Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Russian Cine Experience

" Someday we will steal dreams of superstars in Bollywood and help rebuild Manipur"

CineDarbaar is organizing a Russian Cine Experience from the 15th-21st of May 2009. This is the third cine experience from our sister organization. While the world will be celebrating the Cannes film festival, we are happy looking back in time. Perhaps that is the only passage to guide us to a bright future. So that someday we can move beyond out-of-competitions screenings and establish a regular serious film criticism magazine.

Every cine experience is not just about the film but what follows before and after the film. Because it’s these two entry point that separates us from every other film screenings that are happening in Delhi. It may not be something new in comparison with rest of the world. But for us, the idea to introduce, screen and distribute printed leaflets and then discuss is pivotal. It’s the backbone on which we all are growing.

Today, our spaces have become very private and even in public places we remain closed within our own world. Bollywood has made the cinema screen into a home of clich├ęs. It neither represents the closed world of contemporary India nor looks back its past. So it’s a fresh change that there is a strike ongoing in India between the Producers and Distributors. At least because of this more regional and foreign films are released in selected cities and theaters in India.

We hope... to make the Cine Experiences a place where one can speak out and interact without the fear of their neighbor. “A place where one can talk to each other". Interact without hesitation. Learn without guilt. And question without feeling stupid.

It feels we Indians have always been on war against the mainstream Industry. I have just started reading Marie Seton’s biography of Ray and the opening page is an important evidence that the battle we all fighting today has been going on for over 61 years now:

‘ Someday, I’ll make a great film!’ remarked Satyajit Ray in 1948 to his friend Chidananda Das Gupta.

Dasgupta laughed. He thought Ray was joking. But, in fact, Ray was in deadly earnest though he had not begun his first film, Pather Panchali. It would take five years work and only be completed in the summer of 1955. Created against a background of tremendous difficulties, Pather Panchali was to bring the unknown Satyajit Ray international fame .

When he made his unexpected remark, Ray, Chidananda and another Das Gupta- Hari-who had returned to Calcutta from Hollywood- had just formed the Calcutta Film Society as a means of seeing and promoting the screening of important international films, past and present. Almost their fact act was to purchase a print of Sergei Eisenstein’s Potemkin.

Ray, his friends and their supporters were in opposition to the outmoded theatrical vulgarity of the Indian film industry’s pictures particularly those with Hindi dialogues produced in Bombay. These Hindi films alone were assured of an extensive national release. Those produced in any of the other one dozen official languages of India were rarely distributed outside their own limited linguistic area.

- Excerpt from Marie Seton’s biography on Satyajit Ray.

- Pic, JL.Godard La Chinoise

- ISSUE No-3 coming soon..

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