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Star-spangled Oscar fever and digital do

It’s film fiesta time in town, crossing the seven seas and the boundaries of reel and real life. The fare offers classics and contemporary commentaries by Indian film-makers, poignant tales of lifeby British directors and some good Hollywood oldies.

First up is the Oscar Evenings: The Spirit of America film festival, from July 25 to 28, organised by the American Center and Cine Central. On the mouth-watering menu is the Scarlet O’Hara-Rhett Butler romance Gone with the Wind, starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. The stories of struggle continue with Denzel Washington as Malcolm X and the Robin Williams-starrer Good Morning Vietnam. Catch the unforgettable duo of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow in Zelig, and don’t miss the melodious Frank Sinatra in From Here to Eternity.

The action shifts base to the British Council from August 6 to 9, with the Indo-UK Digital Film Festival. A set of 25 short films will be screened, selected as part of a nationwide competition. This, apart from a bunch by UK-based film-makers. The collection comprises an eclectic assortment of the funny, fantastical, sad and satirical.

Laden is Not My Friend, by Bikramjit Gupta, and Sanjeet Chowdhury’s Painter’s Equilibrium are the two on view from the east. The first is about a Muslim boy, far away from New York, who is affected by September 11 and tries to convince the world that just because he belongs to a certain religion doesn’t mean he supports the attacks. The second film satirises a certain contemporary mindset. Using humour, it questions whether one is born a genius or is it something one works at. What if becoming an artist was simply a matter of consuming a medicine'

From up north, Samina Mishra’s Of Love and Land portrays the male-female divide still very much prevalent in Indian society, while in 67A Rasikan Re, Pooja Kaul uses classical music and miniature painting to depict the love between a young woman and an older man.

Salil R. Aluvila tells the tale of a missing boy and gay relationships in Apoornathakal, as part of the offerings from down south. In Agni, K.R. Manoj looks at the ‘unconventional’ aftermath of a gang rape and Viraj Singh explores the ‘real’ world around the ‘unreal’ world of Hindi cinema in Cinema Verite.

The west country throws up a plethora of the unusual, with films like the minute-long Newton’s Law, by Gaurav Chandelya and Rudradeep Bhattacharjee, which looks at what happens when Newton meets Murphy in a Mumbai park, and Manisha Dwivedi’s The Unconscious, a film about men calling themselves ‘Kothis’, who are ‘women and wives’ of other ‘macho’ men.

The UK bouquet is no less exciting. There are two feature films. My Brother Tom, by Dom Rotheroe, is about the love between two teenagers trying to escape the confines of their difficult homes. The Greatest Show on Earth - The Mahakumbh Mela looks at the mela through the eyes of the people at the Kumbh, including the Naga sadhus and a woman who runs a crematorium. The short films include Clutch, by Carol, exploring the cusp between childhood and adulthood, involving a girl, a pony and mutant eggs, and Toby Meakins’ The Message Storm, about a woman questioning what lies beyond life after receiving a photograph from her dead lover.

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