Iran legend, Asia's best in Delhi film fest

By Hindol Sengupta, IANS
7/3/2004 12:00:00 AM
The curtain is set to rise on a new edition of the world's only film festival dedicated to Asian cinema. 
The Osian Cinefan film festival begins in the capital July 16 with a bouquet of 90 of the best films from the region.

"There are three power centres of cinema in the world today -- Europe, America and Asia," said Aruna Vasudev, head of the festival and editor of the Asian cinema quarterly magazine Cinemaya.

The festival this year has a very special segment of films from Iran's Makhmalbaf family, headed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf who started the cinema revolution in Iran and is now a global legend.

Makhmalbaf will be in Delhi with his wife and three children for the festival.

"The presence of the Makhmalbaf family at the festival is a fantastic achievement for us. That family has revolutionised cinema in the world and we are truly honoured to have them with us," Vasudev, often called the Grand Lady of Asian Cinema, told IANS.

Eight films made by each of the family members would be shown at the festival.

Another highlight this year is a special section showing five films of Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai, whose latest offering "2046" generated enormous enthusiasm at Cannes.

Though "2046" is not being screened, there are cult classic Kar-Wai films like "Chungking Express", "Fallen Angels" and "In the Mood for Love".

Kar-Wai was supposed to come to the festival but had to cancel to edit his new venture.

Cinefan is also paying a tribute to Indian giant Guru Dutt this year with a retrospective of his works like "Kagaaz ke Phool", "Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam" and "Pyaasa".

Vasudev started the Cinemaya magazine 17 years ago and the festival six years ago as an extension of her lifelong work to propagate Asian cinema.

Recently, her outfit merged into the auction house Osian.

"After joining hands with Osian, a lot of our financial worries have been taken care of," said Vasudev, who is especially proud of the new Arab section in the festival.

"Films from the Arab world are some of the most lovely and touching. We are thrilled to bring them to the festival," smiled Vasudev.

The Arab section will have 12 films from countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine and Iraq.

The festival also has a competition section and next year a film bazaar is planned.

"The bottom line is that films should be sold and shown at theatres and we hope to facilitate the buying and selling of Asian films next year," said Vasudev