Cinema is a lifeline that always binds inventive souls. Though the pandemic introduced the world to a standstill for 2 years, now that persons are getting used to the new regular, cinephiles are in for a deal with, too! Making its return to the Capital, after a two-12 months hiatus, is the Habitat International Film Festival (HIFF), to make a mark in metropolis’s cultural calendar.

It is screening greater than 50 award profitable and pageant favorite movies from throughout the world, in a bid to push the boundaries of cinematic arts and replicate on the realities and perceptions of a altering 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, inventive head programmes at India Habitat Centre (IHC).

A nonetheless from German movie, I’m Your Man.

Filmmaker G Prabha, whose first function movie Ishti was screened at HIFF again in 2016, is now again along with his second function movie, Taya (By Her), in Sanskrit, which will likely be screened on May 7. Shot over 22 days in Kerala throughout February and March final 12 months, the movie relies on the lifetime of a younger Namboodiri lady who lived in the early 20th century and her battle towards 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, including, “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 nonetheless from South Korean movie, The Book of Fish.

Clara Sola, a 2021 drama movie by Costa Rican-Swedish director Nathalie Álvarez Mesén, which will likely be screened on May 9, exhibits a 40-year-outdated lady experiencing a sexual and mystical awakening.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 not any Covid-19 directives from the authorities but a time hole after each screening, for air flow and sanitisation of the corridor, will likely be noticed. “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 choice to revive the movie pageant “a leap of faith”. She provides: “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 until: 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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