Kolkata International Forum of New Cinema 2008

BY SUDDHASATYA GHOSH. KOLKATA, INDIA (CINEMA MINIMA) — Cine Central — probably the largest film society in Asia — will screen 70 films from 30 countries as part of the 14th Kolkata Film Festival to be held here 2008 November 10-17. A good selection of movies — from Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Iran, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Pakistan, Sweden, South Korea, Slovakia, and Uruguay — will be warming the occasion. A tribute to Che Guevara to commemorate his 80th birthday in the ‘Documedia’ section; homages to Cuban Humberto Solas and Egyptian Youssef Chahine; and a good bunch of Turkish, Norwegian, and Dutch contemporary movies are some of the interesting aspects of this festival.

Wait! The list is yet to complete: There is a Tribute section to Manoel de Oliveira, the documentarist of ACTO DE PRIMAVERA | RITE OF SPRING and of FRANCISCA. Believe me I am all in hunger to face him in the dark theatre. I remember him as a forerunner to Italian neo-realist trend with his depiction of Oporto’s street children. Some months ago as I was watching TRAFFIC SIGNAL, a movie by an Indian director Madhur Bhandarkar from Mumbai’s so-called offbeat class, I was just thinking about Oliveira’s influence in movie world.

Well — I am rarin’ to go. It will start on 14th November. This Cine society had a great influence in our movie culture. But as the censorship is too tough in India, it is difficult for them to get uncensored movies from around the world to exhibit. They have a fund crunch, too.

I think these and some other reasons had made them work with the state government of West Bengal after they had started this festival at 1986 as the first independent International festival in India. That time it was called “Calcutta International Film Festival”; and now it is International Forum of New Cinema from 1998, after the collaboration with the government.

There is another thing that I noticed here — the absence of digital representations. I will ask them about it soon. Whatever the problems are — these few good men, volunteers of movie world, are not compromising on quality. That is why this festival is a must for the movie maniacs of India till date — and you may count me as one.

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Austin Burbridge

Austin Burbridge is Executive Editor of Cinema Minima for Movie Makers Worldwide. He co-founded Cinema Minima in 1997. In 2007 he started its initiatives, "Sustainable Cinema," and "Far From Hollywood." He works at TBWA\ Media Arts Lab and TBWA\ MAL\ FOR GOOD.