Knowing international film personalities
Interested students of film as an art form as distinguished from very
popular entertainers are likely to be interested to know who some of the
internationally famous film critics, scholars and film directors who sit
in judgment to select films at well known international film festivals
around the world. Knowing them, their tastes and yardsticks is part of
our training in film appreciation.
So this week we choose to introduce some of them who were present
some of the international film festivals I attended. They include famous
film directors too.
The Czech Republic in Eastern Europe boasts of a multifaceted artiste
in the name of Jiri Menzel. He is not only a film and theatre director
but also a reputed actor and script writer.
His maiden film made in the late 1960s - Closely Watched Trains - hit
the headlines of the world press as an important artistic film from that
country. My Sweet Little Village was also one of his best films. But the
then Czech Government banned his film Larks on a String. However it was
released for public viewing soon after the Government fell during the
consequent fall of communist regime.
A Polish woman director is Agneiska Holland. She worked under one of
the sophisticated filmmakers in Poland-Kryzstaf Zanussi and also one of
the greats in world cinema-Andrej Wajda. This artiste became famous in
America with her films, Angry Harvest, Europa, Europa and Oliver. The
Secret Garden was another of her notable films. She was the excellent
scriptwriter for anussi’s trilogy: Three Colours. Some of her other
films: Total Eclipse and Washington Square.
Considered one of the best actors in contemporary cinema is the
Indian Naseeruddin Shah. At one time the Hindi cinema boasted of rare
talent in acting in the capacities of the late Smith Patel, Shabna Asmi
and Om Puri alongside Naseeruddin Shah.
An Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi is reckoned to be influential in
making New Wave Iranian Cinema.
A leading film critic, Sheila Johnston is the founder journalist of
the British newspaper, The Independent but now writes as a freelancer to
most high quality British and American press. Her thesis on German
filmmaker Reiner Werner Fassbinder is a seminal work.
Another leading critic writes in Turkish language we are told, but he
is also a documentary film-maker. His name is Cuneyt Cebenoyan.
Another non-English film critic is from Andhra Pradesh in India. He
writes in Telugu. His name is Anand Varala. He has made documentaries.
Another film scholar and literary personality is Australia’s Anne
Demy Geroe. She received the Australian Centenary Medal for services to
the film industry.
Jocelyn Saab born in Beirut, Lebanon writes in French and a
documentary film maker.
The above were some of the members of the film world who had served
as members of the Jury in international film festivals.
As far as I know Lankans Ashley Ratna Vibushana and his wife Ranjanee
had served as members of jury in international film festivals. There
might have been a few others too but I am not sure of the details.
In most worldwide International Film Festivals reputed people from
the Arts and Literature and artistes are selected or nominated to sit as
members of the Jury in International Film Festivals.
One of the well known International juror and an authentic scholar on
film studies and a literary critic and fine poet in Sinhala is our own
Wimal Dissanaike. He has authored many books and is currently writing
erudite essays for the Sunday Observer.
Let me take a portion of a quote by one of the icons of linguistics
Roland Bath commenting on the famous Italian film director Michelangelo
“…the artist belongs to a changing world, but he himself is changing
too; a commonplace, but a dizzying one for the artist: he never knows if
the work he proposes is produced by the worlds change or but the change
in his own subjectivity.”
Consider this too:
“Why is the subtlety of meaning decisive? Precisely because meaning,
once it is fixed and imposed, once is no longer subtle, becomes an
instrument, a stake of power. To subtilile meaning is therefore a
secondary political activity, as is always the case with the effort
which seeks to disturb, to disintegrate, to undo meaning’s fanaticism.”
A heavy subject and an exercise in lingo-philosophy which lesser
mortals can understand fully and yet what he says about Antonioni
Film Appreciation therefore necessitates reading and knowing many
things outside the realm of mere film world but understanding the virtue
of multidisciplinary approach in viewing and receiving and commenting on
film as an academic Endeavour. But seldom we take a film to critique on
academic lines, but are aware of such approaches to understand the film
medium as an enjoyable pursuit.