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'Festivals show cinema as art not commodity'

Greek director Theo Angelopoulos, who received the lifetime achievement award at the 11th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF), says festivals show cinema as an art and not a commodity.

entertainment Updated: Nov 07, 2009 16:38 IST

Greek director Theo Angelopoulos, who received the lifetime achievement award at the 11th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF), says festivals show cinema as an art and not a commodity.

"I like festivals because it shows cinema as an art and not a commodity," Angelopoulos told IANS.

The director, who doesn't speak or understand English, had an interpreter by his side while talking to IANS on the sidelines of the film fest that concluded on Thursday.

The films he has made are episodic, meticulously choreographed and have narratives with long takes.

"It's like a literature having long sentences with comma and full stop. Like that, the manner of writing my films also has a long take. Sometimes I take short takes as well, if the scene is small," explained Angelopoulos.

The director, who is famous for his trilogies, says the story never gets exhausted with one film.

"The stories do not get exhausted. There is always another angle from where we can see the same thing. For example the trilogy of silence, there is a silence of history Voyage to Cythera, silence of love The Beekeeper and silence of god Landscape in the Mist. There are three angles under the same word silence," said Angelopoulos.

The 74-year-old director is known for writing the story, dialogues and screenplay.

"I write my own stories, dialogues and screenplays. I have worked with other scriptwriters but they are just devil's advocates. If they like the story they say yes, else no. They can't change my script into a good screenplay. They do not offer you anything new," said Angelopoulos, who has made films like Ulysses and The Dust of Time.

Asked what inspires him, he said: "Everything that I come across (inspires me). The good and the bad, films I see and mostly the people I come across give me new ideas of making films."

The only Indian director he knew or has seen works of was Satyajit Ray. "I haven't seen his every film, but I remember his trilogy."

A lawyer by education, Angelopoulos always wanted to be a filmmaker and had joined a film school in France. But he was expelled after a tiff with a professor.

"I studied law because it was my family profession. I never planned to pursue it, as I always wanted to be a filmmaker. I joined the film school but had a big fight with the professor as I experimented with some unique style of filmmaking and was expelled," said Angelopoulos.

Asked if like other directors, he too would ever make a film on India, he said:" I can't make a film in India. An Indian can only make good film in India. Anyone coming from outside can't touch the intricacies of culture and peculiarities of India."

The director still prefers to follow the classical way of shooting a film.

"I prefer to work in a classical manner because the digitisation can't match the field depth procured though film camera. There is a continuous evolution of digital cinema and I think some day it will reach the quality of a classical cinema," explained Angelopoulos.

Asked about his upcoming projects, he said:" I want to do a black and white movie with unknown actors."