The reel of stories play out memories that each one of us have lived through the course of life. No matter where we come from and who we are, these stories connect communities in strong ties. Films, therefore, is a potent medium. With the Habitat International Film Festival round the corner, we see the role films serve. One thing is for sure: Their ubiquity cannot be challenged.
Movies are important to our lives as they instantaneously evoke emotions and through emotions, we express. They bring about voices of despair, as well as songs of jubilation. They remind you of good times, and pull you back into dark times. The global dialogue they promote, makes for better understanding of human evolution, but having said all that, there is still a dearth of platforms that make these stories available to us, especially in Delhi.
That’s the void The Habitat International Film Festival is hoping to fill. “The vision is simple. It is a festival, celebrating the joy of cinema, giving it up for those who have dared to dream and have been successful in giving a voice to their passion. With this festival we do our bit, of giving them a forum to share their art. For lovers of their art to come and enjoy the fruits of their labour of love. An opportunity to immerse yourself in a world of fantasy, reality, history and aspirations, with people like yourself,” says Vidyun Singh, Director Programmes, Habitat World, IHC.
The Festival follows a template set by the first Toronto Film festival. It brings you award winning movies from last year. It opens with A Man of Integrity by Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof and closes with Ruben Östlund’s The Square. The line-up puts together over 60 films, documentaries and shorts. The list includes Loveless, The Insult, First Lap, The Zookeeper’s Wife, On Body and Soul, The Tokyo Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue, among several others.
Films have the power to move you, to introduce you to a part of yourself that you didn’t know existed. Shyam Benegal’s Ankur was that kind of film for Singh. Till then, she had been an avid film watcher but was blissfully happy on a staple diet of blockbusters and popular cinema. She was 19 or 20 then. Now, in her mature years, she looks back at film such as Manthan, Aakrosh and Bhumika, and realizes how they changed the meaning of cinema for her.
“I guess it was the first time that I became aware of the power and relevance of cinema as a medium. Caste, class, oppression... words and scenarios that existed but did not touch one’s life suddenly, became a palpable reality. It was only after exposure to that wonderful phase of parallel cinema, that in the coming years, I actually became aware of the seminal earlier films of Ray, Ghatak and Guru Dutt,” she says.
There is a retrospective of German Director Christian Schwochow being presented. Simultaneously, Swedish Director Ingmar Bergman is being paid an ode to.
Habitat International Film Festival, March 23-April 1, at India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road. Entry: Free passes can be booked online from HIFF website or can be collected from the Programmes Desk.