Movies of a life in flux, finding oneself, strife, development, hard work, family ties, dreams and aspirations – these are some of the themes Indian and Chinese films will display this year at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival to be held next week. Drawing from real life situations, that these drastically developing countries are going through, Chinese and Indian directors seek to portray a uniquely Asian way of life, where traditions and values remain rooted in a society that has already seen so much change.
Thematically similar, Chinese and Indian films portray completely different genres, originate from different film schools and are based on different backgrounds. Predominantly state controlled, Chinese cinema which is gradually being allowed to breathe has recently being displaying a wide selection of genres. Inspired by technology and hollywood new Chinese directors are trying different cinematic styles, experimenting with commercialism in films and new ideas. Meanwhile, Indian films, known more for their song and dance routines are becoming a bit more realistically mellow, showcasing religious, historical and societal struggles more than fantasy films that drew in crowds anxious to escape reality.
As the Cannes Film festival nears, Inchin Closer takes you through some of the films that will be on display, catch what you Canne?
Wang Xiaoshuai’s Rizhao Chongqing (Chongqing Blues) has been selected for the coveted Palme d’Or (Golden Palm). Wang who won the Cannes’ jury prize for his movie `Shanghai Dreams’ five years ago returns to tell the tale of a father investigating the murder of his estranged son.
Indian director Vikramaditya Motwane’s film Udaan (The Flight) has been selected as India’s official entry to Cannes this year. The movie, co-produced by Anurag Kashyap a famous Indian director, is a moving story of a young teenager who is abused by his father who has remarried — and his relationship with his kid stepbrother. Set in Jamshedpur, Bihar, Udaan is a modern story of fragmented Indian families, and of teenage children parenting their parents.
China’s official entry to Cannes this year is renowned director Jia Zhang Ke’s 24 CITY. Shot in Chengdu before the earthquake in 2008, 24 CITY chronicles the dramatic fall of a State-owned munitions factory and its conversion into a luxury high-rise apartment complex. Zhang blurs the line between documentary and fiction as he weaves the story of three factory workers, with that of interviews with real workers displaying in a microcosm the drastic change that is sweeping through China.
A Different Pilgrimage by S. Krishnaswamy, is a well researched film about ancient India’s cultural and religious impact on South-east Asia. The camera meanders along locations in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam trying to show the phenomenally strong links that these nations shared with India, its heritage and culture — links that went far beyond Buddhism. the documentary brings alive Borabudur and Prambanan in Java, Angkor Wat and Bayon in Cambodia, Phimai and Pnom Rung in Thailand, Wat Phu Champasak in Laos, Mi Son and Po Nagar in Vietnam and Baisaki in Bali, where centuries-old temples and monuments keep alive Indian tradition till this day.