MRINAL SEN IN CANNES 2010
Octogenarian Mrinal Sen’s Bengali film Khandhar (1984) will be screened at Cannes this year. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival at the same festival in the year following its release. “Gilles Jacob, then secretary at Cannes and now President, requested me on behalf of the selection committee to allow Khandhar to be screened out of competition. They felt the film was visually rich and were unanimous in their selection. When I asked them why they were making such a strange request, Jacobs, who has been a long time friend, informed me that since that year happened to be the 30th anniversary of Pather Panchali, and also because Ray was very ill, the festival had planned to celebrate Ray by screening Ghare Baire in competition so the committee felt no Indian film that year should be in competition. I agreed. Ghare Baire did not win any award but I assured them that Ray would get well soon. I felt proud because that very year, the International Film Guide (1983-84) listed Khandhar among the top ten films of world cinema. I consider this my greatest pride,” says Mrinal Sen. At 87, he is preparing to fly to Paris where his son will meet him and accompany him to Cannes to share this great occasion with his famous father. Khandhar (The Ruins) won the Golden Hugo at Chicago, the Special Jury Prize at Montreal film festivals, the Golden Lotus in India, the best actress award for Shabana Azmi for her performance in the film and Filmfare Best Screenplay Award for Mrinal Sen.
Cannes Classics, created in 2004, accompanies contemporary films from the Official Selection with a programme of restored films and lost films that have been found again, as part of their re-release in cinemas or on DVD. The film has been restored by Reliance MediaWorks with the support of the National Film Archive of India. Other films to be screened in this section are The Battle of the Rails (France, 1946) by Rene Clement, restored by INA and Full Images, Boudo Saved from Drowning (1932), Tristana (1970) by Luis Bunuel, preserved by the Filmoteca Espagnole, The Leopard (1963) by Luchino Visconti, La Campagne de Ciceron (1989) by Jacques Davila, restored by the Cinematheque of Toulouse with the support of the Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema, The Tin Drum, (1979) by Volker Schlöndorff, remastered by Kinowelt, African Queen (1951) by John Huston, restored by Paramount Pictures and ITV, and sponsored by Angelica Huston, Kiss of the Spiderwoman (1985) by Hector Babenco, restored by Ascent Media and Prime Focus, The Great Love (1969) by Pierre Etaix, restored by Studio 37, the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema and the Fondation Groupama Gan for Cinema, La 317e Section (1965) by Pierre Schoendoerffer, restored by the Cinematheque Française and StudioCanal with the support of the Franco-American Cultural Fund and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), restored by Universal Pictures and Audionamix. Psycho will feature a restored and reconstructed soundtrack. Happy Go Lucky (1946) by Marcel L’Herbier, restored by the Archives Française du film (CNC) and StudioCanal. The Cinematheque of Bologna will also be presenting two short films: Il Ruscello Di Ripasottile (1941) by Roberto Rossellini, and The Eloquent Peasant (1970) by Chadi Abdel Salam.
“The credit for this international movement towards restoration of damaged, ‘lost’ and old films was set in motion by internationally renowned filmmaker Martin Scorcese. He stopped making films altogether to concentrate on the restoration of old, damaged and lost film prints. He set up the World Cinema Foundation and different organizations across the world are contributing to this. He had expressed a wish to restore my films. But this is just the beginning,” sums up Mrinal-da between his busy telephone calls, attending to e-mails and talking to journalists about one of the greatest milestones of his career.
by Shoma A. Chatterji