63rd Cannes Film Festival opens today

63rd Cannes Film Festival opens today

The 63rd Cannes Film Festival is being held from May 12 to 23. On the last day, as each award is handed on stage, an on-the-edge audience reacts in one voice. The press conference that follows with each winner has its spontaneous, and at times embarrassing, sparks.

Its 2010 programme has the usual Cannes overkill that covers almost every known aspect of cinema. It has big names and the known ones, the highbrows and the newcomers. But since almost all of them are brand new, there is the huge challenge of deciphering which films to allot to the day’s calendar. The experts appear as if they know. For the majority, it’s a fair guess.

This year, American heavyweights get prized places. The opening film is Ridley Scotts’s Robin Hood, starring the redoubtable Russel Crowe in his fifth collaboration with the director. The closing film is Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Placed Out of Competition is Woody Allen’s You will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, (Frieda Pinto’s first public screen appearance but she may not be there because she is busy with another shoot). And the president of the Jury is American filmmaker Tim Burton.

The Un Certain Regard section (select films of special merit) has added interest with the likes of Abbas Kiarostami, Takeshi Kitano, Mike Leigh, Bertrand Tavernier and Nikita Mikhalkov. This is the first Indian film after Murali Nair’s Arimpara in 2003. A surprise 2010 contender for this section’s award is filmmaker Vikram Motwane’s Udaan. Its selection is a matter of pride for India. More importantly, it also presages bonding of vested interests that bodes well for new-age Indian cinema.

Udaan has many firsts to its name. It is a directorial debut by an emerging talent. It is the first offering of two young independent producers Sanjay Singh and Anurag Kashyap. It is the first film produced by Kashyap’s new production house. Finally, glory be, it is Cannes, the premiere festival in the world, that has invited this celebration of commerce with content.

With this unprecedented synergy, Udaan brings hope for the high place that India once stood for at world festivals. All those involved with the film will be present at Cannes, the director with his newcomer lead actor Rajat Barmecha, its producers Sanjay Singh and Anurag Kashyap, and Ronnie Screwvala of UTV, the production house that backed the film. Udaan itself is a coming of age story. It looks at an adolescent of today, coming to grips with a painful and challenging reality, and emerging from it on his own and on his terms.
Mrinal Sen is being honoured in Cannes Classics. Here again is a new-found synergy that Indian cinema applauds: the print of Sen’s 1983 classic Khandahar has been restored to pristine standards in conjunction with the National Film Archives of India.

Tribute is also being paid to Ritwik Ghatak with his 1973 film Titash Ekti Nadir Naam being presented by the World Cinema Foundation, established in Cannes by Martin Scorsese in 2007. The print from The National Film Arhives of India has been restored by the Cinematheque of Bologne / L’Immagine Ritrovata.

India is present in Cannes this year in full force, the strongest in years. To begin with, Shekhar Kapur is on the jury. He will also have an evening devoted to his long cherished project Paani, which he is now making. India’s vaunted glamour has Mallika Sherawat jetting in from the US for two US films: Hissss(she is runoured to take the stage with live snakes) and Love Barrack. Her co-stars Irrfan Khan and Divya Dutta will be present. There is another India interest with Frieda Pinto on screen in a top draw Woody Allen film.

The India Pavilion is a highly regarded space in Cannes where people throng. This year it is the venue of many discussions, talks, events and evening receptions, including one hosted by the makers of the Mallika Sherawat starrer, Hissss The much needed and popular India Pavilion is presented by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
Courtesy: Times of India

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