KIFF 2018 showcases the best of regional and international cinema

Australian and Tunisian films put under special focus


November 19, 2018

/ By / Kolkata

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The opening ceremony of KIFF '18

The opening ceremony of Kolkata International Film Festival, 2018

The Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) completed 24 years and focused on the cinema of two countries here fore underappreciated by the Indian audience: Australia and Tunisia.

The Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) completed its 24th year on November 17 and as the event moves on to its 25th anniversary, on the back of this edition’s success, one cannot help but marvel at the enthusiasm of the ‘cinephiles’ populating the city. The eight day festival (November 10-17), celebrated international cinema with special focus on the cinema from Tunisia and Australia.

A celluloid stalwart's paradise

A celluloid stalwart’s paradise

On any of the days between the aforementioned dates, one could find the amalgamation of at least five different smells wafting across the crowded Nandan promenade which hosted the event. Enigmatic art projects with the smell of fresh paint, little magazines and festival pamphlets fresh off the press,  food all competed to attract the visitors’ attention as hundreds of conversations would lull a lone tripper into a celluloid stalwart’s paradise.

The film festival started off with the inauguration featuring Bollywood stars- Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt as the chief minister of West Bengal played host. The inauguration ceremony which was hosted at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on November 10, featured the trailer of Khan’s upcoming venture, Zero. The film also got itself a special screening in the event. It also featured Manto director, Nandita Das alongside critical darling international film makers, Majid Majidi, Phillip Noyce, Jil Bilcock and Simon Baker.

Showcasing the creme de la creme of cinema

The festival celebrated one hundred years of Bengali cinema by hosting special screenings of films by classical Bengali auteurs, Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen among others while also screening the works of the contemporary, Kaushik Ganguly, Churni Ganguly and Arijit Biswas. The jamboree was lauded for showcasing a bouquet of rare Indian language cinema including Nagasmese, Lambani, Jasari, Kurbi languages for the first time. Film curator Shantanu Ganguly said to Media India Group, “People need to know these languages. The films showcased have a really low audience reach. People didn’t even know about Sandeep Pampally’s Sinjar even though it won at the National Film Awards. Sinjar is also India’s first film shot entirely on an island. It was shot in Lakshwadeep”.

A celebration of the best in celluloid

A celebration of the best in celluloid

The countries in focus for this edition of the festival were Tunisia and Australia. 27 Australian films were aired at the pageant. Films such as, Jigra, Mary Magdalene, Dancing the Invisible and Flaming Children had their first ever Asian screening at KIFF ‘18. Tunisian contemporary cinema being the other focal point and featured the likes of Weldi (Dear Son), Benzine, Dachra and the horror feature by Nejib Belkadhi’s Look at Me. For many of the Tunisian films in the list, KIFF became their first ever opening to an international market.

For the parasites of nostalgia, there were singular broadcasts of classic Hollywood movies the likes of which include, De Niro’s Taxi Driver, Hitchcock’s The Birds and Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons. The latter was especially restored for the purpose of the particular screening.

The award ceremony

KIFF ’18 concluded with the awards ceremony on the eve of November 17. The film which won the International Competition Section’s Innovation in Moving Images category was Ash Mayfair’s The Third Wife. She was awarded the Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award and a certificate. Egyptian director Abu Bakr Shawky won the Best Director award for his film, Yameddine (Judgement Day) along with a prize money of INR 2,100,000. Praveen Morchhale’s film Widow of Silence grabbed the Hiralal Sen Memorial Award for Best Film in Indian Language category. Arijit Biswas won the Best Director award in the same category for his film Surjo Prithibir Chardike Ghore (Sun Goes Round the Earth) and was awarded INR 500,000. The Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema Asian Select Award went to the Indian film, The Sweet Requiem directed by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam.

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