China will feature as the focus country in the 22nd edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), organisers said here on Thursday, emphasising cinema’s reach beyond borders sans political affiliations.
An assemblage of 155 films from 65 countries will be showcased across 13 venues in the festival, which begins on November 11.
A delegation of at least eight persons from the Chinese government and film industry will attend the fest, organised by the West Bengal state government, which will screen as many as seven films from the neighbouring country.
“Six government officials, one director and her assistant, one screenwriter, one actor from China will come to KIFF. One film will go for the international competition (women directors),” China’s Consul Li Suyun told IANS.
Earlier this year, China held its first film fest in the city, which is home to India’s largest Chinese Indian community, numbering around 2,000.
China’s ties with India have recently suffered over India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the country blocking India’s appeal to the United Nations to label Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a terrorist and the call to boycott Chinese goods.
However, organisers emphasised that the KIFF aims to screen world cinema and it does not have any political colour.
As many as 15 films from 13 countries have been selected for the international competition (Best Film by a Woman Director and Best Woman Director).
The regional focus is on Marathi films.
The fest will pay tribute to late American screen icon Gregory Peck and Kanan Debi, dubbed as the first superstar of Indian cinema, with the ongoing year marking her centenary.
Six films of Japanese film director and screenwriter Kenji Mizoguchi will be showcased in the ‘Great Master’ segment.
Homage will be paid to Australian filmmaker Paul Cox and Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami (who passed away this year) and others.
The festival will also remember the 450th death anniversary of William Shakespeare by screening some of the major film adaptations of the bard’s works.
Among additions, debuting this year is the international competition in innovation in moving images with nine films from seven countries.
A segment on biopic documentary has been introduced in the 22nd edition.
The organisers cited distributorship issue for the absence of Pakistani films this year.
“We couldn’t get “Jago Hua Savera”, a 1959 Pakistani drama film . This is due to some distributor issue and not because of political reasons. They couldn’t link it. It’s restored version was screened at Cannes film festival,” Mandal said.
Atri Bhattacharya, principal secretary of state information and culture department, said the state government has launched an initiative to restore old films.
A retrospective of films by Mrinal Sen has been dropped due to the lack of availability of restored versions, organisers said.