Recently concluded 27th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK 2022) will be known for its impressive schedule in its almost all sections, Masterclass with legendary Hungarian Filmmaker Bela Tarr and huge crowd of cinephiles who came together to celebrate the cinema. IFFK 2022 enjoyed great success with more than 13000 delegate registrations. The theme of the 27th edition was flow.

IFFK 2022 was inaugurated by Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinararayi Vijayan by switching on ark light toward the audience. This marked the festival’s journey through technology and cultural progress. In his inaugural speech CM , Pinararayi Vijayan said, “ Festivals are a creative tool for the concise expression of art. The IFFK is a manifestation of an artistic and cultural gathering, unified by togetherness, harmony, fun and excitement and reflects humanity across the world. It is a ray of hope amidst chaos and disarray, and means to survive our struggles. He also emphasized that the festival is not only celebration, but a reminder to promote art as a freedom of expression, especially if that expression is a justified fight against the rules that condemn basic freedom and human rights. A state cannot exist democratically, if it does not allow its people their basic rights and freedom. If art scares authorities, it’s powerful, the CM concluded.

The 27th IFFK, which began amid the echo of three words raised by Iranian Filmmaker, Mehnaz Mohammadi – Women, Life and Freedom, marked a new chapter in cinema’s revolutionary history. Mehnaz who has long advocated the women’s right in Iran, was given this year’s Spirit of Cinema Award in recognition of her fight for liberty. She was not allowed to travel by Iranian authorities, but even in her absence, she infused the opening stage of IFFK with revolution. As a symbol of solidarity in the fight for freedom, she sent her hair, which she described as “the end of suffering”, through Athina Rachel Tsangari, a Greek Filmmaker, who received the award of behalf of Mehnaz Mohammad. Tsangari read out the message sent by Mehnaz, “This is my hair cut short to show my suffering. This symbolizes the end of my suffering. Get up and move on. Let’s say it together… Women… Life… Freedom…”.

The festival witnessed the first open forum session at Tagore theater, celebrating the spirit of freedom and art. Renowned film actor and director Nandita Das flagged off the session. The bottom line of the forum was to confer about how the outlook of the themes of expression can be cogitated through such film festival. Nandita Das commented that open forums aids in building a society that is less polarized, less prejudiced, less blinded and less biased. Other panelist said the country should critically discuss the ideas proffered by fascist political films like Uri and The Kashmir Files.

There were meet the director program almost daily which gave audience a chance to ask question to the directors whose film screened at the festival. In one of the session Oksana Cherkashnya, the actress of the Ukrainian Film Klondike said, “The war in Ukraine is not just a Ukrainian issue, but an issue of the safety of the entire world. In Ukraine, we don’t call it a crisis. We call it a full-fledged was, which began eight years ago. It’s an antiwar movie as it shows how war changes our daily lives and what we should do, how we should go through it and how we should protest the violence. This is a new kind of resilient protest, a feminist one, solely dedicated to women. A challenging but necessary step. Our movie, ‘Klondike’ is a monologue for the entire world and not just for Ukraine. Personal is political and political is revolution”. Other filmmaker like Hadi Ghazanfari (Iran) and Aruna Jayawardana, (Shri Lanka) conveyed the tragic situations in their respective countries.

This is country focused at IFFK is Serbia. The complex history and socio-political life of Serbia reflects in its typical films too. Films like Working Class Heroes, Father, Oasis, As far As I can Walk, The Beheading of St. John the Bapist and A Cross in the desert were showcased narrating the world of Serbia. Films like Working Class Heroes and Father narrate the living conditions and fights of the betrayed and displaced working class, the poor and downtrodden sections of Serbia.

In Conversation session at IFFK 2022 attracted more audiences. At the sessions many themes like co-production, funding, gender representation in films, were explored by filmmakers. In one of such session on fourth day of the festival, Greek filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari highlighted the issues of co-production. She said,“ The Greek Film Society has very limited funds even to this day, which was the sole reason behind my staunch decision to not depend on the state and everything done by myself through co-production. When it comes to co-production, we have to make core compromises. The compromises can get bigger and bigger and we have to find the right crew. Chaitanya Tamhane, Indian Filmmaker said,” Since there is no institutional funding for independent cinemas, we didn’t wat to be parochial. Co-Production can become a power dynamic with bigger struggle”.

Veit Helmel, Jury Chairman, IFFK 2022 highlighted the important issue of film restoration. In conversation with Mr Prakash Magdum, former Director of National Film Archives. Veit said, If we want to save the heritage of the films, we will have to act fast. The accessibility to cinemas has become much easier these days and that’s where the need for restoration comes. There are lots of old films still in existence, which is a huge inventory that have to manage. If we want to unveil those timeless classics to this generation, this is the only way possible. Analogue films tend to fade after a certain time. It might have perforated and lost information. A film is shot in black and white with an intention. I would say coloring such films is practically an artistic rape”.

Bela Tarr, A Hungarian, received The Life Time achievement at IFFK 2022. Bela Tarr shared his film-making style, vision and process with the audience in this year’s Aravindan Memorial Lecture. At the lecture he said, this is very dirty job, I look like a hunter, who is stealing your emotions and force you to see the reeled emotions.” At the acceptance of Lifetime Award, he said, we are from different continent, different countries and we have different lives and culture, but when I see you I have a feeling that we have beautiful common language what we call motion picture. We have to protect our movies. We have to protect the young generation. We have to go together because we understand each other, so please keep in touch and listen to each other, accept each other. This is the most important thing for me.

Utama, Directed by Alejandro Loayza Grisi  won the Golden Crow Pheasant (Suvarna Chakoram) for the Best Film at the IFFK 2022 Film is considered to be artistic statement of the global climate crisis. Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam won the Rajatha Chakoram award through an audience poll. 

The FIPRESCI Award for Best Malayalam Film of the 27th International Film Festival of Kerala is awarded to the film ’19(1)(a)’ directed by Indhu V.S and Manipuri filmmaker Romi Meitei’s Our Home won the FIPRESCI Award for Best International Film.