The 5th Cinefan film festival 2003 opened last evening with Zhang Yimou's Hero at Siri Fort auditorium. The lyrical film by Yimou has earned laurels worldwide already, with Time magazine leading the glorious accolades.
Comments Richard Corliss of Time, "(Zhang makes a) triumphant return thanks to his work with cinematographer Christopher Doyle, who has shot many of Wong Kar-wai's films. Zhang, of course, controlled the design of Hero, but Doyle's hurtling, poetic personality shines through; you can sense the camera in his hands as surely as you could feel the brush in Jackson Pollock's. He is a calligrapher with light."
Closer home, noted painter Satish Gujral felt that his "life would have remained incomplete had he not seen Hero." But there were some others too who found the flying swordsmen and lyrical landscapes a little tough to digest. Martial arts coupled with poetry don't always go together, some were overheard remarking.
And Hero is history so far as Cinefan is concerned this year, for as Festival founder Aruna Vasudev commented after the screening, "Opening films aren't screened twice over in any international festival. Those who've missed it, too bad." Meanwhile, there is lots of other great fare to look forward to at Cinefan, which goes on until July 27.
Cinemaya, the organizers of the film fest have, in fact, managed a coup of sorts with a lot of Indian films deciding to premiere their films here. Teen Deewarein (Three Walls), which has already been to international film festivals, is Cinefan's Centrepiece this time.
The Nagesh Kukunoor directed film has been much awaited in India and has been repeatedly delayed for the big screen. Then there is Anurag Kashyap's Paanch, which too will finally see the light of the day, after being held up by the Censor Board for violent scenes for over a year. Paanch is the closing film at the festival.
Then there is the Korean entry Ardor (in competition) directed by Byun Young-joo, which is a must watch for the performances of its lead pair, Kim Yun jin and Lee Jon-won who're involved in an adulterous affair. Both the actors are leading stars in Korea and have huge fan following.