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Feast of classics, new Indie films

L. SHANKAR

The Bangkok Film Festival will showcase world cinema from Oct 14 to 24.



FRENCH RETROSPECTIVE: Amelie

Roman Polanski's new film `Oliver Twist,' based on the Charles Dickens classic, opens Bangkok's World Film Festival (Oct 14 - 24). The film, starring Ben Kingsley as Fagin, is one of the 80 movies that will be screened at the indie festival, which is now in its third year. It has been organised by the Nation Multimedia group.

Taiwanese Director Tsai Ming Liang's `Wayward Cloud,' a steamy story of a porn star that won a Silver Bear Award at Berlin, will close the event.

Among the two Indian films on view are this year's Dada Saheb Phalke awardee Adoor Gopalakrishnan's new documentary on Kathakali dance maestro, Raman Kutti Pillai and the debut feature, `Sancharram,' by the US-based Indian lawyer Ligy Pullapally. Adoor's creation will be screened at an international festival for the first time. His third documentary on the Kathakali dance form, funded by the Sangeet Natak Academy, is already in demand by various film festivals.

Ligy's film depicts, with sensitivity and restraint, probably the first in-depth portrait of a relationship between two girls (based on a real-life tale in Kerala).

`Sancharram,' which was shown at the Goa Film Festival, won the Best Film Award at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Among the other noteworthy indie films are Sri Lankan Director Vimukthi Jayasundara's debut feature, `Forsaken Land,' that won an award at Cannes, and well-known Iranian actress Niki Karimi's directorial debut, `One Night.' "Our aim is to show the best of new indie films and old classics," says Victor Silakong, the festival's director. He has chosen a Retrospective of French master Jean Pierre Jeunet this year.The package includes his old movies and new ones like `Amelie.'

Another classic selected is the 1968,eight-hour version of Tolstoy's 'War & Peace,' by Russian director Sergei Bondarchuk. There is a grand range of classic films from the Czech Republic and their noted filmmakers like Milos Forman, Jiri Menzel, Jiri Trnka.



BASED ON A CLASSIC: Roman Polanski's new film `Oliver Twist' opens the festival.

The package from Turkey includes movies that are considered the ` Best Turkish films of all time' like `Motherland Hotel,' `Uzak', as well as the new indie film `Angel's Fall' that won a spate of awards at this year's Istanbul Film Festival.

An Indian family's topsy-turvy relationship with a Moroccan one in Israel is the subject of well-known Israeli director Avi Nesher,'s film, `Turn Left At The End Of The Road.' Mumbai actress Krutika Desai plays the sari-clad Indian wife.

Highlights

The `short' films on the Tsunami debacle are one of the highlights of this event.

Fourteen `indie' filmmakers including Cannes winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand) and those from Malaysia, Sweden, France have created moving `shorts' that will travel to other festivals.

Silakong says he would have liked to include a filmmaker from India in this section but could not contact anyone.

Two `firsts' for the festival will be the use of Thai sub-tiles for some films, and the implementation of a Rating System for the first time in the country. Silakong, a fan of Ray and Ghatak, had screened 12 Indian movies, including those of the two maestros, at the inaugural World Film Festival in 2002. He also hopes that he will be able to have a festival of Indian films in Bangkok soon.

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