An online film screening event titled ‘Berlinale Spotlight World Cinema Fund’ will begin at Goethe-Institut in the capital on Friday.
World Cinema Fund (WCF) initiated the film screening series in South Asia (India, Paistan, Srilanka and Bangladesh), said a press release on Saturday.
The online series will showcase outstanding international productions in the next four months. In addition to the sessions, each screening will be followed by a live QA Talk with the filmmakers moderated by award-winning auteur Director Kamar Ahmad Simon from Bangladesh.
Kamar himself has been awarded with WCF for his upcoming film ‘Shikolbaha’ (Iron Stream). All the films have been carefully picked from more than two hundred WCF awarded films. The selected bundle has already been in official selection of many international festivals and made notable audience reception for their cinematic brilliance.
The opening edition of the event is scheduled on Friday (29 January) at 7:30 pm, BST with “AKHER AYAM EL MADINA” (In the Last Days of the City), a film by Tamer El Said. Viewers may watch the film, followed by a live QA Talk by clicking at the film link, which will be shared simultaneously through the Facebook page and website of Goethe-Institut Bangladesh as per the film schedule.
AKHER AYAM EL MADINA (In the Last Days of the City) is a Winner of the Caligari Film Award at the Berlin International Film Festival 2016 (Forum) and Best Director at the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema.
WCF is a prestigious initiative of the Berlin International Film Festival, along with the Federal Foundation for Culture and in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office, the support of the Creative Europe/Media Programme, the Secretariat of ACP Group of States and further support of the Goethe Institut.
Goethe-Institut Bangladesh is co-hosting the event with different other Goethe-Instituts of South-Asian region in their network.
Hollywood superstar Paul Walker’s latest movie "Brick Mansions” is available dubbed in Bangla for viewers to watch only on Bongo, the largest Bangladeshi streaming platform.
Set in a dystopian Detroit, the movie showcased Paul Walker as an undercover cop who is commissioned with going into a tenement named Brick Mansions in order to disarm a bomb that is ticking toward explosion.
Hollywood film is the hereditary way to enhance the Bongo Bangla dubbed library, after releasing Turkish, Italian, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu movies of late considering the content variety.
Regarding the release of this Hollywood film, Mr. Fayaz Taher, COO of Bongo, stated “Bongo always tries to provide the best entertainment possible. We have seen a great response in the previous international films dubbed in Bangla and look forward to seeing the same result with the Hollywood films.”
Joon Park, Chief of Product, Bongo, added, “Bongo is the largest Bangla content library and continues to hold the title as we add new contents. Bongo continues its efforts to add new and different content to its content library to entertain viewers of all classes. The Bangla -dubbed Hollywood movie is part of it.”
Bongo is the largest digital entertainment platform in Bangladesh. Viewers can access Bongo through their iOS/Android APP, website www.bongobd.com, and Android TV app locally and globally.
Remembering Oscar-winning film-maestro Satyajit Ray on his birth centenary, speakers at the 19th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) said he transcended linguistic barrier and took Bengali cinema to an untouchable height.
“Satyajit Ray: National as Global” seminar was held on Wednesday at the National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) focusing on Ray’s versatile career as a journeyman in Bengali cinema.
Veteran actors Sharmila Tagore and Dhritiman Chatterjee, along with Supreme Court Justice and art enthusiast Syed Refaat Ahmed, cultural activist and trustee of Bangladesh Liberation War Museum Mofidul Hoque and art critic Moinuddin Khaled, among others joined the programme.
Presided by eminent thespian and former cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor, the seminar was hosted by festival director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal. Guests including Sharmila, Dhritiman and Ahmed joined virtually while others were present at the venue.
“The time Ray was making films, he didn’t have modern technology nor adequate economic luxury of filmmaking. Manik Da (as we used to fondly call him) never took a lunch break during his work, as he was always planning ahead. He kept on innovating, improvising and competing with the rest of the world with his minimum resources and maximised, passionate efforts,” Padma Bhushan-recipient actor Sharmila Tagore said.
Also Read- The 'Ray' of Bengali cinema
She began her film career at the age of 14 in Apur Sansar (The world of Apu) in 1959 directed by Ray.
Sharing her memories of working with Ray and co-actor, late Soumitra Chatterjee, Sharmila Tagore said, “Soumitra had first auditioned for the role of the adolescent Apu in Aparajito (1956), however, Manik Da found him too old for the role. He remembered Soumitra and offered the role of adult Apu two years later in Apur Sansar. I’m blessed that I was also discovered by Manik Da where I got the chance to act alongside Soumitra. That film propelled my career at a level which I never imagined only because of Manik Da’s constant effort as a genius filmmaker.”
Mofidul presented the keynote paper at the seminar, reflecting on Rays’ eclectic achievements across literature, art, music, design and storytelling.
“It’s important to understand how Ray, an urban cosmopolitan youth, has transcended the rural-urban dichotomy and made such a portrayal of village life on the silver screen,” he said.
Explaining the trajectories of the cine-titan’s inheritance of artistic brilliance from his reputed family lineage to his learning from various mediums, Mofidul also shared anecdotes on the relationship with Satyajit Ray with renowned Bangladeshi photographer Amanul Haque, as he read out a letter sent to Amanul Haque by Ray on January 20, 1972 which showcased how much Ray cared about Bangladesh and its people.
Following Hoque’s presentation, art critic and film educator-writer Moinuddin Khaled presented a brief analysis of Ray’s works. Supreme Court Justice Ahmed also shared his viewpoints, describing Ray’s brilliance.
Dhritiman, who projected political roles under Ray’s direction in films such as Pratidwandi (1970), Ganashatru (1989) and recently brought life to Professor Shonku, Satyajit Ray’s iconic creation on the celluloid, said: “Satyajit narrated politics and projected political characters in his films in such a majestic way that put him to an incomparable place. He became an inspiration to all other filmmakers around the world.”
Asaduzzaman Noor reminisced about the master filmmaker’s works in his closing remarks, saying that Ray's films have always made lasting impact on him and he misses new releases from the writer Satyajit, famously known for crafting iconic characters and series like Feluda and Professor Shonku.
"After watching Pather Panchali, I travelled from Nilphamari to Dhaka just to watch Satyajit Ray's 'Mahanagar' (1963). Our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman really admired him, and I still recall the presence of the millions at the historic Paltan Maidan when he visited Bangladesh in 1972," he said.
Albert Einstein once said, “Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think.” The late Bangladeshi filmmaker Alamgir Kabir, a pioneer in his field who passed away on this day (January 20) in 1989, took Einstein’s advice, trained his mind as a filmmaker and through his creations, projected the light of his beliefs and ethics onto his viewers.
Also Read: Sher-e-Bangla's 57th death anniversary today
Kabir, with Einstein as his pole star, was studying electrical engineering at Oxford University in the Sixties when he saw the legendary Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman’s magnum opus, ‘The Seventh Seal’. He was moved by the film to forget Einstein and drop out of Oxford, enrolling for courses in film direction and aesthetics at the British Film Institute instead.
He later moved into journalism as a film critic, and taught film studies, sharing his notion of filmmaking with coming generations. The late Tareque Masud and Tanvir Mokammel, two of the country’s most celebrated and accomplished filmmakers, were both his students.
He believed it was not mandatory for a director to go to his audience -instead it should be a two- way communication between the audience and director.
Alamgir Kabir always knew the challenges and repercussions of screening films out of audiences’ comfort zone. Still, he inspired young, independent filmmakers to break the leash and educate themselves to try out something new, and become adroit filmmakers, technicians, critics, and film- journalists.
Alamgir Kabir was the ‘sine qua non’ of Bangladeshi films. He believed films could change the socio-political scenario in society. He turned his films into ‘text’ that can galvanize the idea of films themselves and inspire the audience- critics- filmmakers to start a new epoch of culture.
Though he didn’t start smooth.
His first film was neither successful nor felicitated by elites of the society. He penanced on this, always expressed his distress over this. “It troubles me to see the so-called higher classes’ attitude towards films. Bangla film still echoes the era of undivided Bengal Presidency. Until we make surreal films adapting Sarat Chandra flourishing romanticism, these ‘so-called enlightened’ audiences remain dispirited watching the film,’ Alamgir Kabir wrote in on one of his books.
Bangla film presents the time of Pramathesh Barua- exalted dramatic dialogues but Alamgir Kabir incepted the era of ‘Cinema Direct’ filming his first movie ‘Dhire Bohe Meghna’, a political film that touched deeper notions like sectarianism. It may be mentioned that Kabir was a deeply political figure, who joined the Communist Party of England during his stay there. Upon his return he was jailed by the Ayub Khan government for his leftist ties, and participated in the Liberation War as chief of the English section of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendro.
