Remarkable Young Films, Promising Directors in Ricksha Country

in 15th Dhaka International Film Festival

by Seok Yong Changpau

The 15th Dhaka international film festival presented 22 films to be considered for FIPRESCI award (including those of Asian Film Competition). Each film from each country reflected the particular aesthetics and reality of its origin. The collection of films showed a variety of works, including: 4 Iranian films, 1 Iranian (joint venture with Afghanistan), 3 Bangladesh films, 3 Turkish films, 3 Philippines, 1 Iraqi (with Germany and Qatar), 1 Lebanon (with France), 1 India (with United Arab Emirates), 1 Sri Lanka (with Italy), 1 Vietnam, 1 Mongolia film, 1 Nepal film, and 1 Kyrgyzstan film.

As a member of the FIPRESCI’s jury I wanted to encourage the works of veteran, award winning and emerging directors – rather than the massive budget- supported films. I was looking for cinematic works of directors who have been seriously involved in the subject they chose, and those who were using symbolism and cinematic rhetoric. I was not attracted to the entertainment pieces of TV’s soft drama style, neither to those that were displayed like in an exhibition at the festival.

Many of the works we considered deal with subjects such as ethnic and religious issues, national conflicts, civil war, exodus and foreign workers. Films like Daughter, Malaria, and Paris Tehran approached serious topics, criticizing authoritarianism, religious pressures, and patriarchal family institutions in the society. The new directors were advocating for a better social condition of society, by giving it a sharp insight. Some of the works portrayed a fresh shocking reality, which resulted in a lack of consensus among the audience.

I found works with cinematic aesthetics, rich imagination and perfection – in the productions of The Dark Wind, Rauf, Malaria, Paris Tehran and Cold of Kalandar. Among them, Hussein Hassan’s The Dark Wind, showed a much better effort than the others, in conveying the message of the director, the performance of the actors and the excellent camera technique.

From my point of view, Vietnam’s veteran director Nsut Vuong Duc’s The Prophecy was a meaningful piece about Ho Chi Minh’s biography, and the power of Iran’s Saeed Roostaee at Life and a Day was overwhelming. Ranging from the works of established directors to those of the young filmmakers, the films of various themes showed the possibility of dynamic development in all aspects, which meets the slogan of the Dhaka International Film Festival: “Better Audience, Better Film, Better Society”.

I believe that the best way to judge the excellence of a movie is as follows: 1. Performance based on creativity. 2. Mise-en- scene and composition, including filming. 3. Technique. I think that the most important thing in judging a movie is seeing the possibility of the director becoming a philosopher in the future. As a result, I eventually chose The Dark Wind directed by Hassen Hussein. This work showed excellent results in creating a conscious theme, outstanding shooting and portraying ethnic and traditional conflict.

Edited by Nachum Mochiach