Saturday, November 21, 2009

Retrospective for Pen-ek at Kerala International Film Festival

It's film-festival season in India. In the second of two reports, Lekha Shankar looks at the Kerala International Film Festival's retrospective for Pen-ek Ratanaruang, who's had a busy year on the festival circuit with his latest feature, Nymph.

Story by Lekha J. Shankar

With no sleek multiplexes, no state-of-the art sound systems, red carpets or wine-and-dine galas, the International Film Festival of Kerala attracts the highest number of movie audiences to its annual festival in the state captial Trivandrum. This is a festival of hard-core cinema for hard-core cinema audiences, who throng from every corner of the state to revel in the 200-odd films.

One of the highlights of the 14th IFFK is a retrospective on Pen-ek Ratanaruang.

“Pen-ek represents a new generation of filmmakers from Asia who are redefining ideas about Asian cinema, and using a modern idiom, both rooted and yet universal," says festival director Bina Paul Venugopal, who has chosen to screen five of Pen-ek's films -- 2001's romantic comedy-drama Monrak Transistor, his two films with Japanese superstar Asano Tadanobu, lensed by the inimitable Christopher Doyle, Last Life in the Universe and Invisible Waves, his arresting domestic drama of 2007 Ploy and his latest film, the spooky ghost-tale Nymph.

Nymph will also go to the Dubai International Film Festival, December 9 to 16, where it's in competition.

Before Kerala, Nymph is showing at the Black Nights Film Festival in Talinn, Estonia, where Pen-ek will serves on the jury for the main EurAsia competition and Nymph cinematographer Chankit Chamnivikaipong is on the Tridens Baltic feature film competition.

Meanwhile, Pen-ek says he was looking forward to his first trip to India, and hoped he could combine sightseeing, with movie-watching in lush Kerala.

Update: Nymph is also in competition at Tokyo FilmEx, running until November 29.

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