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Cannes 2024 – What to look out for asianculturevultures – Indian stars at fest – Bharat Pavilion…

Cannes 2024 – What to look out for asianculturevultures – Indian stars at fest – Bharat Pavilion…

London May 13

FOR THE FIRST time since 1993 an Indian film will compete for the much coveted Palme d’Or – the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize.

Writer-director Payal Kapadia previous Cannes showing – ‘A Night of Knowing Nothing’ won the top documentary prize Oeil d’Or when it screened at the Directors’ Fortnight section in 2021  – one of the four main feature film official selection categories. See our interview with Kapadia here about that here

Here’s the trailer for ‘All We Imagine as Light’ which dropped

Her new film will have its world premiere on Friday, May 24 at 12pm and is one of the last films to screen in the prestigious competition section.

The story follows two nurses who go on a trip to a beach resort and “find a space where their desire can manifest”.

Some of this film is in Malayalam – the main language in the state of Kerala.

“Being selected in Cannes Competition is truly thrilling and humbling, especially considering how much I admire many directors selected in this section, both in the past and present. It’s an immense honour to be showing my film among them,” Kapadia said in a statement.

There are two films about India in the Un Certain Regard section – this is mostly populated by first time and second time filmmakers who are showing exceptional abilities as directors.

The Shameless’ is set in India and directed by Bulgarian Konstatin Bojanov, who has had two films screen at Cannes before. The film will first screen at 11am on Friday, May 17 in the Debussy Theatre, where all UCR films screen.

It’s about a sex worker who embarks on a pilgrimage to remote temple where she wrestles with her past and her love affair with Renuka who is now serving time for a murder in Bengaluru (Bangalore).

Filmed in Nepal with an Indian and Nepali cast, one of the lead actors Auroshika Dey has been talking about what it means for her film to go to Cannes this week. She described being told by the producer and director and feeling “excited and happy”. She added: “Cannes is one of the biggest film festivals in the world and when you are representing the film, and the country as well, to the global audience, there’s an added advantage. I hope we get to showcase the film in India as well, and premiering in Cannes does make a lot of difference.”

She said it was ironic that it took recognition from people outside India for it to be acknowledged and she described the selection as a “first tick” and that more investment should go into the independent sector which operates outside of the Bollywood star system of casting.

Screening on Monday, May 20 in the same UCR section is the British Indian film – ‘Santosh’ made in India but shot and written by a British director Sandhya Suri, the film is about a woman – Santosh (Shahana Goswami) who inherits her late husband’s police job and then gets involved in a murder case led by a feminist inpsector. Among those backing this film are the British Film Institute (BFI) and BBC Films. Suri has much pedigree and acv spoke to her in 2018 and she had a lot of success with her short, ‘The Field’ which toured the global film festival circuit. (See here)-

Screening in the Directors Fortnight section is another British director Karan Kandhari. His ‘Sister Midnight’ starring Radhika Apte is a comedy,  it will first screen on Sunday, May 19 at 11.45am at Theatre Croisette.

Apte stars as newly married woman in an arranged married and stuck with an awkward partner, noisy neighbours and “her own feral impulses”.

Kandhari says Apte’s performance is a “wonder” and compared her to US silent film hero Buster Keaton in an interview.

It is financed by both the BFI and Film 4 and other British production outfits.

Screening in the film schools section – La Cinef – are two films with South Asian heritage directors. Mansi Maheshwari’s ‘Bunnyhood’ an animated film featuring the voice of ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ star Nina Wadia has been selected. Maheshwari studies at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. While Chidananda S Naik’s ‘Sunflowers were the first ones to know’ will also compete for the shorts Cinefondation prizes on May 23 – and open only to recognised film school students.  Naik hails from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune.

Cinematographer Santosh Sivan, who has worked a lot, with legendary South Indian director Mani Ratnam is to receive the prestigious Pierre Angenieux Tribute prize on Thursday, May 23. We will have more in the run-up to the award.

Screening in Cannes Classic this year is Shyam Benegal’s 1976, ‘Manthan’.

India will unveil its pavilion on Wednesday May 15 at 10am with the customary ribbon cutting – see here for what happened last year.

Run by the National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC and the equivalent of the BFI here), and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry – it is being called Bharat Pavilion. This is the ancient Sanskrit name for the country, India.

Among those appearing at the pavilion on the first day are actors Esha Gupta and Vivek Oberoi, and filmmaker Richie Mehta (‘Poacher’).

Hollywood producer Ashok Amitraj will appear for a fireside chat with Indian author Bhuvan Lall, who is also releasing a book about India and Cannes.

On Thursday (May 16) Alan McAlex will be talking about the production behind both ‘Santosh’ and ‘Sister Midnight’ at the Bharat Pavilion.

There is a session on Friday (May 17) between the BFI and British based producers interested in working on co-productions with India. It is at 11.30am.

Music maestro AR Rahman, and Heeramandi actor Aditi Rao Hydari, will also appear at the pavilion.

Also reported to be attending for L’Oréal is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

The UK Pavilion run by the BFI confirmed its programme on May 8 – see here.

*We will have more from Cannes soon…

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture