Who wouldn't like 30 Celsius warm in winter when European airports are closed because of snow storms and thousands of people are stuck on the roads in their cars? The Kerala International Film Festival is a great escape at the beginning of December (7-14 December, 2012) from the cold and of course a unique opportunity to know better the Malayalam cinema.
The Kerala people are very proud of their film industry, which is different from the Bollywood mainstream filmmaking. Focusing on social issues and taboos, it is clear that local filmmakers are more sensitive and open minded about Indian society. And the best thing is that the local audience is eager to watch these pictures. The crowded screenings and never ending applauses show a great respect for cinema and it was a great feeling to see the enthusiasm of both the young and old.
The Kerala Film Festival is without doubt geared towards the audience in the first place but, as the festival is the main cinematic event in the region, it is also very important that foreigners can get an outlook of the local film industry's recent tendencies. The FIPRESCI jury in south India had a great challenge in watching two sections and a total of almost 30 pictures during seven days. The full time job was an exhaustive but still instructive experience.
The FIPRESCI jury appreciated the efforts of local filmmakers to deal with serious and complex issues despite the standards of the movies being somewhat uneven. At the end the FIPRESCI Prize in the Malayalam section went to Postscript (Ithramaathram) by K. Gopinathan.
The jury also judged the international competition section composed of 14 films from Asia, Latin America and Africa. It was a gratifying decision from the programmers that the European auteur pieces and big festival winners were shown out of competition and thanks to the concept there were some really fresh films in the competition section.
Finally, the FIPRESCI jury awarded in the international competition section the Algerian-French film The Repentant (Le Repenti) by Merzak Allouache. And last but not least it's important to mention the great hospitality of the festival and the kindness of the people of Kerala which made the 17th Kerala International Film Festival a real memorable event. (György Kárpáti)
Kerala Internatipnal Film Festival: www.iffk.in