Berlin, Feb 21 (Calcutta Tube) Konkani movie ‘Paltadacho Munis‘ has had an impressive response at the Berlin International Film Festival, leaving debutant filmmaker Laxmikant Shetgaonkar thrilled.
With six screenings, ‘Paltadacho Munis (Man Beyond the Bridge)’ has been presented in the International Forum of New Cinema section showcasing new and experimental films.
‘I am so impressed with the response to my film in Berlin,’ Shetgaonkar told IANS.
‘Some of the shows were houseful. I met a French couple that was actually going to see my film a second time. They said: ‘We liked it so much, and there may be something that we missed the first time, so we want to see it again.”
‘In India when the audience sees your film a second time, it is considered a superhit. So I feel Berlin has made my film a superhit,’ an elated Shetgaonkar said.
What is remarkable about the Berlin festival is that it is screening a historic nine Indian films in various languages, including Konkani, Marathi, Bengali and Hindi.
Two years ago, Siddharth Sinha’s ‘Udhed Bun (Unravel)’, a film in Bhojpuri, won the Silver Bear for best short film in Berlin. The audiences welcome cinematic talent with open arms regardless of the language.
‘Man Beyond the Bridge’ is a strong story with quiet, assured direction about a forest guard in Goa and his relationship with a mad woman. But the film also makes larger comments on political corruption, the environment and hypocritical values in society.
It has good cinematography as well and its leisurely pace reflects the milieu of its protagonist.
‘The film was shown at the Toronto festival. Although the response there was warm, the audience still saw the film in terms of entertainment,’ Shetgaonkar told IANS.
‘At Berlin, the audience was far more informed and asked me about my filming style, narrative, influences on my cinema, Konkani cinema. It was thrilling to engage at that level with a foreign audience that doesn’t know me at all. They made me feel my film is truly universal.’
Shetgaonkar, who studied theatre direction in Goa and taught acting at the National School of Drama, has made a number of short films and documentaries.
‘Man Beyond the Bridge’ has been produced by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). It has been invited to many film festivals, including at Cairo, Mumbai, Palm Springs, Istanbul, La Rochelle, the Indian Film Festival at Los Angeles and the Asian Film Festival at Hong Kong.
The Berlin film fest is being held from Feb 11-21..
(Meenakshi Shedde is India consultant to the Berlin Film Festival and curator to film festivals worldwide. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)