Steeped in reality

Steeped in reality

The two-day Southeast Asian Film Festival, held recently at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), showcased a set of interesting  films for Bengalureans. It turned out to be a visual treat for film buffs who said that they thoroughly enjoyed the mix of movies that were offered.

  Held under the banner of G Foundation for Arts and Culture, the film festival was an attempt to bring the Southeast Asian region into focus, showcasing the cultural diversity of the countries. R G Mohanaraman, festival director, said, “There were a selection of movies representing five out of 10 countries of the Southeast Asian region. Four of these movies were made in the last year and three, including the inaugural movie ‘Jagat’, a Malaysian Tamil award-winning movie, have never been shown in India.”

Speaking after inaugurating the festival, N Vidyashankar, artistic director of the 9th Bengaluru International Film Festival (Biffes), said “The last one year has seen a shift in the world of films. The focus has shifted from projecting European films to bringing in more Southeast Asian and African films. A few countries in Southeast Asia have begun making small but significant contributions to the world of filmmaking.”
Talking specifically about the Southeast Asian Film Festival, Vidyashankar added that some of the films give people an idea about the cultural identity, living conditions and lifestyles of people in those regions.   

The festival opened with ‘Jagat’, a Malaysian Tamil film, directed by Shanjey Kumar Perumal. “The story follows a mischievous 12-year-old boy named Appoy and his relationship with his father, Maniam and uncles. It traces the plight of the Indian-Malaysians who were forsaken by the estate owners and forced to move to other cities and live under harsh conditions,” explained Mohanaraman.

 Some of the other films screened were ‘Soekarno’, directed by Hanung B. It follows the life of Soekarno, the Republic of Indonesia’s first president. Another movie that was appreciated by the audience was ‘Letters from Prague’, directed by Angga Dwimas Sasongko. Ravi Rao, a student of engineering, who was a part of the audience wanted to watch the movie because he had read about it online.

“The story is about forgiveness and strong bonds. It portrays a young girl’s attempt to fulfill her deceased mother’s last wish. It has a powerful narrative and a strong message,” said Ravi. 

   The festival closed with the Vietnamese film  ‘Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass’, which is a story set in the Vietnamese countryside during the 1980s.  
Most people in the audience had a fair idea about the pool of films and knew what they wanted to watch.

Sarah John, a member of the audience, who watched a couple of movies at the festival was impressed with ‘Yellow Flowers…’. 

She said, “The incidents of violence, struggles and adventure have been brought out very well in the film. One understands how people lived and how they overcame some of the toughest phases in their lives. There’s a lot of reality that has been woven into the film.”

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