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Germany in focus at film festival

Animation, 3D, 35mm and more

By Sudeshna Banerjee in Calcutta
  • Published 2.11.19, 2:10 AM
  • Updated 2.11.19, 5:42 PM
  • 2 mins read
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(From left) Indranil Sen, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Aroop Biswas, Koel Mullick, Friso Maecker and Raj Chakraborty at the unveiling of the logo on Friday. Picture by Pabitra Das

The 25th Kolkata International Film Festival has recorded the highest number of entries and films to be screened — 2,492 and 366 respectively — from 76 countries.

The films will be screened at 17 venues, including single-screen theatres like Minar, Bijali, Priya, Navina, Ajanta and New Empire, and government halls like Radha

Studio, now called Cinema Centenary Bhavan.

“There are five competition sections. We are giving a prize money of Rs 51 lakh for the Best Film and Rs 21 lakh for Best Director in the international section,” said festival chairman Raj Chakraborty.

A poster of Shiraz: A Romance of India (1928), one of the earliest Indo-German co-productions, to be shown at the festival
A poster of Shiraz: A Romance of India (1928), one of the earliest Indo-German co-productions, to be shown at the festival Source: Movie poster

Germany is the focus country with a bouquet of 42 films. “Germany is a world leader in technology. One of the nine categories is early Indo-German co-productions. Shiraz: A Romance of India (1928), Prapanch Pash: A Throw of Dice (1929) and Achhut Kanya (1936) will be shown,” said Vivek Kumar, director general of KIFF and principal secretary of the information and cultural affairs department. While the first two are silent films starring and co-produced by Himansu Rai, the third, starring Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani, is a Hindi-Urdu production, produced by Rai. All three are directed by Franz Osten.

“Some of the oldest Indian films were shot by German filmmakers Osten and Josef Wirsching who were part of the core team that started Bombay Talkies,” said Friso Maecker, director of Goethe Institut. There would also be classic German films like Nosferatu, Dr Mabuse and Metropolis.

A scene from The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the oldest surviving animation film from 1926
A scene from The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the oldest surviving animation film from 1926 Source: The movie

Among animation films, there will be The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the oldest surviving animation film from 1926.

For the first time, 3D films will be shown at the festival, to be screened at Priya and Bijali. Maecker especially recommends the 2011 documentary Pina, on dance choreographer Pina Bausch. "It is amazing to see a dance film in 3D," he said. The other film is The Meaning of the World, on explorer and naturalist Alexander von Hum-boldt.

Another first will be the screening of films in 35mm celluloid format. “We had to hire projectors for the shows to be held at Sisir Mancha and Radha Studio,” said Kumar.

There will be two retrospectives — on Alexander Kluge from Germany and Dusan Hanak from Slovakia. Master classes will be taken by actress and supermodel Andie Macdowell and Volker Schlondorff, the Oscar-winning director of The Tin Drum.

The Satyajit Ray Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Kumar Shahani on “Future of the Individual” on November 11 at Sisir Mancha. Two exhibitions have been planned — one on 25 years of KIFF and another on Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

A guided heritage trip will be on offer. “Cities abroad are structured.... Calcutta is more diverse and spread out. We will encourage guests to go on the trip,” said Parambrata Chattopadhyay, who mooted the idea.

A short film has also been made to promote probable shooting spots across the state. The inauguration will be on November 8 in presence of Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Rakhee Gulzar and Mahesh Bhatt. The opening film will be the digitally restored Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen.