Cinefan to fete Japanese, Arab cinema

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NEW DELHI -- Japanese and Arab cinema will enjoy the spotlight at one of India's better-known annual film events, organizers of Osian's ninth annual Cinefan Festival said Thursday.

"Raami," an Iran-Azerbaijan co-production by director Babak Shirinshefat, will open the July 20-29 festival in New Delhi, which will screen about 140 films from more than 35 countries.

The festival's theme this year is "Recreating Cinematic Culture," with a focus on Japan to mark the ongoing Japan-India Friendship Year, said the Mumbai-based art institution Osian's Connoisseurs of Art, which organizes the festival.

Osian's also owns the New Delhi-based cinema quarterly "Cinemaya," which launched the Cinefan festival in 1999 to promote Asian cinema.

As part of this year's Japan focus, a tribute will be paid to Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi, including screenings of contemporary Japanese and samurai films.

Indian audiences will see for the first time the Japanese "benshi" tradition as narrator Yuko Sato narrates Mizoguchi's silent 1933 classic "The Water Magician," which will open the festival's Japan focus on July 21.

Additionally, Japanese critic and author Tadao Sato will be conferred the annual Lifetime Achievement Award for promotion of Asian cinema.

A special section called "Hymns to Freedom" will commemorate the 150th anniversary of India's First War of Independence in 1857. The sidebar will highlight films reflecting the struggle for freedom from colonial rule in Asia and the Arab world.

Among other seminars, Cinefan will host the fourth edition of the Talent Campus, in association with the Berlinale Talent Campus, as a workshop for aspiring filmmakers.

Cinefan also will include an auction of popular film memorabilia in addition to exhibitions on film art and posters.

The festival's closing film will be Egypt's "Cut and Paste" by Hala Khalil.
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