Cinema from the world over, makes way to Delhi again - Hindustan Times
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Cinema from the world over, makes way to Delhi again

ByAngela Paljor, New Delhi
May 07, 2022 12:39 PM IST

Habitat International Film Festival (HIFF) makes its return to the Capital, after a two-year hiatus. It is showcasing more than 50 award winning and festival favourite films from across the globe.

Cinema is a lifeline that often binds artistic souls. Though the pandemic brought the world to a standstill for two years, now that people are getting used to the new normal, cinephiles are in for a treat, too! Making its return to the Capital, after a two-year hiatus, is the Habitat International Film Festival (HIFF), to make a mark in city’s cultural calendar.

A still from Indo-German production Jolsobi, which will be screened at the festival in Delhi.
A still from Indo-German production Jolsobi, which will be screened at the festival in Delhi.

It is screening more than 50 award winning and festival favourite films from across the world, in a bid to push the boundaries of cinematic arts and reflect on the realities and perceptions of a changing world. “Our festival has always been about how to bring to the audience, a taste of world cinema that has critically acclaimed and award-winning films. Normally, the festival would be restricted to the best of the year that just went by, but this time because of the two-year shut down of the world, there are films of 2020 as well, so that one doesn’t miss out on what happened in 2020. Also, one will notice that a lot of short films and documentaries are reflecting the pandemic period,” informs Vidyun Singh, creative head programmes at India Habitat Centre (IHC).

A still from German film, I’m Your Man.
A still from German film, I’m Your Man.

Filmmaker G Prabha, whose first feature film Ishti was screened at HIFF back in 2016, is now back with his second feature film, Taya (By Her), in Sanskrit, which will be screened on May 7. Shot over 22 days in Kerala during February and March last year, the film is based on the life of a young Namboodiri woman who lived in the early 20th century and her fight against patriarchy and the judiciary. “I’m so happy to be back at the festival and really enthusiastic to showcase my work for the second time,” says Prabha, adding, “This time, my film showcases the struggle of a woman who took on the patriarchy and the judiciary of her time and its far-reaching consequences, which is an issue that bears relevance even in today’s world.”

A still from South Korean film, The Book of Fish.
A still from South Korean film, The Book of Fish.

Clara Sola, a 2021 drama film by Costa Rican-Swedish director Nathalie Álvarez Mesén, which will be screened on May 9, shows a 40-year-old woman experiencing a sexual and mystical awakening. Clara experiences the journey to free herself from the repressive and social conventions, which have dominated her life, and Mesén says, “It’s a story of a woman who has grown up in a matriarchal family but still reproducing patriarchal norms. The story is told from the perspective of a woman who is honest and doesn’t feel the shame that society wants her to feel about her body. What is the role of women in getting rid of patriarchy is something that I have always found interesting. Also, why are the ideas of sanctity and purity transmitted to women even in a family without men? And how does one work through it... I am super happy that people are finally able to experience cinema after two years of the pandemic especially since we make movies to be experienced in a theatre with the sound and cinematography. However, the online platforms have had it possible for people in rural areas to experience the same, which is also the case in Costa Rica.”

There are no Covid-19 directives from the government yet a time gap after every screening, for ventilation and sanitisation of the hall, will be observed. “We have kept the registration online with QR codes. Also, the festival cafe is outdoors and will open during the evenings. So we are trying everything a smooth and reassuring experience,” says Singh, calling the decision to revive the film festival “a leap of faith”. She adds: “A festival requires a lot of planning and coordination. We decided to keep our fingers crossed and go ahead with it. The kind of audience we have had so far for other programmes, and the fact that a lot of our films are fully booked is taken as an indication that people want to come.”

Catch It Live

What: Habitat International Film Festival

Where: India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road

On till: May 15

Timing: 11am to 9pm

Nearest Metro Station: Jorbagh on Yellow Line and JLN Stadium on Violet Line

Author tweets @AngelaPaljor

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