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The International Film Festival of Kerala to begin today

The 25th edition of the IFFK will, for the first time in the festival's history, be held in four different regions of Kerala

Jasmila Zbanic's 'Quo Vadis, Aida?' is the opening film at the IFFK
Jasmila Zbanic's 'Quo Vadis, Aida?' is the opening film at the IFFK

The silver jubilee edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) will officially kick off on 10 February. The organisers, the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, said they would follow COVID-19 health protocol strictly. For the first time in the history of the festival, the venues have been divided into four different regions of the state: Thiruvananthapuram (10-14 February), Ernakulam (17-21 February), Thalassery (23-27 February) and Palakkad (1-5 March).

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the festival at the Nishagandhi auditorium, followed by the screening of the inaugural film, Jasmila Zbanic's Quo Vadis, Aida? The film is a war drama set in Srebrenica, Bosnia. Zbanic received the Silver Lion Award for Best Director for it at the Venice Film Festival.

As many as 80 films from over 30 countries will be screened this year. Of the 14 films in the International competition, Lijo Jose Pellissery's Churuli, which is a world premiere, and Jayaraj's Hasyam, are in Malayalam. Pellissery's previous film, Jallikattu, is India's official entry to the Oscars.

The World Cinema section features several arthouse favourites, including Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round), Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Wife of a Spy), Hong Sangsoo (The Woman Who Ran) and Francois Ozon (Summer of 85). There is also a Lee Chang-dong retrospective, and screenings in homage to artists who died in 2020, including Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Soumitra Chatterjee and Kim Ki-duk.

Prominent guests from across the world will join the festival online. Of these, the most celebrated is French director Jean-Luc Godard, one of the leading lights of the Nouvelle Vague movement of the 1960s. He will be receiving the festival's lifetime achievement award. Several of his films, including classics like Breathless and Weekend, will also be screened.

The festival duration has been reduced to five days of screening, in six theatres, at each venue, a release issued by the Academy said. Every delegate and official taking part in the festival are being subjected to free antigen tests organised by the academy, in association with the state Health Department.

"Only those who test negative will be allowed entry into the festival venues. Delegates can also gain entry by producing a Covid-19 negative certificate, issued not more than 48 hours prior to the entry. Theatres will strictly adhere to all Covid protocols," the Academy said.

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(with inputs from PTI)

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