In The News

IFFS regrets the death of Luce Vigo, a friend of cine clubs around the world.

LUCE VIGO was born on 30 June 1931 in Nice, from a Polish mother and father of Catalan descent. Luce Vigo studied literature and psychology at the University of the Sorbonne in Paris.

After creating and organizing a cineclub in 1960, she began collaborating in Jeune Cinéma magazine. She chose the interview as a journalistic genre to make film criticism and on the occasion of his visit to the Summer Film School in Uherske Hradiste, she stated “I prefer to do interviews with authors who criticize films.

 

I prefer his word, his vision of his own work”. She worked with Jacques Kermabon before attending Jacques Barrault, general manager of the Grenoble Short Film International and the Documentary Film Festival.

She was a programmer at the MC93 theater for ten years, while contributing several magazines.

She wrote Jean Vigo, committed to the cinema (small notebooks), and co-edited with Catherine Schapira Come to the movies children! A small anthology of films for a young audience (cineÅLma children).

As an actress she participated in Le fantôme d’Henri Langlois (Jacques Richard, 2004), Le Havre (Aki Kaurismaki, 2011) and The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin, 2015).

 

She was dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the filmography of her father Jean Vigo, presided over the association and the Jean Vigo Prize and since 2010 was cultural president of the International Federation of Film Societies. She died on February 11, 2017 in Paris.

Om Puri 

(18 October 1950 - 6 January 2017)

The actor Om Puri, who has died aged 66 from a heart attack, exuded a reassuring warmth and gravitas over a long career divided largely between Bollywood and Hollywood. His Hindi hits included the political comedy Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983), the Macbeth-inspired drama Maqbool (2003), the action romp Singh Is Kinng (2008) and the thrillers Don (2006) and Don 2 (2011). Appearances in two Mike Nichols films – he shared a scene with Jack Nicholson in Wolf (1994) and starred with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), in which he was very wry as President Zia-ul-Haq – were among the US roles that followed his brief English-language debut in Gandhi (1982). He credited his more prominent part in Roland Joffe’s City of Joy (1992), where he was a struggling farmer who befriends a doctor (Patrick Swayze) in Calcutta, with increasing his opportunities in Britain and the US.

 

It is for his performances in two low-budget British films about immigration and assimilation, however, that he will be most fondly remembered by UK audiences. East Is East (1999) explored the tensions between George (Puri), a Pakistani patriarch, and the family he is raising with his English wife (Linda Bassett) in Salford at the start of the 1970s. The picture was marketed as a Full Monty-style comedy about poor but happy northerners. Despite featuring gross-out humour (a frisky Dalmatian and a rubber vagina made an appearance alongside gags about bodily fluids), it took a darker turn when bumbling, well-meaning George descended into domestic violence. If East Is East felt at times like two different films welded together, it was the Bafta-nominated Puri who gave it weight and consistency. He reprised his role in a disappointing sequel, West Is West (2010), in which George returns to Pakistan with his youngest son.

 

Two years before East Is East, he had been impressive as another immigrant father in My Son the Fanatic (1997), written by Hanif Kureishi. He played Parvez, a Pakistani taxi driver whose open and progressive attitude towards racial integration in Britain places him at loggerheads with his son, a budding Islamic fundamentalist. The friction between them is exacerbated by Parvez’s affection for a local prostitute (Rachel Griffiths).

 

Puri was born in Ambala, in the northern Indian state of Haryana, the youngest of seven children of an army officer and his wife; three of his siblings died at a young age. He joined the theatre group Punjab Kala Manch while at college. “When I was doing these social plays, I felt [they were] giving words to my feelings,” he said. He insisted throughout his career on the social value of his work. “It is my first preference to do films with social significance. Art cinema has given me credibility and status as an actor, but commercial cinema has given me a comfortable living.”

 

He received scholarships to attend the National School of Drama and the Film and Television Institute of India, then both based in Delhi. He made his film debut in 1976 in Ghashiram Kotwal and received acclaim for Aakrosh (1980) in which he was Bhiku, a mute murder suspect whose silence through the picture is broken by a blood-curdling scream in its final minutes. “Om had lived Bhiku’s story by the time this scene was shot and empathised with him completely,” said the film’s director, Govind Nihalani. “I just told him I did not want his expression to be either neutral or over-emotional and then left it to him. I don’t know what he did to build himself up, but Om’s screams touched me like they did each viewer.” Puri was proud of the film, and of Arohan (1983), in which he played a victimised farmer; he was named best actor in the Indian National Film awards for the latter.

