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Special Content


volume-35, 30 November-06 December 2019

50 Golden Years of International Film Festival of India (IFFI)

EN Team

The 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was held in Goa from 20-28 November 2019. The grand open ceremony hosted by Bollywood producer-director Karan Johar, aka, the king of entertainment, witnessed Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar urge India's film industry to use films to 'further India's soft power.' Shri Javadekar also promised a single window clearance for those seeking film shooting permissions in the country.

The festival was officially flagged off by the great doyen of Indian Cinema Amitabh Bachchan and the Thalaiva of Indian film industry Rajinikanth, who was conferred the 'Icon of Golden Jubilee Award.' One of French cinema's defining faces Isabelle Anne Madeliene Huppert was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  A seven-minute film on former Chief Minister of Goa, Late Shri Manohar Parikkar was also played as a heart-felt tribute to the late leader who was instrumental in getting the IFFI in Goa in 2004. Also, it was during his tenure as Defence Minister in 2014 that Goa got the status of permanent venue for the festival.

On the first night, attendees were treated with the highly acclaimed film 'Despite the Fog' directed by documentarian Goran Paskaljevic. The film represented Italy; over ten thousand refugees of minors without parental care are wandering today in Europe, half of which are on Italian roads.

The festival highlighted some of the industry's most famous filmmakers as well as burgeoning new ones. The additional presence of several fascinating documentaries on top of the fictional selection broadened the range of the festival's 9-day-long offerings. The festival also screened movies as homage to two great French filmmakers who passed away from our midst, Bernardo Bertolucci and Agnes Varda by featuring their acclaimed works. In all, the festival witnessed over 250 movies from 76 countries. It also included 26 feature films and 15 non-feature films in the Indian Panorama section, all of which have made India proud globally.

The country in focus this year was Russia. Eight extraordinary films by Russian directors were included in the IFFI 2019 line-up. Two of the most talked-about movies from Russia were "Abigail" by 30-year old Aleksandr Boguslavsky and "Andrei Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer" - a masterpiece documentary by Tarkovsky himself, who died back in 1986. While "Abigail" revolves around a girl named Abigail who thinks she lost her father to an epidemic only to find out later that no epidemic actually even occurred. "Andrei Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer" recounts Tarkovsky's life and work as he shares his memories, views and reflections on art, destiny of an artist and the meaning of human existence. Other Russia-originated movies included "Acid", "Beanpole", "Great Poetry", "Once in trubchevsk", "Why don't you just die!" and "The Hero" by directors Alexander Gorchilin, Kantemir Balagov, Aleksandr Lungin, Larissa Sadilova, Kirill Sokolov, and Karen Oganesyan respectively. The people to people connect between India and Russia is very strong as evident in the flourishing cultural exchange. Indian films, for that matter, have a strong base in Russia with televisions channels dedicated to Indian cinema.  The Russian delegation to the event was led by Maria Lemesheva, TV presenter, reporter, and editor in chief of The Hollywood Reporter.

The international competition section featured 15 exquisite movies from various countries, with different languages and genres competing for the coveted 'Golden Peacock' prize. The Indian Panorama had films in different languages like Badhai Ho, Bhonga, Bahattar Hoorain, Bohoubritta, Ek Je Chillo Raja, Gully Boy and Jallikattu.

The non-competition sections like the World Panorama, Master Frames,  had equally tasteful variety including  you will die at 20, X-the Exploited, While At War, A White White Day, Watch List, Wasp Network, etc. The Oscar Retrospective section had classics like The Best Years of Our Lives.

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) aims at providing a common platform to the cinemas across the world to project the excellence of the art of filmmaking.