May 11 2016
6pm (EST) Cannes
So what’s it like at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, as it is about to get under way, and what will we be doing…
RIGHT now it doesn’t feel too much like Cannes – it’s actually dark and a bit dreary and the wind is swirling around like it doesn’t want anyone to have too much fun this evening.
In fact, it’s just started raining!
Down on the world famous Croisette (the promenade, if you will) the prep is all done and the public have already staked their positions – you have to be here a few hours early – some came prepared with umbrellas and there are lots of police around.
Yes, security is tighter than it has been in recent years, searches are more thorough.
Earlier, it looked like they were stopping random cars entering the town and doing car boot searches.
It’s better to be on the safe side and some. Okay, we’re about a couple of hours away from the whole jamboree getting under way properly, the music is just starting up.
Woody Allen and his star cast that includes Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg (see picture right) from the opening film, “Café Society” will be doing the honours and a thousand cameras will click away.
We won’t be right on top of the action, but close enough we hope – so catch us later on FACEBOOK LIVE* – make sure you’ve liked! Like last year, we have a small video team with us – Attika Choudhary and Parle Patel.
Our friends at East Shopping Centre have helped presenter Attika Choudhary with her clothes and she will be unveiling the first in just a few hours now. Join us.
Elsewhere, in addition to covering the L’Oreal ambassadors – Aishwaraya Rai Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor, we will be on the trail of the other South Asian elements (and some other surprise stories too!) of what remains the most important film festival of them all (in terms of the industry and its global business).
Yes, we will be out and about too – so if you’re in Cannes come over and say hello…
And thanks to the good folks at East Shopping Centre, we will be at the festival a little longer than last year and will have more of a licence to roam, discover and report.
If you’re primarily interested in the South Asian film content at Cannes this year, there is India’s answer to Quentin Tarantino.
In “Raghav Raman 2.0”, he returns this year with one of India’s rising stars.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui (see below) plays the lead (Raman) who is essentially a killer on the loose and on his tail is an edgy, taboo-busting cop called Raghav (Vicky Kausal).
Siddiqui is no stranger to Cannes having starred in both “Gangs of Wasseypur 2” and a film shown in the Un Certain Regard section, called “Miss Lovely”, he made the rounds, translator on hand. We understand he doesn’t need them any more.
His ascent from indie favourite to Bollywood star is almost complete, later this year he features alongside India’s No1 movie star Shah Rukh Khan in a film, called “Raees”.
Directors’ Fortnight will also see one of the first official entries for Afghanistan (perhaps the first ever). Shahrbanoo Sadat presents “Woolf and Sheep”, a film first mooted at Cannes in 2010 and completed with Danish backing.
Cannes Critics’ Week sees debutant director K Rajagopal explore the Indian minority community in Singapore in “Yellow Bird”, a French Singaporean production. This film stars Seema Biswas – remember her in “Bandit Queen” (1994)?
Among the new voices who could well emerge in Cannes to come are two South Asian directors who have been invited to Cannes Atelier, where they can meet prospective producers and cement finance needed to make their feature.
There is much excitement around Indian Aditya Vikram Sengupta and his project, “Memories and My Mother”. His debut film, “Labour of Love” which premiered at the London Film Festival in 2014, evoked comparisons with two other great Bengali masters, Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak but it wasn’t for everyone.
In the cinefondation section, the jury of which is headed Japanese filmmaker, Naomi Kawase, India’s Saurav Rai comes with a 28-minute Nepali film, “Gudh”.
Another film in the official selection at Cannes Classic, is “The Cinema Travellers” (pictured right) which chronicles the fate of once thriving tent cinemas in India. Made by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madhesiya, it is one of nine documentaries on cinema history and took eight years to film and was supported by the India Foundation for the Cluster of Excellence, Heidelberg University and Goethe-Institut India. Some who have got a sneak glimpse describe it as a masterpiece.
Also showing the classics section is the 1959 Pakistani “Jago Hua Savera” (‘The Day Shall Dawn’). It represented the very first foreign language film the country submitted to the Oscars.
It actually involved talent from three countries – India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). Focusing on the lives of impoverished fishermen in modern day Bangladesh, the script was by celebrated Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and stars Kolkata screen and stage talent, Tripti Mitra.
You can know more about us in Cannes by liking and following on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and being connected to East Shopping Centre as well. Join us and get talking!
*Subject to weather conditions now