 

His commercial breakthrough came in the tough drama Ardh Satya (1983), in which he was a conscientious young cop confronting Indian corruption. The film won him a second National Film award as well as the best actor prize at the Karlovy Vary film festival. He also appeared in its 1984 follow-up, Party.

 

Puri was seen by British television audiences in ITV’s The Jewel in the Crown (1984) and in the Channel 4 adaptation of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2002). He played a Hindi professor who interviews a great Urdu poet in Ismail Merchant’s In Custody (1994). His English-language films included the Michael Douglas/Val Kilmer adventure The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), Michael Winterbottom’s futuristic thriller Code 46 (2003), Mira Nair’s terrorism drama The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012) and The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014), a feelgood comedy-drama about competing restaurants in a French town, starring Helen Mirren and produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.

 

After being appointed honorary OBE in 2005 for services to British cinema, Puri claimed the work dried up from this country. “I thought that was a golden handshake, that we [have] had enough of you – here is your prize, now get lost!” In recent times, he mourned the paucity of complex parts in Indian cinema such as those in Aakrosh and Arohan. “There are hardly any such roles left,” he said. Asked if he hoped one of his forthcoming movies would put him back on the map, he replied: “I have not gone anywhere from the map. I am very much here.”

 

He had a number of films awaiting release, including Viceroy’s House, Gurinder Chadha’s drama about the last days of the Raj, in which he co-starred with Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson and Michael Gambon. The film is due for release in March.

 

He is survived by Ishaan, his son from his second marriage, to Nandita, which ended in 2013.

(source: The Guardan)

Berlinale 2017 Winners

OSCAR 2017 Winners

COMPETITION

 

Golden Bear for Best Film
On Body and Soul
Hungary , Dir: Ildikó Enyedi

 

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize
Felicite
France/Belgium/Senegal/Germany/Lebanon
Dir: Alain Gomis

 

Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize
Pokot (Spoor) | Dir: Agnieszka Holland

 

Silver Bear for Best Director
Aki Kaurismaki |The Other Side of Hope

 

Silver Bear for Best Actress
Kim Min-hee| On The Beach At Night Alone
South Korea | Dir: Hong Sang-soo

 

Silver Bear for Best Actor
Georg Friedrich | Helle Nachte (Bright Nights)
Dir: Thomas Arsian

 

Silver Bear Best Screenplay
Una Mujer Fantastica (A Fantastic Woman)
Chile-U.S.-Spain | Dirs: Sebastian Lelio, Writer: Gonzalo Maza

 

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution
Dana Bunescu
Romania/Germany/France | Ana, Mon Amour

 

Glashutte Original Documentary
Ghost Hunting
France/Palestine/Switzerland/Qatar | Dir: Raed Andoni

 

Best First Feature
Spain | Summer of 1993 | Dir: Carla Simon

 

Golden Bear Best Short Film
Cidade Pequena| Dir: Diogo Costa Amarante

 

Silver Bear Jury Prize Short Film
Ensueno En La Pradera | Dir: Esteban Arrangioz

 

Audi Short Film Award
Street of Death

Lebanon/Germany | Dir: Karam Ghossein

 

PANORAMA AUDIENCE AWARDS

Fiction Film
Insyriated
Belgium/France/Lebanon | Dir: Philippe Van Leeuw

 

2nd Place
Karera ga Honki de Amu toki wa (Close-Knit)
Japan | Dir: Naoko Ogigami

 

3rd Place
1945
Hungary \ Dir: Ferenc Török

 

PANORAMA DOKUMENTE

Best Documentary
I Am Not Your Negro
France/U.S./Belgium/Switzerland | Dirs: Raoul Peck

 

2nd Place
Chavela
U.S. | Dirs: Catherine Gund, Daresha Kyi

 

3rd Place
Istiyad Ashbah (Ghost Hunting)
France/Palestine/Switzerland/Qatar \ Dir: Raed Andoni

 

EUROPA CINEMAS BERLINALE LABEL
Insyriated
Belgium/France/Lebanon | Dir: Philippe Van Leeuw

 

GENERATION KPLUS

Crystal Bear Best Film
Piata Iod’ (Little Harbour)
Slovak Republic/Czech Republic | Dir: Iveta Grofova

 

Special Mention
Amelie Rennt (Mountain Miracle – An Unexpected Friendship)
Germany/Italy | Dir: Tobias Wiemann

 

Crystal Bear Best Short Film
Promise
U.S. | Dir: Xie Tian

 

Special Mention Short Film
Hedgehog’s Home
Canada/Croatia \ Dir: Eva Cvijanovic

 

