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Bengal Welcomes The 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival

Piu Sur

Yellow. Inaugural film directed by Iranian filmmaker Mostafa Taghizadeh opened this year 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF). The festival opened as usual with stars glittering on stage.  Amitabh Bachchan stated: “Kolkata holds beautiful memories, and memories are like beautiful melodies. They never fade.”

The enchanting musical production “Illumination” by Bickram Ghosh set the mood and tone for the next few days till the 17th November as the screens all over Kolkata bring 143 films from 53 countries under 16 different categories. It is a treat for cinephiles that wait to be a part of the second largest film festival held here. If you are watching these films in the Nandan complex then you can see endless queues much ahead of the beginning of the films. In-between the cinema times are the best as the only common thread with a shared cup of tea is the film and endless conversations around it. The mind opens to new ideas and spins them around and names of the films and. The larger than life screen images hangover lasts late till the evening.

The Festival Chairperson Sabitri Chatterjee proudly claimed KIFF as the 14th festival in the average Bengali’s life. The festival is the heartbeat of Kolkata and Kamal Hasaan described KIFF as the “yearly celebration of what we love as a part of life”.

This year’s focus is on Britain and there will be 13 films screened to mark the UK-India Year of Culture.  Six of which are Michael Winterbottom’s films. At the inauguration and his first visit to the City of Joy he mentioned that Kolkata was a city “with great history and culture”. It is very true if you just walk around the festival grounds and stand back to watch the crowd and soak in an hour of your time at the venue.

Lighting the way ahead Bengal has once more for the 23rd time welcomed world cinema right into Kolkata. There are films competing in the International Competition, competition in Indian language categories and the Asian select (NETPAC) Award. The special focus is on contemporary Moroccan cinema and the country focus is UK classics.

What a true cinephile will be waiting for is the special screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s The grandeur and decadence of a small film business and Andrzej Wajda’s Afterimage. In the cinema international Susanna Nicchiarelli’s Nico, 1988 is one of the films to look out for besides Asa Helga Hjorleifsdottir’s Swan, William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth and many more. Other than Nandan the films are being screen also at Sisir Mancha, Rabindra Sadan, Nazrul Tirtha, Navina, Inox City Centre (Salt Lake), Mitra, Star Theatre, EZCC (Purbashree Auditorium and PVR Mani Square Mall.

So if you have a love for world cinema you must find time to watch some of the great films at a place near you. To quote ShahRukh Khan “Cinema is a language that needs to be propagated, felt and spread.”