05 Dec. The Day One of BIFFes was a joy, worth every bit.
On the outset, I must confess, BIFF could teach a few important lessons to the meaningless, bureaucratic, and tasteless IFFI.
BIFF is a festival in its real sense, albeit on a much smaller scale. The seven day cinematic extravaganza on its day one staged quite a few films in 11 screens, plus a workshop by noted cinematographer Govind Nihalani in the VK Murthy memorial lectures.
I spent the entire day at FUN Cinema on Cunningham Road, where my students are helping as volunteers in executing the BIFF plans so gracefully! Loved seeing them interacting and helping the delegates, even in tough situations (when some delegates tend to vent their ire -for whatever reason- on these hapless students!)
The films are well-selected, I confess. I had a tough time selecting films to attend. But made some good decisions:
i) Rabbit-Proof Fence by Phillip Noyce (Australia, 2002) – was a delight to watch. The landscape is a living character. And the dilemma of the Aborigines and the condescending “developmental” concerns resonate with the viewer.
ii) Life of Riley by Alan Resnais, the 92-year French young director took me by surprise! I was accustomed to his Night and Fog and Hiroshima mon amour. But not a cute comedy like this one! Oh, what a joy to watch Resnais!
iii) Night of Silence by Reis Celik (Turkey, 2012) is another visual and thematic treat. The Kannada compere called (while announcing the screening) it ‘night of license!’ The film is about an old prisoner marrying a 16-year old child, who is still in her childish-mentality, and brings it to the bridal chamber. The entire drama unfolds in the bridal chamber. Her cuteness and innocence vs the ex-prisoner’s persona (or is it the society’s?) are absolutely beautiful. The film climaxes in on gun shot being heard in the morning, and not two! Then you see two women coming to the bridal chamber to collect the bed sheet. And all of us wonder – including the film producer- at what it means!
iv) Winter Sleep by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey, 2014), the winner from Cannes Film Festival could be a huge risk. But the 196-minutes drama was worth every bit. The film is heavily dialogue dependent, and series of long dialogues touching upon logic, philosophy, religion, ethics, etc. Could be quite heavy; and many left the theatre too. But my spirit prevailed over my sleepy eyes. And I was happy that I survived the demanding drama which takes on the crisis in marriage, sharp rich-poor chasm, better-than-thou attitude of the philosopher and the incredible ending with penniless, drunkard Ismael! Once again, another major character is the landscape of Cappadocea! The lovely rocks, impeccably snow-carpeted fields, horses and all the like! Well, was Nuri competing with Phillip Noyce for the stunning visuals!?