A celebration of classic Western films

Film festivals like ‘City Symphonies’ and ‘Road Genre’, held in the past, have helped Indian cinema lovers delve and explore the world of American films. 

Popular and academy award-winning films which we might have not heard of, have been screened during these film festivals which celebrate World Tourism Day (September 27) each year. Maintaining this tradition, The American Center, The Embassy of the United States of America in association with Cinedarbaar is once again celebrating the day by organising a three-day ‘Western Film Festival’ from September 25 to 27 in the city.

The opening film is High Noon by Fred Zinnemann, starring Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly and Thomas Mitchell. The four-times Oscar winning movie will be followed by a special talk by Kumar Unnayan, a postgraduate in English Literature and a keen theatre and cinema enthusiast, on the importance of High Noon as a part of Western film cannon and its profound impact on American cinema and culture. 

Other films like The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Wild Bunch and lastly Unforgiven as part of the film festival will explore the American landscape and its culture. Western genre often depicts conflicts with Native Americans and generally takes place in the post-Civil War era, raising a number of important issues about the nature of American society. Cowboys play a prominent role in Western movies. The breathtaking settings, open landscapes and distinctive western attire (denim, jeans, boots, slouch hats etc.) are the persistent theme of Western movies showcasing American culture set between 1850’s and 1990.

The Searchers will be screened on September 26 at 3.30 pm. It will be followed by The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance at 6 pm. On the last day of the festival, September 27, three films will be screened. Starting with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, this 1969 classic is about two train robbers. The Wild Bunch is about an aging group of outlaws who look for one last big score as the ‘traditional’ American West is disappearing around them. The last film of the day will be Unforgiven, about a retired old west gunslinger William Munny who reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man. The film will be shown at 6 pm. 

For cinephiles there will be interactive discussions after each movie on various topics like introduction to Western genre and its history, cinematography and technical details, key auteurs and actors contributing to the evolution of the genre and ‘western genre’s contribution to the world cinema’ particularly in Italy. 

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