The Fribourg International Film Festival melts into an exciting pot of movies every March. Held in the delightful Swiss city that lies picturesquely on either side of the River Sarine, the Festival will unroll its 27th edition on March 16 with 90 features and 20 shorts from 45 countries. The Festival’s most awaited section remains the international competition – this year with 12 films.
Outside competition, movies on sport and very interestingly on children in crises (in times such as now when they are in peril) are major attractions.
Escape to Victory explores ice hockey in India, Korean table-tennis, football in Latin America and Norway’s curling among a host of other sports. The bold Indian production, One More, by Shivajee Chandrabhushan will be among the many in this basket. The ingenuity of a sports team in using a frozen pond in Ladakh as an ice hockey rink will be shown in a documentary.
Children are especially sensitive to crises. Benjamin Avila's Infancia Clandestina, for example, looks back on the Argentina of the 1970s. The film narrates the story of Benjamin himself, whose childhood was shaped by torture and death.
This year, the Festival’s brand new Family Programme – which aims at getting the whole family to visit the cinema together -- will begin by focussing on India. There could not have been a better choice than this country, for it is in India – with its huge movie production and which is celebrating 100 years of its home grown cinema -- where film is still a joyous occasion for a family to get together. One of the three movies here will be Arjun: The Warrior Prince by Arnab Chaudhuri.
While the ace Canadian director Atom Egoyan (Where The Truth Lies, Felicia’s Journey, The Sweet Hereafter) will present his Armenia (a selection of films that helps him recall his own roots) at the Festival, Uzbekistan’s astonishingly diverse cinematic creativity and South Korean gems will also be on exhibition. What is more, a panorama of Swiss productions – movies made outside and those set within its gorgeous locales – will unfold as well.
Fribourg’s competition will -- as usual – screen the works of budding talents and great masters.
The Festival will run till March 23.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is a veteran film critic who covers many festivals across continents.)