Friday, June 09, 2006

International Film Week in Bangalore

It might sound incredible but it is happening. A bunch of award winning French and other European films are getting released here in Bangalore just like commercial films -- in the film theatres, not on some dvd projection or any esoteric film society. And not only that, the film festival will also tour smaller towns in Karnataka like Hubli, Mysore, Belgaum and Mangalore. This news report has more details about the event. It also says that people behind it are planning to take it to (gasp) Patna, my home town!! Anyway, whoever are the people behind it, I can only say, more power to them! I hope it becomes a regular event.

I was at the inaugural ceremony and the screening of last year's Golden Palm winner L'Enfant yesterday. It's a brilliant film, totally deserving of all awards and the critical acclaim it has received. Although it has been compared with Robert Bresson's Pickpocket (to which it is an obvious homage), the film is not as abstract as its predecessor. It works very well at the surface level too. It is a fast paced thriller (it even has a chase sequence) and an affecting emotional drama. It is also magnificently acted, something you won't find in Pickpocket. Towards the end, it rather alarmingly moves into the "triumph of human spirit" and "easy redemption" territory but it all works out very well in this case.

It was a very satisfying experience overall. And yes, I was sitting in the row next to Girish Kasaravalli (the director of award winning films like Ghatashraddha and Dweepa) who was quiet all throughout! On the stage it was the commercial Kannada cinema all the way. A really slovenly looking "film star" (and a politician too) Ambarish was the chief guest. Did he come right out of a film set, playing some drunkard or something? Also another star of yesteryears Vishnuvardhan (the promotional booklet called him "Abhinaya Bhargava") was given some life time achievement award.

Anyway, I am looking forward to watching The Barbarian Invasions, The Beat That My Heart Skipped and other movies in the coming days. Hectic days ahead ;)

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