It is curtains up for the 4th Bengaluru International Film Festival (Biffes) on December 15, 2011. About 175 feature films from around the world will visit the city over the eight-day event. They include 130 foreign films from 40 countries, 30 from Indian Cinema and 15 from Kannada Cinema. This year's country focus will be on Polish cinema, Egyptian cinema, Asian cinema, contemporary Indian cinema and contemporary Kannada Cinema.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Significantly, for the first time, Bengaluru's annual film event has finally received the attention it deserves, with the goal being to establish it amongst India's premier film festivals. This edition of the Bengaluru International Film Festival has even received budgetary funding from the Government of Karnataka, and will be organised by the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy. There have also been significant changes in the festival format, which augur well for the event. 

Film screening schedule

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You need a pass to see films at the festival. Passes cost Rs 500. Students and Film society members can collect passes for Rs.100 and Rs.200 respectively. 

These are available at: »  Fame Lido, Ulsoor
»  Badami house near Corporation
»  Suchitra Film Society, Banashankari
»  GM Rejoyz, Malleshwaram
»  Karnataka Film Chambers, Race course road

During screening passes will be available at all venues also.

This 4th Biffes has introduced a competition section this year, with awards in four categories. BIFFES artistic director H N Narahari Rao elaborated, "Though this is the first time that BIFFES has announced a competition section, about 40 films were submitted for entry into the international category. Most of the films received are on contemporary themes, made in 2010 and 2011, and have been highly acclaimed in top international festivals."

The final list of films in the international competition category are When We Leave (Germany), Invisible (Israel), 89 Shiwen Road (China), Beyond (Sweden), Busong  (Philipines), Ogul (Turkey), Apartment in Athens (Italy), In the Name of Devil (Poland), The Colors Of The Mountain (Colombia), Lovely Man (Indonesia), King of the Devil's Island (Norway), Lucky (South Africa).

The South African entry Lucky has city actor MP B Jayashree in a leading role, and will also open the Bengaluru film festival on December 15th. Jayashree's performance in the film has also won her the top acting awards at the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival.

Another highlight of the event is the retrospective sessions organised around the work of directors Michael Cacoyannis, Theodoros Angelopoulos, Dariush Mehrjui, Hsiao-hsien Hou',  G Aravindan and Puttanna Kanagal. Iranian director Dariush Mehrjui will also be the guest of honour at this year's festival.

Besides the spotlight on the work of these celebrated directors, the country retrospectives include classics like the 1936 Indian film Achut Kanya , Meera (with late Carnatic musician M.S. Subbulakshmi), David Lean's Oliver Twist , the Telugu Devadas made by Vedantam Raghavaiah and Rajkumar's Sandhya Raga.

This selection of vintage cinema gets a contemporary twist, with the inclusion of a special genre of political cinema in the 4th BIFFES. This category features landmark cinema from across the globe ike Z (France), Interrogation (Poland), Lemon Tree (Israel), Downfall (Germany), The Whistle Blower (Canada), a special documentary Air India 182 (Canada), Mao's Last Dancer (Australia) and Thanneer Thanneer (India).

Festival director and chairman of Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy TS Nagabharana says, "This is only the beginning. With the quality of films that will be featured in the competition section this year, we are confident that Bengaluru will become an important international festival venue in the years to come."

In more ways than one, this edition of the Bengaluru International Film Festival is clearly an improvement on previous events. Along with government funding and focused organisation, the festival also a clearly stated forward looking objective. But inspite of the improved visibility this year, it is left to see if the people of Bengaluru come out in large numbers to make this festival a resounding success and an important national event.

Festival venues: The main venue for the screenings is the Fame Lido Complex, which has four screens. The other venues will be one screen each at Central Inox, JP Nagar, Rejoyz at Malleswaram, Department of Information on Infantry Road, Badami House at NR Square and Suchitra in BSK II Stage.

Passes/Event registration: Delegate passes cost Rs 500. Student passes cost Rs 100, (ID needed). Members of Film society passes cost Rs.200.

Passes are available at Fame Lido, Badami house, near Corporation, Suchitra Film Society, Banashankari, GM Rejoyz, Malleshwaram, Karnataka Film Chambers, Race course road. During screening passes will be available at all venues also.

For buying passes at the venue requires one to carry an id proof along with a picture. If registered online, one has to carry the confirmation id received online to collect the passes.