Grand Prix for Best Film
Becoming Who I Was
Korea | Dir: Chang-Yong Moon, Jin Jeon

 

Special Mention
Estiu (Summer 1993)
Spain | Dir: Carla Simon

 

Special Prize for Best Short Film
Aaba (Grandfather)
India | Dir: Amar Kaushik

 

Special Mention
Sabaku
The Netherlands | Dir: Marlies van der Wel

 

GENERATION 14PLUS

Crystal Bear Best Film
Butterfly Kisses
UK | Dir: Rafael Kapelinski

 

Special Mention
Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves
Canada | Dir: Mathieu Denis, Simon Lavoie

 

Crystal Bear Best Short Film
Wolfe
Australia | Dir: Claire Randall

 

Special Mention Short Film
SNIP
Canada | Dir: Terril Calder

 

Grand Prix for Best Film
Shkola nomer 3 (School Number 3)
Ukraine/Germany | Dir: Yelizaveta Smith, Georg Genoux

 

Special Mention
Ben Naio (The Foolish Bird)
China | Dir: Huang Ji, Ryuji Otsuka

 

Special Prize for Best Short Film
The Jungle Knows You Better Than You Do
Belgium/Colombia | Dir: Juanita Onzaga

 

Special Mention
U Plavetnilo (Into the Blue)
Croatia/Slovenia/Sweden \ Dirs: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic

These are the winners of the 89th annual Academy Awards.

 

Best Picture: “Moonlight”

 

Actor: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

 

Actress: Emma Stone, “La La Land”

 

Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”

 

Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, “Fences”

 

Animated Feature: “Zootopia”

 

Cinematography: “La La Land”

 

Costume Design: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

 

Direction: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

 

Documentary Feature: “O.J.: Made in America”

 

Documentary Short: “The White Helmets”

 

Film Editing: “Hacksaw Ridge”

 

Foreign Language Film: “The Salesman”

 

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Suicide Squad”

 

Score: “La La Land”

 

Song: “City of Stars” from “La La Land”

 

Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

 

Production Design: “La La Land”

 

Animated Short: “Piper”

 

Live Action Short: “Sing”

 

Sound Editing: “Arrival”

 

Sound Mixing: “Hacksaw Ridge”

 

Visual Effects: “The Jungle Book”

 

Adapted Screenplay: “Moonlight”

 

Original Screenplay: “Manchester by the Sea”

BIFFES – 2017 Award Winners

BIFFES – 2017 Award Winners

 

ASIAN CINEMA COMPETITION 

A Father’s Will – Winner – Asian Cinema

 

INDIAN CINEMA COMPETITION 

 

KANNADA CINEMA COMPETITION

 

 

Uppina Kaagada – International NETPAC Jury Award for Kannada Cinema

 

Kannada Popular Entertainment

  • Kotigobba 2 – Best Film – Kannada Popular Entertainment

  • Jaggudada – 1st Runner Up – Kannada Popular Entertainment

Doddmane Huduga – 2nd Runner Up – Kannada Popular Entertainment

BIFFES 2017 & delectable directorial delineations from world of cinema

True to its billing, the ninth edition of Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFES) 2017, lived up to expectations with bountiful bouquet of films that coveted cinephiles with array of auteur oeuvres that have won laurels and critical acclaim, writes S Viswanath

Nine and nicely nestled in the recess of cinema conscious citizens of Bengaluru and world over. That’s Bengaluru International Film Festival or BIFFES, better known by its acronym, for you. Yes, after nine summers, BIFFES, following its initial tentative, toddling steps, has found firm feet. Despite struggling to find a permanent calendar date for itinerary conscious cinema lovers, BIFFES has in the meanwhile, become brand of its own. Bigger, brighter, bolder and successfully bringing crème la crema cinemas to watch,  debate and feast upon.

BIFFES 2017, organised under the aegis of Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy, and patronage of Government of Karnataka, was no different. Being virtually last of film festivals to be held in India, this time around, BIFFES, however, ensured its thoughtfully curated cinemas, specific and structured sections, invited best creative and critically appreciated films from across the film making countries. So much so, BIFFES 2017 saw as many as 180 films being screened punctiliously picked by the preview committees from nearly 500 films that vied to be part of the prestigious and popular film festivals in the country.

Delayed, yet different, BIFFES 2017 ensured that nearly 30 films, which had not been screened in any of the film festivals that preceded it, were brought and provided an Indian premier, in Bengaluru, much to the delight of the discerning film buffs of Cinema City Sandalwood – the hot bed for Kannada films.

