Osian aims to recreate cinematic culture


New Delhi : Aiming to recreate cinematic culture in the country, the 9th Osian's-Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema – a new name for the capital's prestigious film fest – will focus on Japanese films with a tribute to Kenji Mizoguchi.

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With the tagline, Recreating Cinematic Culture, a number of Samurai films will be screened at the 10-day event beginning July 20. It will be accompanied by an exhibition of Samurai armour and helmets and Japanese dolls, all from the Osian's archives, and a benshi performance.

"Raami", an Iran-Azerbaijan co-production, will kick-start the festival.

"We don't have a cinematic culture to support our love and passion for cinema. We don't get systematic opportunities to tie linkages with out other day-to-day activities. So, we are trying to create that culture," said Neville Tuli, founder-chairman of Osian's, at a press conference here Wednesday.

Commenting on the fest's shift from Asian cinema to Asian and Arabic Cinema, Osian's-Cinefan president Aruna Vasudev said: "Arab cinema has been a part of the festival since the beginning, so we thought instead of treating it separately let us join together with the Arab films."

This year 140 films from 35 countries, reflecting the unparallel diversity and eclecticism of cinemas of Asia, will be shown.

Ajay Bijli of the PVR cinemas has joined forces with Tuli and will screen films at PVR Rivoli and PVR Plaza with the tickets priced at Rs.50. However, for the screenings at the Siri Fort auditorium, the price is Rs.20 – the same as last year.

"Tickets are just a crowd controlling measure. The fund for the festival comes from The Auction House," said Tuli, referring to the art house collecting rare and high quality works.

Tuli said expansion plans for the festival were in the pipeline.

"I would like to take the festival to other parts of the country too. This year we had a preview in Mumbai on June 8 and in future I would love to hold the event outside Delhi. But Delhi will remain the main venue and Osian will always be known as Delhi's festival."

The event this year will have some new sections including the Silhouettes section. It will consist of films with women protagonists, in an oblique reference to Mizoguchi's predilection for highlighting the situation of women in Japanese society in his time.

The festival will also commemorate the 150th anniversary of India's First War of Independence in 1857 by showing films that depict the struggle for freedom in Asia and the Arab world.

The contribution of the choreographers, the unsung heroes in the world of films, will be highlighted in the Film Craft section.

Within the framework of the initiative IBM2 – Infrastructure Building of Mind and Marketing – a number of panel discussions will be held with the directors, critics and artistes.

Also, seminars on popular culture and auctions and exhibitions of film memorabilia will also be organised.

The lifetime achievement award for distinguished contribution to writing on cinema will be given away in recognition of the role of the scriptwriter and the critic in the creation and promotion of films.

There will be three competition sections – Asian & Arab Cinema, First Films from Asia and Indian Cinema. The regular sections are Cross-Cultural Encounters, Frescoes of Asian and Arab films and Indian Mosaic for the best of the previous year's productions.

Organised by Osian's Connoisseurs of Art, India's pioneering arts institution and auction house, the festival aims to create a merit-oriented and financially independent cultural infrastructure.