The 29th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) witnessed a captivating session on Thursday as celebrated Australian filmmaker Bruce Beresford engaged in a conversation with director Srijit Mukherji. Known for films such as Driving Miss Daisy and Double Jeopardy, Beresford shared his admiration for Satyajit Ray’s work and the rising popularity of Indian cinema in Australia, while offering valuable advice for aspiring filmmakers.
“Satyajit Ray is probably one of the greatest directors ever, and all of his films are tremendously powerful,” said Beresford, highlighting the relevance of Ray’s work even in modern times.
“Pather Panchali is an amazing film. It was finished in the 1950s but even if you look at it today, it resonates with modern times. Satyajit Ray had a distinctive straightforward style of filmmaking. He also had a deep understanding of people and that is quite rare in films,” Beresford said.
Sharing his style of working with actors, Beresford said: “I always tell my actors to listen when the other actor is speaking, because the camera can photograph people while they think. It really takes a great actor like Morgan Freeman /////to make///// listening look as interesting as speaking.”
“In acting, it should always feel like you are having this conversation for the first time. Even if you have practiced and rehearsed, if it doesn't look like it’s the first time on camera, then it is not working,” he added.
While acknowledging the growing popularity of Indian films in Australia, Beresford observed that he has noticed a trend among both young Indian and Australian filmmakers to “remake and remix films a lot”. “It’s so exciting when a director, especially an upcoming director, has something exciting to say, and has an individual view of the world,” he added.
Closing the session on a personal note, Beresford expressed his passion for filmmaking and his desire to continue creating cinematic stories. “I want to make films until I am no longer able to walk. There are so many beautiful stories that I can tell people. As long as I continue to get work, I will keep making films,” Beresford signed off.