Just a few teasers for this year’s edition of the Osian-Cinefan film festival, which is being held in Delhi between July 15-23. The Cinefan guys usually don’t make the full schedule available until 3-4 days before the event begins and there’s always a bit of last-minute chopping and changing, but here’s some of the info I’ve been able to gather so far. If you’re a film lover and in Delhi at the time, prepare to camp outside the Siri Fort Auditorium.
– Around 110-120 films from 43 Asian countries will be shown, mainly at the three auditoria in Siri Fort and the one at Alliance Francaise (Lodi Estate). The opening film is expected to be Pan Nalin’s Valley of Flowers, though this hasn’t been confirmed yet. As usual, the films will be divided into sections like Cross-Cultural Encounters, Arabesque, Indian Competition, Asian Competition and so forth.
– It’s likely that this year, for the first time, the tickets will be priced, though it should be a token amount (Rs 20 or thereabouts).
– A highlight of last year’s fest was the Satyajit Ray retrospective. This year it’s the turn of another Bengali great, Ritwik Ghatak (Megha Dhaka Tara, Ajantrik, Nagarik). I’ve been told that seven Ghatak films will be screened (these specifics might change slightly as the event draws near), which should be quite a treat since his films are not as easily available as Ray’s are, at least in Delhi. [Also, the Ray films shown last year were mostly good prints – better than one usually gets on DVD – and if that’s the case this year as well it’ll be a bonus.]
– There will also be a tribute to Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan (Rouge, The Actress, Everlasting Regret) as well as a special four-film screening to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Calcutta-based New Theatre.
– In honour of the 2550th anniversary of the birth of the Buddha, an eclectic section of 12 films on Buddhism from different countries and eras have been put together – including the 1925 Light of Asia by Himansu Rai and Franz Osten, and Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha. Cinefan’s Latika Padgaonkar tells me that the films aren’t necessarily based on the life of Buddha, “but they do deal with Buddhist themes, directly or obliquely”.
– As in previous years, a Lifetime Achievement Award is being given to an author/critic/scriptwriter for Distinguished Contribution to Asian Cinema. Film scholars Donald Richie and Chidananda Dasgupta were the winners in 2005 and 2004 respectively. This year the recipient will be Taiwanese film critic Peggy Chiao, who will also deliver a talk at some point during the fest.
– If you have fond memories of the many vintage film posters, lobby cards, paintings and photographs on display last year, you’ll see all those this time as well.
Updates should soon be available on the Osian-Cinefan website and when I get any more information I’ll put it up here. Meanwhile, here are the posts I wrote about the festival last year: General thoughts on Cinefan, Rants about Siri Fort Auditorium 1 and 2; the Donald Richie lecture; the Ray films 1, 2 and 3.