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usm-red.gif (836 bytes)Film Festival Calcutta
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by Film Correspondent

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Nandan, The Film Centre Calcutta

 The Fourth Calcutta International Film Festival, which began in Calcutta on November 10, is a major reminder of the way in which this city has grown into a major centre of learning in the art of cinema. For those who were witness to the first such festival in the early Eighties, this latest cultural event has come as a reevaluation as much as being the harbinger of a new awakening. Inaugurating the festival, the Chief Minister of Bengal, Mr Jyoti Basu, said that 2.77 lakh cinegoers had been the beneficiaries of the festival which only went to prove that the people were with the Left Front government in all its ``pro-people activities.'' Mr. Basu also reminded the people that the Front Government had always stood by them and taken them into confidence; in fact, this festival would not have been possible without the help and active participation of the general people.

A major focus of the festival has been the participation of foreigners and their films; this time there has been a manifold increase in the percentage of participation. Film buffs of this city as well as the national audience have been getting a taste of the best products of the market, both foreign as well as that of the country, and the festival, till date, has been one of the major feathers in the state government's cap.

Another feature of this festival has been the recognition given to it; in the words of the state information and cultural affairs minister, Mr. Buddhadev Bhattacharya, the membership of FIAP has been the biggest gain for this year's festival. ``This would mean that the Calcutta Festival will shine alongwith other big venues like Berlin and Cannes...This is indeed a matter of great pride for us and the state,'' Mr. Bhattacharya said.

The festival was inaugurated by Akira Kurosowa'a ``Red Beard'' and was a fitting tribute to the man who died earlier this year. Also Sergei Eisenstein , Bertolt Brecht and Lorca were remembered with exhibitions on their works. All in all, the effort was clearly to make it a major national event in the years to come and make it a landmark cultural show. Out of the 130 films on view, more than 100 were foreign films. Major film personalities like Janussi have come for the fest.

Significantly, the Calcutta Festival ranks third as far as viewer strength is concerned. According to government estimates, ``this should only mark a beginning'' and that the state government would always stand by the festival committee to give it a more ``focussed'' direction.

filmdel.jpg (6181 bytes)A surfeit of books, in keeping with culture-happy Calcutta, have been released on the occasion, mostly by veterans as well as promising young film critics. A visit to the Nandan auditorium premises, another landmark built by the Front Government for the preservation and spread of the visual arts, revealed that the enthusiasm was unabated and the cry for tickets for a single show surpassed all expectations. Calcutta once more is at the forefront; the film festival has proved yet again that despite all our problems in our daily life and the crisis that is having a debilitating effect on our country, the masses of the City of Joy are ever ready to take another shot at culture and keep its reputation intact.

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