Since Neville tuli with his Osian’s “the connoisseurs of art” joined hands with the veteran cine-icon, Aruna Vasudev, the capital of India witnessed one of the most spectacular historical conjecture of film culture at a row. Back in October 1988, Aruna began the sojourn to the world of the then lesser-known Asian cinema. Her adventurous zeal made her immortal in the world of cinema & we; cinebuffs, are still baffled with the ever-growing charisma of Osian’s Cinefan. This year, from 15th july-23rd July, the well organized crew members of Osian-Cinefan left no stones unturned to keep up to the expectations. And, ahem, the festival emerged with knitly chosen films, precisely, 120 in numbers, with lots of thematic hitherto unknown to the en masse. Besides the usual competition section in Asian & Indian category, there are IBM2- the Infrastructure Building for Minds and Markets, an innovative conglomeration of events like Talent Campus (in the footsteps of the Famous Berline Talent Campus) to seminars consisted of luminaries of world cinema along with exhibitions of popular and fine arts and an unforgettable experience of auction of Filmi memorabilia, probably first time in the cine culture of India.
Interesting to note, the Asian films, which are the highlights of the festival far more, outshined the Indian films. In all the Indian production, there are serious dearth of originality, vision & technique. The inaugural film “ Valley of Flowers” by the dashing young director Pan Nalin was enormously true to the all-pervasive global film syndrome. It was spectacular, erotic and submerged in fantasy. Full entertainment, but never meant to be classic! The closing film was “ Offside” by Jafar Panahi. It succinctly deals with multifarious problems of Iran, its women, their hindrances yet never dying spirit and also offers a thin ray of hope amidst the ruins.
The festival offered a package of films dedicated to the 2550th anniversary of Lord Buddha and therefore, enunciated the path to spirituality. In the introductory “ Arabesque” one get to see few films from the oil countries which is quite a revelation to the Indian spectators. Jocelyne saab’s “ Kiss me not on the eyes” faced tremendous problems since its inception. The shoe string budget, tremendous atrocities throughout never damaged her spirit. Even she was threatened to death, but all melt in thin air the moment it was showcased worldwide. The kind of ovation it received was unbelievable, yet worth it! All the independent filmmakers of Asia shared their hues with the audience present in the seminars.
There are few notable characteristics of this festival, which can arouse our interest. First of all, the section called cross-cultural encounters. This category includes films from the non-Asian countries.
That’s a deviation. Was it at all needed? Isn’t it better to concentrate or rather specialize?
Secondly, the Diaspora films are a plenty. Was it a direct offshoot of Global village?
Thirdly, the Intolerance section is rather tricky one.
The retrospective of Stanley Kwan was well conceived. Thanks to the master mind of the festival director not to exclude the richness of Bengal culture with the Ritwik Ghatak’s homage.
The revival of old cinema in the name of New Theatres contains nostalgic effect.
Overall, the festival is quite contemporary and prismatic. There was an ardent wish and visible endeavor to make it look savvy. With patron like Nevellie who really understand the intricacies of a film festival, cinefan has come miles ahead. It would be perhaps very exciting to keep in track with the trajectories of the festival for years to come!