Big crowd for world cinema

Big crowd for world cinema

Crowds poured in from across Karnataka to catch films not easy to access otherwise

The first day of the Bengaluru International Film Festival saw full-house crowds for ‘The Unorthodox’ (Israel), ‘Beanpole’ (Russia), ‘Cinema Donkey’ (Iran) and ‘Corpus Christie’ (Poland).

Some top names of the Kannada film industry were around, including Girish Kasaravalli, Dayal Padmanabhan and Kaviraj. However, no big actor was in sight.

MS Sathyu, director of the 1974 classic ‘Garam Hawa’, was catching some films, but few recognised him. Dressed in a white kurta-pyjama and a green Nehru jacket, and sporting a long white Tolstoyan beard, he was a man from another era.

When this journalist stretched out to take a picture, a group of 20-something festival volunteers laughed and asked why he was shooting a “thatha”. Thursday being a weekday, the crowds were thin at some shows. Many better-known films are saved for the weekend. That’s when BIFFes is seen in its full glory.

Love award-winners
The films that usually attract the crowds at BIFFes are those that do well at the top European international film festivals. And no festival is as loved as Cannes.

Last year, ‘The Shoplifters’, which had won the Palm d’or (the top prize at Cannes) had so many delegates standing in the queue that they were pushing and shoving one another.

The Cannes love continued this year with ‘Beanpole’, which picked up two prizes at Cannes, drawing one of the biggest crowds of the day.

The question of this polarised response to films came up at the press conference held by festival chairman Sunil Puranik and artistic director N Vidyashankar.

Vidyashankar said the hosts had been accused last year of favouring and recommending some films, thereby drawing viewers away from other films. “This year, you should make your own notes and go,” he said.

The festival website does not mention awards won by films this year. ‘Parasite’, the most acclaimed film last year, had won 160 awards globally (including this year’s Palm d’or) but that was not mentioned, Vidyashankar said.

“Some award-winning films are screened three times, which means paying more money in royalty with every screening,” he told reporters.

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