan, sarod player Pt Tejendra Narayan Mazumdar, saxophone player George Brooks and percussionist Taufiq Quereshi. Percussionist Ratul Shankar is composing the theme music for the KIFF.