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Showcase of Asian cinema

CINEFAN, THE festival of Asian cinema, opens today at Siri Fort, New Delhi, with "Samsara", an international co-production directed by Pan Nalin. Organised by Cinemaya (the world's only journal on Asian cinema), and NETPAC (Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema), this four year old festival has established itself as a major event not only in the capital, but in the film scene of this country.

Unlike some other Indian film festivals marked by random selection, Cinefan maintains a clear focus and high standards, and that spirit of "curiosity and excitement" with which Aruna Vasudev, editor, Cinemaya, launched the showcase. It affords a rare opportunity for viewing films made in our continent, from nations as far apart as Turkey and Japan, Kazakhstan and Korea.

This year's festival (August 19 to 28) has 60 films in seven sections including a focus on Egyptian cinema and a tribute to the Japanese maestro Akira Kurosawa (seven features). Besides a competition section with a five member international jury for Best Film, Best Actress, Best Actor and the NETPAC Award, a wide range is covered by Asian Frescoes, India Bazaar, East-West Encounters and In-Tolerance. The festival closes with Buddhadeb Dasgupta's "A Tale of a Naughty Girl" (Bengali). Among festival visitors this year are noted filmmakers like Iran's Dariush Mehrjui, Japan's Kenji Ishizaka and China's Zhu Wen.

Cinefan 2002 features two film related events: a conference on Asian cinema (August 23 and24), and the release of "Being and Becoming: the Cinemas of Asia" (Macmmillan), edited by Aruna Vasudev, Latika Padgaonkar and Rashmi Doraiswamy.

GOWRI RAMNARAYAN

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