From the eclectic art house cinemas, to the popular mass entertainers, to the savvy, scintillating thrillers, to the delectable socio-political narratives, BIFFES 2017 had it all, variety being its differentiator, catering to the various constituents of cinema audiences, being film festival’s prime motivator. There was no genre of films that was wanting at BIFFES, whose professional curators ensured BIFFES would have it all.

That there was mad rush at City’s Orion Mall’s 11 PVR Cinema Screens, with delegate registration as high as 6,000, and daily pass buyers religiously queueing up at ticketing counters, was a testimony to the pick of films being showcased, and which audiences sought to savour in the seven days of its run.

Giving the festival foretaste of things to follow was the inaugural film La Vache, the Algerian beauty of a bucolic comedy which set the tone, as also, had audiences rooting for it larger humanistic appeal. That, in fact, despite several screenings, audiences wanted more of those films having missed it at earlier outings, or want of seats, was another indicator that the cinema conscious citizens of Bengaluru banked on BIFFES to bring World of Cinemas before their very doorsteps.

This in the age of Netflik, rampant piracy, easy downloads, what have you. That big screen was the best to enjoy some of the most marvels of auteur works was indicated by the festival catalogue carrying, patient, yet persistent, deluge of determined audiences who stayed put right from the first screening to the last screening of the day.  Never wavering in their intent and interest in catching up with as many films as possible in the short span of seven scintillating days.    

One of most interesting, as also innovative features of BIFFES 2017, was its WOMEN POWER in FILM MAKING Section which featured as many as 31 films from independent, as also, predominantly debutant women auteurs, showcasing some of most vibrant cinemas, which spoke of, and spotlighted on, how these women directors were breaking celluloid ceiling, and coming up with some ground breaking cinemas.  

As BIFFES 2017 Artistic Director N Vidyashankar so succinctly put it: the idea was to celebrate the creative genius of these women directors from across the world, both as film makers as also for bringing gender sensitivity issues of our times to the core of cultural and intellectual discourses, which were held in the form of workshops and master-classes, with eminent speakers providing critical inputs to the aspiring students of cinema. 

Notable among the lot, besides two Kannada woman film directors – Sumana Kittur with her feminist and firebrand Kiragoorina Gayaligalu and debutant Ananya Kasarvalli probing gender identity aspect with her subtle, understated, and nuanced Harikatha Prasanga, were Thai film By The Time It Gets Dark, US film Children Of The Mountain, Bulgarian film Glory, Ghanian film Like Cotton Twines, Estonian film The Polar Boy, Egyptian film Nawara, Ecuador film Alba, which, incidentally was Fipresci Award winner, like the Georgian film Anna’s Life, Brazilian sizzler The Cambridge Squatter and marvel from the US, To Keep The Light, an ode to all unsung women lighthouse keepers of the world, German biopic In Love With Lou, on the legendary writer and psychoanalyst.

Likewise, as Vidyashankar further explains, the festival was also about celebrating the diversity and plurality of local community cultures by bringing on to centrestage lesser known dialects and languages of not only from vast cultural canvas India is, but also from several similar relatively cultures from across the world as well. The Algerian La Vache spoke of how farmers’ aspirations and plight could be so universal. That several small countries were represented with their works at the festival was proof that BIFFES 2017 reached out and brought these to the festival marquee.

 

In the Unsung Incredible India Section, which focused on lesser dominant Indian language cinemas, you had films drawn from Kodava, Tulu, Konkani, Khasi, Wancho, Gorkhali and Chakma languages being showcased, providing audiences a distinct flavour of the specific regions cinema as also the thematic concerns that was agitating the regions.

 

Be it Thalung Neer, Onaatah of the Earth, Kathaa or Mandipu, Sonesarik Beti or Tanyabi Firti, or docu fiction The Head Hunter, as disparate and diverse the languages, so were their thematic concerns and the sureness of purpose with which these were portrayed and dealt with. Each a telling testimony that the regional language cinemas in India is as strong and vibrant and varied, despite the stranglehold of the better bestowed cinemas from other regions of the country and Bollywood of the lot.

 

Likewise, in the Country Focus Section, once again the emphasis was on bringing before cinema audiences films from those countries which has not found dominant spotlight at the festivals. The films were drawn from Luxembourg, Vietnam, Egypt, with a variety of oeuvres providing a specific focus and perspective into films from these countries. It was a mixed bag in this section with some impressive like the Egyptian film Clash and In The Last Days Of The City, with the Luxembourg and Vietnamese package too representative of the cinemas being made in that countries. 

