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Poignant fare

The children's film festival featured contentious themes.



TALE OF ANGUISH A film for children's welfare.

A schoolteacher's crusade for proper education, for a system where there is no walled existence, set rules and regimentation. This idea formed the core of young filmmaker Subas Das' debut film in Oriya Aw Aakare Aa (A,B, She) which opened the three day (November 16-18) children's festival with its very contemporary and contentious theme.

The second day featured two films the much-adulated Children of Heaven (1997) and Two Brothers (2004). The first film directed by Majid Majidi focuses on the problem faced by Ali and Zahra the young siblings living in Tehran. Ali has lost Zahra's newly repaired shoes, and their family isn't wealthy enough to replace them. So the children decide to share Ali's sole pair of shoes and hide it from their folks. It's a moving tale on a personal level but it also gives one an insight into the socio-economic world of Tehran, where only the wealthiest children can afford new shoes.

The other screening is a cute film about two tiger cubs suffering pangs of separation from their parents and each other. They are made to fight but the film preaches the virtue of brotherhood with a certain poignancy.

The curtains were drawn on the fest by the evergreen Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne pronounced as the greatest Bengali classic for children ever made. This 1968 film based on a story by Upendrakishore Ray (Roychowdhury) about the travels of two outcast musicians. They meet accidentally and helped by King of Ghosts. With newly endowed abilities they land in kingdom of Shundi where their adventure begins. There's much bizarre wit, some delightful songs, and a sense of wide-eyed wonder so important to this kind of fantasy.

Bhubaneswar Film Society organised this festival in collaboration with UNICEFon the occasion of the Children's Day and the highlight was a cinema corner that came up for interaction between film and TV artistes and experts with children invited from 30 districts of Orissa.

B.M.

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