Film fete impresses
ABDUL LATHEEF NAHA
The international film festival in Malappuram, organised by Rashmi Film Society, screened 28 films in different languages.
CRY FOR JUSTICE: A scene from `Injustice in Camera.'
The international film festival in Malappuram caught the attention of cinema buffs from all across Kerala on account of the films that were selected for screening. The credit for organising the biggest film festival in Malappuram goes to Rashmi Film Society. The festival marked the 30th anniversary celebrations of Rashmi, which has won the John Abraham Award for the Best Film Society in South India three times.
Twenty-eight films in different languages were screened at the festival, which was organised in collaboration with the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy and the Film Society Federation. The venue was the Municipal bus stand auditorium.
Documentary on Malappuram
The inaugural film was P.T. Kunhimohammed's `Ariyappedatha Malappuram.' The documentary touches upon all the milestones of Malappuram district, encompassing its history and culture. The documentary was a hit with the audience.
What followed in the next three days was a treat for cinema buffs. Some of the films that were screened were Mahesh Panchu's `Kottayathu Ethra Mathaimar Undu,' based on John Abraham's short story by the same name.
Shyamaprasad's `Ullurukkam', an adaptation of N.P. Mohammed's story, narrated the superstitions of Malabar's Muslim community.
Another film that got noticed on the inaugural evening was Manilal's `Injustice in Camera,' an account of the Suryanelli sex scandal. Although the film was made like a documentary, the sensitive treatment of the subject and the victim made it stand out.
Two Iranian and one European film were screened on the second day. `The Colour of Paradise' by Majid Majeedi, which won the Best Film award at the Montreal Film Festival, and Sameera Makhmalbaf's `The Blackboard,' were the two Iranian films that were screened. Bernard Bertolucci's `The Dreamers,' was a gorgeously filmed ode to cinema that captured the pulse of Paris in the late 1960s, with all it's bravery, idealism and ambiguities too.
Based on `The Holy Innocents,' a novel by Gilbert Adair, `The Dreamers' joyously recreated the time of burgeoning political awareness of students, sexual liberation, and heightened interest in world cinema.
Jewel in the crown
But what gave the festival a lift was the screening of Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski's masterpiece `The Decalogue,' a 10-part series in which each episode deals with one of the Ten Commandments.
Critics have described `The Decalogue' as the jewel in the crown of the master's oeuvre.
"Everyone is more or less familiar with the Ten Commandments, and agrees with them, but no one really observes them," said Kieslowski before his death in 1996.
Each film of `The Decalogue' featured residents in the same apartment complex in Warsaw.
This allowed the protagonists in one film to show up, occasionally in the other films too.
By such inconspicuous artifices, Kieslowski reminded his viewers that every life is a dramatic story, that behind the faces of such `familiar strangers' as postal clerks and anonymous neighbours lie "mysteries, secret zones in each individual," churning with yearnings, insecurities, and ethical quandaries.
Kieslowski's `Three Colours' series too attracted the crowds.
Some of the other films that garnered attention were Pramod Payyannur's `Thangam,' Harikumar's `Rachiyamma' based on Uroob's story, Shimna's `Survivors,' Manjusha George's `Ariyathe,' Krishnanunni's `Vaidyaratnam P.S. Varier' and Jagesh's `Padushayude Meenukal.'
All of them had one thing in common. They dealt with human relations and emotions. There were moments when one wished that Malappuram had a better venue to conduct such a film festival.
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