In his first film, Kabir screened the time after the Liberation War, and narrated people’s pain, anguish, terror, and glory from the point of view of the fiancé of an Indian Soldier killed in the war.
Telling the story his camera often wanders off in the streets, rivers, sky, alleys, composing our thoughts, reflecting love toward Bangladesh which lasted in sanctifying for Bangladesh.
With Surjo Konna (Daughter of The Sun), the maestro of Bangla cinema- Alamgir Kabir in 1976 philosophized that people understand much more through their imagination, thoughts, and feelings than what they see with their eyes, once the barrier between consciousness and subconsciousness breaks apart.
A young man’s subconscious portrays the time and society where women could not break out of their ‘historically captive’ state and the characters soon assimilated a negative image due to psychological ambivalence created by society’s imposed beliefs. The film reflected the freedom of females through male dominance. And with the flux of time, he proved that pure cinema transcends the limitation of storyline and narration to visualize our journey of life, awakening our primitive but pure feeling that does not depend on time and space.
He didn’t characterize berserk heroes trying to save the day, instead, the protagonist was living an alternative reality where some eerie- enchanted woman comes to his life leaving a mark of slope between dream and reality through the replete storyline and efficient composition.
Simana Periye (Across the Fringe) was different from his contemporaries, a commercially viable and quality film after the first two. The film mostly shows us the story of two protagonists washed off on a sparse island but the limited dialogue and presence of other characters not once distracted the audience from enjoying the film, who rather complimented the director for the novelty of composition and screenplay. He also portrayed ‘class- differences’ through the protagonists- a modern bourgeoises girl and peasant.
This might seem cliché or fiction but proves the point of Freudian theory that ‘people with lower social standing fantasize about mingling with people from the elite class. He knowingly turned his communist activist days to celluloid. Kabir simply experimented and successfully evidenced that films can be successful with a rich storyline and making.
He believed such mainstream films should be filmed but another type of film should blossom as well and so he took a bold step altering the era of adapting romanticized books with his way of storytelling. He experimented using negative films in a film role- he was the first director who tried new tricks.
1979’s Rupali Saikate (The Loner) was a positive psychology film, broke the linear progression film structure. Alamgir Kabir finally blossomed out as an ‘auteur’ making a film in ‘Cinéma vérité’. This film was a reflection of his own belief in politics, society, and human rights. He grew up believing in Marx and Sartre’s existentialism and youths in the early Sixties were conscious about the political and cultural changes. This film shows us a story of a young aesthetically vibrant man believing in equality and equity.
He worked on characterization in films and the presentation of the story. From Dhire Bohe Meghna’s socialist leader to Shimana Periye’s Ratan Master, Kabir worked making these character archetypes. And the presentation had a flux of modernity where falling in love with someone of different religion and fear of society at the same time raises a question of dogmatism and skepticism at the same time. Reminds us of the history of inter- sectarianism in our society.
Alamgir Kabir himself stated his career like this: “Naturally Cinema Direct captivated me as I started as a socio-political conscious journalist in my early youth and later, I embraced myself as a student of film studies. So, I felt this area of filmmaking was very crucial and constituent if I take Bangladesh’s context into account. I experimented with Cinema Direct in my first film Dhire Bohe Meghna (1973) in the structure of full- length feature film. Needless to say, the run was tough. Therefore, our industry was still largely under influence of the pre-independence Calcutta studio-infused Bioscope conventions. In that precinct, experimenting with film especially Cinema Direct was equivalent to knowingly taking your own life in Avant- grade manner. And so, my film was enigmatic to both audience and critics as they were used to the Bioscope- Novel genre of films and were nescient about the evolution of films as well.
He outreached films in his distinctive way, understood the necessity of creating newbies. And so, he started ‘The Dacca Film Institute’ in 1969 endeavoring on his own. On 8th January of 1970 class on films officially started in his residency. He taught his students cinematography, composition, aesthetics, outdoor cinematography and lectured on ‘directors cinema’. This was only the official way of his revolution. This resulted in Bangladeshi Alternative Cinema Movement. His wheel of inspiration and positivity to films made him ‘Cholochitracharya’ to his students, compatriot filmmakers, colleagues, and friends.
