×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Reclaiming film criticism in the age of social media

FIPRESCI’s India chapter was founded by film historian and critic Chidananda Dasgupta in 1992. It comprises over 40 members.
Last Updated 23 March 2024, 00:18 IST

At the recently concluded Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFes), a panel of film scholars discussed the spiralling trend of film reviewers on social media. They argued that a majority of such reviewers reduce a film to just ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Plus, their aim is to garner views and not drive the genuine appreciation of cinema, as a medium that brings together art and technology, as a commentary on the zeitgeist or as a tool to shape cultures.

The Indian chapter of Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique (FIPRESCI) or International Federation of Film Critics is thus trying to bring film criticism and appreciation into academia. According to the panel at BIFFes, this is acutely lacking in India. To fill the gap, it has been offering online and offline courses, designed by its members who are film critics and journalists.

FIPRESCI’s India chapter was founded by film historian and critic Chidananda Dasgupta in 1992. It comprises over 40 members.

The course provides an overview of the evolution of cinema across the world but also examines Indian cinema and how modes of expression differ from region to region. Other topics look at the duality of cinema as a mode of personal expression and as an industry driven by commerce; the world view of the director; the narrator and the spectator; theories of realism, formalism, structuralism and semiology. It explores film theories and feminist, political and social ideologies. It also goes over technological aspects of cinematography, photography, editing, continuity and sound design. It comprises 13 to 20 sessions.

Premendra Mazumder, general secretary of FIPRESCI India, says film criticism doesn’t literally mean to criticise a film. “Like literary criticism, it is about reading and analysing film as a text. With our initiative, we want to show what film criticism should be. Before film schools were established in India, film criticism would appear in film society journals as a serious academic text,” he explains.

Activities so far

Mazumder says they have conducted their ‘Film Appreciation Course’ thrice since 2021 — once per year. The course is open to citizens from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. “We get more than 70 enrolments each time. It is mostly attended by film scholars and students. Filmmakers and famous actors have joined in too,” he shares.

The course is taught by eminent names from cinema, such as Girish Kasaravalli, Sunny Joseph, M K Raghavendra, Manu N Chakravarthy, Krishnan Unni, and Sajitha Madathil.

FIPRESCI India has taken this course offline, by introducing it in universities that have mass communication, film studies or related departments. R V University in Bengaluru, Assam Women’s University in Jorhat and Manipur State Film and Television Institute have conducted these courses once already. The Federation has just signed an MoU with Pimpri Chinchwad University in Pune and is in talks with another university, says Mazumder.

The classroom courses are customised as per the university’s requirement, so they can last from four days to 15 days. Plus, they are curated to be culturally and socially relevant to the region a university is located in. “We design the curriculum support and also extend faculty support,” he says.

Write to indiafipresci@gmail.com for details

ADVERTISEMENT
(Published 23 March 2024, 00:18 IST)

Follow us on

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT