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Indian Film Fest in Florence

River to River.
Florence Indian Film Festival

From December 10-14, 2003 the third edition of the River to River Florence Indian Film Festival, the only European film festival entirely dedicated to cinema both from and about India, will arrive in Florence. The festival is organized by Luca Marziali and Selvaggia Velo of bdjMEDIA.
Screenings will take place at the Spazio Uno Cinema in Via del Sole, 10, Florence - Italy.

River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival
From December 10-14, 2003 the third edition of the River to River Florence Indian Film Festival, the
only European film festival entirely dedicated to cinema both from and about India, will arrive in
Florence. The festival is organized by Luca Marziali and Selvaggia Velo of bdjMEDIA.
Screenings will take place at the Spazio Uno Cinema in Via del Sole, 10, Florence - Italy.
The Festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture, the City of Florence’s Assessor of Culture, and the
Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze bank, with the patronage of the Indian Embassy in Rome and with the
collaboration of the chair of Sanskrit Language and Literature of the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy at the
University of Florence and the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Rome.
The Cinema Hall will host features, short films, 1 animation film and the extra/ordinary people sessions.
Various films, chosen among the best releases of the independent and crossover scenes in 2002 and 2003,
will be shown:
• the disturbing Matrubhoomi-A Nation Without Women by Manish Jha which deals with the tragic
practice of killing female newborn infants in some rural Indian villages. This film, presented at the
Week of Critics at Venice in 2003 will be distributed in Italy in 2004 by Lady Film.
• The psycho-thriller à la Hitchcock Teen Dewarein-Three Walls of Nagesh Kukunoor, the saga of
three prisoners becoming friends for the uncertain span of time that fate holds for them. Everything
changes when Chandrika, a documentary filmmaker, decides to make a film on these three convicts.
• Mr. and Mrs. Iyer is an impossible love story between a Muslim photographer and a fundamentalist
Hindu young lady, conveyed by the very talented Bengali director and actrice Aparna Sen. A film
where love between the two main characters becoms all the more poignant as they know that parting
is inevitable.
• Chokher Bali, just arrived from Locarno 2003, which tells a story written by the Nobel Prize winner
Rabindranath Tagore and is interpreted by the new goddess of Indian cinema Aishwarya Rai, Miss
World 1994 and the next “Bond girl” (,; this film is the
latest work of the Bengali director Rituparno Ghosh, an attentive portraitist of the feminine world who
pursues the tradition of the great masters of New Indian Cinema.
• Raghu Romeo opens a window onto the planet of the star system, relating the vicissitudes of a
waiter who has fallen in love with the star of a soap opera, a real sequestration for love.
• Not to be missed is the Om Puri Night, an evening of homage dedicated to one of the heroes of
Hindi and crossover cinema, with the exhilarating Anglo-Pakistani comedy East is East. The great
Om Puri playing George Khan, a Pakistani immigrant that has been married for 20 years to a British
woman with whom he has seven children, in whom the father tries to instill Pakistani rules of life; the
problem is that they see themselves as English: they hang with their Anglo friends, eat
"unacceptable food" like bacon, and even worship Christ, not Allah.
The same night will feature the frothing Bollywood Calling, about the backstage fun that takes
place during the shooting of a typical commercial Indian film on which an American actor is engaged.
Bollywood calling film is a honest, no-holds-barred look at the world of Indian film-making.
The first Indian films to follow the traces of Shakespearean tragedy will be shown in Florence:
• In Othello, from the actor-director Roysten Abel, wisely distils the dramatic fragmentation of the
Indian Shakespeare Company before a backdrop of love, drama and prejudice. The story is a clever
blending of life and art, real and unreal that has been acclaimed as one of India's most innovative
contemporary films.
• Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool, with a phenomenal cast, rewrites Shakespeare’s Macbeth through the
dark atmosphere of a mafia clan in today’s Bombay; a stream of tragedy flows between political
power and religious devotion to the Islam. Maqbool is the right hand man of the mafia Don Abbaji;
Nimmi is Abbaji's mistress who hates her situation and is in love with Maqbool. Driven by his love for
Nimmi and his ambition for power, Maqbool murders Abbaji and declares himself the leader of the
Extra/ordinary People Section
In this session, four films portraying the different faces and different stories of India today, each staking claim
to their civil and cinematographic identity, will be shown.
Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya from Akhilesh Das is a bitter description of child labor depicted through the daily
life of a child. Meenakshi Shedde’s Looking for Amitabh tells of the way the great Indian cinema icon
Amitabh Bachchan (elected actor of the century by the BBC) is imagined and narrated by blind people,
revealing unexpected aspects of his personality. In Shabana by Dev Benegal, the director makes his way
through conflict and controversy in order to get a closer look at Shabana Azmi, India’s most famous actrice.
Moreover, Days and Nights in an Indian Jail by Sunandan and Yugesh Walia, that traces the lifes of a
bunch of prisoners in the one of the biggest jails if India, theTihar Central Jail of New Delhi. Finally, Amartya
Sen: A Life Reexamined, built around a visual narration of Suman Ghosh, reveals little known traits of the
winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics.
Short Films
The India of today in three short flashes: the fear of the terrorist nightmare is reflected in the barber’s shop of
Reverb, while stories of ordinary uderworld cross each other in the desert of Rajasthan in The Bypass. With
Photo Booth, animation enters in scene, one of the main sectors in expansion in contemporary Indian
L’India vista da Rossellini by Roberto Rossellini
These clips are born from a long trip to India taken by Roberto Rossellini in 1958 from which the director
would bring back an enormous quantity of film - material which was used, in the first place, for the film India
(1959), as well as a series of sketches for television. A program in 10 installments was realized from all of his
material treating the different human, social and moral aspects of the India of the time and was shown at
prime time as one of I viaggi del Telegiornale on the National Program starting on the 7 January 1959. Each
installment hinges on conversations between the director himself and the journalist Marco Cesarini Sforza.
Rossellini exposes and discusses his ideas on Indian civilization, supporting his theses with documentary
extracts filmed almost everywhere: from the internal part of the country to the coast, from cities to villages.
The general intention of the director is to demonstrate, everything considered, that the true India has nothing
to do with the image, full of prejudice, that Europe has of it.
For the second year the Video Hall will welcome 15 films of the TFSA 2003 (Travelling Film South Asia)
of the South Asia Film Festival of Kathmandu, a selection of the most interesting documentaries originating
from across South Asia: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.
The fourth edition of the South Asia Film of Kathmandu, South Asia Film ’03 was held in Kathmandu from the
25 to the 28 of September 2003. “Documentaries can be fun!” was the slogan of the FSA ’03 and while
many of the films selected proposed instances of political, social and economic critiques which is absolutely
necessary to understand the current South Asian context, others displayed, in contrast, more pleasant and
fun aspects of South Asian culture, presenting them in an original way.
With the actual selection of 15 films we have tried to highlight the growing variety of style of South Asian
documentaries and their ability to entertain.
River to River 2003 will welcome three personalities of Indian cinema: the journalist and historian of cinema
Uma da Cunha, organizer of festivals and world ambassador of the independent scene, the young director
Manish Jha - author of the shocking short A Very Very Silent Film, winner at Cannes 2002 - accompanying
her first feature-length film Matrubhoomi-A Nation Without Women.
Moreover Roysten Abel, presenting his cinema debut In Othello, traced in the brocaded and sequined life
that flies from the theater stage to the tables in a psychedelic bar.
Among the innovations of this year is the creation of the audience prize. The film or documentary most
preferred by the audience at the festival will win the DigiMovies Prize. A maximum of 15 minute extract of
the film will be visible in streaming for all of 2004 on the site
Among the parallel events 2 meetings concerning Indian Cinema (with free entrance) will take place with the
participation of our guests: the first will take place Wednesday December 10 at 6.00pm in the Sala Fiamma
Ferragamo of the Library of the British Institute of Florence, Lungarno Guicciardini, 9; the second will take
place at the Faculty of Oriental Studies of the University of Rome, on Monday December 15 at 10.00am.
Along with the promotion of Indian cinema in Italy, the River to River Florence Indian Film Festival has
collaborated on the creation of a package of Italian films that is participating in four major film festivals in
India under the name River to River New Italian Eyes ( the International Film Festival
of India in New Delhi (October 9-19, 2003), the Kolkata Film Festival of Calcutta (November 10-17), the
International Film Festival of Bombay (November 20-27) and the International Film Festival of Kerala of
Trivandrum (December 12-19).
During projection times the festival will also welcome the spectacular cuisine of the restaurant India
of Fiesole.
Also this year the price of a ticket will be the equivalent of the price at the cinema in Bombay - 3 Euro or 150
Indian Rupies.
For information:
bdjMEDIA/Belle de Jour
Via del Purgatorio, 2
50123 Florence - Italy
ph. +39 055 2654257
fax +39 055 268012

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