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India's oldest, largest film society celebrates 50th year

India's oldest, largest film society celebrates 50th year

India Blooms News Service | 12 Nov 2014, 08:02 am
Kolkata, Nov 12 (IBNS) While cinegoers are feasting on the international films at the 20th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), a film society in the city, which is the oldest and largest in India and also forms a part of the KIFF every year, celebrates its 50 years of existence.

Cine Central is one of the oldest, and most functional and organized film societies in West Bengal and perhaps, across the country. Today, it is the largest film society in India born when creative filmmakers across the world were experimenting and exploring the invention and discovery of a new language in cinema that would go on to mutate cinema from pure glossy entertainment for the masses for commerce to one of the most powerful means of creative expression that is also used to make strong social and political statements. 

2014 marks the 50th year of Cine Central's presence. It regularly screens classics, contemporary films, controversial celluloid documents from across the world pushing the borders of cinema to its extreme limits.

Way back in 1986, when it was an uphill climb to get glimpses of world cinema in Kolkata, Cine Central ventured to organize an International Film Festival with little financial support but lots of hard work and dedication. This happened to be the first ever International Film Festival in India organized successfully by a non-governmental body in Kolkata.

When the government of West Bengal initiated the Kolkata International Film Festival at Nandan, Cine Central's parallel festival around the same time created some conflict. 

 
In 1998, Cine Central accepted the offer of the West Bengal Government to join the Kolkata Film Festival. The festival changed its profile, theme and structure and rechristened it as International Forum of New Cinema which is a part of the KIFF today but also has an independent existence of its own. This, in the sense that its screening programme offers different films from across the world that are not the same, with rare exceptions, as the films screened at the KIFF.

Every year, during its Inauguration, Cine Central bestows the prestigious Satyajit Ray Life Achievement Award to a veteran film personality in honour of his/her contribution to cinema. This year, it has invited danseuse and composer  Amala Shankar as its Guest of Honour who will be bestowing the Lifetime Achievement Award to cinematographer Soumendu Roy who began his career with Satyajit Ray. 

This parallel festival as a perfect complement to the KIFF kicks off on  Nov 11 and will run at Basusree Cinema till Nov 18 over three screening sessions per day, each session screening two films. 
 
In celebration of 100 years of cinema, the morning sessions will screen eight international classics free for all college and university students. The classics are - Battleship Potemkin, Bicycle Thieves, La Dolce Vita, Seven Samurai, Wild Strawberries, Belle de Jour, Alpha Ville and Brief Encounter.

A total of 46 films from 25 countries will be screened at the festival which receives some funding and facilities from the Chalachitra Utsav Committee and the Government of West Bengal every year. 
 
This year is no exception.The spotlight this year is on French cinema. Latest films from France, the Netherlands and Brazil are part of the programme while Iran and Hungary will feature in the Film Focus section. Latest films from the Netherlands will form the Highlight section. Seven films have been chosen from Turkey across 1914 and 2014 in celebration of 100 years of Turkish cinema.

The Directors' Retrospective has three films by Jim Jarmusch of USA and four films by France's Maurice Palat.The Homage section has chosen to felicitate Richard Attenborough of UK, Gabriel Garcia Marques of Colombia and a centenary tribute to Sombhu Mitra.

Love and Lemon (2013), a Swedish film directed by Teresa Fabrick will be the inaugural film. The organizers insist that though Inernational Fourm of New Cinema is not as glittering or as glamorous and star-studded as IFFK but it is a platform for New Cinema, Different Cinema and Alternative Cinema in its varied manifestations.

(Reporting by Shoma A. Chatterji)

India's oldest, largest film society celebrates 50th year

India Blooms News Service
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