Renowned filmmakers Tareq Masud (Director of Matir Moyna, Runaway, Adam Surat’, Tanvir Mokammel (Director of Chitra Nodir Pare, Lalon, Nodir Naam Modhumoti), Morshedul Islam(director of Dipu no 2, Dukhai, Anil Bagchi Ekdin), Akhtaruzzaman (Director of Poka Makorer Ghor Bosoti, Princess Tina Khan, Ferari Basanta) were all students of the ‘Film Appreciation’ course he taught. A new generation of filmmakers believes he is the ‘doyen of quality film movement’ in our country.
Kabir was born in Rangamati in 1938 and spent his early years decamping from one place to another with his family. He was schooled in Dhaka Collegiate Scholl and finished intermediate from Dhaka College. He completed his bachelor's from the University of Dhaka in Physics and started studying Electrical Engendering abroad at the age of 22. In university, Kabir became interested in Politics especially the left movement. He gained his revolutionary thought and belief, nurtured his nature as a filmmaker and philosopher. Not only that, he developed a critique in himself, this prudence made him not only an excellent teacher but also a prolific writer.
He started accumulating his knowledge and belief working for The Daily Worker known as a newspaper of the Communist Party of Great Britain, his course of life changed inspired him to be the man we knew. In his time as a reporter, Kabir went for guerrilla welfare training in Cuba. As a reporter of a communist daily, he took an interview with Cuban President Fidel Castro. He also participated in the liberation war of Palestine and Algeria. He founded East Pakistan House and East Bengal Liberation Front in London and participated in the racial discrimination movement.
In 1966, he was imprisoned by the Ayub Government just after returning to Dhaka because of his affiliation in the leftist movement. He witnessed the liberation war and was a Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra veteran. These significant events instrumentalized and shaped his way of a career as a filmmaker- more importantly as a pioneer.
Unlike many others, he never blamed the fact of colonialism and imperialism rather he believed in embracing nationalism and emphasized pursuing the region's identity. He urged to dig for our unique language of art saying, “It is too late to blame our colonial past or cultural subjugation by the majority community of this sub-continent. Because we know now that given the right conditions and dedication from adherents of the art, even the most exploited nation could achieve true cinema with marked national character.”
Pre- and post-Liberation War and other events may trigger him to be a filmmaker. He believed in documentaries and started his career with ‘Liberation Fighter’. He directed seven feature films and nine short films in his career but contributed more to educating his successors to this alternative form of self-expression. The film was a way of speaking revolution, freedom and social justice, reforming society.
His books “Cinema in Pakistan” (1969) and “Film in Bangladesh” (1979) defines cinema as a social revolution for development, represents omnibus of in his social studies of film that he developed from the mid-60s onward.
Alamgir Kabir always embraced films as a social and political discourse and was more than happy helping new directors in every way he could, believing in the revolutionary power of films.
This pathbreaking artist, critic and activist was lost to the world on January 20th, 1989 in a tragic drowning incident.
He was only 50 years old.
In its second weekend in U.S. theaters, “Wonder Woman 1984” earned an estimated $5.5 million in ticket sales according to studio estimates Sunday. It’s a 67% drop for the superhero sequel, which is simultaneously playing on 2,151 screens and streaming free for HBO Max subscribers.
“Wonder Woman 1984” has made $28.5 million to date from the U.S., where about 39% of theaters are open and most major markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco, are closed. Internationally, it added $10.1 million, bringing its global total to $118.5 million, reports AP.
While $5.5 million would be a terrible second weekend for a $200 million movie in a pre-pandemic world, under the unique circumstances it was enough to top the domestic charts. In second place is Universal’s “The Croods: A New Age,” which saw a 25% increase in ticket sales in its sixth week in theaters. It’s made $34.5 million since it opened at Thanksgiving and is also now available to rent on premium video on demand.
Disney and Pixar’s “Soul,” which skipped U.S. theaters and is available for free for Disney+ subscribers, added $16.5 million internationally — a 114% increase from its opening in the same markets last weekend. The film featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey has done particularly well in China, where it more than doubled its opening sum and added $13.7 million this weekend. The studio attributed the gains to strong social media reactions and word of mouth.
Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic “Alien” also opened this weekend through Disney’s 20th Century Studios. It made $75,000 from 505 locations.