 

With biopics being the new normal among film festival circuits lately across the globe, BIFFES 2017 too had Biopics Section with curated collective of films focusing on individuals like Snowden, Neruda, Fritz Lang, Van Gogh, India’s inimitable singing legend Mohammed Rafi and K M Kalburgi from Karnataka state.  The honours, however, belonging to Cordula Kablitz-Post’s brilliant biopic In Love With Lou on the writer and psychoanalyst Lou Andreas-Salome. A classic representative of the women power in the film marquee, as also Stefan Zweig: Farewell To Europe on the turbulent life of the German writer in the times of Nazi Germany, which could have been better like In Love with Lou. The other biopics too were crowd pullers with audiences raving about the works.

 

The Retrospectives brought a collection of Bengali maestro Buddadeb Dasgupta’s film, Kannada cinema’s legendary actress Harini, Hungarian director Zoltan Fabri and American cinematographer-director Haskell Wexler. The Homages paying tributes to those that left us recently such as Andrzej Wajda, Carnatic classical singer M Balamuralikrishna, Iranian film maker Abbas Kiarstomi, Austrialian film maker Paul Cox, versatile actress and late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalilathaa, Hindi cinema’s Om Puri, French film director and critic Jacques Rivette, French New Wave cinematographer Raoul Coutard, besides Kannada actor Saketh Kashi and film producers Srihari Khoday and K A Ashok Pai.

 

Besides French Cult Comedies, which sought to pay homage to and celebrate the unique genre, the festival had its regulars like Kannada Competition, Chitrabharati Competition, Asian Cinema Competition, Popular Entertainment Section, another additional feature focusing on the commercial Kannada films with popular box office appeal, Cinema of the World, the Netpac and Fipresci award winners, among the others, all of which were a “continuum of BIFFES” as Vidyashankar so rightly puts it.

 

Indeed, it was mesmerising week long date with the magic marvel of movies for cinephiles, the celebrated auteurs, the trade, as also research and aspiring students and academia with the sections that dealt with various aspects of film making and production.

 

Among takeaways from festival were charming political comedy and Opening Film – One Man and His Cow (La Vache), Algerian beauty about bucolic life and farmers’ aspirations. In Asian Competition you had Kyrgyzstan film A Father’s Will lift the festival award, soulful film about a young man who returns home to bury his dad. Iranian film A House on 41st Street, about death and tragedy, Chinese answer to Aamir Khan’s Tare Zameen Par with Destiny, on autistic child and struggle of a mother to provide her child normal schooling, Taiwanese Road to Mandalay, road movie about  immigrants, all impressive narratives that left telling impression on audiences.

 

In Cinema of the World, which was a mixed medley of thriller variety and serious ruminations on sensitive subjects, you had Danish thriller A Conspiracy of Faith, about the stalking serial killer of toddlers. The moody and melancholic Singaporean edgy thriller Apprentice about an acolyte hangman, Brazilian film Acquarius, about resident’s fight against modern day realtors, US film Children of the Mountain about cleft lip child and her mother’s struggle, Iranian film Daughter seeking to break free from regimental rigours of her disciplinarian dad, Bulgarian film Glory, about how bureaucracy and media take on an honest rail linesman, Hungarian thriller Kills on Wheels, showcasing how physical disability need not be deterrent to crime, provocative Colombian parody The Bribe of Heaven, Croatian film The Constitution, gusty and heart wrenching, dark and menacing Danish film The Day Will Come where two brothers fight against Hitlerian orphanage. 

 

Further, in the Cinema of the World section, you had the captivating and challenging metaphysical Estonian cinema The Student, the Slovakian, tongue in cheek political thriller The Teacher, the Serbian thought provoking take on the life of the train drivers and suicides in A Train Driver’s Diary, the classical minimalist cinema Warehoused from Mexico with its gripping, subtle narrative. 

 

That the Kannada competition section as also the Popular Entertainment sections were a rage with the local diaspora is to state the obvious. BIFFES has always provided a perfect platform for showcasing of local talents with B Suresh’s Uppina Kagada bagging the International Netpac Jury Award as also Ananya Kasarvalli too being rewarded the Best Indian Film for her maiden attempt, besides Rama Rame Re bagging the Best Kannada Film Award.

 

Indeed, BIFFES 2017 left audiences athirst for more and the hopeful promise that in its tenth edition cinema lovers could look forward to another stimulating, sizzling and delightful date with the magic of movies. Adios BIFFES 2017.   Hello BIFFES 2018.

 

S VISWANATH

© 2020 Suchitra

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