In spite of its unique landscape and diverse culture full of rich tales, the Northeast is yet to take off in terms of movie-making. Though digital technology is playing a significant role in helping filmmakers from here helm their projects, their efforts remain largely unrecognised outside the region. The reasons are many — from its socio-political problems to lack of facilities and funds crunch. “The focus on Northeast cinema is the first ever effort at putting the spotlight on the cinema of the region,” says curator Utpal Borpujari. Eighteen movies including Matamgi Manipur (Manipuri), Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Aru Joymoti (Assamese) and Hagramayao Jinahari (Bodo) were screened under the section. “Most of the movies made in the region reflect its social concerns,” says Borpujar. What enhanced the Northeast experience at IFFI were the cultural programmes every evening as well as kiosks selling crafts and products from the region.
Soul of IFFI
Curated by Meera Dewan, Soul of Asia made its debut last year at IFFI. In this edition of the festival, this section featured a package of nine movies made on ancient Asian traditions and philosophies such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Zen. “In its first year, I chose movies going by the literal meaning of ‘soul’. So, most of the movies shown talked about different religious beliefs. This time, however, the selection is made with the intention of exploring the subject of faith more deeply,” says Dewan. An art exhibition on spirituality was also inaugurated by Iranian director Majid Majidi. Some of the films in this section are The Patience Stone (Afghanistan), Faith Connections (India), Apparition (Philippines), The Story of the Weeping Camel (Mongolia) and Departures (Japan). The event will wrap up with Abbas Kiarostami’s Close-Up (Iran) on Saturday.
It’s not all Greek
Cinema in Greece has gone through many highs and lows during its century-old history. Though the country does not produce a large number of films, Greek movies have bagged top honours at the Cannes Film Festival as well as Oscar nominations. For several years, Greece has been in the grip of an economic crisis. Undeterred, its filmmakers have found